Thursday, September 14, 2006

How Bush made of the last remaining superpower a banana republic

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

Nothing said by Bush about Iraq has been true. Nothing said by Bush about 911 has been true. Nothing said by Bush about the "war on terrorism" has been true. All are lies. Let's take them one by one.

Bush said Saddam had WMD! He didn't. Bush has repeatedly tried to link Iraq with the war on terrorism. Bunkum. Even Bush has admitted of late that Saddam had nothing to do with 911 and, within a week, Bushies were back on the liar's trail again with yet another absurd spin: Iraq is a part of the war on terrorism —a blatant and nonsensical lie. Besides, if Iraq —a debacle —is part and parcel of the war on terrorism, then what is to be said of the "war on terrorism"?

The war on terrorism, therefore, is as catastrophically failed as is the Iraq occupation. Bush has not identified an enemy in either war and his implication that we are killing "terrorists" in Iraq is a lie. Insurgents are not terrorists; they are guerillas resisting an illegal occupation —their right under international law. Compounding Bush's failure is the fact that Bush is creating enemies in Iraq. One wonders —how many more allies and friends might this nation have if demogogues had not needed enemies more?

Bush apologists claim that if we don't fight them there, we'll fight them here! Who is "them"? I wonder. Certainly, the some 140,000 civilians whose murder was ordered by George W. Bush would never have made their way to the United States in order kill a single American. Bush and his apologists know their cover story is a lie but they tell it anyway.

The Bush administration has witnessed a deteriorating situation in Iraq even though Saddam is jail and on trial. So —who's to blame? Saddam? No! George W. Bush and his incompetent policies.

“The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power,” Bush says not with a straight-face, but with a smirk. "He was a clear threat,” Bush says. To whom? I put it to his forum: Iraqis were better off under Saddam than under the incompetent and brutal occupation of the US military. Secondly, Bush's body count among Iraqi civilians is most certainly higher than that of Saddam, called a "brutal dictator" by Bush.

Dick Cheney chimes in: "...the world is better off" without Saddam. Rather, the entire world would be even better off without Bush.

Not only Iraqi civilians but American soldiers too have paid with their lives for Bush's incompetence and stupidity. For the most part, these soldiers are from the millions of US citizens literally robbed by GOP "trickle down" economics. No Child Left Behind is GOP-speak for Every Child for Him/Herself. When the future consists of flippin' burgers or greeting Wal-Mart shoppers, who is not seduced by empty promises and wars that look like video games?

Bush tells Matt Lauer that he is protecting American citizens! The truth is Bush creates enemies faster than he can murder them. But let's look at this from another angle. Who protects us from the Bush —a man who wages war on Americans by destroying jobs and opportunities? by plotting to destroy the retirement of older Americans? by leaving New Orleans to its fate? by putting the tax burden on any one lucky enough to find a job?

Bush/Cheney tell you that Iraq is a central front in the mythic —if not mythical —war on terrorism. This is cruelest lie of all! Wager: when we pull out, terrorism in Iraq ceases! Moreover, as I have written repeatedly, if Iraq was not a hot bed of terrorism before the US invaded, it is now. Rational people would draw the correct conclusion that Bush's war of naked aggression is the world's number one cause of terrorism. That was so during Ronald Reagan's similarly failed war and I have previously cited the FBI stats to prove it.

The Middle East is not merely aflame it is destabilized. Three civil wars rage in Iraq and American troops are caught in the cross fire. Credible sources support the conclusion that the world has very narrowly averted World War III. Bush gave Ehud Olmert a green light to attack Hebollah on the pretext of avenging the alleged kidnapping of Israeli soldiers inside Israel. Oddly, however, the story changed in later versions. The original AP story stated that the soldiers in question were captured inside Lebanon —not Israel. Who attacked who? Bush, meanwhile, urged Olmert to attack Syria. By that time, Olmert must have seen a debacle in the making and refused to take the bait. An attack on Syria would most certainly have been intended to draw Iran into the conflict. World War III? Possibly! Was Bush trying to start it? Possibly!

The US, meanwhile, is increasingly isolated and reviled. We have not helped our case by torturing people upon no evidence or probable cause. We have not helped our case by making stupid comments about how "we" —the world's last remaining superpower —are not obliged to International Law but all other nations are! We have not helped our case by demonizing allies like France. We have not helped our case by being hypocrites. We have not helped our case by acting like stupid, spoiled brats.

The war on Iraq is a complete and utter disaster, a quagmire of biblical proportions and the entire world knows that to be the case. It is bad form for Bush to strut around like a bantam rooster on hormones. It is counter-productive for the world's last remaining superpower to hold a nuke over another nation's head and rub their noses in Bush's excrement. It does not help our case that Bush cannot define the enemy in Iraq. Who is it? Is it the Kurds, who want autonomy in the north west? Is it the Shias, who want dominance in Baghdad? Is it the Sunnis, who likewise want control over central Iraq? And why does the US wish to get involved with purely internal and largely sectarian controversies that only Iraqis can sort out for themselves? And, finally, what has all that to do with "terrorism". Nothing!

The world is sick and tired of this mountebank, this demagogue, this poser, this fraud who dares to threaten the world. Billions the world over have seen the naked emperor and called his bluff. Billions have had enough of a talent-less mediocrity who dares to lecture his betters.

That Bush may have no regrets about Irag says more about Bush's pathology than it does about the cause, if cause there be for mass murder, war crimes, oil theft, and lies. Bush has no regrets because he is utterly without humanity or empathy. Thousands have died for Bush's vainglorious dreams of conquest and military glory. The attack and invasion of Iraq, a sovereign nation, was and remains a war crime. It was Dr. Gustav Gilbert, the allies Nuremberg psychologist, who said that evil is an utter lack of empathy. That is a perfect description of the man who usurped the White House and made of this last remaining superpower nothing more than a banana republic.

Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed that he has grown so great?

Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare

U.S. to Bush: Get yourself a good lawyer; you're gonna need one!

There may be probable cause to try George W. Bush for capital crimes. Bush is losing it. He's combative, belligerent, rambling, disconnected and overtly defensive. He's desperately trying to come up with various defenses on various fronts —all ex post facto. One is tempted to tell him: give up, George! Surrender to the authorities! You get one phone call; use it to get in touch in Jim Baker. Get your lies straight!

The issue is torture —a heinous act that Bush insists on calling " alternative set of procedures". Interviewed by Matt Lauer, Bush tried to justify torture as necessary even as he denied that the US was torturing. Bush tried to avoid the question: if torture is "legal", then why did the US try to keep it secret throughout Eastern Europe? Bush may choose to refer to torture by some Orwellian term. The rest of us know the truth of it! In the name of decency and humanity, we will call the US program of atrocity what it is: war crimes!

Bush openly claims the right to torture —at his personal discretion. The dictatorial powers that he claims —work against him. They make him personally culpable for all crimes that follow from his lead, his example, his direction.

All the various lies are now laid bare —that abuses were perpetrated by low-level grunts; that the US was/is above the Geneva Convention, that the Geneva Convention did not apply, that the Nuremberg Principles could not restrain the mighty US, that soldiers were ignorant or poorly trained when prisoners were beaten, abused, tortured, water boarded, or humiliated. All were lies!

Despite the fact that the truth is now known, Bush gets in Matt Lauer's face and declares that he is protecting the people of the United States, that the US —under his incompetent misrule —is going to torture people when he —the decider —sees fit, and that whenever he is questioned, his word is final. Even if that were true, Bush makes enemies abroad faster than he can murder them in our name. Bush's irrational statements convict him. At the very least, they are —in themselves —probable cause to bring him to trial for capital crimes, crimes against the peace, war crimes.

Here's Bush in his aggressive/defensive/thin-skinned mode, interviewed by Matt Lauer:

A war is lost when atrocities begin. There are good reasons to believe that US atrocities began with the US invasion of Afghanistan. Bush was referring to Afghanistan when he said of victims of US aggression:
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.

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

If by "different fate", Bush means summary executions of Afghan citizens, he is in violation of US Codes; Title 18, § 2441. War crimes
(a) Offense.— Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

—Cornell Law School, US Code Collection, US Codes; Title 18, § 2441. War crimes

It is no wonder that Bush is agitated and defensive under Lauer's cross examination. Capital crimes are a serious matter. That there is probable cause that capital crimes have been committed —even more so.

I suggest a complete reading of the Geneva Conventions relative to the treatment of prisoners of war. But here is a small portion which flies in the face of the numerous lies that are told about Geneva by Bush partisans:

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.


Article 13

Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in his interest.

Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.

Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.

—Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War

As four US Supreme Court justices agreed in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld recently, Article 75 is “indisputably part of the customary international law.””[see:Marjorie Cohn Israel Creates Humanitarian Crisis].

A war is lost when those perpetrating a war of aggression question the patriotism of legitimate critics. Recently Donald Rumsfeld called the Democratic opposition "Nazi appeasers". In the meantime, Bush denies having committed the very crimes he now wants to make legal. Why would he want to do that, if he were not guilty?

His efforts are futile. Such a law —an ex post facto law —is specifically and unambiguously prohibited in Article 1 of the US Constitution:

No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

—Article 1, US Constitution

The existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre took a strong stand against torture. In his Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre said of torture that it was intended " reduce men to vermin". Like the US in Iraq, the French used torture to suppress the Algerian resistance. Like the Bush administration, the French denied the practice even as they declared its effectiveness against the Algerian Liberation Front. Sartre, however, was true to his avowed "existentialism", urging others others to ask of themselves as he asked of himself: what would I do if I were tortured!

If we Americans are to hold on to what's left of our humanity, we simply must learn to think objectively about Bush and about the role our nation now plays throughout the world. Are we, in fact, a force for good —or evil? We must be honest if Bush is not! There is, indeed, a choice to make but not the one falsely framed by Bush. We must demand that the atrocities end now! We must rise up and demand that the United States withdraw immediately from Iraq and Afghanistan! We must demand full and transparent investigations into every outrage perpetrated by Bush in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere! We must ask of ourselves as Sartre asked of himself: What would we do if we were tortured by the armed forces of a belligerant aggressor nation?

Some updates:

EU tensions over CIA prisons

From correspondents in Brussels
September 16, 2006

THE European Union has declared that secret prisons run throughout the world by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are against international law.

"The existence of secret detention facilities where detained persons are kept in a legal vacuum is not in conformity with international humanitarian law and international criminal law," the EU presidency said.

"We reiterate that in combating terrorism human rights and humanitarian standards have to be maintained," said Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja after chairing a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

US President George W. Bush admitted last week for the first time that the US Central Intelligence Agency covertly held prisoners in overseas camps, reports of which had been publicly denied by many of the countries involved.

He also defended the interrogation tactics used by the CIA.

Mr Tuomioja said the issue had been raised at the meeting by Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot.

"The European Union reiterates its commitment to combating terrorism effectively using all legal means and instruments available. Terrorism is itself a threat to our values based on the rule of law," Mr Tuomioja said.

On Thursday, a European parliamentarian probing the suspected secret CIA prisons denounced Bush and members of his administration as liars.

"I am stunned that he lied to us for months. Mrs (US Secretary of State Condoleezza) Rice lied to the European Council," Italian socialist deputy Claudio Fava told other members of the investigating commission. ...

Bush Takes Security Push to Capitol Hill

Published: September 14, 2006

President Bush, Vice President Cheney and J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, the House speaker, heading into a meeting with the G.O.P. members of the House.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A rebellious Senate committee defied President Bush on Thursday and approved terror-detainee legislation he has vowed to block, deepening Republican conflict over terrorism and national security in the middle of election season.

Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia, normally a Bush supporter, pushed the measure through his Armed Services Committee by a 15-9 vote, with Warner and three other GOP lawmakers joining Democrats. The vote set the stage for a showdown on the Senate floor as early as next week.

Earlier in the day, Bush had journeyed to the Capitol to try nailing down support for his own version of the legislation.

''I will resist any bill that does not enable this program to go forward with legal clarity,'' Bush said at the White House.

The president's measure would go further than the Senate package in allowing classified evidence to be withheld from defendants in terror trials, using coerced testimony and protecting U.S. interrogators against prosecution for using methods that violate the Geneva Conventions.

The internal GOP struggle intensified along other fronts, too, as Colin Powell, Bush's first secretary of state, declared his opposition to the president's plan.

''The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism,'' Powell, a retired general who is also a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in a letter. ...

Sidney Blumenthal Calls George W. Bush 'The Most Uniquely Radical President We’ve Ever Had'

Why do I call him a radical? I call him a radical because he is undertaking a fundamental transformation of our Constitutional system of government and of our longstanding policies that have been accepted for literally generations. He thinks to concentrate unaccountable power in the Executive. He thinks you alter the laws so that, as Commander in Chief, he can determine, under what he says are wartime conditions, what the laws are, which laws should be enforced, and declare by fiat what our policy should be, even abrogating longstanding international treaties.

This is a long project whose main driver is the Vice President, Dick Cheney. Bush has overthrown a sixty-year consensus on foreign policy. He has exhibited hostility to science that no other president has ever displayed. He has adopted a formal policy of so-called preemptive, first-strike attack that was rejected openly by Presidents Kennedy and Eisenhower. And he has deliberately polarized and divided the country for political purposes, politicizing the most basic questions of war and peace for partisan advantage. Those are some of the policies and politics he’s pursued that lead me to call him the most uniquely radical president we’ve ever had in the White House.

—Sydney Blumenthal, Buzzflash Interview

How Bush Rules: Bush's Radicalism is Leading to a GOP Crackup

The inescapable signs of disillusionment surrounding the Bush administration in its sixth year, facing a second mid-term election, suggest far more than the usual syndrome of incumbent weariness. These are the rumblings of a regime crisis.

President Bush's whole party bears the burden of his accumulated self-generated difficulties not only because of their overwhelming scale but also because the Republicans have sustained disciplined one-party rule in which congressional oversight has been largely suppressed.

The congressional Republicans' feeble assertion of institutional authority has made changing the Congress the only way to revive it and check and balance Bush's radical presidency during his remaining two years.

Bush's radicalism dominates policy and politics, as I document in my book new How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime.

His all-encompassing "war on terror," conflating the disparate al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Iraqi insurgency as "a single movement," is also reflected in his dismissal of diplomatic and political solutions, urgently advocated by U.S. military commanders in Iraq for years, and Vice President Dick Cheney's sneering denigration of "law enforcement" in favor of the militarization of policy. ...

Additional Resources:

The Existentialist Cowboy

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bush's Orwellian campaign of deception, distraction, and linguistic legerdemain

Right out of George Orwell's 1984, George Bush comes up with another Orwellian corker: torture is no longer torture; it's an "alternative set of procedures".

Bush is a coward —afraid to call torture what it is: torture. Bush talks about torture obliquely, in language reminiscent of his state of the union address of 2003 when he talked about the treatment and, quite possibly, the deliberate murder, of thousands of detainees presumably captured in Afghanistan. At the time, Bush said:

"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".

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

Bush is back in that newspeak mode referring not to a "different fate" (murder?) but calling torture an "alternative set of procedures".
We knew that Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking. As his questioning proceeded, it became clear that he had received training on how to resist interrogation. And so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures. These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific methods used--I think you understand why--if I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.

George W. Bush, Text of President Bush's speech, September 07, 2006

In other words: torture! Let me address the following comment directly to George W. Bush. NO, Bush, torture procedures DO NOT comply with our laws, our constitution, or our treaty obligations. In fact, torture itself blatantly violates ALL of the above. Torture is repugnant to American values, decency, morality and civilization. Civilized nations do not torture. Legitimate administrations do not torture. Barbaric, cruel nations do. Torture, which you have not the courage to call by name, is an offense, an affront to our very basic "American" values.

As Spencer Ackerman wrote, Bush continues to exploit the ignorance of the American people. The truth of the matter is this: there is no need to torture anyone; nor is it effective. Intelligence gathered by torture is notoriously inaccurate and often misleading. As Bush said of evil, I say of Bush's un-American program of torture: if it is not evil then what is?

Bush wants to continue his program of torture and wants the congress to change the laws so that he can. Bush had already broken the law; his torture program was denounced by a federal court. In the face of laws, morality, and American values, Bush urges Congress to pass a terrorist surveillance act. It will give Bush the authority he wants to try what Bush expects us to believe are "al-Qaeda detainees" currently held in secret CIA facilities throughout Eastern Europe. The existence of this gulag archipelago was denied vociferously but now it is openly admitted because Bush holds out hope for an ex post facto law. Bush had to admit his crime but only because it was the only way he could get congress to make legal the crimes he's already committed. I read the Constitution. Congress has not the power to pass ex post facto laws of any sort.

When Bush is not playing Orwellian language games to hide the truth, he is telling bald faced lies:

Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations.

George W. Bush, Remarks by the President on Iraq Cincinnati Museum Center - Cincinnati Union Terminal, Cincinnati, Ohio, White

Here's yet another corker from the same speech:
Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.
And this absurdity from his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September, 2002:
And al Qaeda terrorists escaped from Afghanistan and are known to be in Iraq.

—George W. Bush, UN Speech

Events have proven those statements untrue. Bush found it necessary to link Iraq with terrorism for several reasons. Members of his own administration had already identified Al Qaeda as responsible for 911. From the get go, Bush wanted to attack Iraq where the terrorists weren't; he needed to figure out a way to pin 911 on Saddam. It was a problem for Bush that almost no terrorists exist in the United States. [See: Foreign Affairs, Is There Still a Terrorist Threat?, John Mueller] Bush needed a fall guy!

At last, even members of Congress will allow that Bush deliberately hoaxed the Congress and the public. If this is not treasonable and impeachable, what is? Must Bush solicit oral sex that this nation might be saved two more years in which Bush wages dangerous, heedless, reckless war upon the entire world?

At last, Bush has employed every evil to achieve his goal of global domination. Most pernicious among these evils is the right wing debasement of language to obscure, to distort, to pervert. No one can be free when language is defiled. Language is liberty.

The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.

—William Hazlett, 1778

Rockefeller: Bush Duped Public On Iraq

CBS News Exclusive: W.Va. Senator Says Iraq Would Be Better Off With Saddam In Power

Sept. 9, 2006

(CBS) When the Senate Intelligence Committee released a declassified version of its findings this past week, the Republican chairman of the committee, Pat Roberts, left town without doing interviews, calling the report a rehash of unfounded partisan allegations.

Its statements like this one, made Feb. 5, 2003, by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell that have become so controversial, implying Iraq was linked to terror attacks."Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an associated collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda lieutenants," Powell said.

But after 2 1/2 years of reviewing pre-war intelligence behind closed doors, the lead Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Sen. John Rockefeller of West Virginia, who voted for the Iraq War, says the Bush administration pulled the wool over everyone's eyes.

"The absolute cynical manipulation, deliberately cynical manipulation, to shape American public opinion and 69 percent of the people, at that time, it worked, they said 'we want to go to war,'" Rockefeller told CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. "Including me. The difference is after I began to learn about some of that intelligence I went down to the Senate floor and I said 'my vote was wrong.'"

Rockefeller went a step further. He says the world would be better off today if the United States had never invaded Iraq — even if it means Saddam Hussein would still be running Iraq.

He said he sees that as a better scenario, and a safer scenario, "because it is called the 'war on terror.'"
Because Bush exploits fear with lies, his entire administration has taken on an hysterical tinge of late, born, no doubt, of Bush's own knowledge that he is a fraud.

In a Pivotal Year, GOP Plans to Get Personal

Millions to Go to Digging Up Dirt on Democrats

By Jim VandeHei and Chris Cillizza

Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, September 10, 2006; Page A01

Republicans are planning to spend the vast majority of their sizable financial war chest over the final 60 days of the campaign attacking Democratic House and Senate candidates over personal issues and local controversies, GOP officials said.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which this year dispatched a half-dozen operatives to comb through tax, court and other records looking for damaging information on Democratic candidates, plans to spend more than 90 percent of its $50 million-plus advertising budget on what officials described as negative ads. ...

Just in time for elections, Bush campaigns on fear

September 10, 2006


Five years after the 9/11 tragedy, the kingpin of Abraham Lincoln's party is still dead set on fooling most of the people most of the time.

President Bush and his chorus of Republican pols, Cabinet members and neo-con sycophants would have us believe we're safer or, depending on political expediencies, not that safe. According to the president's pre-9/11 anniversary speeches on the progress of the war on terror, we're safer than we were before the attacks but not yet safe enough to steer clear of his failed stay-the-course strategy. As Bush explains it, al-Qaeda's leadership is decimated but remains dangerous enough to destroy the entire civilized world.

There he goes again. ...

We best observe the anniversary of 911 by reflecting upon the fraudulent nature of Bush's various "wars" —his war of deception, distraction, and Orwellian legerdemain. Just how great is the so-called terrorist threat? I am confident that you will find many authoritative sources for the following fact: your chances of getting killed by a terrorist are about point 0000001%. And we gave up our freedom for that?

The Existentialist Cowboy