Friday, April 12, 2013

My Letter to My Congressman

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

Bush's criminal and murderous adventures in Iraq should never be forgotten. It was this combination of crookedness and incompetence that very nearly destroyed our nation. And we are not yet out of the woods! One wonders, where is Bush Jr these days? Where does he hide?

At the height of the Iraq debacle, I wrote a letter to my congressman. He replied --such as it was! I replied to his letter and refuted him point-by-point:

          John Culberson
          Member of Congress
          7th District

          Honorable Member of Congress:
         Thank you for your reply to my concerns about the Bush administration's case for War in Iraq. I           have considered your points –in blockquotes –followed by my reply:
I believe that the Bush administration made the correct decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power and liberate Iraq after Saddam continue to disobey numerous United Nations resolutions and refuse diplomatic offers.
No one disagrees that Saddam was a "bad man". With all due respect, that is not the issue. The world is full of "bad men" and, in most cases, the United States does not invade and occupy their countries. One wonders: what is the compelling difference in Iraq? That it has oil?

Secondly, it is unclear and most certainly not proven by anything available in the public record that Saddam was not in compliance with United Nations resolutions when he was attacked and invaded. U.N. inspectors had, in fact, asked for a reasonable amount of time in which to complete their tasks.
Only if they had been allowed to complete their responsibilities could it have been known conclusively whether or not Saddam was or was not in compliance with specific U.N. Resolutions. Moreover, U.N. resolution 1441 orders Iraq to comply with said resolutions but does not sanction the use of force by the United States –specifically invasion of a sovereign nation and occupation of same by U.S. Forces.

Lacking the "cover" of International law or sanction, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq is a violation of the Nuremberg Principles. [Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal,]
Saddam used chemical weapons on his own people many times, and since the end of hostilities dozens of mass graves and torture rooms have been discovered.
Saddam's use of chemical weapons "...on his own people" is a reference to a well-publicized gassing of Kurds in 1988 –some 15 years ago. Persian Gulf I was fought since that time and the U.N.'s Hans Blix has raised the credible possibility that Hussein's weapons were destroyed either by the Persian Gulf War itself or voluntarily by Saddam in its wake –or both! In any case, no weapons have been found since U.S. troops have occupied Iraq.

Moreover, former CIA analyst Stephen Pelletiere has argued persuasively that Saddam's alleged gassing of Kurds in the waning months of the Iran-Iraq war may have been perpetrated by Iran, not Iraq! If that is the case, then none of the argument with regard to Saddam's alleged gassing of the Kurds is relevant.

Let us assume for the sake of argument that Saddam indeed used gas some 15 years ago! At that time, the Saddam regime was nothing more than a U.S. puppet regime. What was the source of his weapons if not the United States? That question has not been answered by either our elected officials or the mass media.

References to the "gassing" incident in the Bush case for war is really this subtle argument: because Saddam used gas on his own people, if he should obtain nuclear weapons, he will use them. However, Saddam had many opportunities to use poison gas and biological agents on the Coalition forces and Israel during the Persian Gulf I” but not even Bush partisans have alleged that he did so.
UN arms inspectors later found warheads capable of delivering these weapons that could have been used by Iraq but were not!

More recently, it was widely reported and speculated in the Bush administration's run up to war that in the event, Saddam Hussein was most likely to use biochemical weapons if he felt under mortal threat. He was most certainly under mortal threat –yet there is no evidence that he used such weapons –either on his own people who were expected to rise in up revolt against Saddam and in support of the invading U.S. army or against U.S. troops. Most speculation about why he did not involves complex violations of Occam's Razor and other logical legerdemain. The simplest explanation for Hussein's failure to use such weapons is that he, in fact, did not have any.
He never offered any evidence that he had ceased his chemical, biological, and nuclear programs.
But Bush never offered proof or evidence that Saddam every had chemical, biological or nuclear programs. By that time, the burden of proof was on Bush to prove his assertions. Those who assert must prove. This is true in any legitimate courtroom; it is true in 'debate'; it should be true of propaganda but that it is not is a defining characteristic of propaganda! Negatives cannot be proven. It's an old but dirty trick.

Nevertheless U.N. inspectors had been and were doing their jobs in Iraq, even as Colin Powell made his presentation to the United Nations. The mechanism by which Saddam's claims could have been proven or disproved was in place. Clearly – the Bush administration had nothing to gain by allowing the truth to be discovered and heard!

But the search for WMD continues as it had before the invasion but now the American people are picking up a huge tab. The cost of the war and the occupation must be added to the cost of a weapons search. The U.N. inspectors could have been allowed to complete their jobs at much less cost. It is increasingly difficult to see what has been gained.
We have learnt from September 11 that we cannot afford to ignore those who hate us and are willing to use weapons of mass destruction.
Our current policies –if continued –are guaranteed to multiply the number of people who hate us.
The search team led by Dr. David Kay has already discovered troubling evidence about Saddam's intentions.
Here is the thesis sentence from Dr. David Kay's report which I have read in its entirety: “We have discovered dozens of WMD-related programme activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations.” David Kay also cautioned: “It is far too early to reach any definitive conclusions and, in some areas, we may never reach that goal.”
Nevertheless, George Bush and Colin Powell most certainly reached definite and firm conclusions however baseless. Nevertheless, these “conclusions” made up their case for war and Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations of ten year old, black and white satellite photos.

Again –with all due respect: the American people were not "sold" war with Iraq on the basis of Saddam's intentions; we were told repeatedly that Saddam –in fact –HAD weapons of mass destruction not that he was merely intending to develop them or that he had merely a "programme". This focus on "intent" is new to administration rhetoric and nothing less than an ex post facto case for war! But it was not the case that Bush and Colin Powell made in the run up to war or the case that Colin Powell had made to the United Nations.
It has uncovered papers showing Saddam recently attempted to purchase missile parts from North Korea.
That's hardly surprising but it does point up the hypocritical differences in the way Bush treats North Korea –a nation which openly pursues the development of Nuclear Weaponry –and Iraq. It also raises the question of whether or not U.S. rhetoric has impelled other nations to seek not only missile parts but also "yellow cake". Besides –Iraq was cheated. According to the Washington Post, North Korea never made good on the deal and refused to refund some $10 million to Iraq.
Investigators have also discovered new research on biological agents and unmanned aerial vehicles that could disperse chemical or biological weapons. The team has repeatedly found evidence of deception, from burned computers to recently scrubbed missile trailers.
Intentions! If Bush and Powell had made only this case, how deep would have been the support for war?
Two Iraqi weapons scientists cooperating with Dr. Kay were shot to prevent them from telling what they know.
Every media report that I have read concerning this incident has attributed it to solely to Dr. Kay. There is, so far, no independent corroboration of motive. Secondly, the fact that two scientists who were most probably involved in a weapons program of some sort does not prove that Saddam had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction at the time of the U.S. invasion and occupation. Nor does it change the fact that there is no authorization under International Law for the U.S. attack. There is always the real possibility that the two scientists were, rather, shot to prevent their revealing the lack of WMD in Iraq.
Iraq is roughly the size of California, and Dr. Kay noted that the yet unaccounted for weapons of mass destruction could be stored in a space the size of a two car garage.
We are paying a high price in lives and dollars if the U.S. case for war has been reduced to a search for a two-car garage –a search that might have been conducted less expensively and more efficiently under the cover of International Law by U.N. inspectors.

Additionally, it is ludicrous to assert that because WMD were “unaccounted” for that they, in fact, existed. The term “unaccounted for” implies that there is a mysterious inventory somewhere against which existing reports are measured. Where is that inventory, who compiled it and how?

Until those questions are answered, any statement about “unaccounted” weapons is meaningless. Furthermore –Kay's report made no claim that Hussein had actual weapons of mass destruction although, selectively, Bush read a passage from the report that indicated that Saddam was determined to get them. That was to be expected but it hardly justifies a war of aggression. Significantly, a different tact is taken in the case of North Korea, and perhaps in the cases of other nations that have escaped the glare of administration assisted publicity. I am not sure what this proves other than an uneven, inconsistent, and impractical policy of pre-emption, a program that cannot possibly form the cornerstone of a viable foreign policy in a civilized and rational nation.

At last, there is no compelling reason to believe that Dr. Kay, however professional he may be, will find weapons when in fact there is dubious probable cause that they ever existed.
There is nothing in the Kay report that supports Bush's original case for war. The Kay report, however, was expertly used to divert attention from Bush's original case best summed up by Sen. Robert Byrd: "We were told that we were threatened by weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but they have not been seen."
We were told that the throngs of Iraqi's would welcome our troops with flowers, but no throngs or flowers appeared.
We were led to believe that Saddam Hussein was connected to the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, but no evidence has ever been produced.
We were told in 16 words that Saddam Hussein tried to buy "yellow cake" from Africa for production of nuclear weapons, but the story has turned into empty air.
We were frightened with visions of mushroom clouds, but they turned out to be only vapors of the mind.
We were told that major combat was over but 101 [as of October 17] Americans have died in combat since that proclamation from the deck of an aircraft carrier by our very own Emperor in his new clothes.Most notably, Bush himself had stated that Saddam had tried to buy “yellow cake” in Niger. That this statement may have lead to “leaks” which imperiled the CIA's search for WMD world wide is reason enough in and of itself for Congress to investigate the entire case for war, how the case was presented, how intelligence and evidence contrary to the Bush case were handled.
Still, in your letter to me, Congressman Culberson, you repeat the same discredited lies and line:
America is safer now that Saddam does not have weapons of mass destruction, and I support building a stable and prosperous Iraqi democracy that can lead by example in the Middle East.
 Congressman Culberson, letter to me

Everyone supports a stable and prosperous Iraq. The question is this: is invading and occupying a sovereign nation in violation of the Nuremberg principles a prudent way to accomplish that aim? I don't think it is and, I daresay, intelligent people agree with me. It is easy enough to assert that America is safer –but unless and until WMD are found in Iraq, it is simply fallacious to credit the Bush administration with having created or nurturing that “safety”. My neighbor may sprinkle salt on his lawn to keep elephants out of his front yard; but the fact that there are no elephants within 5,000 miles of his house hardly proves that it works. A more compelling case can be made that the world is much less safe because of the Bush doctrine of preemptive strikes.

Clearly, Bush has made no "aggressive" attempts to disarm nuclear powers Pakistan and India. North Korea, meanwhile, clearly seems to have accelerated its nuclear program as a direct result of the perceived "Bush" threat.

Furthermore, there is documentary evidence from the FBI (published by the Brookings Institution) that as Ronald Reagan waged a similar “war on terrorism” with similar rhetoric (“ can run but you can't hide”) terrorist attacks on the United States increased. There were, in fact, three times as many attacks during the Reagan years as during the Clinton years. I doubt seriously that America, indeed, the world, is safer under the Bush regime.
I sincerely hope that you would give my views serious consideration. At a time when most Americans have become convinced that politicians of both parties are merely pawns of big money, big lobbies, and/or the Military/Industrial complex, it would signal a triumph for Democracy itself if a political issues might be won – just once – upon the verifiable facts and the merits of the argument itself as opposed to the various transparent and/or stupid labels and slogans that are attached to it.

Len Hart

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Social Security Should not be CUT by so Much as a Dime!

By Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

SS should not be CUT --it should be strengthened! If there is a shortfall, send the bill to the 'ruling elite' which has gotten filthy rich with all sorts of 'tax' avoidance schemes that the middle and poorer classes could only dream about! Elite money winds up offshore; but SS is a boon to the economy.

What's up? Has no one bothered to read John Maynard Keynes?

Cutting SS would plunge the nation into depression as a result of the LOST PURCHASING POWER of seniors who will be reduced to penury! Many have already been reduced to shopping at Wal-Mart, that retail 'agent' of China! What's next? A caning by J.P. Morgan?

Sorry --Obama this whole thing sounds like an EVIL GOP plot to me.
"Social Security a moral institution, Democratic strategist James Carville said.
The program has brought the rate of poverty amongst the elderly down from 30% in 1965 to 9.5%, despite a recession.
          “That is the act of a just and moral nation,” Carville said on Tuesday's The Rachel Maddow                  Show. “That about two-thirds the number of old people in this country who go to bed cold or              hungry has been reduced.”
Rebuilding the middle class by strengthening social programs and cutting health care and education costs is crucial to the upcoming election, Carville said, and many in the Beltway just don't get it.
The middle class won't vote for candidates who want to cut their Social Security to fund wars and bank bailouts, he argued.
          --James Carville: Social Security 'is the act of a just and moral nation'

Social Security is a BOON to the economy. Has no one bothered to read John Maynard Keynes? Cutting SS would plunge the nation into depression as a result of the LOST PURCHASING POWER of seniors who will be reduced to penury!

Does anyone believe that the milllions, billions, trillions that the elites have squirreled away offshore is --in any way whatsoever --driving or stimulating this economy? Sad but true --the RULING ELITES have simply exploited the failure of this nation to provide everyone graduating high school with anything more than a smattering of 'Economics' background!

Sorry --Obama this whole thing STINKS! If the budget needs to be 'balanced' take it out of the TRILLIONS that have been warehoused offshore where it does NO ONE any good! I smell a GOP RAT!