Saturday, October 6, 2007

This just ain't what victory looks like

In one of the largest firefights this year, at least 25 Iraqis were killed and another 20 wounded by coalition forces. It was yet another instance where the devil’s bargain was struck and American air power was called on to bring the fighting to an end. The coalition claims that the dead were all members of a radical Shiite group that enjoys Iranian backing, but an Iraqi government official insists they were unarmed civilians.

The fighting broke out in Diyala province, west of the capital, Baqouba. Major Winfield Danielson, A U.S. Army spokesman in Baghdad said that the soldiers who were involved in the conflagration came under attack when they were seeking a leader of the so-called “Special Groups” which are offshoots of Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia. Sadr ordered his followers to stand down and stop attacking Americans the last week of August, but the Special Groups ignored Sadr’s edict and continued attacking the occupying forces. The suspect they were pursuing is thought to have been involved in weapons smuggling between Iran and Baghdad, where Special Groups militants have been blamed for a recent spate of attacks against American G.I.’s. (American military officials have promoted the idea that the Special Groups receive funding, training and weapons from the Iranian Quds Force, although definitive evidence of this has not been produced.)

Danielson declined to say which coalition unit was involved, nor would he verify the nationality of the coalition forces involved. He did verify, however, that the forces involved did report civilian casualties, including at least two women and one child. (keep reading)

Falih al Fayadh, the director of an office that represents the prime minister in the province, said more than 20 people had been wounded Friday, and that the dead and wounded were residents who'd often been attacked by terrorists.

The locals fired first, Fayadh said, but only because they mistook the soldiers — who came around dawn — for insurgents. Those killed included two women and a child, he said.

"There was clearly a problem with the coordination between the coalition commanders and local police," Fayadh said.

As the coalition forces moved into the area and took up positions, they encountered “heavy fire” and, according to a U.S. military press release, they engaged the enemy. From there it escalated to the point that American air power was called in.

According to the press release, as aircraft arrived, the attackers began to move in on the coalition forces, firing AK-47’s and RPG’s. One militant fighter reportedly was seen carrying what appeared to be an anti-aircraft weapon, and when he disappeared into a building, the aircraft responding discharged their payload and leveled two buildings. About 25 people were killed.

The suspect they were seeking was not apprehended.

Now – let’s take a trip down Reality Lane before I close this post.

The use of air strikes in a counterinsurgency is a deadly serious act. It is always seen as a desperate, last-ditch effort of an army that is losing. Air power, when you are the only side that has it, means asymmetric warfare, and asymmetric warfare is nowhere near a stand-up fight. I would even go so far as to argue that the recent reliance on air power is indicative of the failure of the so-called Surge™.

Right out of the gate, it indicates that we are facing an enemy that, all things being equal, would possibly give us a run for our money in a stand-up fight – indeed, they are managing to almost do so in a bug hunt. As the insurgents develop strategic and tactical approaches to engage the occupiers, all indicators point to increasing effectiveness among the insurgent fighters.

At least that is the impression taken away by the local populations left to clean up the mess and bury the dead.

When the warmongers and chickenhaws get in front of the cameras on your teevee, and insist we are "winning" because “We haven’t lost a single battle!” they aren’t really shooting straight.

The pitched battles will always go to the Americans, because the Americans can call in the air strikes.

Coalition forces. Will. Never. Lose. A. Battle.


But that air strikes are increasingly necessary in order for the Americans to not lose the battle, represents an overwhelming psychological victory. And since we are strolling down Reality Lane, lets just say it – in a counterinsurgency, the psychological victory is the only one that matters.

Air strikes always kill far more civilians than targeted fighters, and this serves to enrage the local populace. This has the net effect of increasing the sympathies of the locals to the insurgent fighters that were the targets of the aerial assault. Air strikes also kill indiscriminately and they destroy vital civilian infrastructure.

Psychologically, air strikes are a boon to the insurgency – promoting the viewpoint that the United States is a bunch of cowards who only dare fight when they can call in reinforcements to kill indiscriminately from five miles high, dropping bombs on innocents as well as insurgents. Morally, it turns the United States into a Goliath that must be fought, and must be slain.

This is the stuff that martyrs are made of, and we are intervening in a culture with a long, strong and proud tradition of martyrdom. Just the folks whose resolve needs a good strengthening, dontcha think?

There's more: "This just ain't what victory looks like" >>

The Democrats Who Enable Bush

(via truthout)

The Democrats Who Enable Bush
By Helen Thomas, Hearst Newspapers, Thursday 04 October 2007

Washington - President Bush has no better friends than the spineless Democratic congressional leadership and the party's leading presidential candidates when it comes to his failing Iraq policy.

Those Democrats seem to have forgotten that the American people want U.S. troops out of Iraq
, especially since Bush still cannot give a credible reason for attacking Iraq after nearly five years of war.

Last week at a debate in Hanover, N.H., the leading Democratic presidential candidates sang from the same songbook: Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York, and Barack Obama of Illinois and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards refused to promise to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by 2013, at the end of the first term of their hypothetical presidencies. Can you believe it?

When the question was put to Clinton, she reverted to her usual cautious equivocation, saying: "It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting."

Obama dodged, too: "I think it would be irresponsible" to say what he would do as president.

Edwards, on whom hopes were riding to show some independence, replied to the question: "I cannot make that commitment."

They have left the voters little choice with those answers.

Some supporters were outraged at the obfuscation by the Democratic front-runners.

On the other hand, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., are more definitive in their calls for quick troop withdrawals.

But Biden wants to break up Iraq into three provinces along religious and ethnic lines. In other words, Balkanize Iraq.

To have major Democratic backing to stay the course in Iraq added up to good news for Bush.

Now comes a surprising Clinton fan.

President Bush told Bill Sammon - Washington Examiner correspondent and author of a new book titled "The Evangelical President" - that Clinton will beat Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination because she is a "formidable candidate" and better known.

Sammon says Bush revealed that he has been sending messages to Clinton to urge her to "maintain some political wiggle room in your campaign rhetoric about Iraq."

The author said Bush contends that whoever inherits the White House will be faced with a potential vacuum in Iraq and "will begin to understand the need to continue to support the young democracy."

Bush ought to know about campaign rhetoric. Remember how he ridiculed "nation building" in the 2000 presidential campaign? Now he claims he is trying to spread democracy throughout the Middle East.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is another Democratic leader who has empowered Bush's war.

Pelosi removed a provision from the most recent war-funding bill that would have required Bush to seek the permission of Congress before launching any attack on Iran. Her spokesman gave the lame excuse that she didn't like the wording of the provision. More likely, she bowed to political pressure.

Is it any wonder the Democrats are faring lower than the president in a Washington Post ABC approval poll? Bush came in at 33 percent and Congress at 29 percent.

Members of Congress seem to have forgotten their constitutional prerogative to declare war; World War II was the last time Congress formally declared war.

Presidents have found other ways to make end runs around the law, mainly by obtaining congressional authorization "to do whatever is necessary" in a crisis involving use of the military. That's the way we got into the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

So what are the leading Democratic White House hopefuls offering? It seems nothing but more war. So where do the voters go who are sick of the Iraqi debacle?

There's more: "The Democrats Who Enable Bush" >>

Peace Activists Blacklisted: They Will Not Be Silenced

[Cross-posted from BabyWhisperingLoudly]

There's more: "Peace Activists Blacklisted: They Will Not Be Silenced" >>

Friday, October 5, 2007

Iraq: What Television Censors Won't Show You

BUMPED from May 19 - because the cowardly, craven and complicit Democratic Leadership (Understand This!) still keeps funding and refusing to end the Debacle created by the psychotics in the Executive Branch and the Republican Party.

Which makes them different from the psychotics, how?

Courtesy of Information Clearing House: Iraq: The Hidden War

Iraq: The Hidden Story shows the footage used by TV news broadcasts, and compares it with the devastatingly powerful uncensored footage of the aftermath of the carnage that is becoming a part of
the fabric of life in Iraq.

Prod/ Dir: Christian Trumble; Exec Prod: Stephen Phelps; Prod Co: Zenith Entertainment Ltd - 2006

Images of Iraq dominate our TV news bulletins every night but in this film, Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow, questions whether these reports are sugar-coating the bloody reality of war under the US-led occupation

--- Warning ---

This video contains images that should only be viewed by a mature audience.

05/29/06 - Run Time 49 Minutes

George W. Bush's Iraq and Mid-East Debacle:
After 4 years of illegal, violent Occupation the post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Iraq total ONE MILLION (UN Population Division and medical literature data). Taken together with 1.7 million excess deaths in the 1990-2003 Sanctions War (UN Population Division) and 3.7 million Iraqi refugees (UNHCR), this constitutes an Iraqi Genocide (as defined by the UN Genocide Convention) and an Iraqi Holocaust in comparison with the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million victims). The Iraqi under-5 infant deaths (1990-2007) now total 1.8 million, 90% having been avoidable and due to Western war crimes. Total Iraqi excess deaths (1990-2007) total 2.7 million. The post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Afghanistan now total 2.2 million (see MWC News: 5 ).

Three quarters of the people of Occupied Iraq and Occupied Afghanistan are Women and Children.

The Bush War on Terror is in horrible reality a cowardly War on Women and Children, a War on Asian Women and Children and a War on Muslim Women and Children.
The propaganda campaign of outright lies and criminal deceptions conducted by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and the rest of the neocons, enabled by obsequious sycophants like Alberto Gonzales and done with the complicity of mainstream media in the US, to justify and win political support for the invasion of Iraq, was very successfully prosecuted by the criminals in the White House. It took not very long.

The attack and invasion itself was very successfully prosecuted by the generals and the troops. They are the best at what they do. It also took not very long.

All that is left to be done is the hard work of giving back their country to the Iraqis, somehow compensating them for what has been done to them.

And successfully prosecuting the criminals in the White House who deceived the country into this shameful debacle.

Hopefully that won't take very long to complete.

The conviction of Scooter Libby earlier this year, and the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing into the corruption of Alberto Gonzales two days ago, were only the beginning of a process that should, if any honest morality still obtains, include the impeachment and criminal conviction of Cheney and Bush as war criminals.

That hard work cannot be avoided, because, as scribe writing in a diary at Talkleft described, there is an unavoidable choice to be made:
What we do, and what we vote and say, today, will ring down through the centuries. And those who stand with Bush and Cheney, or oppose removing them, will do so at the peril of being on the wrong side of history.

I wonder what it will be like to live, say a century or two in the future, when people may well look back at these days, shake their head and wonder "what ever possessed them...
On the other hand, in a century or two, torture, degradation and authoritarianism may, because of Bush, Cheney and their henchmen, be as normal and accepted as breathing, eating and drinking.
The paradigm for the future - for the descendents of those who may have kids today - is what the choices made today will decide. And that is why the precedent we set today is eternal. Once that choice is made, or ducked, it's done and the alternative path now available, is gone and can't be gotten back.

A Cabal of Criminality
By Manuel Valenzuela
Iraq is now, and always has been, a quagmire that has turned into a suffocating and inextricable tar pit for American forces, where the inevitable defeat of George Bush’s policy combines with the greatest strategic disaster in American history, where the total miscalculation of war and mismanagement of peace has resulted in the collapse of Middle East stability, making America and the world less safe, not more, where wet dreams of imperial domination, fused with delusions of grandeur have helped build a monolithic wall of bad karma that will take decades to tear down.
What the Iraq/Bush war shows the world is how a Cabal of Criminality, numbering less than a few hundred individuals, can bamboozle a nation into a war whose ramifications on our future we cannot yet fully comprehend. The Bush war, the single-greatest blunder in America’s foreign policy history, was spawned by greed-addicted corporatists and treasonous neoconartists, presstitute lackeys and political hacks, placed in charge of US foreign policy and the propaganda acting as corporate media, easily in control of a nitwit, ignorant puppet, possessing his bully pulpit from which to spew the fabrications and manipulations needed to con America. Delusional, incompetent, dangerous and trapped in bubbles of naked grandeur, expecting fictional flowers and candy to flow from Iraqis expected to greet Americans as liberators, the Cabal of Criminality had no qualms sacrificing thousands of American soldiers, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens, for greed, power, profit, wealth and ego.

Through lies, deceit, fear-mongering, immorality, chicanery and criminality a group of a few hundred people led America into war, using the new Pearl Harbor, 9/11, with its plethora of highly charged emotions and fragile psyches, to launch a war they thought would be only the first of many, using Iraq as a beachhead to invade Iran and Syria. Suffocating inside the clouds of 9/11, blinded to reality and captured by delusion, America’s normally stable citizenry was mobilized to seek revenge through war, was conditioned to hate through scapegoats, was silenced by fear and intimidation, was brainwashed to blindly follow through incessant propaganda, jingoism and Madison Avenue style marketing.

In short, Americans were used, enslaved to the dictates of power, branded as sheeple, not people, our emotions of hatred, vengeance, fear and justice used against us, making us impotent conduits of crime and murder. Complicit we became in the delusional game played by the Cabal of Criminality, where the death of 3000 people became the key to unlocking the gates of war upon Mesopotamia. The plan had been set in motion, the new Pearl Harbor was allowed to bear fruit, the cataclysmic event needed to enrage the people and grease up the machines of war would not be stopped.


Originally posted at Edgeing: Saturday, April 21, 2007

There's more: "Iraq: What Television Censors Won't Show You" >>

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Enhanced Interrogation Methods? No, The Word Is "Torture"

I am sick to death of all the pussyfooting around the subject that has occupied the media for the duration of this premeditated, illegal war of terror that we the people of the United States have allowed to be waged against the people of Iraq, in our name, for the last several years.

No matter how much lipstick and rouge we smear on the face of this war no matter how we attempt to  dress up the evil and bestial acts that have been performed in its unholy name, it still has the hideous countenance of an evil swine from hell.

It is an illegal war, begun and conducted under false pretenses, by a group of criminal liars and thieves in the United States Government, abetted by a cowardly congress who abrogated their constitutional duties in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds and furthered by a complaisant press that ignored their obligation to remain independent from government, from their sponsors and report the facts. 

The members of the completely rogue executive department acted in their own self interest in a quest for personal power and wealth, in concert with the usual domestic and international corporate pirates who, in the depths of their insatiable greed, continually amplify human conflict to their own ends and bring poverty, war, suffering and death down upon the world.

There is no such animal as extraordinary rendition, nor do I know of the existence of any beasts called enhanced interrogation methods.

The first is kidnapping, it is illegal, a felony and the second word is torture, its meaning is clear:


  1. Infliction of severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion.
  2. An instrument or a method for inflicting such pain.
  2. Excruciating physical or mental pain; agony: the torture of waiting in suspense.
  3. Something causing severe pain or anguish.

Torture is illegal in this country, a felonious act, it is illegal in the world at large, according to several conventions that we are legally bound by. Anyone committing torture, causing it to be committed, directing its commission, or training others in its techniques is guilty, guilty of war crimes, of crimes against humanity and crimes against "Nature's God.

The people who lied us into this war are not statesmen, nor are they patriots acting out of a misguided love of country, as I have heard in some quarters. They are murderers, murderers, modern day Nazis or Fascists if you prefer, cold dispassionate sociopaths, heinous criminals, without conscience, without mercy, without humanity.

I read in the press and heard in the media yesterday and this morning of the "murky legal territory" in which the "private contractors" operate in Iraq and the murky area of law in which our dedicated public servants must operate as they determine just how far they can go in the extreme physical abuse of human beings before they stray in to a "gray area."

Bullshit, I think that when a lying pig of a lawyer like David Addington describes a "murky legal area" it means that he thinks he can get away with it. The legal situation in Iraq was intentionally  designed to protect the mercenary scum that we send there to perform high priced serial murders as they fulfill bloated contracts to protect our criminal leadership, thieving diplomats and cowardly congressmen.

I believe that the actions of following people must be investigated and, if warranted by the evidence, tried in criminal courts, and if convicted, face the full consequences of both US and International law:

George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Eliot Abrams, Scooter Libby, John Hannah, David Wurmser, Andrew Natsios, Dan Bartlett, Mitch Daniels, George Tenet, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, David Addington

There are more, in every corner of the executive, the congress, among the highest levels of the military as well as the intelligence community, various think tanks, news organizations, public and private corporations and other NGOs.

This is a cancer that must be quickly, loudly and publicly removed from the heart of America.


Bob Higgins

Worldwide Sawdust

Related stories,sources and links:

The Architects of War

Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War

Convention Against Torture

Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations

Red, white and mercenary in Iraq

Yet More Impeachable Revelations

Bush's Fascist, Private Army of Paid Cutthroats, Murderers and Mercenaries

There's more: "Enhanced Interrogation Methods? No, The Word Is "Torture"" >>

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Blackwater, The Privatization of War And Public Enemy Number One

When we evaluate the facts, the use of private military contractors appears to have harmed, rather than helped, the counterinsurgency efforts of the U.S. mission in Iraq, going against our best doctrine and undermining critical efforts of our troops. Even worse, the government can no longer carry out one of its most basic core missions: to fight and win the nation's wars. Instead, the massive outsourcing of military operations has created a dependency on private firms like Blackwater that has given rise to dangerous vulnerabilities.The dark truth about Blackwater

The idea of privatization of American public and governmental functions has been at the center of the neo conservative movement and over the last decade has been presented as the cure for everything that ails us from Social Security to Medicare, prison administration to public education, law enforcement and even the waging of war.

This idea that private enterprise can accomplish governmental functions more efficiently, at less cost while providing better service is, of course absurd and, in fact, is nothing but an enormous lie, and, like all enormous lies, if repeated often and loudly by the right authority figures and affirmed in "scholarly" studies performed by the Heritage or American Enterprise think tanks, it will take hold and seem, to a sizable portion of the uncritical public, to be the truth, simply because they have heard it so many times from so many familiar voices.

The marketing/propaganda professionals of the Cheney /Bush administration have carefully studied their Goebbels and know that the truth is what they can sell to those gullible enough to believe it especially when delivered in a climate of xenophobic, racist or religious fear, and due to the fact that a large percentage of our citizenry are either unable to look at their government and the wider corporate culture which largely dictates public policy, with a properly suspicious eye, or simply doesn't give a damn as long as no one threatens to take away their snowmobiles, shotguns and cheap access to the mind numbing inanity of popular culture and celebrity, the great lies become public truths and "common knowledge."

Seven years ago the people of this country nearly elected a federal administration that came to office expressing a hatred of government and an intention to reduce the size and influence of it in regulating the affairs of the ruling capitalist class, while at the same time charting a course to invade the lives and privacy and reduce the fundamental freedoms of the lesser classes. How anyone could expect those who despise government and representative democracy to govern effectively and efficiently is well beyond my understanding.

After their near election and illegal appointment to the highest offices in a government that they had absolutely no respect for, Cheney and Bush along with their corporate mafia criminal associates began to strip the federal regulatory agencies of dedicated professionals who took the job of regulating business and industry in the interest of public health and safety seriously, and started replacing them with industry cronies who simply stopped enforcing the laws so that businesses could achieve greater profits.

Pause for a brief digressive rant

"The business of America is business," Cal Coolidge said eighty some years ago, and these guys heard the phrase in Grandpa's Sunday sermons and Grandma's lullabies before they learned to read.

"Need a comprehensive national energy policy? Just holler down the hall from Cheney's office and a half dozen current and former big oil Poobahs will write it up for you including emphasis on the necessity of gaining pipeline routes through Afghanistan and control of Iraq and Iran's oil. They'll phony up the intelligence, everything, a turnkey operation"

"Need to increase profits for some buddies in the coal industry? No problem, we'll put one of our boys in charge of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Make a recess appointment, you'll get any mining plan you need approved, no matter the cost in death and injury to the miners who have to implement it."

"Having trouble with the EPA, the FDA, OSHA or any other pesky collection of bureaucratic acronyms? We'll gut it for you and have our boys in industry pay for bogus scientific opinions to justify our continuing rape of the environment and pollution of our air and water supply."

"Labor costs out of line, we'll loan you money at low interest, what the hell, make it no interest to build factories and send the jobs offshore. We'll get you a subsidy to take your jobs to Asia or Central America where you'll have no environmental regulations. You'll be able to pollute at will and you can pay people in dirt. No kidding these people will work for dirt, you'll love it there, the government over there shoots the bastards if they're late for work. Its an entrepreneur's Disney World."

"The Iraqis won't agree to your terms for oil leases? Fuck em, We'll send in the troops, give em a little taste of shock and awe. Iran too? No problem bring it on. If these pussy Generals drag their heels we'll send Blackwater.

During the first Gulf War the ratio of "private contractors" to regular troops was something like 6 or 7 to one, in Iraq today it is closer to 3 to 1.
"They use their machine guns like car horns."
America's Private Army - Psycho Cowboys For Hire

When she saw the gunmen turn toward the bus, Ms. Sattar looked at her mother in fear. "They're going to shoot at us, Mama," she said. Her mother hugged her close. Moments later, a bullet pierced her mother's skull and another struck her shoulder, Ms. Sattar recalled.

As her mother's body went limp, blood dripped onto Ms. Sattar's head, still cradled in her mother's arms.

"Mother, Mother," she called out. No answer. She hugged her mother's body and kissed her lips and began to pray.The bus emptied, and Ms. Sattar sat alone at the back, with her mother's bleeding body.

"I'm lost now, I'm lost," she said days later in her simple two-bedroom home.

"They are killers," she said of the Blackwater guards. "I swear to God, not one bullet was shot at them. Why did they shoot us? My mother didn't carry a weapon." 8 deadly days for Blackwater

Blackwater claims that they were attacked by armed insurgents and acted only in self defense. As reports surfaced of indiscriminate firing from Blackwater helicopters they denied that the choppers had fired at all. How to explain the large holes that had been blasted in several car roofs from above? That pesky al Oaeda in Iraq Air Force up to its usual mischief I suppose.

An Advertising Pitch For Serial Killers In Corporate-ese?

Blackwater Worldwide efficiently and effectively integrates a wide range of resources and core competencies to provide unique and timely solutions that exceed our customer's stated need and expectations.

We are guided by integrity, innovation, and a desire for a safer world. Blackwater Worldwide professionals leverage state-of-the-art training facilities, professional program management teams, and innovative manufacturing and production capabilities to deliver world class customer driven solutions.

Our leadership and dedicated family of exceptional employees adhere to an essential system of core corporate values chief among them are integrity, innovation, excellence, respect, accountability, and teamwork.

Blackwater USA website

By now you've probably seen videos of Blackwater and other mercenary outfits racing down Iraqi roads firing indiscriminately at innocent civilians to the tune of rock and roll music and raucous laughter. Paid at a rate four to ten times what we pay our legitimately serving soldiers, Bush's army of "rent a thugs" has become yet another hairy wart on the perception of America in the eyes of the international community.

A clerk in the Iraqi customs office in Diyala province, she was in the capital to drop off and pick up paperwork at the central office near busy al-Khilani Square, not far from the fortified Green Zone, where top U.S. and Iraqi officials live and work. U.S. officials often pass through the square in heavily guarded convoys on their way to other parts of Baghdad.

As Ms. Hussein walked out of the customs building, an embassy convoy of sport utility vehicles drove through the intersection. Blackwater USA security guards, charged with protecting the diplomats, yelled at construction workers at an unfinished building to move back. Instead, the workers threw rocks. The guards, witnesses said, responded with gunfire, spraying the intersection with bullets.

Ms. Hussein, who was on the opposite side of the street from the construction site, fell to the ground, shot in the leg. As she struggled to her feet and took a step, eyewitnesses said, a Blackwater guard trained his weapon on her and shot her multiple times. She died on the spot, and the customs documents she'd held in her arms fluttered down the street.

Before the shooting stopped, four other people were killed in what would be the beginning of eight days of violence Iraqi officials say bolster their argument that Blackwater should be banned from working in Iraq. 8 deadly days for Blackwater

You may have also seen pictures of hired goons from the same company swaggering their way through the streets of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. The fact that private security firms were being hired to perform public law enforcement functions made my skin crawl two years ago and everything that I have learned since increases my sense of dread about this company, its political connections to the Cheney/Bush gang and the prospects of what its future "missions" may mean for Americans and our fundamental freedoms.

The House began a round of hearings yesterday before the Oversight and Reform Committee chaired by California Democrat Henry Waxman. The hearings come as a result of the deaths of as many as 20 Iraqi civilians in what looks like yet another in a long series of "shoot first and cover it up later" operations which seems to be the stock in trade of many of these "private security" firms. The committee will also be looking into the dozens of unanswered questions regarding the funding and even the number of "contractors" engaged in Iraq and elsewhere.
The hearings may be another toothless effort on the part of our limpwristed legislature as they have already agreed to defer to the FBI and the State Department. If they believe that they will get the truth from Blackwater's enablers at State or any part of the Bush Department of Justice.. well, I have a bridge for sale.

So, Blackwater was a subcontractor to Regency, which was a subcontractor to ESS, which was a subcontractor to Halliburton's KBR subsidiary, the prime contractor for the Pentagon -- and each company along the way was in business to make a profit.
U.S. Pays Steep Price for Private Security in Iraq, WAPO

Privatization has led directly to the doubling of our national debt during the Cheney/Bush era. Rather than performing public business more efficiently they have embroiled the world in a series of brutal and illegal wars while engineering the rape of the American treasury in the conversion of enormous amounts of public treasure to private hands. Fraud, waste and theft abound and what is done within the confines of the law is shameful.

For all the hubbub over the recent Blackwater incident, the American public remains largely unaware of the private military industry. While private forces make up more than 50 percent of the overall operation in Iraq, according to a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, they have been mentioned in only a quarter of 1 percent of all American media stories on Iraq.

Yet, at the same time, contractors are one of the most visible and hated aspects of the American presence in Iraq. "They seal off the roads and drive on the wrong side. They simply kill," Um Omar, a Baghdad housewife, told Agence France Press about Blackwater in a report in mid-September. A traffic policeman at Al-Wathba square in central Baghdad concurred: "They are impolite and do not respect people, they bump other people's cars to frighten them and shout at anyone who approaches them ... Two weeks ago, guards of a convoy opened fire randomly that led to the killing of two policemen ... I swear they are Mossad," he said, referring to the Israeli spy service, which is a catch-all for anything perceived as evil in the Arab world.The dark truth about Blackwater

I don't know what it will take for the people of this country to reverse this course, to stop this mad dash into the the abyss of fascist tyranny that I see on our horizon. Aside from responding to public opinion polls people seem to be sleepwalking through the ongoing destruction of our Constitution. During the Vietnam war the voices of protest increased every year until the government was forced to heed the crescendo and bring an end to the madness. Perhaps the press, the media in those days was more independent of the mega corporations that now determine public policy by buying every available politician, they are certainly quick to preach the Bush doctrine today, they are greatly to blame.

I don't see anything from the general public but meekness, fear of being impolite, of creating a disturbance and that meekness is sustenance for those who would enslave us, our meekness is the very bread and wine of their existence.
I think though, that we, all of us are public enemy number one, I did not work hard enough, write effectively enough or shout loudly enough, we acquiesced quietly in the face of authority figures and "experts" when we knew better.

The fundamental rule of democracy is to distrust authority and demand accountability and somewhere along the line we forgot that and abrogated our responsibility to stand firm and demand freedom and justice in the face of would be tyrants.

I hope that I get interesting cell mates in the gulag. The guy on the left may be our guard.

Bob Higgins
Worldwide Sawdust

Related stories, sources and links:
Subcontracting the War

Blackwater Banned In Iraq

U.S. Pays Steep Price for Private Security in Iraq

Amid uproar, Blackwater stops land deal

Pentagon Issues Blackwater New $92 Million Contract

Death From All Sides

GOP Occupied America: Does the GOP "Vision Thing" Include Blackwater Patrolling America's Cities, Innocent People Awaiting Death?

Private contractors threaten U.S. democracy

The Bush administration's ties to Blackwater

Blackwater Portrayed As Out of Control

From Errand to Fatal Shot to Hail of Fire to 17 Deaths

Guards in Iraq Cite Frequent Shootings

There's more: "Blackwater, The Privatization of War And Public Enemy Number One" >>

Putting the "ACT" back into activist media

[Guest-posted by Joel Wendland of Michigan Class Notes]

Putting the "ACT" back into activist media

Building toward the October 27th national day of action to end the war in Iraq

Dear activist media representative,

George Bush is planning to occupy Iraq indefinitely, and many of our national leaders appear to be accepting that. We know that we cannot rely on the mainstream media to tell the story of our resistance to endless war and occupation honestly and accurately.

You don't need to be convinced that we must have our own voice, and that our voices are stronger when joined together and when linked to activism.

Political Affairs ( and our friends at People's Weekly World ( invite you to join the nation wide effort that is building right now toward the October 27th antiwar demonstrations scheduled for at least 11 cities in all regions of the country.

The marches are being sponsored and organized in a collaborative way by United for Peace and Justice and local coalitions and organizing committees.

The activist media can play a special role in promoting the marches and mobilizing our audiences to speak out in their local newspapers, radio shows, in meetings with elected officials, and more.

We request you to either carry an image, see: with a link to or develop your own graphic with a link. We'd like to hear your suggestions on how to build this movement, to give voice to the organizers of the marches, to amplify the voices of the peaceful, the veterans and the families, the workers, and so on. Can we share information and stories?

We also invite you to join with us in a media campaign that will orient our voice toward the mainstream media and demand that the voices of the peace movement be heard.

If you use the image and want to be listed with us in the campaign to "Put the ACT Back into Activist Media" just send us an e-mail at

As part of our mainstream media press release, we will include you on a list of media, websites, and blogs that want to speak out, help publicize, and join the October 27th marches to demand an end to the war, to bring the troops home, and to leave no one behind. Feel free to send us your links, quotes, contact info for interviews and so on.

Thank you,

Joel Wendland
managing editor

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The Face Of A War Profiteer

(Cross posted from BFD Blog!)

Take a good look at the man on the left, with the smirk on his face, that is Erik Prince, the highly successful war profiteer who founded and runs Blackwater. The man on the right is Stephen Ryan, Prince's attorney, who seems quite amused as his client stonewalled the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in a hearing yesterday. Apparently you can get away with being contemptuous with Congress if you are backed by Christian conservative extremists and awarded no bid contracts by a morally corrupt administration, as the Bushliburton administration is.

As reported by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post, Prince ducked almost every question put to him by committee chairman Henry Waxman and others on the committee:
How much does Blackwater, recipient of $1 billion in federal contracts, make in profits? "We're a private company, and there's a key word there -- private," Prince answered.

What about the 2004 crash of a Blackwater plane in Afghanistan, when federal investigators said the pilots acted unprofessionally? "Accidents happen," Prince explained.

The lack of prosecution for a drunken Blackwater worker who shot and killed a security guard to an Iraqi vice president? "We can't flog him," Prince said.

The high wages for Blackwater security guards? "They're not showing up at the job naked," Prince reasoned.

What's more, Prince said, "I believe we acted appropriately at all times." It was a bold statement for a man whose company is being probed by the FBI for the killing of 11 Iraqis in Baghdad last month -- but Prince, a former Navy Seal, was a cool performer.

Despite the fact that committee chairman Henry Waxman declared "Blackwater will be held accountable today!" The Republican party flunkies on the committee practically gave Prince a standing ovation as reported by Milbank:

Many Republican questions could only loosely be qualified as such. Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) congratulated Prince for a "very good job," while Chris Shays (Conn.) credited him with a "perfect job."

After finishing his game with the House committee members, the smirking Mr. Prince gave them all a kiss-off and stole a souvenir of the event (actually, the correct term for his final action would not be "stole" but rather, "plundered", that is, after all what many mercenaries are in the game for.) Murder, that is what it really is, is simply a byproduct of doing business with mercenaries, whether by a drunken Blackwater operative at a holiday party, or by trigger happy Blackwater mercenaries mowing down innocent Iraqi civilians on the street who posed no threat to anyone.

For more on Blackwater's hired guns see this Nation article, and check out their Wikipedia entry. Another source of information on Blackwater is their own web site, where, ironically they state, in their own words, their core values:

Our leadership and dedicated family of exceptional employees adhere to an essential system of core corporate values chief among them are integrity, innovation, excellence, respect, accountability, and teamwork.

Respect and accountability seemed to be missing when called before the House committee yesterday. It seems appropriate that they modify their core values statement with a final clause, if honesty is important to them, and add the phrase "if convenient" to the end of the statement. But then again, maybe honesty just is not on Mr. Prince's radar, overshadowed by power and greed.

It is time to eliminate Blackwater's paymasters, remove Bush, Cheney and their flunky Condoleza Rice from their offices.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Last REAL Democrat in D.C.

The Gentleman on the left is David Obey, Democrat representing the Wisconsin 07.

Take a good long look, folks.

This is what a real Democrat looks like.

Today, I wish I lived in the Wisconsin 07 so I could lay claim to being this man's constituent!

Today, this Congressman is the truest, bluest Democrat in the fold.

Today, Obey took a stand, Nancy and Steney be damned. The Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee announced that until there is a definitive change of course where the unholy clusterfuck of Iraq is concerned, there will be no supplemental spending legislation coming out of committee.

“As chairman of the Appropriations Committee I have absolutely no intention of reporting out of committee anytime in this session of Congress any such request that simply serves to continue the status quo,” Obey told reporters.

He went a step further and advocated a "war tax" to pay the tab, too:


Calls for War Surtax so Military Families Don’t Bear Full Burden of Iraq War

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a press conference today with Congressman John Murtha (D-PA), the Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and Congressman James McGovern (D-MA), the Vice Chairman of the Rules Committee, Seventh District Congressman Dave Obey (D-WI), the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said that he will not take up President Bush’s nearly $200 billion war supplemental request this year; calling the policy behind the President’s request “a dead end policy.”

“The policy outlined by the President is being sold to the country as a plan to reduce our troop levels in Iraq, but it is quite the opposite. When you strip away the fog, it’s simply a plan to get us back six months from now to the same place we were six months ago before the surge began. It is not being undertaken because of any new determination to reduce troop levels. It is simply recognizing that we do not have enough troops to sustain the surge level. It’s a confession that the President has not a clue about how to get us out of that civil war and instead plans to punt the problem to his successor – ruining two administrations rather than just one,” Obey said. “As Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I have no intention of reporting out a $200 billion supplemental that will give the President a blank check for an entire fiscal year and I have no intention of acquiescing in a policy that will result in draining the treasury so dry that it will result in the systematic disinvestment of America’s future.”

Obey added that he would be perfectly willing to consider the President’s supplemental request if that request were made in support of a change in policy that would do three things:
  1. Establish as a goal the end of U.S. involvement in combat operations by January of 2009.
  2. Ensure that troops would have adequate time at home to rest, retrain and re-equip between deployments.
  3. Demonstrate a determination to engage in an intensive, broad scale diplomatic offensive involving other countries in the region.

Noting that “we need to stop pretending that this war doesn’t cost anything,” Obey also announced that Murtha, McGovern and he will be introducing a bill to create a war surtax to pay for operations in Iraq instead of passing those costs on to future generations as the President has requested.

“I’m tired of seeing that only military families are asked to sacrifice in this war; and they are asked to sacrifice again, and again, and again, so we are putting together this bill in the hope that people will stop ignoring what this war is costing American taxpayers and call the President's bluff on fiscal responsibility,” Obey said. “The President is threatening to veto our efforts to provide one-tenth the amount of money that he is spending in Iraq for investments in education, health, medical research, science, law enforcement, and other areas that are crucial to creating a stronger country and more prosperous families. If the President is really serious about combating deficit spending then we’d be happy to help him avoid shoving the costs of the war in Iraq on to our kids by providing for a war surtax.”

“If this war is important enough to fight, then it’s important enough to pay for,” Obey concluded.

A War Tax is a damned good place to start, and I don't care what Speaker Placeholder says. (She is really starting to piss me off with her bullshit, centrist appeasement stance. In fact, she pretty much defines who I have in mind when I bitch that we need better (read REAL) Democrats.)

Hell, throw in the threat of bringing back the draft, too, and we might actually see some fucking progress toward ending George Bush's Vanity War. Progress that even Nancy and Harry wouldn't be able to stop!

There's more: "The Last REAL Democrat in D.C." >>

Iraq is over. Not the war, the country

When I was part of a delegation to the region in the summer of 2006, the obvious reality, visible on the streets of Amman in Jordan and Damascus in Syria, was a massive presence of Iraqis, refugees from a country falling apart in the wake of the U.S. invasion. In those days, it was hard to get anyone to think about the regional effects of the enormous refugee flow (roughly 2 million out of Iraq and 2 million displaced within.) Now every day there is a new article about their plight -- though not nearly enough action on their behalf from the instigators of their misery.

Nir Rosen, probably the U.S. journalist who has gotten most deeply inside the Iraqi situation, has new, long article in the Boston Review that reports on refugee lives in Egypt, Syria and Jordan, as well as his attempts revisit long time acquaintances inside Iraq. More below...

Rosen opines dismally on the likely future:

What will happen to Iraq? Think Mogadishu, small warlords controlling various neighborhoods, militias preying on those left behind, more powerful warlords controlling areas with resources, such as oil fields, ports, and lucrative pilgrimage routes and shrines. Irredentist Sunni militias will attempt to retake their lost land, but they will be pushed into the Anbar Province, Jordan, and Syria, where they may link up with local Islamist militants to destabilize Amman and Damascus. ...

There is no “surge.” At best it can be called an ooze, a slow increase of American occupying forces by a mere 15 percent, consisting of few new soldiers and many whose terms of service have been merely extended. Yet the U.S. has doubled the size of its mission, announcing it will also take on the Shia militias as well as the Sunni ones. On the ground, that means American soldiers secure areas and then hand them over to Iraqi security forces who impose a reign of terror on the inhabitants. In the Iraqi civil war the army and police are not the solution; they are combatants, fighting on behalf of Shia-sectarian Islamist parties. The vaunted efforts to train Iraqi security forces have merely trained better death squads. ...

The American occupation has been more disastrous than the Mongols’ sack of Baghdad in the 13th century. Iraq’s human capital has fled, its intellectuals and professionals, the educated, the moneyed classes, the political elite. They will not return. And the government is nonexistent at best. After finally succumbing to Iraqi pressure, the Americans submitted to elections but deliberately emasculated the central government and the office of the prime minister. ... Maliki will be the last prime minister of Iraq. When he is run out there will be no new elections, since they can’t be run safely and fairly anymore, and the pretense of an Iraqi state will be over. [My emphasis]

Do read it all.

Then, if you are not depressed enough, go read Barbara F. Walter's oped about the history of the trajectories of civil wars in the last 60 years. The money quotes:

Civil wars don't end quickly. The average length of all civil wars since 1945 is 10 years. ... This suggests that, historically speaking, Iraq's current civil war could be in its early stages, with nothing to suggest that it will be a short, easy war.

True, many Iraqi factions -- including Shiite and Sunni groups -- would prefer negotiation to protracted conflict. After all, political power and oil revenues can be divided. The crux of the problem is that there is no way to enforce any agreement that is reached. ... The push for a constitutional compromise is naive and without any basis in history or realpolitik. [My emphasis]

Get the U.S. forces out of there now. The Iraqis are going to have find their own equilibrium. We broke it and we are not fixing it -- and can't. Hard for the U.S. to admit, but simply true.

Cross posted at Happening Here.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

A "real" discussion about Iraq?

(Originally posted at The Motley Patriot)

There is a disconnect in America regarding Iraq. Brad Warthan, VP/Editorial Page Editor at The State newspaper in Columbia, SC, calls for a "real" discussion on Iraq. If you care to have a good laugh you can read his article; it is neither a "real" discussion, nor, does it face basic facts.

If we are to have a "real" discussion on Iraq we must face the facts and discuss.

In May 2007, MSNBC reported that the Green Zone in Iraq was no longer considered safe after a spike in attacks. In September 2007, the LA Times reported that the U.S. had to ban, indefinitely, diplomatic travel outside of the Green Zone. In other words, despite the White House report given by General Petraeus to Congress, the "surge" has failed to establish security in Iraq. The political reconciliation that the "surge" was meant to provide hasn't occurred either, for if it had, why is our government now suggesting that Iraq be partitioned into three separate ethnic states with each state governing themselves? The answer to that is self-evident.

Reports of violence and deaths in Iraq are contradictory. The Washington Post did a "fact checker" and found that, depending on who you listen to, civilian casualties in Iraq could be decreasing or increasing. The one thing that the Washington Post continually points out is that the numbers in these reports are possibly inflated. They make this point repeatedly in the article. What these reports don't discuss is one basic fact; we are not killing "terrorists", we are killing Iraqi civilians who have taken up arms over our American occupation of their country. The simple fact is that if we continue killing every Iraqi who refuses to accept our occupation of their country until there are no more left, America has committed, in effect, genocide.

Larry Johnson at No Quarter makes a very accurate and stunning statement in his article, `What war on terrorism`; "The success (and even that is arguable) we have achieved in Iraq and Afghanistan is not typical and is teaching our military forces some bad habits. We do not have to bother asking Maliki or Karzai for permission to hit suspected terrorist targets. So far our forces have a green light. Our military forces, complete with airlift and logistics support, are already in place and can get to most targets within a few hours. Despite these advantages, our operations against terrorist targets have not been accompanied by a significant decline in insurgent violence. In fact, after our forces killed the Al Qaeda in Iraq leader, Al Zarqawi, in June of 2006, the level of violence by terrorists continued to increase for the subsequent six months."

The reason for this increase in violence is obvious; for every actual al-qaeda terrorist we killed, we killed, detained, and even tortured, hundreds of Iraqi civilians. It is our continued use of military force in Iraq that has fueled the Iraqi insurgency until we were forced to "surge" more troops to meet that rise. But, what is so stunning in this statement is that we don't have "ask permission" to operate within a sovereign nations borders. How we got to that point is obvious to everyone; we invaded, we occupied, we instilled puppet governments, and we operate under no rules other than our own. What is lost in the "real" discussion, however, is that we invaded Iraq based on lies and cherry-picked intelligence. Colin Powell's United Nations presentation has been so discredited that he rarely shows his face in public anymore.

We are now at the point where the majority of media and pundits try to dismiss the history of why and how we invaded Iraq in order to salve their own conscience. We are now asked to "move forward" in the debate to "now what" simply because we are "there". Even that has been answered; we now detain everyone in Iraq who refuses to live under American rule; we now torture anyone who takes up arms against us; we now claim we can keep these people jailed indefinitely; we now claim that we can keep our armed forces in these countries for as long as we please. This is not a "real" discussion; it is a blatant attempt to justify the illegal invasion and continued killing of Iraqi civilians.

The only "real" discussion concerning Iraq is, and has been, how long will we, the American people, allow our country to continue these actions, yet, even this doesn't get any "real" discussion. The "conventional wisdom" has turned from "when do we leave" to "how can we justify our continued stay" and has now arrived where we say "we are there to stay so deal with it". Where is the "real" discussion in that?

Has America now fallen to the point we are the Germany of the 1940's invading who we wish? Will it take the world standing up to us, just as we did to Hitler, before we decide to stop? Will it take our nation bringing about another world war before our government, our media, and our own citizens begin to realize just how wrong we have been in our actions? Is that the point where this "real" discussion on Iraq has evolved; when does the world say enough to America's unprovoked aggression? If that be the case, let's have a "real" discussion on that for it seems there is no "real" discussion on Iraq anymore.

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pelosi's Pathetic Doubletalk On Iraq

Pelosi's Pathetic Doubletalk On Iraq
By Big Tent Democrat, Talkleft, Sunday September 30, 2007

In an interview with Wolf Blitzer this morning, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi demonstrated she has no intention of doing anything to end the war in Iraq:
BLITZER: Let's talk about the war in Iraq. When you became speaker, you said, "Bringing the war to an end is my highest priority as speaker."


. . . BLITZER: The war, if anything, is not only continuing, but it's expanding. There's more troops now in Iraq than there were when you became the speaker. What are you going to do about that?

PELOSI: Well, we did, when we took office, we took the majority here. We changed the debate on the war. We put a bill on the president's desk that said that we wanted the redeployment of troops out of Iraq to begin in a timely fashion and to end within a year. The president vetoed that bill.

He got quite a response to that veto, and the Republicans in the Senate then decided he was never going to get a bill on his desk again. So we have a barrier and it's important for the American people to know that while I can bring a bill to the floor in the House, it cannot be brought up in the Senate unless there's a 60 vote, now 60 votes.
He got quite a response? What the heck is Pelosi talking about? He got, FROM HER, a bill with no timetables! Who does Speaker Pelosi think she is fooling? Blitzer is not fooled:
BLITZER: But you could in the House of Representatives use your power of the purse, the money, to stop funding the war if you really wanted to.

PELOSI: I wish the speaker had all the power you just describe. I certainly could do that. That doesn't bar the minority from bringing up a funding resolution. They have their parliamentary prerogative as well.
So Madame Speaker, why not MAKE THEM USE IT! Force them to forward a motion to recommit. Then you can truthfully say Iraq is a Republican War.
BLITZER: You know your base is really frustrated. Really angry...

PELOSI: I'm frustrated myself.

BLITZER: ... that this war continues. And they say you should be doing more, and that's reflected in what former Senator John Edwards, the Democratic presidential candidate, repeatedly says.

He says this. He says, "Congress must stand up to President Bush and pass a funding bill with a timetable for withdrawal. If the president vetoes that bill, Congress must send it back again and again, as many times as it takes for the president to finally get the message that he can't defy the American people."

Why didn't you do that?

PELOSI: I completely concur. But I just said to you we did that, we sent it to the president, he vetoed it. Any further attempts to do that have been met by the 60-vote barrier in the United States Senate.

Now, I'll be the last person to give you a civics lesson about what that means. But what it does mean is that the Republicans in the Senate have now taken ownership of the war in Iraq. It was President Bush's war. And now it is the Republicans' in Congress war.
Madame Speaker, you can say that over and over again but that does not make it true. It is NOT true when a Democratic Congress chooses to continue to fund the war. It is YOUR war too now.

Blitzer asks the right question:
BLITZER: So, are you telling your angry base out there in the Democratic Party that wants to see this war over with, wants to see the U.S. troops home, that you, as speaker, there's nothing you can do, you have to just throw your hands up and say...

PELOSI: No. I didn't say that at all.

BLITZER: ... given the legislative problems in the Senate and the president's stubborn refusal to back down, that there's nothing that you can do?

PELOSI: How could you have ever gotten that impression?

BLITZER: All right, well, tell us...

PELOSI: What I have said, for those who pay attention, is that we will hold this administration accountable time and time again for the conduct of this war in Iraq. I have to discuss how we went in on a false premise. That's well-known to the American people. What we do have to do is to show them every step of the way how the president is taking us farther down a path in which it is going to be harder to redeploy out of Iraq, and so whether it is...
Holding him accountable while you FUND the Debacle? Puhleeeaze. Blitzer nails Pelosi:
BLITZER: But holding the president accountable, I just want you to explain, what does that mean? Besides just complaining and holding hearings? Specifically, is there anything else you can do?

PELOSI: Well, holding hearings and the oversight that we have on the corruption in contracting in Iraq, the hearings that we're holding and the harm to the readiness of our troops that the president is causing with his obstinance in this war in Iraq.

The retired generals tell us about if we want to talk about stability in the region -- and that's what we're talking abut here. How do we bring -- how do we have a vision of stability in the region?

Democrats are saying our vision for stability in the region begins with the redeployment of troops out of Iraq, and the generals say you cannot have stability in the region until you deploy the troops out of Iraq.

And the generals say you cannot have stability in the region until you redeploy the troops out of Iraq.

So what we're saying is now, with what happened in the past two weeks with General Petraeus' presentation and what happened on the Webb resolution in the Senate, that the Republicans are committed to a 10-year war in Iraq with the highest level of troop presence there, with permanent bases.

The Democrats are proposing a redeployment out of Iraq, a greatly diminished mission there, out of the civil war, protect our diplomats and protect our troops who are there, fight the Al Qaida.

And if we have to train the troops -- if we have to continue to train the Iraqi security forces, we can do -- it doesn't have to be in country and it doesn't have to be all-American. That can be done out of country.

So we're talking about a greatly diminished force there and a redeployment that's safe and responsible within the next year. The president is talking about 10 years and then after that, a Korea-like presence in perpetuity. That's the choice.
Blah, blah blah blah, blsh. She could have just answered "yes," all Dems in Congress are going to do is talk. Pathetic performance by Pelosi.

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Understand This

With a Hat Tip to Libby at The Newshoggers...

The Nation, Friday, September 28/07:

The Senate agreed on Thursday to increase the federal debt limit by $850 billion -- from $8.965 trillion to $9.815 trillion -- and then proceeded to approve a stop-gap spending bill that gives the Bush White House at least $9 billion in new funding for its war in Iraq.

Additionally, the administration has been given emergency authority to tap further into a $70 billion "bridge fund" to provide new infusions of money for the occupation while the Congress works on appropriations bills for the Department of Defense and other agencies.

Translation: Under the guise of a stop-gap spending bill that is simply supposed to keep the government running until a long-delayed appropriations process is completed -- probably in November -- the Congress has just approved a massive increase in war funding.

The move was backed by every senator who cast a vote, save one.

Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, the maverick Democrat who has led the fight to end the war and bring U.S. troops home from Iraq, was on the losing end of the 94-1 vote. (The five senators who did not vote, all presidential candidates who are more involved in campaigning than governing, were Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden and Republicans John McCain and Sam Brownback.)
A massive increase in war funding. From the Democratic controlled Senate. From the Democratic controlled Congress. From the people who after last November were described best in the words of Keith Olbermann:
Few men or women elected in our history—whether executive or legislative, state or national—have been sent into office with a mandate more obvious, nor instructions more clear:

Get us out of Iraq.
  • The Democratic leadership has surrendered to a president—if not the worst president, then easily the most selfish, in our history—who happily blackmails his own people, and uses his own military personnel as hostages to his asinine demand, that the Democrats “give the troops their money”;

  • The Democratic leadership has agreed to finance the deaths of Americans in a war that has only reduced the security of Americans;
A Message For Congressional Democrats:
The Congress must set a date certain for ending funding for Iraq Debacle operations.
Understand this, if you want to end the Iraq Debacle, this is the only way until Bush is not President. If you are not for this for ending the war, tell me what you do support. I think this is the only way. And if you shy away from the only way to end the Debacle, then you really are not for ending the war are you?
Understand this, Congressional Democrats. If you want to avoid the looming 2008 Electoral Debacle, this is the only way.

Zogby, August 01/07:
3% of Americans approve of how Congress is handling the war in Iraq; 24% say the same for the President

Understand this:

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Gold Star Mother's Day 2007

[Cross-posted from Gold Star Mom Speaks Out]

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936, has designated the last Sunday in September as "Gold Star Mother's Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in its observance.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton proclaimed that we should "honor women whose sons and daughters have pledged their lives to securing for all Americans the blessings of liberty. These mothers have made tremendous sacrifices, the most painful being the loss of their children, and deserve the respect and recognition of the nation."

In 2007, George Bush proclaimed

The gift of liberty is secured by heroes who have answered the call to serve when America needed them most. On Gold Star Mother's Day, we honor the mothers of the service men and women who have given their lives in the defense of our great Nation.

America's Gold Star Mothers are remarkable patriots who serve their communities by demonstrating good citizenship, providing support and services to our troops and veterans, and helping comfort the families whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice. Their sense of duty and deep devotion to our country inspire our Nation, and we thank them for their compassion, determination, and strength. Though they carry a great burden of grief, these courageous mothers help ensure that the legacy of our fallen heroes will be forever remembered. On this day, we offer our deep gratitude and respect to our Nation's Gold Star Mothers; we honor the sons and daughters who died while wearing the uniform of the United States; and we pray for God's blessings on them, their mothers, and their families.
As a Gold Star Mother, I do not find comfort in this cold President's words; they do not ring true. His meetings with Gold Star Mother's are arranged to include only women who support his ruthless, endless war and more death. Where is his compassion and sense of patriotism to those mothers who disagree with him and work diligently to end the war and to bring our troops home?

Gold Star Mothers Day is not a Hallmark holiday to send flowers or cards; there is no happy in this day. Gold Star Mothers Day 2007 should be a day for sober reflection about how President Bush set in place a new generation of Gold Star Mothers when he sent our children to fight his illegal war in Iraq. These new Gold Star Mothers will be his legacy as the war president, he proudly claims himself to be.

The current president says we must honor the sacrifices of fallen soldiers by completing the mission and achieving victory. How will more bloodshed and more dying honor my son, who was killed in Iraq more than 3 years ago? This president can prevent the creation of new Gold Star Mothers. It is time for president Bush to remove the burden from the military and work to find some kind of political solution that would allow us to bring our troops home.

We will never forget our loved ones; they will live forever in our hearts. And we must not forget the Iraqi Gold Star mothers who suffer so much from this war that came to their front door step unwelcome and unnecessary.

Today, the citizens of this country must remember our sacrifice and consider the human cost of this war. That and our broken hearts are something that Gold Star Mothers live with forever.

I am the proud Gold Star Mother of 1Lt Ken Ballard.

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