Monday, May 01, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR MONDAY, May 1, 2006 THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED": "I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world." --- Stephen Colbert at the White House Press Correspondents dinner April 30, 2006. (See below "I give people the truth, unfiltered by rational argument.") Photo: "Mission Accomplished" Chicken Hawk, bronze sculpture by Alex Wagman, 2005, 35 x 18 x 16 in. CNN Poll: 9% of Americans believe the mission was indeed accomplished! Three years after President Bush declared major combat over in Iraq, Americans have strong doubts that the United States will fulfill the promise of his "Mission Accomplished" backdrop, a poll released Monday found. The CNN poll, conducted April 21-23 by Opinion Research Corporation, found that only 9 percent thought the U.S. mission in Iraq had been accomplished, while another 40 percent believed it would be complete someday. Another 44 percent said the United States would never accomplish its goals in Iraq, where American troops are still battling insurgents three years after the invasion that toppled former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Bush's May 1, 2003, victory speech aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was a carefully managed piece of political theater, from his flight suit-clad arrival aboard an S-3 Viking antisubmarine jet to the "Mission Accomplished" banner that hung from the carrier's bridge. When Bush delivered the speech aboard the Lincoln, 139 U.S. troops had been killed in Iraq. On its third anniversary, the U.S. death toll is nearly 2,400. Five months after his speech, with U.S. casualties in Iraq growing and the insurgency against American forces building strength, Bush said the "Mission Accomplished" sign had been put up by the ship's crew -- but the White House later conceded that it produced and paid for the banner as part of the president's visit. Lyrics to “Shock and Awe” by Neil Young:
Back in the days of "mission accomplished" Our chief was landing on the deck The sun was setting on a golden photo op Back in the days of "mission accomplished" Thousands of bodies in the ground Brought home in boxes to a trumpet's sound No one sees them coming home that way Thousands buried in the ground Thousands of children scarred for life Millions of tears for a soldier's wife Both sides are losing now Heaven takes them in Thousands of children scarred for life We had a chance to change our mind But somehow wisdom was hard to find We went with what we knew and now we can't go back But we had a chance to change our mind.
[open one of the following links in a new window to hear Let's Impeach the President or the full Living with War Neil Young album, including "Shock and Awe", while reading this post --- zig] THE CRIMES ACCOMPLISHED: Photo 9/9/2004 - Iraqis show the body of baby boy after it was recovered from under rubble of a house destroyed by a US air strike overnight in Fallujah. Twelve Iraqis were killed and at least nine wounded in an overnight US air raid on Fallujah, medical sources said. Among the dead were several women and children. (Fares Dlimi/AFP/Getty Images) Bring 'em on: Two Marines died April 28 while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Al Anbar province, Iraq. - Cpl. Brandon M. Hardy, 25, of Cochranville, Pa. and Sgt. Lea R. Mills, 21, of Brooksville, Fla. (CENTCOM) OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Three Fijian security contractors believed to be among five people killed on Sunday (30 Apr) when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb just outside Baghdad, witnesses said. A spokeswoman for the London based Aegis Defence Limited refuted media claims that the three Fijians were employed by the company. She however confirmed to PACNEWS that the three men killed were Fijian security guards working for another British security company. [Indications are now that the British mercenaries killed yesterday were actually Fijian citizens, working for a British company. That probably explains the crossed signals coming out of the UK govt. about this. --- cervantes] Bomb explodes in the al-Mashtal district of eastern Baghdad, wounding two Iraqi civilians. Blast, targeting Iraqi police convoyon a highway in the district of Kamsara causes no casualties. Fuel can being used as roadside bomb explodes about 500 yards behind U.S. military convoy in Al-Bayaa, a neighborhood of southern Baghdad, causing no injuries or damage. Bullet-ridden, handcuffed and blindfolded bodies of three Iraqi men found in Baghdad's southern neighborhood of Dora. Drive-by shooting kills grocer in his shop. Suicide bomber detonates explosive-laden car near US army patrol Monday, killing one Iraqi civilian and wounding two others in al-Askandariya, 65 kilometers south of Baghdad. The US vehicle was wrecked and was seen to be on fire. A US military spokesman confirmed that a car bomb detonated near a US army patrol in al-Rahim area, but said no casualties were reported. Wife and daughter of a former construction and housing minister kidnapped in Baghdad. Ramadi: Clashes between U.S. forces and gunmen in Ramadi, leave at least two civilian bystanders dead. In Ramadi, gunmen attacked three policemen traveling in a car carrying the salaries of police in Fallujah, killing one, wounding another, and kidnapping the third with the bag of money. Baqubah: Two people killed by gunmen in two separate incidents in a suburb in Baquba, 60 kilometres northeast of Baghdad. One of them was killed in al-Mafraq in downtown Baquba while the other was killed in al-Khales in the north. Iskandariya: Suicide car bomber kills one civilian and wounds two when he blows up his vehicle in the town of Iskandariya. It was not immediately clear what the bomber was targeting or whether his bomb exploded prematurely. Hawija: Roadside bomb wounds four civilians, two of them seriously, near an art college in the town of Hawija, 60 km (40 miles) southwest of Kirkuk. Samarra: Eight members of Interior Ministry commandos injured when a roadside bomb explodes next to their patrol in the city of Samarra. Iran/Iraq border: Iranians fire more than 180 artillery shells into Iraq and pursue Kurdish rebels across the mountainous border: No clear casualty figures were available, but Kurdish officials said they had reports that eight fighters belonging to Kurdish groups battling Turkey and Iran were killed. The battle is one of a number of cross-border raids into Iraq's heavily Kurdish northern provinces by Iranian and Turkish troops in recent weeks. Tensions have risen in both countries over Kurdish demands for more autonomy. Haqlaniyah: "Insurgents" fire two mortar shells at U.S. military base in Haqlaniyah, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad, prompting soldiers to search surrounding houses and shops for suspected militants, witnesses said. No casualties were reported. Tikrit: In Tikrit, roadside bombs aimed at American convoys explode in two nearby neighborhoods. No casualties were reported, but U.S. and Iraqi forces to searched homes in both areas. Today in Afghanistan: Bomb explodes near convoy of foreign troops travelling along a highway in southern Afghanistan on Monday, slightly injuring two soldiers and destroying their vehicle. Suspected suicide attacker in a car explodes a bomb near a U.S.-led coalition convoy in a southern Afghan town, wounding one soldier and one Afghan passer-by, police said. The attacker was killed in the blast in Tirin Kot, the main town in Uruzgan province, said provincial police chief Rozi Khan. Tennessee Army National Guard helicopter from unit based in Jackson makes hard landing during a mission in Afghanistan Saturday, injuring both crewmen. The names of the soldiers, attached to Troop R, 4th Squadron of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, were not released Canadian troops engage Taliban militants in two separate firefights over the weekend in southern Afghanistan. Although there were no Canadian casualties, the amoured vehicle the troops were driving in bears bullet marks from the machine-gun firefight. Coalition forces kill between 15 and 20 militants in fighting over the weekend in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, the U.S. military said Monday. A coalition patrol on Saturday attacked militants carrying assault rifles and grenade launchers, who were "moving with the intent to set up an ambush" in the province's Sangin district, a military statement said. No coalition forces were hurt, it said. Remote-controlled mine planted in Helmand province kills three Afghan National Army troops and wounds three others. Canadian troops killed up to 20 Taliban insurgents who were preparing to ambush a military convoy in southern Afghanistan, a Canadian military spokesman said on Monday. "Our convoy using night-vision optics on their vehicle were able to see three vehicles preparing for an ambush." NEWS Iraq's president says he and American officials met with leaders of seven of the country's armed insurgent groups and believe they can be persuaded to end their rebellion, according to a summary of remarks released Sunday by his office. "I think that it is possible to reach agreements with seven armed organizations which have visited me," Talabani said, according to a transcript of his remarks. He did not identify the groups or say when the meetings took place, but he did say that American political officials had been involved. Bush administration officials have previously acknowledged holding indirect meetings with some of the Iraqi Sunni groups fighting the U.S. occupation. (...) But suggestions that Talabani was poised to strike a deal with insurgent groups were challenged by Ibrahim Shammari, spokesman for the Islamic Army in Iraq, who denied that his militant group had met Talabani or U.S. officials. "Our strategic choice is to resist the occupation by armed force," Shammari told Al Jazeera television, according to the Qatar-based news channel's website. "We neither met the Americans, nor the U.S. ambassador, nor with the government because it is an illegal government with no credibility."
"The Americans have entered into negotiations with some of these groups with my blessing and I think it is possible to reach an agreement with the seven armed organisations," Talabani said according to a statement released from his office. He said these groups were fighting against the US occupation of Iraq, adding Sunday "we want to have a dialogue with them and they can join the political process. "They are visiting me and I met them. As there is broad freedom to express opinion, there is no justification for armed action" in Iraq, he said.
Newly graduated Iraqi soldiers protest after a passing out parade on Sunday saying they were promised they would serve only in their hometowns. Britain will withdraw about 800 of its soldiers from Iraq this month, British Foreign Office Spokesperson Jason Benham said on Saturday. Denmark intends to pull out some 100 soldiers from the total of 539 deployed in Southern Iraq. Scores of doctors flee Mosul after receiving a series of death threats. REPORTS Iraq's electricity supplies, economic and social living standards are still below pre-invasion levels as the construction process has been stumbling over corruption and unabated violence, a US congressional inspection team has said in a new scathing report. Graffiti painted by Chicago gangs showing up in Iraq: The Chicago Sun-Times reports the graffiti shows the increasing gang activity in the Army. Military leaders are concerned some soldiers may be supplying gangs at home. Some gangs encourage their members to join the Army to learn urban warfare techniques and teach other members. Chicago police have reportedly seen evidence of gangs getting help from soldiers, and the FBI visited Army bases to check into gang activity. A broader definition of terrorism: The U.S. war on terrorism has made the world safer, the State Department's counterterrorism chief said on Friday, despite more than 11,000 terrorist attacks worldwide last year that killed 14,600 people. The State Department said the numbers, listed in its annual Country Reports on Terrorism released on Friday, were based on a broader definition of terrorism and could not be compared to the 3,129 international attacks listed the previous year. But the new 2005 figures, which showed attacks in Iraq jumped and accounted for about a third of the world's total, may fuel criticism of the Bush administration's assertion that it is winning the fight against terrorism. Asked if the world was safer than the previous year, State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator Henry Crumpton told a news conference, "I think so. But I think that (if) you look at the ups and downs of this battle, it's going to take us a long time to win this. You can't measure this month by month or year by year. It's going to take a lot longer." Russell Travers, a deputy director at the National Counterterrorism Center which compiled the numbers, said people killed in incidents involving 10 or more dead soared to about 3,400 in Iraq in 2005 from 1,700 in 2004. The number in the rest of the world dropped to about 1,500 from 3,000. The report said Iraq accounted for just over 30 percent of worldwide attacks and 55 percent of deaths. Some 56 Americans were killed in militant attacks in 2005, 47 of them in Iraq. Army Times: Retired Generals Say Active Duty Officers Want Rumsfeld Out Now: The recently retired generals found a sympathetic ear in Paul Van Riper, who retired from the Marine Corps as a lieutenant general in 1997 but stays close to today's senior officers. "I think Secretary Rumsfeld should have been fired three years ago," Van Riper said. "He is professionally incompetent." The retired Marine said the recent criticisms echo the disgust with Rumsfeld that he hears from currently serving officers, up to and including four-star generals, and that these senior officers have urged him to speak out against Rumsfeld. "They absolutely abhor what they see coming out of the Defense Department, and particularly the secretary, and they only continue to march because they're good soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen," he said. Pressed on how many such critics he could name among today's serving flag officers, he replied, "About 25." An Army general who retired earlier this decade and keeps in close contact with his peers in uniform said the active-duty generals' view was that it would be better for the country if Rumsfeld left. "This opinion is equally shared among both active-duty and retired" generals, he said. "It's a universal sentiment." Asked how many active generals he could name who felt this way, he replied: "I probably rub shoulders routinely with about a dozen. ... Virtually all of them are pretty visceral in their response." [Marine Lt. Gen. Greg] Newbold, who wrote that he was speaking out "with the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership," also took aim at senior military leaders who held office as the Iraq war plan took shape. "When they knew the plan was flawed, saw intelligence distorted to justify a rationale for war, or witnessed arrogant micromanagement that at times crippled the military's effectiveness, many leaders who wore the uniform chose inaction," he wrote. "The consequence of the military's quiescence was that a fundamentally flawed plan was executed for an invented war, while pursuing the real enemy, al-Qaida, became a secondary effort." Van Riper also accused Rumsfeld of seeking out senior military leaders he knows will be "compliant." COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS In Support Of Mutiny: Just this past week there was a flicker of information or rumor across the internet that a number of senior U.S. Military officers had threatened to resign if the Iran Operation comes on, as it now looks like it will. In addition, it was said that DoD was treating the communication of the threat to resign as a "mutiny". (Against civilain authority was the Administration's spin.) If, in fact, such a thing did occur, it is indeed a mutiny in my opinion. One I have been expecting for quite some time. The Administration's planned attack on Iran following upon the Bush/ Cheney disaster in Iraq is indeed likely to stimulate a mutiny among our armed forces. As a declared candidate for Congress here in Vermont and a former Army officer myself, with some legal training, I hereby formally state that I support the "mutineers" if they exist. And if they are so far only rumors, only ghosts, then I hope to God that real flesh and blood American soldiers will stand against war in Iran soon. It has come to that. I will support it. ("Big Dark coming," Hunter Thompson is reported to have written in his suicide note not long ago. There was a journalist! Making the tough public call.) There is no legal or Constitutional authority, to date, under which this administration can proceed to an attack on Iran, much less one involving an unprovoked and unnecessary resort to nuclear weaponry. There has been no Declaration of War. And if this Congress-- almost all of whom ought to be immediately retired--does not declare war on Iran, then no attack on that nation by American forces should be permitted. Congress and courts having now largely failed us, we must rely on the courage and the honor of our military. I believe they will do their duty which is to disobey all unlawful orders. Should our military fail us now, we must act ourselves. If the good men and women who wear our uniform will not refuse unlawful duty, and those more compliant with authority will not stand down in the face of the threatened attack, then we the people must immediately take the present government down. Our only means to do so in time, is to stop work entirely coast to coast and walk into the streets together. We cannot wait for the upcoming elections I am afraid. I recommend a general strike across the country, and the withholding of all federal tax monies by each of us, if the Bush Administration does not in the coming weeks forswear an attack on Iran. We should do the same if the present Congress refuses to meet its duty to check this madness by passing a formal Declaration That No State of War Exists between the United States and Iran , forbidding the planned attack by that device. --- Dennis Morrisseau is a former Army Lieutenant and now a Republican candidate for the U.S. House from Vermont. He was court-martialled in 1968 for refusing transport to Vietnam after openly criticising that war while a uniformed Army officer. Morrisseau prevailed in the court-martial. He has called for the impeachment of both Bush & Cheney Yup - we are now in that time period called "A Decent Interval": First coined by Sai Gon CIA Chief Frank Snepp in the 1970's, it is the time period in we actually lost a war, to the time when we actually leave. In Viet Nam, we lost the war during the Mau Than Tet (1968) attacks. In Iarq, we lost during the April 2004 Fallujah attacks. That we actually had to go back to Fallujah in November 2004 to flatten it, only proves that point that the war is over. We lost. In Memory of Lt. Richard Vandegeer, KIA 5/15/1975, the last man to die in the Viet Nam War. "Tu Quoc Gh'i O'n, Ahn Hai!" It took the US 7 years to leave Viet Nam after we lost the war. Perhaps the "Decent Interval" in Iraq will be six years, by 2010? (That means only 4 more years of death and carnage). --- comment by sen. bob | 04.29.06 - 4:07 am | at whateveritisimagainstit.blogspot.com The only good Iraqi cop is a dead Iraqi cop: Reading this WaPo article about how Iraqi troops and police in one town, even those trained by Americans, are not to be trusted, I got the distinct feeling that while some of them certainly are insurgents, others are simply failing to demonstrate the loyalty to which their American overlords feel entitled. And the more the Americans suspect their loyalty, the more they treat them as cannon fodder. The need not to give them advance warning of missions so that they don't tip off the insurgents mean they have no role in planning or choosing those missions; if they weren't gung-ho before, that wouldn't be the way to make them. And worse than cannon fodder: there's a story about the police commander telling the Americans about an IED only after the 28-year old American who seems to be issuing orders to the Iraqis decides to take the commander along on a drive through town. The American sees the story as being about the duplicity of the natives; the Iraqi might just see it as an example of the Americans using Iraqis as human shields. The Americans also seem to arrest members of those forces on a regular basis not just for insurgent activities, but for failing to do their jobs (and risk their lives) in what the Americans consider a sufficiently zealous manner ("Tell your guys, if they refuse to ride in the Humvees, they will go to jail for 10 days. It's not a choice," a 23-year old American lieutenant threatened). The flip side of that is the view of one unnamed American officer that "more police have been killed lately, which means some of them are finally doing their job." That's rather like the witch-drowning thing. Or to put it another way, the only good Iraqi cop is a dead Iraqi cop. The New Syndrome -- F. E. A. R. -- Fear Everything Anxiety Reaction: As I struggle to understand the complex anatomy of the artificially induced fear in our society due to the incessant projection of Muslims as a people enslaved by a violent ideology and therefore a threat to our security, I am reminded of the relevant words of Yoda, the Jedi Master of Star Wars. In Episode 1 (The Phantom Menace) he warns: "Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." Americans, and to some extent Canadians, have been frightened into believing there is an imminent terrorist threat from Islam (often reflected in media terms like "Islamic terrorist," Islamism" and "Islamist"). This has led to the current suffering of countless innocent Muslim men, women and children, not only in Palestine under occupation by the Zionist state of Israel -- the longest, most violent, and most openly racist oppression in recent history - but also in Afghanistan and Iraq under the illegal and increasingly brutal American occupation. Falluja in Iraq, and Jenin and Rafah in Palestine, are just three cities and towns that have become the graveyard of human longings for peace, security, and freedom from oppression. During an address to a joint session of Congress in September 2001, U.S. president George W. Bush said: "Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done." And then he tied Islam directly to terrorism: "The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism - a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. The terrorists' directive commands them to kill ... all Americans ... . " By associating the words "Islamic terrorism" with the unknown attackers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and by not acknowledging that a political agenda is not the same thing as a belief system, Bush invoked the oldest and the strongest kind of human fear -- fear of the unknown. Bush and the pro-Israel lobby continue to instill fear in the West by escalating unsubstantiated threats against them and fabricating a vast web of lies to justify their actions against Palestine, Iraq, Syria, and now Iran. At the same time, Canadians, Americans and Europeans have witnessed increasing government intrusion into their daily lives and the erosion of their basic rights and freedoms. Given that we now have laws in North America that have pretty well taken away our fundamental rights of privacy, we should be afraid -- afraid not only of the "guy next door," but of the people who are supposed to protect us from the guy next door! Given that there are very few things not to fear, we all seem to be suffering from, or are dangerously exposed to the "Fear Everything Anxiety Reaction" syndrome -- known as FEAR for short. Contracting FEAR is pretty simple nowadays. Remember when even the mention of Red, Yellow, and Orange alerts caused near panic? And when the level of threat was raised to Code Red, it sent people immediately into a rapidly rising FEAR response, asking: What does this mean? What are we supposed to do? Is this the day we die from a terrorist attack? Then the official alert level goes down a color or two, and people wonder: Should we relax? (But then, you never know, it might go back up!) Or, even though the danger level has decreased, it is still Yellow ... Does that mean I should be afraid, but maybe a little less afraid than yesterday? And so the stressful rise and fall of FEAR goes on. Another way to contract FEAR is to read up on national security expert Martin Rudner's recent report in the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, National Post, and Ottawa Citizen. Mr. Rudner believes that "Islamic terrorists" have embedded themselves in Canada's Arab community, where they recruit and raise funds, which they use for operational activities against the United States and its allies. Mr. Rudner goes on to say that "Saudi money is being used to extend its brand of militant Islam to Canada and fostering the spread of terrorism." In the absence of names and addresses of the masjids (mosques) that are allegedly "fostering the spread of terrorism," we Canadians react by developing FEAR toward Arabs and Muslims, even though Mr. Rudner has not yet provided any concrete evidence to support his grim hypothesis. Imagine what the reaction might be if you or I, or any one else, were to accuse another Canadian community of having "embedded" foreign agents in its midst. Out of FEAR I have chosen not to name the community. Yet another way to induce FEAR is to publish articles written by media- supported Islamophobes, who fear even the mere presence of Muslims in North America and their enfranchisement into mainstream society. They spew hate against Islam and Muslims by repeating the same racist and bigoted statements over and over again: that Islam is violent, irrational and incompatible with democracy. Out of FEAR, I have chosen not to name the pro-Israeli Zionists, or the Israel-can- do-no-wrong gang, who promote fear of Islam and Muslims through propaganda, and by playing manipulative mind-games on unsuspecting, decent mainstream Canadian and Americans. Ever since the tragic events of 9/11, their shrill rhetoric has clamored in the media about would-be terrorists hiding everywhere in "sleeper" groups, ready to strike without warning. This trend has created a very unstable and unsafe environment for Muslim communities because they are singled out as the "enemy within." This fear has brought greater suffering upon innocent Muslim citizens of both Europe and North America, as well as all those being maimed, killed, tortured, terrorized and humiliated throughout the world. The Zionist zealots (neo-conservative Likud Party supporters who yoke Israel's interests to those of America) and rightwing evangelical "millennial" or end-time Christians, both raise the spectre of "Islamic terrorism" as a force that threatens free people everywhere. They know that fear destroys reason, leaving the individual's conscience in the hands of those who instill the fear. Similarly, Fascism and Zionism achieved their objectives through fear, resulting in the vast societal FEAR syndrome. People who believe in peace with justice must do exactly the opposite of what the fear-mongers want. We must struggle in solidarity to promote more education, mutual knowledge, a "living together" based on universal values, on respect for life and diversity, for democracy, for freedom, and for justice. If not, then the prophetic warning of Yoda will come true: "Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." North America Harbors the World's Most Dangerous Terrorists: A little perspective, please. After years of living under the perpetual risk of the ultimate terrorist attack, most people have become acclimated to the distinct possibility of imminent extinction of life on Earth. Fortunately, humans tend to be highly adaptable beings, and most are able to go on with their daily tasks without dwelling on potential doomsday scenarios. In fact, people have become so desensitized to the threat of nuclear holocaust that those who still believe American propaganda are more terrified of religious fanatics wielding box cutters than they are of an ICBM capable of annihilating millions. According to the FBI, domestic terrorism is:
"the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or its territories without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."
Given the knowledge that it is the United States which created and primarily wields the power to extinguish life on Earth, it is not a tremendous intellectual leap to classify the American government as the world's most dangerous and most powerful terrorist. America's own domestic law enforcement entity has defined terrorism as "threatened use of force or violence", intimidation, and coercion against governments or civilian populations for the "furtherance of political or social objectives". What could be more threatening or violent than a nuclear attack? What could be more coercive than the US imposition of its will, culture, and ruthless economic agenda on a global populace like a domineering father abusing his cowed children? Employing terrorist tools of intimidation, coercion and threats of violence, the United States consistently sets the political and social objectives for the rest of the world. Remember, Iran, "All options are on the table." America is the Don Corleone of the world community. They make offers you can't refuse. "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" delivered the Sicilian message that nations defying the United States would find many of their innocent civilians "sleeping with the fishes". 200,000 dead Japanese showed the skeptics that the Godfather meant business. Bearing in mind that the atomic bombs deployed in Japan were mere firecrackers relative to today's nukes, the following puts a grim perspective on the situation: Not only did the United States let the nuclear genie out of the bottle and unleash it on humanity, through Operation Paperclip, it provided safe haven for Nazi war criminals. During and after World War II, the CIA altered the records of Nazi scientists so they could enter the United States and contribute to the evolution of America's nuclear weapons program. Needing an "enemy" for its indoctrinated citizens to fear, the United States began demonizing Communism in the 1950's. As they created their "bogeyman" so they could manipulate the masses with psychological terror, America's leaders pushed a nation with a much weaker economy into an insane scenario of Mutually Assured Destruction and an arms race. By 2004, Russia's stockpile of warheads had the combined power of 120,000 of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima. The combined nuclear capacity of the United States and Russia at the height of the nuclear arms race was enough to eradicate the Earth of life 1,500 times over. When is enough, enough? According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, in 2004 the United States had 10,000 nuclear warheads, 7,000 of which were operational. Yet existing in a realm of thought where logic ceases to exist, America's leaders are obsessed with "national security". The United States accounts for half of the world's military expenditures to protect 350 million of the 6.5 billion people on Earth. With over 500 land-based ICBMs, the United States can incinerate any region of a 4.5 billion year old planet within a mere 35 minutes. The Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles are only one leg of America's triad of doom. Submarine-based Trident nuclear missiles have the capacity to unleash Armageddon from the depths of the Earth's tranquil oceans. Maintaining a fleet of B-1, B-2, and B-52 long-range bombers, the USAF can also rain nuclear hell upon millions of unsuspecting "units of collateral damage". (...) With the ethereal nuclear genie slipping further from its grasp, the United States is now focusing its resources and determined efforts toward ensuring nuclear proliferation to those it deems deserving. Israel, the US satellite in the Middle East, and India, a nation Uncle Sam is determined to lure into his bed, both qualify. Iran and North Korea are obviously not welcome at the nuclear party, whether they apply the technology for military purposes or not. On the domestic front, America's bellicose government is emphasizing the enhancement of existing nuclear weapons to give the appearance that it is not developing new ones. For example, the B61-11 is a modification of the B61, a "tactical nuke" which "only" has 2/3 the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. To neutralize nations which have developed weapons facilities deep underground, America created the B61-11 to burrow into rock before discharging its nuclear payload. America's Neocons are itching to play with their new toys in Iran. The Pentagon claims that these "bunker busters" would pose no threat to life outside of the underground targets. However, Dr. Robert Nelson of Princeton University offers a significantly differing opinion:
"No earth-burrowing missile can penetrate deep enough into the earth to contain an explosion with a nuclear yield even as small as 1 percent of the 15 kiloton Hiroshima weapon. "The explosion simply blows out a massive crater of radioactive dirt, which rains down on the local region with an especially intense and deadly fallout."
Dr. Nelson's analysis is substantially more seaworthy than the stone the Pentagon tried to float when they proclaimed earth-burrowing "mini-nukes" to be "safe". A Messiah complex, severely stunted emotional intelligence and profound ignorance are the defining characteristics of the man capable of making nuclear holocaust a reality within minutes. In light of this, Osama bin Laden, box-cutters, and suicide bombers don't seem quite so formidable or worrisome. James K. Galbraith: The Predator State: Today, the signature of modern American capitalism is neither benign competition, nor class struggle, nor an inclusive middle-class utopia. Instead, predation has become the dominant feature-a system wherein the rich have come to feast on decaying systems built for the middle class. The predatory class is not the whole of the wealthy; it may be opposed by many others of similar wealth. But it is the defining feature, the leading force. And its agents are in full control of the government under which we live. Our rulers deliver favors to their clients. These range from Native American casino operators, to Appalachian coal companies, to Saipan sweatshop operators, to the would-be oil field operators of Iraq. They include the misanthropes who led the campaign to abolish the estate tax; Charles Schwab, who suggested the dividend tax cut of 2003; the "Benedict Arnold" companies who move their taxable income offshore; and the financial institutions behind last year's bankruptcy bill. Everywhere you look, public decisions yield gains to specific private entities. For in a predatory regime, nothing is done for public reasons. Indeed, the men in charge do not recognize that "public purposes" exist. They have friends, and enemies, and as for the rest-we're the prey. Hurricane Katrina illustrated this perfectly, as Halliburton scooped up contracts and Bush hamstrung Kathleen Blanco, the Democratic governor of Louisiana. The population of New Orleans was, at best, an afterthought; once dispersed, it was quickly forgotten. The predator-prey model explains some things that other models cannot: in particular, cycles of prosperity and depression. Growth among the prey stimulates predation. The two populations grow together at first, but when the balance of power shifts toward the predators (through rising interest rates, utility rates, oil prices, or embezzlement), both can crash abruptly. When they do, it takes a long time for either to recover. The predatory model can also help us understand why many rich people have come to hate the Bush administration. For predation is the enemy of honest business. In a world where the winners are all connected, it's not only the prey who lose out. It's everyone who hasn't licked the appropriate boots. Predatory regimes are like protection rackets: powerful and feared, but neither loved nor respected. They do not enjoy a broad political base. In a predatory economy, the rules imagined by the law and economics crowd don't apply. There's no market discipline. Predators compete not by following the rules but by breaking them. They take the business-school view of law: Rules are not designed to guide behavior but laid down to define the limits of unpunished conduct. Once one gets close to the line, stepping over it is easy. A predatory economy is criminogenic: It fosters and rewards criminal behavior. The passion of George W. Bush: The more beleaguered Bush becomes, the more he is flattered by his advisors with comparisons to great men of history whose foresight and courage were not always appreciated in their own times. Abraham Lincoln is one favorite. Another is Harry Truman, who established the framework of Cold War policy but left office during the Korean War deeply unpopular with poll ratings sunk in the 20s. Lately, Bush sees himself in the reflected light of Winston Churchill, bravely standing against appeasers. "Never give in -- never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in," Churchill said in 1941 as Britain stood alone against the Nazis. "Bush tells his out-of-town visitors to think of how history will judge his administration 20 years hence and not to worry about setbacks in Iraq," conservative columnist Arnaud de Borchgrave writes. Of course, Bush does care about the outcome of the midterm elections. He knows full well the catastrophe that his already wounded presidency would suffer if the Republicans were to lose one or the other chamber of Congress. Once again, he is depending upon Rove's skill. But insofar as his policies are concerned "the decider" has decided that public opinion doesn't really matter. On Tuesday, Bush reached the invisible but fateful mark of 1,000 days left in his term. It is a magical number associated with the 1,000 days of President Kennedy, the time taken as the title of Arthur Schlesinger Jr.'s memoir of that White House. Bush cannot run again and has no obvious successor who will hold his team together. On March 22, he announced that he would leave to the next president the decision about continued U.S. presence in Iraq. In the final days of his backward Camelot he will never, never, never change his basic policies, the source of his unraveling. The greater the stress the more Bush denies its cause. In his end time he has risen above his policy and is transcending politics. In his life as president he has decided his scourging is his sanctification. Bush will be a martyr resurrected. The future will unfold properly for all the wisdom of his decisions, based on fervent faith, upheld by his holy devotion. Criticism and unpopularity only confirm to him his bravery and his critics' weakness. Being reviled is proof of his righteousness. Inevitably, decades hence, people will grasp his radiant truth and glory. Such is the passion of George W. Bush. Get Real on Iran: Two main points need to be made on this Iran issue. (1) The Bush Administration is not the latest embodiment of the Illuminati that acts independently of its ruling class base. (2) Iran is over a decade away from being able to make a nuclear weapon. Now, these need to be fleshed out a bit. The antiwar movement is being flushed this way and that like a covey of quail at Dick Cheney's hunting club. Do we need to put Prozac in the water towers? Boo! There they go... "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" "They're gonna nuke Iran!!!" Forgive me, y'all. But a war in the hand, as the saying goes, is worth two in the Bush. There is a bloody, criminal war in Iraq. The United States military has been sent there, and they are losing the war. On the other hand, public opinion on the war has shifted dramatically in the direction of those of us who said the troops need to come back here where they belong and leave the Iraqis the f**k alone. They've had about all the depleted uranium democracy they can stand. This is a hell of an impasse for the ruling class here. Some of them didn't like how Bush and Cheney went about it, but they fundamentally agreed that for the US to retain its international power into the forseeable future, it had to readjust its military forces from the old positions to fight the no-longer-existing Warsaw Pact to a place where they could tighten the screws on future competitors if need be. That place was in the Middle East; and that's because of all the oil that is still sensibly reachable on Earth, over half of it is in that area. That same ruling CLASS, mind you, can pull the plug on Bush and Cheney any time they want... and in fact may be doing that right now. This is not some independent fraternity that is conspiring to take over the world. This is a system. It's been around for a long time. And it is in trouble. But it is still a system, and it is run by a whole ruling stratum, not one clique. Every one of them is perfectly capable of reading to the best of my knowledge, and since they are, they know g**damn well that any attack on Iran would make the continued occupation of Iraq untenable. This administration is not insane, as many people contend. This is just paranoid hyperbole. They are meaner than hell, because they can be, because they are in power. The Bush administration serves at the pleasure of the dominant class. Get your heads around that, folks. The last time a whole destabilized white middle class started convincing themselves that the world was run by a conspiracy, they identified Jews and elected a mediocre Austrian watercolor artist as Chancellor of Germany. This is a dangerous and inaccurate understanding of the world. What you are looking at is disequilibrated imperialism. Both Nixon and Reagan "played crazy" as a method of political manipulation. If I were the Bush administration, and I was both losing the war and losing public support like they are, I would give my domestic opposition something new to run off to... like making them believe I was about to attack Iran. Later on, when it didn't happen, I could portray them all as poule paranoidus. Then they would stop what they are doing... ie, tearing my credibility to shreds and sending my historical legacy into the sh**house. Think! If they DID drop a nuke on Iran, and if we didn't immediately start an open revolt that shut the whole f**king country down, we would deserve everything we get right until the next Zhukov walked his artillery across our own Berlin. We need to be telling them that. Drop a nuke, and we break things. I'll go on the record right here and right now... modeling it for you... George W. Bush, if your administration drops a nuclear weapon on anyone anywhere, you need to lock me up before you do it. Because at that point, anything except open rebellion against you makes me no better than all the "good Germans." I will not be your good German. "I GIVE PEOPLE THE TRUTH, UNFILTERED BY RATIONAL ARGUMENT"
Some excerpts from Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents dinner 2006: Mr. President and first lady, my name is Stephen Colbert and it's my privilege tonight to celebrate our president. He's no so different, he and I. We get it. We're not brainbacks on the nerd patrol. We're not members of the "fact-inista". We go straight from the gut, right sir? That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. (...) I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq. (...) I'm with the president, let history decide what did or did not happen. The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday, that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change, this man's beliefs never will. And as excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. (...) But the rest of you [White House correspondents], what are you thinking, reporting on N.S.A. wiretapping or secret prisons in Eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason, they're superdepressing. And if that's your goal, well, misery accomplished. Over the last five years you people were so good over tax cuts, W.M.D. intelligence, the affect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew. But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The President makes decisions, he's the decider. The Press Secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know, fiction. Because really, what incentive do these people have to answer your questions, after all? I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for personnel changes. So the White House has personnel changes. Then you write they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg. Media blackout over Colbert's evisceration of Bush A comedy sketch gone awry, a pissed-off prez, and a shell-shocked audience: The AP's first stab at it and pieces from Reuters and the Chicago Tribune tell us everything we need to know: Colbert's performance is sidestepped and marginalized while Bush is treated as light-hearted, humble, and funny. Expect nothing less from the cowardly American media. The story could just as well have been Bush and Laura's discomfort and the crowd's semi-hostile reaction to Colbert's razor-sharp barbs. In fact, I would guess that from the perspective of newsworthiness and public interest, Bush-the-playful-president is far less compelling than a comedy sketch gone awry, a pissed-off prez, and a shell-shocked audience. This is the power of the media to choose the news, to decide when and how to shield Bush from negative publicity. Sins of omission can be just as bad as sins of commission. And speaking of a sycophantic media establishment bending over backwards to accommodate this White House and to regurgitate pro-GOP and anti-Dem spin, I urge readers to pick up a copy of Eric Boehlert's new book, Lapdogs. It's a powerful indictment of the media's timidity during the Bush presidency. Boehlert rips away the facade of a "liberal media" and exposes the invertebrates masquerading as journalists who have allowed and enabled the Bush administration's many transgressions to go unchecked, under-reported, or unquestioned. A final thought: Bush's clownish banter with reporters -- which is on constant display during press conferences -- stands in such stark contrast to his administration's destructive policies and to the gravity of the bloodbath in Iraq that it is deeply unsettling to watch. This may be impolitic, but wouldn't refraining from frat-style horseplay be appropriate for this man? Or at the least, can't reporters suppress their raucous laughter every time he blurts out another jibe... the way they did when Colbert put them in their place? See for yourself: Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Despite the sanctions, the regime, the difficult material circumstances, before the occupation I for one was someone who had millions of dreams. I do not dream any more. In fact I'm often scared of my own shadow." --- Luway Al-Salehi, Iraqi doctor


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