Saturday, April 28, 2007
April 28, 2007
The formation of a global government requires very careful planning. A global system must, like all existing political systems, have its own bureaucratic structure for enforcing its own idea of justice. It also needs a philosophical foundation for its principles, its laws, and its social and foreign policy. For as much scrutiny as the global government gets from people around the world, it's amazing how little attention is paid to the actual emerging system.
The front-runner for becoming the emerging supra-national synthesis of all nations is called communitarianism. The communitarian philosophy is already established as the basis for the laws, the regional plans, and the expanded enforcement actions nec global governmentessary to full integration.
Widespread ignorance of communitarianism and denial of the existence of an emerging global legal system has allowed every program necessary to achieve full implementation, unhindered by press or public scrutiny. The vast majority of citizens of the United States do not know what it means when their legislatures say they are "balancing" their laws. They never question why there must be a balance between individual rights and community rights. This "news" can be printed on the front page of American newspapers and not an eyebrow will raise. The new American mantra is that rights to privacy and anonymity have to be balanced against the community's need for greater homeland security, and gee, while they're at it, they may as well go ahead and protect the environment and provide social equity too.
Our citizens have not been told that open borders, protected land and water, free trade, citizen advisory councils, domestic spying, reaching consensus, public-private partnerships, sustainable development, exporting democratic freedom, and enforcing the global common good is as un-American as buying British merchant's tea. The U.S. National Guard says it protects the "common good" right on TV. It's a tragedy that our people do not understand either the ideology or the roots for all the important words used to define American laws.
The term homeland was used in the 1930s to describe a position of the Austrian Minister Zernatto who negotiated terms with the Nazis. Today homeland is a Russian political party and is also used to describe all of Russia. In 2002, Republican speechwriter Peggy Noonan wrote , "The name Homeland Security grates on a lot of people, understandably. Homeland isn't really an American word, it's not something we used to say or say now." ( answers.com)
We have a whole war named for Terrorism, and yet we have never been taught the word "terrorist" comes from the Jacobin freemasons who established the usefulness of terror tactics to achieve sweeping political goals in 1789 France. We surely have never been told the term "civil society" originated with the Jacobin's revolutionary idealists. Would it come as any surprise to hear the term "ideology" also originated in 18 th century France?
Our government has described its efforts in Iraq as rebuilding a communitarian system in the Middle East, yet this term never comes up in congressional debates, nor is it part of the anti-war speeches. It's not even part of the calls for Bush and Cheney's impeachment. How can so many people be opposed to the current administration's polices and wars, be so upset over congressional passage of the Patriot Act and the Amnesty idea, be so suspicious of the WTO, and yet not be the slightest bit interested in the actual ideology behind the wars and the laws, let alone the entire concept for global domination over every nation's marketplace?
How is it possible that educated Americans cannot see there is a recurring theme inherent in all new actions that alter national systems, regardless of whether the changes are violent invasions or are quietly adopted into regulatory law just under the local radar? Maybe they've heard it so many times from so many public officials' lips that they assume it's a good thing to rebuild a moral community based in shared values. It sounds so lovely, doesn't it? Anyone opposed would have to be immoral with selfish values, wouldn't they?
The communitarian language is peppered with quite lovely phrases that define a perfect utopian world where everyone is treated with respect and dignity, and everybody shares. This is the final synthesis of all political, economic, social, and religions theories, so it gets to use all their highest sounding goals and platitudes. The bottom line to achieving perfection (a topic which must never be broached) is that American liberty and property cannot long exist without a communitarian perspective (Etzioni). Americans may never be told why their new internationally decreed human rights also carries with it a new legal requirement to perform new duties that are part of a global citizen's responsibilities (Giacomazzi).
Communitarianism is duality magnified by a million times a trillion. It embraces every purpose and mouths the promises made by every prophet and alchemist since the dawn of man. It's designed to become the global justice system and the global religion, so it also must claim to want consensus from each nation and church. This all inclusive philosophy is how they explain they can protect individual rights at the same time they strip them all away. Some sacrifices must be made for the common good. It's the end that matters, it's the end that justifies the means. Violence was always part of their plan to create a peaceful world. Some diehard nations have to be violently subdued. Other nations led by more pragmatic, business classes can be convinced to adapt their morals to allow for organized nepotism and graft. We have arrived at the grand convergence of all humanity; it's the ultimate bi-partisan consensus. This is the perfectly planned transcendent triumph of alchemy over instinct.
Communitarian law is a large part of the "continuous development of norms." This is the designated supreme law in the European Union. This is the legal principles for the Earth Charter. This is the moral purpose for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And it changes constantly, rarely in the open, so that few people can ever claim to understand it.
"Secondly, there are entire new areas of international law which need to be thoroughly studied, followed on a daily basis, and almost constantly translated into the domestic legal system. A good example of this is the continuous development of norms protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, rights of minorities, environmental law, communitarian law, etc. Such developments impose another important aspect on the work of a good legal adviser in a democratic, law-abiding country: that of contributing to the further development of international law. I shall quote my former British colleague Sir Arthur Watts who wrote very explicitly about it: "Since there is no legislature, it (international law) changes essentially through State practice - which means what Foreign Ministries do and what Foreign Ministry legal advisers advise their Ministries it is lawful for them to do. Since the law has to change in this way, it means that States can, and do, break new ground and so contribute to the creation of new law. A legal adviser, accordingly, may have to participate in this process; and he may certainly, in appropriate circumstances, advise that it will be lawful to do something which has never been done before, or which would involve the development in a new direction of an existing rule of international law. The circumstances of international life are pressing, and even though a situation may have novel elements it cannot be met with inaction; and novel situations may call for novel responses." " (Nick Stanko, Chief Legal Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Croatia)
In all cases regarding individual rights against the common good, the common good wins.
In order to have an efficient global government, we need a higher global standard that rules supreme over all nations (Garcia). This higher law has to have the ultimate authority to enforce its decisions against anyone in the world, from the small citizen property or business owner all the way up to the President of the United States of America
The EU constitution was supposed to be their legitimizing, crowning achievement. It was designed to pave the way to a completely global communitarian system. But it failed after Dutch and French voters rejected its supremacy clause. So for the EU's 50 th birthday party, Big Mother took a novel approach by trying to rally skeptical French and Dutch voters with a new Treaty called the Berlin Declaration. By taking out the very word "constitution," EU leaders hope to sway European voters into accepting communitarian supremacy of law.
"The signing of the Berlin Declaration - a two-page document designed to rally skeptical voters behind the EU in plain and uplifting language - was the centerpiece of celebrations of the EU's 50th birthday, officially the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957 which founded the European Economic Community, which became the EU. 'The declaration did not even mention the word 'constitution,' a token of how controversial the issue remains two years after French and Dutch voters blocked the charter in 2005 referendums."("EU seeks way out of constitutional crisis at birthday celebration" International Herald Tribune, 3/26/2007)
What began as the "law of treaties" already crept into every national system via regional trade agreements designed by Big Mother's representatives. All modern trade groups are regulated by referring to established EU case law. The legitimacy of supreme international ideals, while existing mainly in the communitarian's skewed visionings, is slowly gaining in stature and respect, due mainly to advertising it as the only "moral" court of justice. The rest of us exist unaware in the era of "psychological jurisprudence." (Fox 1990)
Two sets of opposing laws claim to rule supreme in the U.S. Supreme means "greatest in status or authority or power." The Communitarian theory says international law is supreme. When officials of the United States of America cite the "Rule of Law" to justify their most unconstitutional acts, they aren't referring to the U.S. Bill of Rights; it's been balanced.
1, Abroadco Study Abroad, Granada, Spain. POLS course includes: "Basic Principals of Multi-National Constitutionalism in Europe. -National sovereignty sessions. -Constitutional characteristics of treaties. -Characteristics of communitarian rights: direct effect and supremacy of communitarian."
2, Adler, Matthew D,. April 2006, "Constitutional Fidelity, the Rule of Recognition, and the Communitarian Turn in Contemporary Positivism" University of Pennsylvania Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 06-19,
4, Altneuland: "The Constitution of Europe in an American Perspective", April 28 - 30, 2004 A Joint Conference Organized by The Hauser Global Law School Program, the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law & Justice, New York University School of Law, The Program in Law and Public Affairs, and The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
5, Etzioni Amitai, "Public Health Law: A Communitarian Perspective"
6, GARCÍA, Fernando at Bolitin Mexicano: "The aim of this essay is to discuss some of the legal problems (both at the constitutional and communitarian levels), faced by the European Union, as a conse-quence of the process of integration and its relation to domestic legal systems of the member States. In this way, the article analyzes the way in which the Court of Justice has controled the principle of the supremacy of communitarian law over domes-tic laws, as well as over the principle of uniformity in its application, on the basis of international intruments, common constitutional traditions and general principles of communitarian law. In addition, the author explains the role of national courts in the determination of constitutional limits to the pro-cess of integration, mainly in what concerns issues such as fundamental rights and the power to determine the jurisdiction limits of communitarian institutions. Lastly, the author stresses the need to establish a structure of the constitutional kind as a useful tool for the effi-cacy of the process of integration. Descriptors: integration, communitarian law, domestic law, European Union, supre-macy, uniformity.
7, Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, "Rights and Responsibilities"
8, Lewis, J. "Communitarian Theory"
9, Malavet, Professor, U.S. Territories Seminar, Notes, Part 5
© 2007 Niki Raapana- All Rights Reserved
Niki Raapana is the co-founder of the Anti-Communitarian League (ACL), an online research center for studying outside the box.
Niki is also the recent author of the non-fiction biography, 2020. Unlike the ACL website (which is a massive endeavor) 2020 introduces the global community government in 100-pages using laymen's terms for average readers. Price: $20.00, includes S&H. Send check or money order to: Nikki Raapana, HC 60 Box 329, Copper Center, Alaska 99573 or order online using PayPal at the ACL: http://nord.twu.net/acl
Administration claims that Iran has been supplying arms to Iraq's Sunni insurgency have never made any sense. Coming soon after Washington initially accused Tehran of arming Shi'ite militias, they have seemed like a weak attempt to remake its case tying the country to attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq — the vast majority of which are carried out by Sunni, not Shi'a, forces.
One of the unshakable foundations of Iranian foreign policy is support for Iraq's Shi'a, who now more than ever are bloody foes of the country's Sunni minority. And if for some unfathomable reason Iran were arming the Sunni insurgency, would it leave behind evidence to implicate itself?
In April 1983 an Iranian surrogate group blew up the American embassy in Beirut. Forensic investigators sifting through the rubble determined with a fair amount of certainty that the bomb maker had inserted explosives inside the firing chain, ensuring a "signature" was not left to tie the attack to Iran. Iran never claimed the attack, the suicide bomber was never named, and if it weren't for a still classified lucky break, we would have had no evidence the Iranians were behind it. It is unlikely in the intervening years Iran lost its touch. It certainly isn1t clumsy enough to leave serial numbers or factory markings on weapons going to the Sunni insurgency.
An intel official recently assigned to Baghdad told me he too thought the Administration's claims are ridiculous. Iraq is too chaotic and the insurgency too fragmented — both the Sunni and Shi'a — to determine the origin of arms. The Iranians certainly are arming Shi'a militias, but what happens to the arms once they get to Iraq are anyone's guess. Among other things, Sunni insurgent groups regularly raid Shi'a caches.
And like everything else in Iraq, it turns out to be more complicated. Even before Saddam fell, Hizballah and other Lebanese militias opened up shop in Iraq. (A large part of Hizballah's leadership has strong historical ties to Iraq, including Hizballah secretary general Hasan Nasrallah, who studied in Najaf.) Iraqis — both Shi'a and Sunni — fought with Hizballah in southern Lebanon in its 18-year war against Israel, picking up battlefield experience we1re now seeing in Iraq, including knowledge of explosive-formed projectiles, EFP1s.
Compounding the problem, I am told by someone close to Hizballah, is that Syria does not have complete control over Iranian arms stores it holds for Hizballah. Some arms and explosives are finding their way to the Sunni insurgency, possibly with the complicity of individual Syrian intelligence officers or the Syrian regime.
In other words, even if Iranian-built EFPs are finding their way into the hands of the Sunnis, we don?t really know who the culprit is.
Bringing in Iran to help try and stem the violence in Iraq is a step in the right direction. But Iran has nowhere near the levels of control over and responsibility for the chaos and carnage that Washington is ascribing to it, and we can't count on it being the silver bullet. The unfortunate truth is Iraq is awash in weapons and only a unified, independent, popularly backed Iraqi government can change that.
Robert Baer, a former CIA field officer assigned to the Middle East and Time.com's intelligence columnist, is the author of See No Evil and, most recently, the novel Blow the House Down
By David Rolde
The United States has been waging war against Sudan for the past 15 years, and we need to stop it. Just like with Iraq, the U.S. war against Sudan is a war for oil and a war for Israel. The proposed invasion of Sudan is based on lies. The lie of accusing the government of Sudan of "genocide in Darfur" serves the same function as the lie a few years ago accusing the government of Iraq of "possessing weapons of mass destruction". The U.S. government, and its allies the Israeli and U.K. governments, are the real world champion purveyors of genocide and possessors of WMDs.
Sudan, the geographically largest country in Africa and the home of 35 million people, has been devastated by U.S. attacks for the past 15 years. In the early 90s the U.S. government declared Sudan to be a "state sponsor of terrorism" because the government of Sudan does not support Israel. The U.S. government imposed sanctions against Sudan. The U.S. sanctions and trade boycott escalated in severity several times during the 90s and 00s and damaged the Sudanese economy, causing immense human suffering. Throughout the 90s the U.S. government armed and funded the SPLA rebels in the south of Sudan in a war against the Sudanese government, and against rival southern groups, in which millions of persons were killed or displaced. Millions of southern refugees fled from the SPLA and now live in Khartoum, the northern capital. The culmination of U.S. support for war in Sudan was the so-called "Sudan Peace Act," signed by George W Bush in 2002, which allocated one hundred million dollars per year to the SPLA.
One notable episode of the U.S. war against Sudan happened in 1998 when the U.S. government of Bill Clinton, with a missile strike, destroyed Sudan's only pharmaceutical plant, the al-Shifa plant near Khartoum. This rendered Sudan unable to produce needed human medications to treat endemic diseases such as malaria and also veterinary medicines needed by Sudan's livestock industry which is a major part of the livelihood of the people of Sudan.
In 2004, during the U.S. presidential election campaign, the U.S. government started leveling false allegations of "genocide" against the Sudanese government in regards to the new civil war in Darfur in the west of Sudan. The U.S. media and pro-imperialist "human rights" organizations (such as Human Rights Watch which is controlled by billionaire George Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations) falsely portrayed the conflict in Darfur as a slaughter of black Africans by a "white Arab" Sudanese government. In reality it was a civil war among many armed groups, some of which were supported by the U.S. and Israel, fighting over limited resources in an impoverished region. Nearly everyone in Sudan is a black African. And nearly everyone in Darfur is a black African, Arabic-speaking Muslim. The numbers cited for the "genocide" in Darfur were inflated estimates of how many people might die from famine and disease.
This year the propaganda against Sudan in the United States has intensified again. On April 30, 2006, the U.S. government in conjunction with U.S. Zionist groups, staged a large pro-war rally in Washington DC. U.S. congresspersons, as well as members of the Bush administration, spoke at the rally calling for the war against Sudan to be escalated by sending in an invasion force of U.N., NATO or U.S. troops. Nearly every pro-Israel group in the USA has anti-Sudan propaganda on the front of their website. In Massachusetts an example of a Zionist group doing pro-war activism is the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston.
The anti-Sudan rhetoric is no different than the rhetoric that the U.S. government uses against other countries that the United States is attacking. One aim of U.S. attacks against Sudan is to gain or maintain control over Sudan's natural resources: notably petroleum but also uranium, other minerals, gum arabic, and the Nile River which supplies water to Egypt. China currently has access to oil from Sudan, and the U.S. government wants to cut China off. Destabilizing and impoverishing Sudan serves American and Israeli hegemonic interests to make sure there are no prosperous independent nations in the Middle East and North African regions.
But within the United States the anti-Sudan rhetoric is useful for more than just getting Americans ready for more overt war against Sudan. Anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rhetoric regarding Sudan is part of the general anti-Arab and anti-Muslim propaganda that is used to gain U.S. domestic support for the war in Iraq, continued U.S. support for Israel, and the so-called "war on terror". Zionist groups in the United States have been purveying anti-Arab propaganda regarding Sudan for many years before the Darfur war, making false claims about "slavery" in Sudan. Slave redemption efforts in Sudan have been shown to be a hoax. Divesting from Sudan is a Zionist anti-Arab counter-proposal to the idea of divesting from Israel. Lies about Arabs divert attention from efforts to end Israeli apartheid in Palestine.
On September 1, 2006, the U.S. rammed a resolution through the U.N. Security Council calling for tens of thousands of U.N. troops, ostensibly "peace-keepers" but really an imperialist invasion force, to be sent to Darfur to replace the current smaller U.S.-puppet African Union force. On September 17, Zionists and other pro-war Americans held an anti-Sudan rally in Central Park in New York City. The keynote speaker at the rally was Madeleine Albright, Clinton's Secretary of State, who is infamous for having admitted that the Clinton administration and the U.N. had killed half a million Iraqi children through the sanctions in the 90s but nevertheless defending the actions against Iraq as worthwhile. Rally attendees were asked to wear blue hats to signify their desire to send "blue helmet" U.N. troops to invade Sudan. These U.N. troops would not be "peace-keepers." We can see the likely outcome by looking at Haiti where, in 2004, the U.S. deposed the legitimate government and then sent in a U.N. occupation force which has terrorized the country and brutalized the Haitian people. When foreign U.N. soldiers get to Darfur and can't determine which black Arabic-speaking Muslims are the "bad Arabs" and which are the "good Africans", the U.N. troops will kill people indiscriminately. The Sudanese people will rightly resist. The situation will escalate. U.S. warmongers will call for sending more troops, including U.S. troops, and bringing the war to Khartoum. It will be a disaster. The U.S. war against Sudan needs to be stopped and reversed now.
Anti-war activists are not working hard enough to stop the U.S. and Zionist war against Sudan. The current threats against Sudan are just as serious as the threats against Iran. Anti-war activists should be focusing more effort to stop the war against Sudan and to work against U.S. imperialism in Africa in general - the current war against Sudan is just one manifestation of centuries of European colonialism and neo-colonialism in Sudan and Africa. The situation for the people of Sudan will improve once foreign intervention in Sudan stops.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Yes, that's an instruction to delete documents. And notice the date: February 12, 2007. That's well after Congress began investigating this matter. I don't believe any subpoenas or document requests had yet been issued (someone please correct me if I'm wrong about that), but it was pretty clear by then that document requests were likely.
Let's review the timeline. On January 17, 2007, Senators Feinstein and Leahy grilled Alberto Gonzales on the recent spate of U.S. Attorney firings. On January 25, 2007, Senator Schumer announced that he was going to hold hearings on the firing of U.S. Attorneys. And on February 6, Schumer held the first set of hearings, in which Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty testified that Bud Cummins was not asked to leave for "performance-related" reasons, but rather to make way for Karl Rove protege Tim Griffin. That damaging testimony helped propel this story to the front pages.
And two days later, on February 8, 2007, Senators Durbin, Schumer, Murray, and Reid sent a follow up letter to Alberto Gonzales asking all sorts of questions arising out of McNulty's testimony, including a number of questions about the replacement of Bud Cummins with Tim Griffin.
It is in this context that Monica Goodling, four days later, sends out the above-displayed email, which attaches updated talking points re: Griffin/Cummins and various other U.S. Attorney related issues and instructs the recipients to delete prior versions of the documents.
As a litigator, I can tell you, that's a real no-no. You never instruct people to delete documents that are relevant to a pending investigation. Never. That's true even when the investigating body hasn't yet got around to requesting those documents. It smacks of obstruction. Indeed, the Obstruction of Congress statute, 18 U.S.C § 1505, specifically prohibits any attempts to obstruct "the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress." The penalty is up to 5 years in prison.
I'm not sure if 18 U.S.C § 1505 has been interpreted to apply to the destruction of documents that have not yet been formally requested--I suspect it hasn't--but it is, at the very least, incredibly dodgy to be instructing people to delete documents that relate to a pending Congressional inquiry. If an employee of a private entity were caught giving such an instruction after an investigation had been initiated, it would incur the everlasting wrath of the government agency or prosecutor's office conducting that investigation. It would be a real mess.
That's why the first piece of advice a private entity receives from its lawyers when it learns that it is being investigated is to issue a document preservation notice to all employees. The last thing you want is to have the government request a document and then learn that it was deleted or destroyed AFTER the investigation was initiated. Just ask the people who used to work for Arthur Anderson. The sad demise of that once proud firm is all the reminder you need that the Justice Department doesn't react too kindly to post-initiation-of-investigation destruction of evidence.
Which makes it all the more ironic that Monica Goodling, a high-ranking Justice Department official, is instructing other high-ranking Justice Department officials to delete documents that are relevant to an ongoing Congressional inquiry. No wonder she pled the Fifth.
posted by A.L. at 10:13 PM
Saturday, April 28, 2007
(04-28) 13:07 PDT BAGHDAD, (AP) --
A car bomb exploded Saturday in the Shiite holy city of Karbala as the streets were packed with people heading for evening prayers, killing at least 58 and wounding scores near some of the country's most sacred shrines. Separately, the U.S. military announced the deaths of eight American troops, including three killed Saturday in a single roadside bombing outside Baghdad.
With black smoke clogging the skies above Karbala, angry crowds hurled stones at police and later stormed the provincial governor's house, accusing authorities of failing to protect them from the unrelenting bombings usually blamed on Sunni insurgents. It was the second car bomb to strike the city's central area in two weeks.
Near the blast site, survivors frantically searched for missing relatives. Iraqi television showed one man carrying the charred body of a small girl above his head as he ran down the street, while ambulances rushed to retrieve the wounded and firefighters sprayed water at fires in the wreckage, leaving pools of bloody water.
The blast took place about 7 p.m. in a crowded commercial area near the shrines of Imam Abbas and Imam Hussein, major Shiite saints. The U.S. military said American forces were on the scene; the Iraqi army asked for medical supplies.
In his book, former CIA director says aides to Cheney and Rumsfeld inserted 'crap' into public justifications for war
By KAREN DEYOUNG
WASHINGTON — White House and Pentagon officials, and particularly Vice President Dick Cheney, were determined to attack Iraq from the first days of the Bush administration, long before the Sept. 11 attacks, and repeatedly stretched available intelligence to build support for the war, according to a new book by former CIA director George Tenet.
Although Tenet does not question the threat Saddam Hussein posed or the sincerity of administration beliefs, he recounts numerous efforts by aides to Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to insert "crap" into public justifications for the war. Tenet also describes an ongoing fear within the intelligence community of the administration's willingness to "mischaracterize complex intelligence information."
"There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraq threat," Tenet writes in At the Center of the Storm, to be published Monday. The debate "was not about imminence but about acting before Saddam did."
White House counselor Dan Bartlett Friday called Tenet a "true patriot" but disputed his conclusions, saying "the president did wrestle with those very serious questions." Responding to reports from the book in Friday's New York Times, Bartlett suggested that the former CIA director might have been unaware of all the discussions. President Bush, Bartlett said on NBC's Today Show, "weighed all the various consequences before he did make a decision."
In their threat briefings for the incoming Bush administration in late 2000, Tenet writes, CIA officials did not even mention Iraq. But Cheney, he says, asked for an Iraq briefing and requested that the outgoing Clinton administration's defense secretary, William Cohen, provide information on Iraq for Bush.
A speech by Cheney in August 2002 "went well beyond what our analysis could support," Tenet writes. The speech charged, among other things, that Saddam had restarted his nuclear program and would "acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon ... perhaps within a year." Caught off-guard by the remarks, which had not been cleared by the CIA, Tenet says he considered confronting the vice president on the subject but did not.
"Would that have changed his future approach?" he asks. "I doubt it but I should not have let silence imply an agreement." Policy-makers, he writes, "have a right to their own opinions, but not their own set of facts."
For the future, Tenet describes his deepest fear as "the nuclear one." He is convinced, he writes, that this is where Osama bin Laden "and his operatives desperately want to go. They understand that bombings by cars, trucks, trains and planes will get them some headlines, to be sure. But if they manage to set off a mushroom cloud, they will make history."
The book breaks Tenet's long public silence since he resigned in June 2004 over what he considered White House attempts to turn him into a scapegoat, as U.S. efforts in Iraq were bogging down, for the faulty intelligence used to justify the invasion in the first place.
Tenet writes that Bush talked him out of resigning in May 2003. But he decided it was time to go nine months later when a book by The Washington Post's Bob Woodward quoted him as telling Bush in December 2002 that the intelligence case against Iraq was a "slam dunk," a statement he says was taken out of context but subsequently used by the administration to blame him for faulty Iraq intelligence. "I couldn't quit immediately over something that appeared in a book," Tenet writes, "but I didn't see any way I could or should stay on much longer." Bush made no attempt to keep him when he finally resigned in June 2004.
Tenet blames himself, among other things, for the hastily compiled October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons, issued on the eve of a congressional vote authorizing the war. The NIE, he said, "should have been initiated earlier. I didn't think one was necessary. I was wrong." The document, he acknowledged, was "not cautious in key judgments" and at times used single sources who turned out to be wrong.
A perennial problem, he writes, was a tendency by intelligence analysts to assume other people thought like they did. When judging whether Saddam was lying when he said Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, "we did not account for ... the mind set never to show weakness in a very dangerous neighborhood."
One of the "lowest moments of my seven-year tenure," Tenet recalls, was when a congressman told him in a public hearing in the spring of 2004 that "we depended on you, and you let us down."
He titles one chapter of the 549-page book "Missed Opportunities," but Tenet misses few opportunities himself to settle scores with Cheney and Rumsfeld and their top aides, and with Bush's first-term national security adviser and current secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice. He characterizes Rice as a "remote" figure who "knew the president's mind well but tended to stay out of policy fights." Under Rice, he says, the National Security Council failed to explore options and reach consensus. Rumsfeld, he says, refused to recognize worsening reality in Iraq and on several occasions undercut CIA efforts with cavalier treatment of secret information.
By contrast, Tenet's treatment of Bush, who presented Tenet with a Medal of Freedom six months after his departure, is relatively gentle. He says he and others sometimes failed to give Bush the information he needed. "The president was not well served," he says by way of example, "because the NSC became too deferential to a postwar strategy that was not working."
Tenet writes defensively about the controversial program to intercept domestic telephone calls involving terrorism suspects. The program was Cheney's idea, and the vice president briefed "the leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence committees 12 times prior to its public disclosure" in late 2005.
He reiterates a claim last year by Bush that the CIA's harsh interrogations of captured al-Qaida figures "helped disrupt plots aimed at locations in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, South Asia, and Central Asia." He says the agency used "the most aggressive" techniques — which he does not detail — on "a handful of the worst terrorists on the planet" and that the questioning was "carefully monitored at all times to ensure the safety of the prisoner."
The last thing the Middle East's main players want is US troops to leave IraqAcross the region, ordinary people want the Americans out. But from Israel to al-Qaida, political groups and states have other ideas
Wednesday April 25, 2007
Overt political debate in the Middle East is hostile to the American occupation of Iraq and dominated by calls for it to end sooner rather than later. No less a figure than King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, arguably the United States' closest Arab ally, has declared the occupation of Iraq "illegal" and "illegitimate". Real intentions, however, are different. States and local political groups might not admit it - because of public opinion - but they do not want to see the back of the Americans. Not yet.
For this there is a simple reason: while the US can no longer successfully manipulate regional actors to carry out its plans, regional actors have learned to use the US presence to promote their own objectives. Quietly and against the deeply held wishes of their populations, they have managed to keep the Americans engaged with the hope of some elusive victory.
The so-called axis of moderate Arab states - comprising Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan - dreads an early US withdrawal. First, because it would be widely interpreted as an American defeat, which would weaken these pro-American regimes while both energising and radicalising their populations.
Second, if the US leaves, the emergence of a Shia regime in Iraq - in itself an offensive prospect to them - would only be a matter of time. Facing Arab antipathy, this regime would be likely to look eastward and forge close ties with its Iranian co-religionists. In the view of most Arabs, this would present a formidable challenge, setting in motion a series of dangerous events - an Iranian-Iraqi alliance; political and material support from Arab countries being offered to disgruntled Iraqi Sunni groups; retaliation by Iraqi forces; and the threat of broader regional involvement.
Third, a US departure risks triggering Iraq's partition. As some Arabs see it, the occupation is what holds the country together. So long as coalition forces are deployed, a full-blown breakup can be avoided.
In contrast, with the Americans gone, the odds of partition would increase dramatically, presenting a threat to the integrity and security of regional states. Exacerbating dormant, and in some cases not so dormant, secessionist tendencies would be one concern. Perhaps more worrying would be the ensuing challenge to the legitimacy of the fundamental tenets of nationhood, state, and national borders.
Paradoxically, the competing axis of so-called rogue states made up of Syria and Iran also wants the US to stay. So long as America remains mired in Iraq's quicksand, they think, it will be difficult for it to embark on a similar adventure nearby. This is true not only politically - the quagmire standing as a stark reminder of the invasion's failure - but also militarily: US capabilities will remain stretched for as long as the occupation continues.
Moreover, American forces in Iraq present relatively soft targets for retaliation in case Iran or Syria is attacked. In short, whether or not Syria and Iran are correct in their calculations, the occupation of Iraq is seen as the most effective insurance policy against a possible US attack against them.
For Turkey, America's presence ensures that the national aspirations of Iraq's Kurds will not metamorphose into a fully fledged independent state, a strict red line for Ankara, which has its own irredentist Kurdish problem. By containing Kurdish ambitions, the US diminishes the probability of a costly and uncertain Turkish military campaign to thwart them. Nor is Turkey attracted to the prospect of an Iraqi Shia state allied to Iran and tolerant of Kurdish aspirations - an outcome it hopes the occupation will make less likely.
For Israel too, an American withdrawal could spell disaster. Already, nothing has dented Israeli deterrence more than America's performance in Iraq - an inspiration to Israel's Arab foes that even the mightiest can be brought to heel. An early withdrawal, coming in the wake of last summer's Lebanon war, could put Israel in a dangerous position, handing a victory to Iran - the latest putative threat to Israel's existence - and providing a boost to Syria which may be considering military options to recover the Golan Heights.
There are risks for the smaller Gulf states too. With their large Shia communities and heavy dependence on American protection, they would be threatened by an early US departure from Iraq. In Bahrain, home to an unhappy Shia majority, the fallout could be imminent.
Inside Iraq, this is a period of consolidation for most political groups. They are building up their political and military capabilities, cultivating and forging alliances, clarifying political objectives and preparing for impending challenges. It is not the moment for all-out confrontation. No group has the confidence or capacity decisively to confront rivals within its own community or across communal lines. Equally, no party is genuinely interested in a serious process of national reconciliation when they feel they can improve their position later on. A continued American presence is consistent with both concerns - it can keep clashes manageable and be used to postpone the need for serious political engagement.
Shias in government would like the US to stay long enough for them to tighten their grip on the levers of state power and build a loyal military. Those Shias who are not in power would like them to stay long enough to avoid a premature showdown with their rivals. Militant Shia groups can simultaneously blame the occupation forces for their community's plight and attack them to mobilise further support. Pro-Iranian Shias, meanwhile, retaliate against anti-Iranian US moves with attacks on Americans in Iraq.
Al-Qaida and its affiliates arguably benefit most from the occupation. They established themselves, brought in recruits, sustained operations against the Americans and expanded. The last thing they want is for the Americans to leave and deny them targets and motivation for new members. Other Sunni armed groups need the Americans for similar reasons and for protection against Shias. For Sunni politicians, the occupation prevents a total Shia takeover of state institutions and helps increase their influence.
Of all ethnic groups, the Kurds have made best use of the Americans. Protected by the US from their powerful and ruthless historical foes, Arab and Turk, they have built quasi-independent institutions and prospered amid relative security. They have no reason to want this situation to end.
In common with neighbouring states, Iraqi Shias, Sunnis and Kurds are united in being able to use the Americans' presence to pursue separate and often conflicting political agendas. The grand disconnect in the region is between the political sentiments of ordinary people, which are overwhelmingly for an end to occupation, and the political calculations of leaders, which emphasise the benefits of using the Americans and consequently of extending their stay - at least for the time being.
In this grim picture, the Americans appear the least sure and most confused. With unattainable objectives, wobbly plans, changing tactics, shifting alliances and ever-increasing casualties, it is not clear any longer what they want or how they are going to achieve it. By setting themselves up to be manipulated, they give credence to an old Arab saying: the magic has taken over the magician.
· Hussein Agha is a senior associate member of St Antony's College, Oxford
"Enough" is a word that means little to corporate media. The few bloated companies that remain atop the media food-chain have crossed the line from growing profits to actively pushing rule and law changes that will wound our nation.
These mega-companies move from one industry to the next in the name of consolidation, driven by a Wall Street appetite that demands more every quarter. Companies once devoted to a particular sector are now behemoths that have control over almost everything read, watched or listened to.
Time Warner is a prime example. A magazine publisher and a movie studio is now a leviathan made up of Time Inc., AOL, HBO, Time Warner Cable, New Line Cinema, Turner Broadcasting Systems and Warner Bros. Entertainment. Each part comprises a number of other companies. Time Inc. consists of 130 magazines.
It is Time Warner that is responsible for the latest assault on a mechanism set up to promote democracy and innovation. I am not talking about the Internet, but the U.S. Postal Service. That's right, old snail mail.
Our postal system is written into the Constitution and was set up in a way that all publications, regardless of size or influence, could reach the public. James Madison even said that publications should be sent free.
"It is really one of the great build-outs of democracy in our country," said Bob McChesney, professor of communication at the University of Illinois and president of Free Press.
The mail system faces new challenges in an electronic world, but it is still vital, and democracy will suffer if the new rates instituted by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) are allowed to stand.
The Postal Service sought a modest increase that was acceptable for magazines and periodicals. Then Time Warner got the ear of the PRC, which thrust an incredibly convoluted pay metric written by Time Warner on the Postal Service. The new rates are good for Time Warner because it will be cheaper for them to send out their 130 titles, while smaller and independent publications will be paying crippling rates.
McChesney believes this change, scheduled to go into effect July 15, is dangerous for the nation because it will silence voices that are the bedrock of original reporting.
"The crucial point here is that most of the original material online and most of the articles that bloggers are blogging about come from ink on paper," said McChesney, who is fighting the PRC's decision.
Time Warner is hardly the only Biggie to cozy up to a regulatory agency. The consolidation of the press has been going strong for nearly three decades. Radio contracted like an imploding sun after the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act allowed companies to own an obscene number of stations in the same market, while the Federal Communications Commission did little.
This push to collect and condense has now infringed on the Internet. Cable and telecommunications companies such as Comcast and Verizon are fighting the network-neutrality effort. There are currently no permanent rules stopping these companies that supply the pipes through which the Internet flows from tinkering with different pay scales. Without a neutrality law and strict oversight by the FCC, companies and Web sites would have to pay additional fees to the network provider so Web pages could load at the speed they should. The American consumer — who already pays more than consumers in other countries for broadband service — would pay an even larger bill.
Progress has been made on the net-neutrality front. Late last year, AT&T accepted a net-neutrality rule so its merger with BellSouth would be approved by the FCC. Problem is, AT&T is only held to the rule for two years. Net neutrality has not seemed to hurt AT&T. The company posted a first-quarter profit of $2.8 billion, up from $1.4 billion.
Radio on the Internet is now also under attack. If a recent ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board stands, small and independent Internet radio stations will have to pay royalty fees so onerous that many might not survive.
The aggression directed at democratizing systems that have long served — and should continue to serve — our nation is worrisome. The institutions charged to protect the public have failed.
Americans have had enough. Now is the time to get active.
Ryan Blethen's column appears regularly on editorial pages of The Times. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, April 27 — The Bush administration will not try to assess whether the troop increase in Iraq is producing signs of political progress or greater security until September, and many of Mr. Bush’s top advisers now anticipate that any gains by then will be limited, according to senior administration officials.
In interviews over the past week, the officials made clear that the White House is gradually scaling back its expectations for the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The timelines they are now discussing suggest that the White House may maintain the increased numbers of American troops in Iraq well into next year.
That prospect would entail a dramatically longer commitment of frontline troops, patrolling the most dangerous neighborhoods of Baghdad, than the one envisioned in legislation that passed the House and Senate this week. That vote, largely symbolic because Democrats do not have the votes to override the promised presidential veto, set deadlines that would lead to the withdrawal of combat troops by the end of March 2008.
The casus belli for “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, the invasion of Iraq, was a fraud. We know that now. Even though there was no threat whatever to the United States from Iraq, the decision was made by Richard Cheney in consultation with his junior associate, George W. Bush, to invade and occupy Iraq, a country which had been decimated by an economic embargo and whose army had been cut by two-thirds since 1991. Once the predatory decision had been made, it was necessary to fabricate a plausible justification for it, to “fix the intelligence around the policy”, to use the British phraseology. This required months of a carefully calibrated propaganda campaign to misinform the American public and pressure the U.S. Congress and Senate for the authorization to attack. At the UN in the Security Council, a similar mendacious strategy was underway. At the same time, the White House was suggesting that it did not actually need authorization from the Congress or the UN to initiate hostilities. Why not? Because G.W. Bush is POTUS 43, the commander-in-chief, and as such he can do as he pleases when it comes to national security affairs. The same argument will be made if and when the U.S. attacks Iran.
Let’s be clear. Oil-rich Iraq had nothing to do with the national security of the United States. From the very start, going back to Saddam’s attempted annexation of Kuwait in 1990, Iraq was and remains a political football. What has been done to Iraq by successive Administrations in the name of the American people--beginning with H.W. Bush and “Operation Desert Storm” in 1991 and continuing with Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright and the murderous economic sanctions on Iraq throughout the 1990’s, and highlighted by the bizarre 1998 “Iraq Liberation Act” of Congress, which passed 360-38 in the House of Representatives and by unanimous consent in the Senate, and finally in 2003, the invasion of Iraq itself, endorsed by the Democratic leadership on Capital Hill--all of this was based upon American domestic politics and constant pressure from the U.S. Israel Lobby, and not on the legitimate national security concerns of the the United States. What is happening now in 2007 is more of the same, to wit, more politics: the Democrats, many of whom were cheerleaders for the war when it began, are trying to make whatever political mileage they can from the obvious disaster this war has become. There are some intellectually honest individuals, like Congressman John Murtha and Senator Chuck Hagel, but they are the exceptions.
Meanwhile, Dick Cheney and what is left of his dwindling gang of “neocons” want to attack Iran, in a last gasp of recklessness and myopia. Bush Jr. is on board, as before, for reasons which remain unclear and unimportant. But the scenario employed to take out Iraq will not work. Why not? Because Cheney and Bush have been exposed as duplicitous. They have hardly an ounce of credibility left. “Operation Iraqi Freedom” has degenerated into a nightmare and many of the “neocon” operatives who carried it out from the Pentagon and from the White House have wisely fled the scene of the crime. One of them, I. “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff as well as a counselor to the President, has been convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with covering up the White House disinformation campaign. In short, the same dog won’t hunt.
Still, attacking Iran is on Tel Aviv’s wish list, as clearly evidenced by AIPAC’s “Policy Conferences” in Washington from the last 3 or 4 years, so something has to be worked out before Cheney and Bush leave office. Actually, the situation is not looking all that bad on Capital Hill for reinstating “the clash of civilizations”, despite the Iraq fiasco. The me-too Democrats, in particular those running for President in 2008, and especially the Republicans running for President, are on record that “all options are on the table” when it comes to Iran. To translate, under the right circumstances, Democratic leaders, and all Presidential contenders, will go along with a U.S. attack on Iran. It just requires the right setup. The White House has only to prepare the bogus circumstances, like it did prior to “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. Fine and dandy. Once again, the Democrats are enabling Cheney and Bush to launch another unprovoked war. It was your country.
But there may be an unforeseen problem for the war party. Two months ago, on April 25th, the London Sunday Times reported (”US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack” by Michael Smith & Sarah Baxter) that a handful of generals and admirals would not obey White House orders to attack Iran, but would resign in the face of such an order. This is astonishing and unprecedented, if true. It appears that a significant number of U.S. military officers have concluded that the two gentlemen in charge at the White House are not playing with a full deck. What does it mean for the warmongers? How will the White House, in cooperation with their “neocon” brain trust, railroad America into another unnecessary war? The largely overlooked and unheralded article in the London Sunday Times provides a good clue. “A second US navy aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS John C Stennis arrived in the Gulf last week, doubling the US presence there. Vice Admiral Patrick Walsh, the commander of the US Fifth Fleet, warned: ‘The US will take military action if ships are attacked or if countries in the region are targeted or US troops come under direct attack.’” Read that again. The scenario is in place.
Taking the vice admiral’s statement at face value, this indicates that the White House has ordered the U.S. fleet to attack Iran in the event Iran takes action against any country in the region. An instant war trigger. No need for Congress to act. The me-too Democrats and the brain dead Republicans can relax, sit back and enjoy it. There is no alliance, formal or informal, and no treaty which would require the U.S. to attack Iran in the event Iran “targets” other countries in the region. The only reason Iran would target anybody would be in the event Iran had been targeted first, and Iran was attempting to launch a counter-attack, in other words, defending itself. Get the drift? It is entirely possible that a nuclear-armed Tel Aviv, acting “on its own” but in coordination with Dick Cheney, Elliot Abrams, David Wurmser and maybe even with George W. Bush, will initiate hostilities with a bombing run and/or cruise missile attack on Iran. Then, as soon as Iran attempts to react, Iran will get clobbered with a massive “shock and awe” blitzkrieg carried out by the U.S. air force and navy, which attack will virtually destroy the Iranian military and the Iranian nuclear energy program as well. The final mission accomplished. Cheney and Bush will be back on top in Washington. The shameful and shameless me-too Democrats will be out maneuvered yet again. Life is beautiful. The revenge of the neocons will be complete.
Patrick Foy is author of The Unauthorized World Situation Report.
Poll Shows Security Imbalance In US
by Shaun Waterman
UPI Homeland and National Security Editor
Washington (UPI) April 26, 2007
By a large margin, Americans feel the Bush administration has tipped the balance of security against liberty too far towards security, a new UPI/Zogby polls shows.
But the public remains closely divided on the president's most controversial security programs, favoring by small margins warrantless wiretaps against terror suspects and the broad mining by federal agencies of personal data about U.S. citizens.
When asked whether the Bush administration had "found the right balance between personal security and personal freedom," only one-third (33 percent) agreed. Nearly half (49 percent) agreed instead that the "administration has tipped the balance too far towards security."
Only 7 percent agreed with the third option, that the balance was tipped "too far towards freedom, leaving our security weak."
Asked about specific security programs run by the administration, Americans were generally more supportive of those targeting foreigners.
Two-thirds (66 percent) agreed that the U.S. government had the right to collect personal data about foreign airline passengers coming to the country, which has been a source of ongoing friction with the European Union.
Fifty-five percent agreed that the Terrorism Surveillance Program was "a necessary and legal tool to protect Americans," and 42 percent disagreed. Under the program, the National Security Agency conducts court-authorized but warrantless surveillance of international communications by Americans with suspected terrorists.
But 62 percent also agreed with the proposition that "the government should always be required to get a warrant or court order before monitoring the phone conversations or e-mails of American citizens or legal immigrants."
Americans also appeared closely divided on the merits of federal agencies analyzing vast collections of personal data to look for patterns and connections that might reveal terrorist activity.
Asked about such techniques, known as data-mining, 50 percent agreed that U.S. agencies should be allowed to use them on personal data "like credit card transactions, charitable donations and travel histories," while 46 percent disagreed.
Men were more likely than women to believe that the administration had got the balance between security and freedom right (39 percent for men; 28 percent for women). Women were more likely than men to believe that the balance had tipped too far toward security (53 percent, compared with 45 percent for men).
When broken down by the self-professed ideology of respondents, the survey reveals a predictable near-unanimity among progressives and liberals that the balance has tipped too far towards security. Sixty percent of moderates feel the same way -- 11 percent more than the population as a whole.
Looking at party affiliation, 69 percent of Republicans believe the administration has the balance right, but only 28 percent of independents agree. Fifty-three percent of independents believe the balance is skewed too far to security, 4 percent more than the general population.
The idea that the administration had struck a good balance grew more popular with the increasing age of the respondents. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, 64 percent believed the balance was skewed to security, and only 18 percent thought the administration had it right.
But that balance tilts gradually through increasing age ranges, until among those 70 and over, 49 percent believe the balance to be right and only 35 percent see it as tilted to security.
Similar age-related variations can be seen in opinions about individual programs. Only 38 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds support the Terrorism Surveillance Program, compared with 55 percent of the general population and 72 percent of those 70 and older.
There was also a pronounced gender gap. Sixty percent of men believed the program was "legal and necessary," compared with only 50 percent of women.
Independents were almost as supportive of the program as the general population (53 percent, compared to 55), but only 20 percent of Democrats see it as legal and necessary, compared with 93 percent of Republicans.
There was lukewarm support for an administration proposal, contained in the intelligence authorization bill currently stalled in the Senate, to suspend certain provisions of the Privacy Act to facilitate counter-terrorism information sharing.
Only 39 percent of respondents agreed with that idea, and 54 percent opposed it. Support was much higher among Republicans (68 percent), slightly lower among independents (33 percent), and almost negligible among Democrats (16 percent).
Source: United Press International
By David Michael Green
I’m not an angry man. But I am angry.
I’m not a bitter person. But, boy, am I bitter.
And I’m not generally given to vindictiveness. But, you know what? Right now I’m open to persuasion.
The Bush administration is now beginning an inexorable process which will change its status from the worst administration in American history to the publicly-acknowledged worst administration in American history. I, for one, couldn’t be more delighted.
That delight is only partly based on having been on the receiving end of their atrocities these last six years. And it is only partly based on the assurance that those gifts will keep giving for decades into the future, like a bad case of political herpes.
And that delight is also only partly based on their motivations and the scale of their transgressions. People who believe that the regressive right came to Washington to implement a legitimate ideology that just happens to be different from ours, or who believe that they meant well but, ironically, the first MBA president couldn’t manage his way out of an empty wading pool, even with the entire federal bureaucracy to assist him – such people fundamentally misunderstand this administration and the movement which they spearhead.
These are sociopathic predators – nothing more, nothing less – and we are foolish, to the point of acting as enablers, if we fail to call this what it is. This administration is a kleptocracy which came to town to grab everything it could grab, operating behind a hideously deceitful veil of generated fear and false security provision. Boiled down to its essence, this is little more than a classic protection racket writ large. Whether history will reveal that they manufactured 9/11, or purposely stood by and allowed it to happen, or simply screwed up the job of actually providing real national security, they in any case then milked that tragedy for everything it was worth, constantly sowing fear in the heartland, and offering the false promise of protection to a frightened public.
For all these reasons, they are surely getting what they deserve. But, finally, my delight in watching the long-deserved implosion of this American tragicomedy is also partly based on attitude. Never in my life have I seen such high-handed arrogance, such disrespectful condescension for the loyal opposition, such destructive shredding of the very core institutions of Western political culture, such cavalier disregard for the lives of anyone, including Americans.
No, I’m not generally angry, bitter or vindictive. But you rub your noxious garbage in my face for six (if not twenty-five) years and arrogantly dismiss me as an unpatriotic retread for opposing your transparent predations, then, yeah, I’m going to rejoice in your getting what you deserve. And, right now, I’m rejoicing. Right now, schadenfreude is my middle name.
The fun has only just begun, but nevertheless the wheels are already coming off the wagon. The dominoes are already falling, and Henry Waxman has only just begun to issue subpoenas. The water’s rapidly rising, and is now splashing the dirty faces of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and even George W. Bush. We’re running out of metaphors to mix here, but fortunately not jail cells.
You wouldn’t want to face what they’re facing over the next twenty-one months under the best of circumstances. But you especially wouldn’t want to go there with your popularity in the toilet, your credibility so shot that even Republican senators are disbelieving you in public, a corrosive war that, at best, cannot possibly regain public support, and members of your own party seeing that their association with you, your arrogance, your screw-ups and now your scandals all roll up together into a giant freight train called the 2008 Express, rapidly steaming their direction.
Who will be left to throw Bush a rope when he’s finally going down? Trent Lott? No, they burned him, and something tells me he hasn’t forgotten. John Kerry? Maybe he’ll FedEx over some Band-Aids. Jacques Chirac? That’s Old Europe, people. Saddam Hussein? His rope is in use elsewhere.
So one by one they come down, and no one is even going after the big questions yet, like what happened before and during 9/11, what’s happened before, during and after Katrina, the failure of the Afghan war, and the marketing of the Iraq war. Whether we ever get to those or not, we can at least take pleasure in the just desserts already being served, and relief in the enfeebling of Bush and his destructive agenda.
Rumsfeld’s gone. Without question, forced retirement in failure to some corporate pastureland is far too good a punishment for him, even if he does carry the shame of being one of the few people on this planet moronic enough to get fired by George W. Bush. Nor is he necessarily out of the woods, either. If even the merest approximation of the truth ever makes it to a grand jury, Rummy will want to be investing in some very high-powered legal Dobermans. He’ll need them.
Scooter Libby is now gone, and while it’s true that his crimes greatly exceed his likely punishment, even assuming no pardon, it is something. And let us all laugh collectively at the absurd claims of the right, trying desperately to defend him. “Valerie Plame wasn’t actually undercover!” Well, except that she testified she was. And it was the CIA which had initiated the investigation in the first place, out of concern about having its spy networks exposed. “Libby had lots of important stuff on his plate and just didn’t remember!” Yeah, except that what he just didn’t remember was nine conversations with eight different people on the same subject. (Aren’t these the same people who vitiated Clinton for lying about consensual oral sex under oath? Did I miss something here? When did treason get to be the lesser offense?) No one on the jury believed Libby’s lies for even a second. Indeed, they all felt sorry for what was transparently a case of Libby taking a bullet for his boss, Dick Cheney.
Now comes Wolfowitz and Gonzales. I doubt either can last very long, particularly the former, who has more constituents than just the thumb-sucker at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and whose staff is in outright mutiny against the head pirate. It’s breaking my heart, in a schadenfreude kind of way, to see Wolfie hoisted on his own petard, and now flapping in the wind of shame for a third week running. Given his evident insularity of breathtaking proportions (talk about not being able to take a hint!), he probably doesn’t have the decency to be embarrassed for himself yet. And even when he’s unceremoniously tossed overboard, it won’t begin to atone for the destruction listed next to his name in the Big Book of Death. (With apologies to Nathan Hale, I regret that Wolfowitz has but one life to give for all the ones he’s taken.)
But it is a start. After what we’ve been through, it’s amazing and unfortunate how little it takes to provide a measure of satisfaction. Just the same, the visage of European governments and World Bank staff (not exactly paragons of liberalism, either of them) growing nauseous from the smell of rotting predator is always encouraging. And seeing the great anti-corruption crusader indicted for practicing the crassest form of nepotism is only icing on the cake.
Then there’s Alberto Gonzales, for whom the oft-employed term ‘consigliere’ was always far too generous. Sure, the guy makes things happen for his boss, but he’s far more the simple soldier than the clever counselor in Bushland. And since nobody in that sad country is actually principled enough to be a soldier for any cause other than lining their own pockets, we ought to just identify this guy for the sycophant that he is, pure and simple.
But he also happens to be the highest ranking law enforcement official in the land, and if that doesn’t send shivers up your spine you might want to cut back on whatever is your self-medicating substance of choice. Silly Al put on such a show before Congress last week that even Republican senators were eying the political egress, wondering how they could possibly get the stink of Bushism out of their clothes and hair (as if they weren’t one hundred and ten percent culpable themselves, back when Bush walked on water).
No less than seventy-one times, Gonzales’s memory evaded him as he tried to recall the firing of key members of his staff, in the biggest credibility meltdown since… well, since the Libby trial. Imagine a guy who really had a memory that bad arguing the government’s position before the Supreme Court. “I’m sorry, your honor, I don’t recall which side of this case I’m on here.” “I’m sorry, your honor, I haven’t been able to keep all those amendments straight since I lost the cheat sheet I used on my law school finals.”
Perhaps we would have gotten some different answers if the attorney general was subjected to a little of his own justice. Perhaps a few days at Guantánamo would have changed his tune. Maybe the rigors of a torture program he once claimed it was “quaint” and “obsolete” to oppose would stimulate his memory.
But, of course, his absurd testimony was all just dandy for the one guy besides Gonzales himself who could put an end to this embarrassment. Bush’s take was that “the attorney general went up and gave a very candid assessment, and answered every question he could possibly answer, honestly answer”. Bush concluded that Gonzales’s testimony had “increased my confidence in his ability to do the job”.
This last line in particular is just the most recent example of the utterly juvenile content of regressive politics, and the sheer contempt with which we in the body politic are held by these folks. As if Gonzales’s lies to Congress had anything whatsoever to do with Bush’s assessment of him. As if Bush was sitting there watching the television, hoping his attorney general would set the record straight, explain why all of this is not a scandal, and win back his job on the basis of his commitment to good governance. As if the president actually thinks Gonzales told the truth on Capitol Hill. As if that is what he wanted him to do. I don’t remember a looking glass, but surely there must have been one along the way somewhere.
On top of all the injuries of the Bush administration, these childish rhetorical turns only add insult in the sheer contempt they demonstrate for we owners of American democracy. Maybe for the thirty percent of Americans who still support this guy, it works. Maybe for the sheep who are so willfully naive that they let their pastors tell them what to believe politically, it’s okay. But for the rest of us with our very own brains, this is politics that wouldn’t be fit for a sixth grade civics class.
Rumsfeld, Libby, Wolfowitz, Gonzales, DeLay, Brown, Ney, Abramoff, Cunningham and more. Bush, Cheney and Rove are unquestionably next. Even if they are lucky enough to survive the next couple of years in office, they will be damaged goods to an extent we’ve never seen before, reviled and despised, first a joke and then too destructive to any longer be funny. The clock is now actually their only friend. If they had 41 months left to go, rather than 21, I have no doubt whatsoever there would be impeachments. As it is, we may be stuck with them for the duration.
Which is not necessarily such a bad thing. The longer these guys are around (within severe limits, of course), the more thorough a job they do in discrediting themselves and their regressive politics. Let the revelations drip out, one by one, corroding the foundations of their destructive project. Let them stew in the very acids they themselves have injected into American democracy. It is not enough just to destroy Bush, because there will always be more Bushes (starting with a real one – Jeb). It is Bushism itself – the entire regressive political project – which must be beaten into irrelevance, so that it never resurfaces to bring us this ruin again. And at the moment, no one – not the press and not the Democrats – is doing a better job of destroying regressivism than the regressives themselves.
I’m not an angry person, but if it sounds like I’m angry now, I am. I’m furious for the lies which have been told. I’m indignant about the manipulation of our best instincts as a society by the world’s most cynically destructive government this side of the 1930s. I’m outraged that probably a million people are now dead in order to satisfy the personal insecurities of one individual who is the most powerful amongst us, but at the same time also the weakest, the worst and the most emotionally bankrupt.
I’m irate that my country has become hated in the world, known now for its human rights violations, its arrogant disdain for the institutions of international cooperation, and its practice of cheap pretext-driven invasions of sovereign states of the sort that was already becoming morally inexcusable back in the nineteenth century. I’m enraged that my country is seen as the most hypocritical on Earth, calling for democracy abroad while undermining it even at home, ranting on and on about terrorism while protecting terrorists from justice, railing about weapons proliferation in other countries while building new classes of nuclear warheads and leading the process of weaponizing space, yet another frontier of our physical environment to be turned into a battlefield.
I’m ashamed that it was not already embarrassing enough that my country, five percent of the world’s population, produces twenty-five percent of its greenhouse gases, but that our government then also had to scuttle even the wimpy Kyoto attempt at remedying the problem, all the while lying to us about the disaster itself.
I’m incensed at the fiscal, environmental, governmental and moral mess that we are leaving to our children. We are saddling them with our debts instead of trying to advantage the next generation, like every generation prior has done, and this government’s policies are responsible for that. We are leaving them a planet which will be wracked by the effects of global warming, and this administration is responsible for that. We are bequeathing to them an America which is deeply divided and widely hated, and that is the legacy of the Bush government.
So, yeah, as a matter of fact, I’m pissed.
Three things happened on the same day this week. The first was that the stories of the two most visible faces of the Iraq war were exposed as complete, and completely intentional, lies, manufactured for the purpose of selling the war. Army Ranger Bryan O’Neal told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, “I was ordered not to tell” the family of Pat Tillman the truth about how he died by friendly fire. Indeed, Tillman’s uniform was immediately burned and other evidence destroyed, so that a tale of his heroic death in battle with the enemy could be fabricated, complete with the awarding of a Silver Star.
Meanwhile, Private Jessica Lynch testified to the same panel that her heroic story was also manufactured, as were the lies about the abuses of the Iraqis holding her, people who in truth tried to help her and to return Lynch to her unit. “Tales of great heroism were being told. My parent’s home in Wirt County was under siege of the media all repeating the story of the little girl Rambo from the hills who went down fighting. It was not true.” To this day, Lynch says, “I am still confused as to why they chose to lie and tried to make me a legend“. Perhaps I can help here. Can you say “Old Shoe”? Does Robert DeNiro have to walk onto the set to get the American public to realize just how wholly fabricated everything about this war has been?
Everything, that is, but the death and destruction, which has been all too real. The second thing that happened that day was that nine more Americans were killed in Iraq, and twenty more seriously wounded. We don’t ever get to know how many Iraqis are consumed in Mr. Bush’s Mesopotamian conflagration (for the same reason we couldn’t be told the truth about Tillman and Lynch), but based on the best and most scientific research on this question, a reasonable estimate is that about 685 are killed every day. Not a bad day’s work for a contemporary Caligula, eh?
And the third thing that happened that day, while the administration’s lies were being exposed, and while those lies harvested their inevitable grinding, grim reapings yet again, is that the very same people who brought us this deceit and destruction continued their campaign to annihilate the remnants of American democracy through the use of yet further Orwellian rhetoric.
“What’s most troubling about Senator Reid’s comments yesterday is his defeatism”, said America’s vice-president. “It is cynical to declare that the war is lost because you believe it gives you political advantage. Leaders should make decisions based on the security interests of our country, not on the interests of their political party.” The president added that the he was disappointed in Congressional Democrats for using the spending bill to make “a political statement”.
It would not be possible for Cheney’s assertions to be more polar opposite from the truth. It would not be possible for him to be more culpable of doing exactly what he accuses the Democrats of doing, for we know for a fact that much of the purpose of this fabricated war (or, at least, the quick and successful war they thought they were fabricating) was to make Bush and his GOP machine invincible in the context of domestic politics, so he could ram through predatory legislation like his raid on Social Security. And we know that the war has in fact been extremely damaging to the security interests of the United States. And we know that when Bush says that, because he will veto a bill it is therefore a “political statement”, he’s actually desperately trying to intimidate Congress into abdicating its voice on policy questions, to prevent them from forcing him to demonstrate before the public the very obstinance he seeks to hide.
All this in one day.
So, yeah, you’re damn right I’m angry. My question is, what in the world is wrong with anyone who isn’t?
And you’re damn right that I get a little thrill from seeing the slightest punishments meted out to the greatest of our criminals. Even if good news hadn’t been so entirely rare these last six years, it would be appropriate.
For these are not ordinary fools, and this is something that Americans haven’t really begun to appreciate yet. If these folks were mere bunglers with proper intentions, I could forgive them. If they were true patriots who simply believed fervently in a different ideology than mine while all their policy ideas turned out to be wrong, I could even forgive that.
But they are none of these things, and the measure of that is to be found precisely in the inversion of truth which is at the core of regressive politics as practiced by Bush, Rove and their fellow predatory kleptocrats. In the marketplace of ideas, lies don’t have to be told to sell policies. In the domain of good governance, memories don’t have to be conveniently erased in order to cover up incompetence and malfeasance.
And this, ultimately, is why I am so angry. These aren’t boobs who couldn’t shoot straight, though they are that as well. And they aren’t true believers of a stupidly destructive ideology suitable only for the most emotionally stunted amongst us, though they are that too. Instead, fundamentally, they are simply greedy marauders who have come to plunder America for all it’s worth.
If they were Russians, or Chinese, or Muslims, our response would be to hate such imperialist exploiters accordingly, and to seek their destruction expeditiously. But because they are Americans, and because they have ironically expropriated all the historic symbols of American patriotism, and because they have so massively and cynically exploited one of the greatest tragedies in American history, and, especially, because the magnitude of their crimes is too existentially debilitating for most Americans to permit themselves to comprehend – because of all these things, we merely revile them, rather than hating them and destroying their movement.
But that is our mistake, and it has already become a lethal one for so many innocent victims of the regressive machine. It’s time for this to stop, and it’s time for us to label this chapter in our history for what it is.
We have a word for Americans who sell out their country for their own profit.
They are traitors.
And we have a word for what these traitors do when they betray our country, our values and our Constitution to pursue their agenda of personal aggrandizement.
It’s called treason.
David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York.
By Karin Friedemann
I found the website http://www.realisticdove.org/ very interesting because it is the first time I have come across a progressive Jew so honest about his racism. Usually when confronted, these confused souls just get indignant and refuse to speak to you for a few months. I always wondered how a person could think that Israel has a "right" to "security" and shrug off this amazing assumption with the accusation that anyone who has questions about your definitions is accusing you of being an evil murderer. Why would any sane person think that he has the right to live unharrassed on someone else's stolen property? Even the cute kids waving Israeli flags are participating in a criminally insane political ideology.
Progressive Jews want to make the bottom line "Jews are nice people." But that is not the bottom line. As Hillel mentioned, the bottom line is that you don't do to others what you don't want others to do to you. What would we expect if our neighbor, with or without warning, bulldozed our house?
First, we would call the police. If the man with the bulldozer failed to stop bulldozing the house, the police officer would have the duty to disable the vehicle and he might even shoot him. I'm talking about American law. The bulldozer man would be stopped. He would be considered a criminal. He would be put on trial. He would go to prison. If he had killed people in the process of bulldozing the house, he might even be executed. The owner of the house that was bulldozed would be entitled to damages plus extra for pain and suffering. The law requires that his property be restored to the original state that it was in. That includes replanting the trees and fixing the pavement around the house.
The emotional defensiveness of Jews is actually quite amusing, where they want to argue that the bulldozer man was not evil, he was not a murderer. The family that moved into the stolen property are just innocent idealists. They may be misguided, or mistaken, but for some reason Jews want to argue that they are not evil. What they are really saying is that they don't want Jews to be held legally accountable for their actions. They want to enjoy the privilege of being "protected" from the laws that apply to other people.
A law does not cover the "evilness" of a criminal. It covers actions and consequences.
If international law were followed, the Israeli "government' would never have kicked out any Palestinians. The entire existence of Israel is based on the condition made by the U.N. that Palestinians would remain in their homes and receive equal citizenship in the new nation state. That condition was not followed. Therefore, there is no legal basis for any assumption that Israel has a right to exist, according to the U.N. In fact, Israel does not really exist. It is a figment of imagination, the defensive mechanism of the neurotic Jewish collective consciousness. I agree that we need to stop arguing about isms but the next step is to follow the laws that already exist to solve the problems. Don't wait for the world community to force Israel to do it. Why don't we, as Jews, just do it? Why are progressive Jews wasting their time feeling emotionally threatened by a one state solution? The real problem is that we are feeling emotionally threatened by any solution. Because a solution means that a lot of Jews need to be prosecuted.
The refugees need to be given back their property with extra for damages. Even if they fled their homes because Arab leaders told them to get out of the fighting zone in 1948, they have the legal right to return to their homes as soon as the fighting stops. Small wonder why Israel continues to attack people day after day.
The refugees need to be given full civil rights. Full water rights, full road rights, and the full right to criminally prosecute. Every Jewish family in America that has any property in the Holy Land needs to be prosecuted as part of an organized criminal network. Especially if both the Palestinian and the Jewish persons are American citizens. For example one friend of mine, after her family was forced off their land by gunpoint, New York Jews bought the land, bulldozed everything, and planted orange trees. She knows where they live. She knows their names. Anyone who buys or sells stolen property is a criminal. They need to be prosecuted. Any Jew who owns stolen property in the Holy Land should have his property seized including their U.S. assets and progressive Jews should insist on it instead of doing these mental "I'm not evil" gymnastics.
The Jews need to give back what they stole. I am not sure why that is so confusing to people. There needs to be a world tribunal like the Nuremburg trials to determine what was done and who was responsible, and to put an end to this nonsense. But failing that, the U.S. legal system could solve the problem within a year if they just prosecuted this obnoxious real estate mafia. Why are progressive Jews not lobbying for criminal penalties on Jews who invest in property that was cleared of its original owners by force in the Holy Land? There is enough room in all of Bush's new prisons for all these shady real estate agents. This is a simple matter of holding people legally accountable for the harm they cause others.
It is exactly the same issue with dispute over the Roxbury Mosque. Some shady white Jewish real estate dealers were furious that the black community benefited from this piece of land next to the subway station that they wanted to develop, so now they are engaging in extra-legal trickery and character assassination to try to get that piece of real estate away from the people who own it.
Once the Palestinians get their land back and all the Zionist organizations' assets are confiscated to repair all the damage they have done, then we can talk about whether or not "the Jewish people" have the right to "self-determination" in the form of an ethnocentric nation state.
I learned when I was a kid that the way to get self-determination — ie, the ability to do what you want when you want how you want — is to behave yourself. The Jews are not behaving themselves, and there is nothing okay about it. When a progressive Jew starts whining, "You think I'm evil!!" he or she breaks the heart of the human being who is trying to have peace with this person. It ends all rational discussion. It ends all hope for peace.
Sometimes Palestinians find it easier to deal with right wing Zionists than left wing because at least they are honest. A Palestinian can say to a right wing Jew, "You stole my property." The right wing Jew will say, "Yeah, and what are you going to do about it? My religion says I can steal your property." Then the Muslim can with dignity say, "Well my religion says that God curses the man who puts another man out of his home, and that I have the right to fight you." So that actually can be done in the context of a polite dialogue. A peace plan is even potentially possible. Because then the Jew can say, "Well, I don't want you to kill me and I can see why you would think that I deserved it, because if you did the same thing to me I would certainly kill you. So let's make a deal. I'll let you live in the garage." This is still insulting behavior, but it's in the process of being made less sadistic.
On the other hand, if a Palestinian says to a progressive Jew, "You stole my property!" the progressive Jew will usually shut down entirely. I have seen a fifty year old man start crying and insisting he's not evil. This is the behavior of someone who is guilty as sin. Like when you accuse your husband of adultery and he starts guilt-tripping you about how you don't believe in him (hypothetical but common scenario).
The other reaction is to get maliciously angry and start doing character assassination via gossip so that none of the other progressive Jews will greet that person who brought up the "touchy" subject. But they will be told that this person is an "enemy of peace" — so that it will be politically correct to shun them the same way that we avoid eye contact with skinheads and Bible thumpers. Progressive Jews are the most amazingly idealistic people on the planet. They want to be able to continue to sit on someone else's stolen property (or at least vacation on it) and not only think they have a "right" to travel around unharmed, ride the buses, shop and eat pizza while the people they made homeless have no water or food — but they want their victims to LIKE them. The Jews are the only conquerors in the history of the planet that expect the conquered people to LIKE them! If they don't like us, we feel offended and outraged. And what Jews consider as "liking behavior" is never mentioning the property they stole.
It's amazing. I've discussed some of this with Avigail Abarbanel, an ex-Israeli psychiatrist in Australia. She views Zionism as a mental illness that can be treated. But Zionism is just a symptom of a deeper problem, the delusional belief that you have "rights" which do not exist. Like a kid thinking he has the right to hit his sister. It's a failure to apply the Golden Rule to one's personal sense of responsibility in certain situations. The inner conflict that arises from these "situational ethics" certainly does create a clinically diagnosable mental inability to process certain types of information that trigger the neurotic or sometimes even psychotic defensive reaction.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Israel, Jews are defensive in the sense that they cannot process the type of information that is necessary to create peaceful behaviors. For example, if a Jew and a Palestinian live next door to each other in New Jersey, the Jew being the "owner" of a condo built on the Palestinian person's property, don't you think the Jew should offer to give it back, if he expects the other's friendship? If the Palestinian, as is normal, invites the Jew over for tea and politely doesn't bring up the subject, does the Jew feel that this means it's OK what he did? That he can forgive himself? That is what Jews want after all. We want to be forgiven without apology for everything we have done AND everything we are about to do. Is this a rational approach to peace? Is it working?