Monday, May 31, 2004

Who's in Charge Here?

So - the Iraqis are p.o.'ed because they don't care for the leader that we are trying to stuff down their throats.

What, exactly, is "sovereign" supposed to mean? If the Iraqis can't pick their own President, how the hell are they "sovereign"?

"You're going to be sovereign - but we have the army and we pick the President."

Do these jokers actually think the Iraqis will swallow such an obvious pile of lies and BS? Who they think the Iraqis are? The American Press or something?

It's typical Bushian "democracy." In the words of Tom Lehrer:

"For might makes right,
and till they've seen the light
They've got to be protected,
all their rights respected
Till somebody we LIKE can be elected!"
- Tom Lehrer, "Send the Marines"

Anywho, here's an excerpt:

Iraqis Decry U.S. Over President Choice

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi Governing Council members accused American officials Monday of pressuring them to accept Washington's choice for Iraq (news - web sites)'s new president, prompting a delay in the announcement of a new government to take power from the U.S.-led coalition June 30....

The U.S.-run coalition maintains ultimate authority in Iraq, but the Americans must decide whether they want to risk a major breach with their Iraqi allies at a sensitive period as Washington prepares to hand control of a still-unstable, war-ravaged country to an untested leadership.

Coalition spokesman Dan Senor insisted the Americans have not shown a preference for Pachachi, a claim that many council members dismissed as untrue....

"We in the council have agreed that Sheik Ghazi al-Yawer should be the president of Iraq," council member and prominent Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani told Al-Arabiya television. "But if the coalition has a different opinion, then they must come and explain to the council. There is a near consensus in the council that Sheik Ghazi is the better-suited man for the job."

"We must have a bigger role in these deliberations," said Chapouka, an ethnic Turk from the northern city of Kirkuk. "We must be part of the process. ... As a government we should know who are the persons taking these posts."
This is a fun one. Just go there and move your mouse around.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

At this point, Bush is almost admitting to being a failure. Without actually saying that, of course.

Loo at the shifting justifications:

The original case for supporting him in Iraq was the claim that they had WMD.

There were none.

So then it changed. We were ACTUALLY there to bring "liberation and democracy."

But that, too, now seems very unlikely.

So what is Bush's justification for our being there now?

He says there will be dire consequences if we fail.

In other words, Bush now claims that he is one best equipped to protect us from the consequences of his own misguided actions.

Strip away all the rhetoric, and that's the argument: "I am the one who can best avoid the disaster that would the natural end result of my policy."

Time for impeachment?

Cheney coordinated Halliburton Iraq contract: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A Pentagon (news - web sites) e-mail said Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) coordinated a huge Halliburton government contract for Iraq (news - web sites), despite Cheney's denial of interest in the company he ran until 2000.
Maybe I'm out of touch with modern times, but I think that killing and maiming thousands of people so you can make a lot of money should be regarded as unacceptable behavior for a vice-president.

Cheney and Bush destroyed a place so they could make money rebuilding it.

This White House is in the hands of fiends.

And I mean the word in its literal sense.

Doonesbury - Memorial Day

Quick Quiz

From atrios:

Which of the following three claims are true?

1. John Kerry is one of the if not the most consistently liberal Senators, even more consistently liberal than (nasty music here) Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy.

2. John Kerry is a major flip-flopper who changes his positions 180 degrees faster than the Car Talk hosts can change a flat tire.

3. I dunno about Nos. 1 or 2, but I do know that they both can't be true.

Answer, of course: #3.

Spin away if you must, fellas. But at least try to make sure the spin itself isn't a gigantic flip-flop. It's insulting.

Times a-wastin'

Digby takes the Times to task (try saying that three time fast) for the inexcusable sloppiness of their reporting leading up to the Iraq war:

"Here's the problem. Like the Bush administration, they seem to think that "taking responsibility" means acting as if it was some vague and ephemeral "somebody" who committed the act and then going on as if nothing happened. These are children's ethics.

The only way journalists will understand that repeatedly publishing and hyping incorrect information (particularly disinformation) is unacceptable is if they will pay a price for doing so. That's what grown-ups expect when they screw up."

But go read the whole thing.

Friday, May 28, 2004

From the American Assembler by way of kos. The worst Democrat creates more jobs than the best Republican.

Women's Clothing as Kleenex.


I think this is unbelievable. What a total jerk we have in the White House. What an embarrassment. Watch the video.

How would you feel about a person who thinks it is okay to grab your shirt and use it to clean their eyeglasses?

That's how arrogant our "President" is. During a commercial break on the David Letterman show, producer Maria Pope was on stage and discussing something with Letterman, and while she was standing there in front of Bush, George leaned forward, grabbed the back of her sweater and used it to clean his glasses. Check out the Quicktime video.

Regardless of your political party and beliefs, we all know that this administration has raised some serious questions, and has often asked for us to blindly believe in the their drastic actions, all of which are clearly far more serious than this boner on the Letterman show. However, there is not a spin, explanation, or flat out lie that can defend Bush's character in this revealing moment, when he was dumb enough to think that people or cameras were not looking. Even worse scenario is he did know, but just didn't care.

What a pack of clowns.

First Puritan Ashcroft makes a huge deal out scaring the crap out of America – and the Department of Homeland Security had NO IDEA that he was going to!

Is it me, or wasn't it supposed to be Homeland Security’s job to coordinate all this stuff and make these announcements? Wasn't that the whole idea of creating the Department in the first place?

Not only are they venal, petty, vindictive and low – they run things like Laurel and Hardy - only they aren't funny at all.

Latest terror alert surprises Homeland Security officials

The Homeland Security Department was surprised by the announcement Wednesday by Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller that a terrorist attack was increasingly likely in coming months, officials said.

The news conference, which excluded Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, raised concerns in Washington that his department was not coordinating the domestic fight against terrorism, which was confusing the message for the public and for local authorities.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ridge spoke on morning television shows and appeared to downplay the threat that Ashcroft would later trumpet, officials said. He told ABC's Good Morning America that the threats are "not the most disturbing that I have personally seen during the past couple of years."

Lawmakers who oversee the Homeland Security Department said the events Wednesday appeared to undermine the effort to unify the federal government's response to terrorism

Paul Krugman thinks that the change in press coverage regarding Bush - from unquestioning adulation to evenhanded criticism - may be permanent. From your laptop to God's ears, Paul.

People who get their news by skimming the front page, or by watching TV, must be feeling confused by the sudden change in Mr. Bush's character. For more than two years after 9/11, he was a straight shooter, all moral clarity and righteousness.

But now those people hear about a president who won't tell a straight story about why he took us to war in Iraq or how that war is going, who can't admit to and learn from mistakes, and who won't hold himself or anyone else accountable. What happened?

The answer, of course, is that the straight shooter never existed. He was a fictitious character that the press, for various reasons, presented as reality....

After 9/11, if you were thinking of saying anything negative about the president, you had to be prepared for an avalanche of hate mail. You had to expect right-wing pundits and publications to do all they could to ruin your reputation, and you had to worry about being denied access to the sort of insider information that is the basis of many journalistic careers.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Al Gore was TERRIFIC yesterday. No question about it. If you haven't seen it, go to c-span and watch the stream. Or read the transcript.

The right-wingers, or course, are trying to spin with their USUAL crap: "Ohhhh! He's over the top! He's crazy!" They really need a new act. "Criticizing Bush means you're crazy" is REALLY getting old.

But they CAN'T spin it. We all saw it. People keep go and look at the video stream of the speech expecting someone screaming like a maniac - and what they see is an intelligent, controlled, righteously angry person.

In an hour long speech, Gore raised his voice twice.

And he raised his voice because they were cheering so loud.

And here's what Americans were cheering:

"How dare the incompetent and willful members of this Bush/Cheney Administration humiliate our nation and our people in the eyes of the world and in the conscience of our own people? How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace? How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison?"

And they were cheering because it's about time somebody said it.


Thank you, Mr. Gore.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Al Gore

Thank you, Al.

George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility. Instead, he has brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world.

He promised to "restore honor and integrity to the White House." Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon.

Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.

How did we get from September 12th , 2001, when a leading French newspaper ran a giant headline with the words "We Are All Americans Now" and when we had the good will and empathy of all the world -- to the horror that we all felt in witnessing the pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib.


The New York Times offers a giant mea culpa for its substandard reporting and lack of critical thinking on the rish to war in Iraq. They seem to have suddenly woken up and realized what a lousy job they've done, swallowing everything Bush said without an ounce of question.

But we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged — or failed to emerge....

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Stupidest President Ever

I'm so old, I can remember when the President WASN'T the stupidest person in the room

Bush trips over Abu Ghraib pronunciation

CARLISLE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Two rehearsals for his prime-time speech were not enough to keep U.S. President George W. Bush from mangling the name of the Abu Ghraib prison that brought shame to the U.S. mission in Iraq.

During the half-hour televised address, Bush mispronounced Abu Ghraib each of the three times he mentioned it while announcing U.S. plans to tear down the infamous jail and replace it with a new facility.

But the Republican president, long known for verbal and grammatical lapses, stumbled on the first try, calling it "abugah-rayp". The second version came out "abu-garon", the third attempt sounded like "abu-garah".

White House aides, who described the speech as an important address on the future of Iraq, said Bush practised twice on Monday before boarding his helicopter for his trip to the speaking venue at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Fair & Balanced

From David Brock's Media Matters

Dems invisible in FOX News Channel Bush speech coverage

The lineup on FOX News Channel was strikingly different; no Democrats were heard from.

FOX News Channel's coverage was anchored by FOX News managing editor and chief Washington correspondent Brit Hume, who moved from Bush to a panel of pundits that included pro-Bush, pro-war conservative syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer; pro-Bush, pro-war conservative Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes; and Washington Post staff writer Ceci Connolly -- FOX News contributors all. National Public Radio senior correspondent and FOX News Channel political contributor Juan Williams, who often appears on Hume's daily 6 p.m. newscast and has been critical of Bush's polices in Iraq, did not appear on the primetime panel.

Following the panel of two conservative pundits and one news reporter, Hume introduced Representative Peter King (R-NY) as "one who supports the President on this issue." King described the Bush address as "uplifting," "poetry," and said Bush spoke "almost lyrically."

After a brief exchange with FOX senior White House correspondent Jim Angle, Hume returned to his stacked panel for closing remarks. Krauthammer was given the last word: "He had to answer a question, 'does he have a plan?' The answer is yes, he has a plan, with details and dates. He succeeded."

Ball of Delusion

Transcript From Bush Speech on American Strategy in Iraq

Most of Bush's speech last night was just repackaged talking points. And on that basis alone, it seems to be a washout.

Bush did his usual thing: treated a disaster as thought all it needed was little advertising to make it seem like a good idea.

Before the speech, Bush said he would lay out "concrete steps." But what he did was simply restate stalled U.S. policies and this time repackage them as a "five-step plan." In essence, he said, "These are the five things we keep claiming we want to do, but haven't had the competence to accomplish them." We knew that, George. Tell us something that we don't know.

But one of the things that the pundits don't seem to notice is that Bush has actually done terrorists a gigantic favor and he tacitly admits this. But he doesn't quite realize that he's admitting it because the man actually doesn't understand the implications of his own words.

He says:

"[T]errorists know that Iraq is now the central front in the war on terror. And we must understand that as well."

"The rise of a free and self-governing Iraq will deny terrorists a base of operation."

Got that? "Iraq is NOW the central front in the war on terror." It wasn't before we invaded. We MADE it a "central front in the war on terror."

But, whereas there were were no terrorists there before, now the terrorists may be able to use it as a base of operations.

We did that.

Bush's actions in Iraq have given the terrorists a POTENTIAL base of operation that they didn't have before. And Bush KNOWS this.

Instead of hurting the terrorists, we've given them the opportunity to establish a beachhead, and now we have to sacrifice lives to prevent them from taking advantage of the opportunity we gave them.

And we claim that we did it to "help the Iraqi people."

Well, we've actually opened the gates of hell in their country and flooded the place with terrorists.

We have forcibly occupied their country so we could have OUR war there.

Their country is being used as a battleground for a war that they aren't part of. A war between the United States and Al Qaeda. The Iraqis themselves have nothing to do with the war that is being waged on their soil.

And we have the GALL to claim that we did it to HELP THEM.

Frankly, not only are we doing all of the above, but we're insulting their intelligence by feeding them a line like that.

In addition, Bush still hasn't answered the hard questions: if we "turn over sovereignty" to Iraq - what does that mean? Will we still have an army there? If we have the army, how are they sovereign? If we DON'T have the army, how can we prevent terrorists from doing what they want? What if the "sovereign" government wants us to leave? Do we leave at their request, or deny their sovereignty? How is this "interim government" supposed to quell the chaos? If they actually have elections in January, what will prevent them from electing a fundamentalist Muslim government hostile to the United States? And why WOULDN'T they? Right now in Iraq, anti-US sentiment seems to be a ticket to popularity.

The Iraqis are being devastated by a WAR that we started in their country.

They are flooded and surrounded by terrorists that we brought into their country. Things are blowing up right and left. Innocent citizens have been abused. People have been being forced to violate their religion. Wedding parties have been blown up. Children have been killed.

And Bush is trying to tell them that we are doing them a favor.

With a straight face.

Monday, May 24, 2004

As President Bush gets off the helicopter in front of the White House,
he is carrying a baby pig under each arm.

The Marine guard snaps to attention, salutes, and says: "Nice pigs, sir."

The President replies: "These are not pigs, these are authentic Texan
Razorback Hogs. I got one for Vice-President Cheney, and I got one for
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld."

The Marine again snaps to attention, salutes, and says, "Nice trade, sir."

Sunday, May 23, 2004


"So total war is the demand of the hour. . . The danger facing us is enormous. The efforts we take to meet it must be just as enormous. . . The rest of Europe should at least work to support us. Those who do not understand this fight today will thank us on bended knee tomorrow that we took it on! "
--Joseph Goebbels, clearly insane, February 18, 1943

"If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy but just wage a total war, our children will sing great songs about us years from now."
--Richard Perle, clearly insane, January 31, 2002

Caught Lying. Again

Remember when you would never take the word of anybody else above your government? That was before Bush. File this one under "Lying Bastards"

AP: Video Shows Iraq Wedding Celebration
By SCHEHEREZADE FARAMARZI, Associated Press Writer

RAMADI, Iraq - A videotape obtained Sunday by Associated Press Television News captures a wedding party that survivors say was later attacked by U.S. planes early Wednesday, killing up to 45 people. The dead included the cameraman, Yasser Shawkat Abdullah, hired to record the festivities, which ended Tuesday night before the planes struck.

The U.S. military says it is investigating the attack, which took place in the village of Mogr el-Deeb about five miles from the Syrian border, but that all evidence so far indicates the target was a safehouse for foreign fighters.

"There was no evidence of a wedding: no decorations, no musical instruments found, no large quantities of food or leftover servings one would expect from a wedding celebration," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said Saturday. "There may have been some kind of celebration. Bad people have celebrations, too."

But video that APTN shot a day after the attack shows fragments of musical instruments, pots and pans and brightly colored beddings used for celebrations, scattered around the bombed out tent.


Making the email rounds:

Q. How many members of the Bush Administration does it take to change a lightbulb?

The Answer is SEVEN:

one to deny that a lightbulb needs to be replaced.

one to attack and question the patriotism of anyone who has questions about the lightbulb.

one to blame the previous administration for the need of a new lightbulb.

one to arrange the invasion of a country rumored to have a secret stockpile of lightbulbs.

one to get together with Vice President Cheney and figure out how to pay Halliburton Industries one million dollars for a lightbulb.

one to arrange a photo-op session showing Bush changing the lightbulb while dressed in a flight suit and wrapped in an American flag.

and finally one to explain to Bush the difference between screwing a lightbulb and screwing the country.

"They've Screwed Up"

Tonight on 60 minutes there will be an interview with General Zinni excoriating the administration for their incompetence and "dereliction of duty."

Everybody but the kool-aid drinkers KNOWS that "they've screwed up," of course, but it's about time that fact became spoken on our airwaves.

Accusing top Pentagon officials of "dereliction of duty," retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni says staying the course in Iraq isn't a reasonable option.

"The course is headed over Niagara Falls. I think it's time to change course a little bit or at least hold somebody responsible for putting you on this course," he tells CBS News Correspondent Steve Kroft in an interview to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, May 23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

The current situation in Iraq was destined to happen, says Zinni, because planning for the war and its aftermath has been flawed all along.

"There has been poor strategic thinking in this...poor operational planning and execution on the ground," says Zinni, who served as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000.

Panic on the hill

Even the Republicans are catching on.

Who is President Bush kidding when he talks of turning over sovereignty to the Iraqis? No one yet has been identified to give power to, and the Pentagon's love affair with Iraqi exile leader Ahmad Chalabi is over. American troops stormed Chalabi's residence and offices in Baghdad, a remarkable reversal of fortune for a man who was on the U.S. payroll until this month, and who provided most of the phony intelligence that formed the Bush administration's basis for war.

The Bush juggernaut looks like the Keystone Cops. What's going on would be pure farce, except it's tragedy because so many people are dying. Missiles slam into what Iraqis said was a wedding ceremony, leaving women and children among the dead. Israel is going crazy in the Gaza Strip, bulldozing Palestinian homes and shooting into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. At home, gas prices are rising to an all-time high and in Canton, Ohio, a steel plant that Bush touted as a model last year announced it was closing, costing another 1,300 jobs in a state that has already lost 170,000 in the manufacturing sector.

Rumsfeld bans camera phones

What a scumbag.

The problem wasn't that they abused prisoners, it's that someone took pictures of it, and the press found out.

We can have cameras on every street corner, monitoring every move citizens make - but if you're in the military, you can't have one: you might expose some illegal behavior.

MOBILE phones fitted with digital cameras have been banned in US army installations in Iraq on orders from Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, The Business newspaper reported today.

Quoting a Pentagon source, the paper said the US Defence Department believes that some of the damning photos of US soldiers abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad were taken with camera phones."Digital cameras, camcorders and cellphones with cameras have been prohibited in military compounds in Iraq," it said, adding that a "total ban throughout the US military" is in the works.

Disturbing new photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse, which the US government had reportedly tried to keep hidden, were published on Friday in the Washington Post newspaper.

On America's volunteer army:

"They serve so that we don't have to. They offer to give up their lives so that we can be free. It is, remarkably, their gift to us. And all they ask for in return is that we never send them into harm's way unless it is absolutely necessary.

Will they ever trust us again?"

- Michael Moore, Fahrenheit 9/11

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Plame: Reporters Subpoenaed

Tim Russert and Matthew Cooper have been subpoenaed for testimony as to whether they know anything about the Bush White House leaking the identity of an undercover CIA agent.

Lawyers for NBC and Time said they would fight the subpoenas. NBC said its subpoena could have a "chilling effect" on its ability to report the news.

Floyd Abrams, a First Amendment lawyer in New York who is representing Mr. Cooper, was skeptical. "Rounding up the Washington press corps doesn't seem the most likely way to find out about sources," Mr. Abrams said.

But this shouldn't be necessary! Didn't BUSH say that HE would get to the bottom of it?

There is a lawbreaker in the White House who has placed our national security at risk for political reasons, and they have to subpoena reporters to find out who it is.

Because Bush obviously couldn't care less.

He did the right thing. Punish him.

So now, the administration is trying to keep anybody from coming forward. In a rather brilliant - but transparent - looking-glass maneuver, anyone who comes forward with damaging information will face prosecution. The grounds? They didn't come forward sooner.

Message: "If you don't want to get in trouble - keep your mouth shut."

Military Takes Action Against Key Witness in Abu Ghraib Abuse Scandal.

A witness who told ABCNEWS he believed the military was covering up the extent of abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison was today stripped of his security clearance and told he may face prosecution because his comments were "not in the national interest."

Sgt. Samuel Provance said in addition to his revoked security clearance, he was transferred to a different platoon, and his record was officially "flagged," meaning he cannot be promoted or given any awards or honors.

Provance said he was told he will face administrative action for failing to report what he knew at the time and for failing to take steps to stop the abuse.

"I see it as an effort to intimidate Sgt. Provance and any other soldier whose conscience is bothering him, and who wants to come forward and tell what really happened at Abu Ghraib," said his attorney Scott Horton.

Bush Stonewalls on Bin Laden Flights

The Democrats have GOT to make a stink about this. A LOUD one. It REEKS.

The Bush administration has refused to answer repeated requests from the Sept. 11 commission about who authorized flights of Saudi Arabian citizens, including members of Osama bin Laden’s family, from the United States immediately after the attacks of 2001.

Former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), vice chairman of the independent, bipartisan commission, disclosed the administration’s refusal to answer questions on the sensitive subject during a recent closed-door meeting with a group of Democratic senators, according to several Democratic sources.

However, former Navy Secretary John Lehman, a Republican appointee who also attended the meeting, said in an e-mail to The Hill that he told the senators the White House has been fully cooperative.

“Who did this? Why would the Saudis want to get out of the country? They said [those questions have] been part of their inquiry and they haven’t received satisfactory answers yet and they were pushing,” [Barbara] Boxer said.

Another Democrat in the meeting who confirmed Boxer’s account reported that Hamilton said, “We don’t know who authorized it. We’ve asked that question 50 times.”

“I stopped being surprised about this a long time ago,” said Harvey, whose wife died in the attack on the World Trade Center. “They’ve not been cooperative. There’s cooperation and then there’s cooperation. Are they doing things under possible threat of subpoena? Yes. Are they actively fulfilling the spirit of the commission’s requests? No.”

“The White House was opposed to the formation of this commission in the first place,”
said Harvey. “They did everything to neuter it. Earlier this spring when we tried to get more time for [the commission to complete its report], the White House was an obstacle.”

On the afternoon of Sept. 13, 2001, three Saudi men in their early 20s flew in a Lear jet from Tampa, Fla., to Lexington, Ky., where they boarded a Boeing 747 with Arabic writing on it waiting to take them out of the country.

The flight from Tampa to Lexington was one of several flights that Saudi Arabian citizens took in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, when the rest of the country was prohibited from flying. Many of the Saudis were members of the Saudi royal family or the bin Laden family.

Torture was for fun

Iraq Prison Torture Was for Fun, Not Results-Paper

"The Christian in me says it's wrong, but the corrections officer in me says, 'I love to make a grown man piss himself.'" - Spec Charles Graner, one of the accused.

That statement strikes me as a perfect encapsulization of the sort of "Christianity" practiced by Bush and his minions.

Friday, May 21, 2004

In His Own Words

Richard Perle, ruler of the neo-cons, had a few prediction some time ago:

"Iraq is a very wealthy country. Enormous oil reserves. They can finance, largely finance, the reconstruction of their own country. And I have no doubt that they will."
—PBS interview July 11, 2002

"We are not talking about a massive invasion along the lines of 1991. We're talking about a much more modest effort in which the United States would assist Iraqis in freeing their country."
—Washington Post interview, August 22, 2002

"UN weapons inspectors are being seriously deceived…. It reminds me of the way the Nazis hoodwinked Red Cross officials inspecting the concentration camp at Theresienstadt in 1944. The SS even organized a phony concert to show what a wonderful new home the Jews had. But Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has MORE evidence of secret weapons dumps."
—Writing in the News of the World, February 23, 2003

"The predictions of those who opposed this war can be discarded like spent cartridges. You remember them? 'We will kill hundreds of thousands. We will create thousands of new terrorists. The Arab world will rise up and set the region aflame.' Tony Blair and George Bush knew better."
—Writing in the News of the World, April 13, 2003

"Relax, celebrate victory."
—Writing in USA Today, May 2, 2003

Thursday, May 20, 2004

US seeks war crimes exemption extension

From ABC News in Australia, of course. Just try to find the story in the American media.

The United States has circulated a draft Security Council resolution to give US peacekeeping troops another one year exemption from prosecution by the world court at The Hague.

The measure is likely to face misgivings after revelations that US troops abused prisoners in Iraq.
"Could you please renew our torture subscription for another year, please? We're still perfecting our techniques and need to work out a few bugs. Like those pesky digital cameras..."

Chalabi at the State of the Union Address

The photo is from the site. I'm curious to check tomorrow and see if somebody else's head is on his body.
Ok, so troops are surrounding Chalabi's house now. Just two weeks ago, he was our good buddy and the guy we were going to leave in charge of Iraq.

The Bushies loved the guy, even though he was convicted of embezzlement and bank fraud. In absentia. He's facing 22 years in a Jordan prison if he ever goes back to the country. But hey, boys will be boys, right?

Of course, the Bushies wouldn't consider bank fraud a REAL crime. It's nothing that brother Neil didn't do.

To Bush, Cheney and Rove, embezzlement is just the normal way of doing business.

But suddenly Chalabi is a problem. But not because he's a crook. He was ALWAYS a crook.

But now, they're afraid he won't be OUR crook. And that's the REAL crime. Crookedness in somebody else's service.

The Bushies also might have realized that they seriously need a scapegoat for their failures, and Chalabi might be just what the doctor ordered.
You can't make this up. From the other side of the Republican looking glass:

Hastert Lectures McCain on War, Sacrifice

McCain, who spent five years in a North Vietnamese prison, excoriated fellow Republicans on Tuesday for pushing more tax cuts while U.S. troops are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Throughout our history, wartime has been a time of sacrifice. ... What have we sacrificed?" McCain said. "As mind-boggling as expanding Medicare has been, nothing tops my confusion for cutting taxes during wartime. I don't remember ever in the history of warfare when we cut taxes."

To which Hastert replied:

"If you want to see sacrifice, John McCain ought to visit our young men and women at Walter Reed and Bethesda."

Got that? John McCain has a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, a Legion of Merit, a Purple Heart and a Distinguished Flying Cross, and he spent 5 years being tortured in a POW prison camp.

Dennis Hastert avoided Vietnam with a "bad knee."

But Haster is actually sanctimonious enough to lecture McCain about "sacrifice" because McCain criticized his stinking tax cut.


Just when you think neo-cons couldn't get any more brazen - they prove you wrong.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Schwarzkopf Knew

Frontline Interview with Norman Schwarzkopf

Q: People always [ask] this--why didn't you go to Baghdad and finish off the job?

Schwarzkopf: On the question of going to Baghdad. If you remember the Vietnam war, we had no international legitimacy for what we did. As a result we, first of all, lost the battle of world public opinion and eventually we lost the battle at home.

In the Gulf War we had great international legitimacy in the form of eight United Nations Resolutions, every one of which said "Kick Iraq out of Kuwait", did not say one word about going into Iraq, taking Baghdad, conquering the whole country and hanging Saddam Hussein. That's point number one.

Point number two, had we gone on to Baghdad, I don't believe the French would have gone and I'm quite sure that the Arab coalition would not have gone, the coalition would have ruptured and the only people that would have gone would have been the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

And, oh by the way, I think we'd still be there, we'd be like a dinosaur in a tar pit, we could not have gotten out and we'd still be the occupying power and we'd be paying one hundred percent of all the costs to administer all of Iraq.

Thirdly, I don't think we could have found Saddam Hussein if we'd done that. We forget the lessons of Panama. We had ten thousand Americans on the ground in Panama before we went into that very small country, we still couldn't find a fellow named Noriega, so what makes you think that we would go into a nation the size of Iraq and be able to find one person who has all the ability in the world to escape and hide and fly out of the country.

But I think, more importantly, there's a strategic consideration. Saddam Hussein portrayed that war from the very beginning as "This is not a war against Iraqi aggression against Kuwait. This is the Western colonial lackey friends of Israel coming in to destroy the only nation that dare stand up to Israel, that is Iraq".

Had we proceeded to go on into Iraq and take all of Iraq, I think that you would have millions of people in that part of the world who would say Saddam was right, that that was the objective.

Instead we went in, we did what the United Nations mandate asked us to do and we left and we didn't ask for anything. We didn't leave permanent military forces over there, we didn't demand territory, we didn't demand bases, and the Arabs became convinced that the West was willing to deal with them evenhandedly which has led directly, in my mind, to the progress that's going on at the peace table an.. between Israel and the Arabs and the Palestinians. It never would have happened if Desert Storm hadn't occurred.

So the bottom line, as far as I'm concerned, is that sure, emotionally I would have loved to have gone to Baghdad and grabbed Saddam Hussein, but this was not an emotional decision, it was a strategic decision, and strategically we were smart enough to win the war and win the peace.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Dishonest Dubya: Lying Action Figure

Wait for it to load.

Who is going to want this job?

Ok - so a bomb killed the head of the Iraqi Governing Council.

In reponse, Paul Bremer said:

"The terrorists who are seeking to destroy Iraq have struck a cruel blow with this vile act today. But they will be defeated ... The Iraqi people will ensure that his vision of a democratic, free and prosperous Iraq will become a reality."
Gee, Paul, that's easy for YOU to say. You're leaving the country forever in 43 days.

You're going to hand over Iraq to whoever happens to be alive on June 30th.

A question: if the American military can't protect the head of the Iraqi Governing Council, who the hell is going to want the job once we pack up to leave?

Powell Admits False WMD Claim

Powell Admits False WMD Claim: "Appearing on Meet the Press, Powell acknowledged--finally!--that he and the Bush administration misled the nation about the WMD threat posed by Iraq before the war."

Colin Powell's Interview On Meet The Press 05/6/04: Transcript

Powell says some pre-war intelligence on Iraq's weapons wrong: "US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that intelligence provided by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) about mobile biological weapons labs in Iraq before the war was wrong."

Monday, May 17, 2004

Cold Turkey

by Kurt Vonnegut

(81 years young correspondent to America)

Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.

But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America's becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.


One of my favorites is Eugene Debs, from Terre Haute in my native state of Indiana. Get a load of this: Eugene Debs, who died back in 1926, when I was only 4, ran 5 times as the Socialist Party candidate for president, winning 900,000 votes, 6 percent of the popular vote, in 1912, if you can imagine such a ballot. He had this to say while campaigning:

As long as there is a lower class, I am in it.
As long as there is a criminal element, I'm of it.
As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

Doesn't anything socialistic make you want to throw up? Like great public schools or health insurance for all? How about Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes?

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

And so on. Not exactly planks in a Republican platform. Not exactly Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney stuff. For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere. "Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

(excerpted from "In our Times"magazine)
War, The God That Failed
By Lew Rockwell

The supporters of the Iraq War were no less fanatical than the Bolsheviks in their conviction that power could accomplish miracles at the push of a button. People like David Brooks are now saying that the embrace of power was a mistake. "We were blinded by idealism," he explains in a manner reminiscent of every apologist for a fanatical despot in the history of the world. Idealism! When your "idealism" results in military dictatorship, mass jailings and killings, rivers of blood, and the seething anger of half the world, you need to do more than confess that you might have underestimated the "response our power would have on the people we sought to liberate."

Let us state the lesson in ways that might penetrate the brains of these scribblers. When a person's "idealism" is contingent on issuing a dictate that people must obey or be killed, and on the assumption that human beings will do what they are told to do so long as the knife is at their throat, and on the further assumption that the people paying with their money and lives will believe every lie you tell, it is time to rethink your ideals. Otherwise they will end in mass suffering and devastation.

Read the Whole Thing

That's Oil, Folks!

From Joel Landy:

When George Bush is dead and gone,
And Richard Cheney too,
Do you suppose they’ll decompose
To make some fossil fuel?

It’s hard to say, ‘cause it’s today
And lots of time must pass.
But I bet you this –
You’ll still be pissed
And they still will give me gas.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Where is the morality?

The "Lean Left" blog waxes very eloquently on the moral relativism that seems to infest the right-wingers nowadays.

Seriously, where is the morality on the right wing? I am hearing, over and over again, that the torture is somehow okay because the people involved were bad guys (never mind that most weren't) or that its okay because we aren't as bad as Saddam or some random bad guy of the day. Really, that's the right wing's idea of morality? We aren't the worst of the worst, so everything is okay? Would anyone take seriously a defense of "well, at least I didn't kill anyone" in an assault trial? Or, more appropriately, would anyone take seriously a defense of "well, at least I am not a serial killer" in a murder trial? Of course not -- because the definition of "good" is not "a little bit better than the baddest person you can find."

...[T]hey are arguing for the rule of men and whim over the rule of law; they are arguing for arbitrarily treating people inhumanely instead of the process of law; they are arguing for might makes right instead of the might applied in the service of right. They are arguing, in short, for the kind of behavior and society that the United States was created in reaction to and defiance of. And it's time the decent people on the right -- and there are many -- took their movement and their party back from the moral light weights and the people willing to abandon American ideals for short term political gain who now control it.

Hastert rips White House

Even Republicans are getting tired of the arrogance.
Republicans on the Hill are so frustrated with the White House that when Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) criticized the administration at a House GOP meeting last week, the caucus burst into applause. The meeting was only the latest sign in an accumulating body of evidence that lawmakers are unhappy with the way the administration treats them. One GOP lawmaker at the caucus meeting said Hastert “expressed outright dismay with the White House staff for the way the transportation bill had been handled. They did not give the priority necessary to the issue in resolving it as the Speaker had wanted. It’s in absolute limbo.” A rank-and-file lawmaker said: “Hastert was frustrated and disappointed that he had not been dealt with openly and fairly and given accurate information. He was not so much speaking to the conference as he was speaking for the conference.”

Thomas Friedman

Lately, I read Maureen Dowd's column and think, "Wow - that's really good." Then I read Thomas Friedman and think "Wow - that's even better":

It is time to ask this question: Do we have any chance of succeeding at regime change in Iraq without regime change here at home?

"Hey, Friedman, why are you bringing politics into this all of a sudden? You're the guy who always said that producing a decent outcome in Iraq was of such overriding importance to the country that it had to be kept above politics."

Yes, that's true. I still believe that. My mistake was thinking that the Bush team believed it, too. I thought the administration would have to do the right things in Iraq — from prewar planning and putting in enough troops to dismissing the secretary of defense for incompetence — because surely this was the most important thing for the president and the country. But I was wrong. There is something even more important to the Bush crowd than getting Iraq right, and that's getting re-elected and staying loyal to the conservative base to do so. It has always been more important for the Bush folks to defeat liberals at home than Baathists abroad. That's why they spent more time studying U.S. polls than Iraqi history.

And, of course, why did the president praise Mr. Rumsfeld rather than fire him? Because Karl Rove says to hold the conservative base, you must always appear to be strong, decisive and loyal. It is more important that the president appear to be true to his team than that America appear to be true to its principles. (Here's the new Rummy Defense: "I am accountable. But the little guys were responsible. I was just giving orders.")

Maureen Dowd


"The Bush hawks, so fixated on making the Middle East look more like America, have made America look un-American. Should we really be reduced to defending ourselves by saying at least we don't behead people?"

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Bush's legacy

Nations that looked up to us in 2001 now hold us in contempt.

Those who were our allies just a short time ago...

Those who wanted to help us defeat Al Qaeda...

Those who reached out to us and were with us after September 11...

Bush has alienated them.

If you think that's irrelevant - you're either an ass or a neocon.

The Declaration of Independence was written because our Founding Fathers thought that "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

But, unlike George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, the neocons have NO respect for "the opinions of mankind."

Because they are arrogant.

And their arrogance has turned Iraq into a disaster, and caused thousands of deaths.

"Pride goeth before destruction; and an haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18)

And this arrogant, haughty, prideful administration has, indeed, ushered in destruction, and is causing the United States of America to fall.

On the beheading

This is what happens when you have a war run by an ignorant ideologue who has no idea what he's doing, and a Congress that doesn't have the balls to tell the maniac "no."

If we had actually gone after Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda instead of getting sidetracked in a heedless, reasonless occupation of Iraq, this would never have happened.

If we had spent 25% of the energy on Bin Laden that we have spent on Iraq, he would now be dead or captured.

Instead, he is offering terrorists gold for killing Americans.

And the people who beheaded Berg? They got some of Bin Laden's gold.

And there is only one reason Bin Laden is still at large: We took the focus off of him, and spent all of our energy fighting those who DIDN'T attack us.

We have wasted our resources fighting the wrong enemy.

It's time we turned Iraq over to the UN, and did what we should have done in the first place: go after Bin Laden.

Let's go after the real terrorists who actually cut the man's head off and were behind 9-11.

Instead of spending all of our resources on an occupation that is doing nobody any good whatsoever.

Jon Stewart tossed out this little satirical bit yesterday:

Jon Stewart: Stephen, what do you think about this idea that we are hearing from Rumsfeld, and now Sen. Inhofe, that the press was somehow irresponsible for releasing these photos of abuse?

Stephen Colbert: Jon, I agree entirely with Secy Rumsfeld that the release of these photos was deplorable, but these actions of a few rogue journalists do not represent the vast majority of the American media.

The journalists did something wrong?

Colbert: I'm just saying those journalists don't represent the journalists I know. The journalists I know love America, but now all anybody wants to talk about is the bad journalists--the journalists that hurt America.

But what they don't talk about is all the amazingly damaging things we haven't reported on. Who didn't uncover the flaws in our pre-war intelligence? Who gave a free pass on the Saddam-al Queda connection? Who dropped Aghanistan from the headlines at the first whiff of this Iraqi snipehunt? The United States press corps, that's who. Heck, we didn't even put this story on the front page. We tried to bury it on "60 Minutes II." Who's on that--Charlie Rose and Anglela Lansbury?

Stewart: Stephen, what do you think is at play here?

Colbert: Politics, Jon, that's what. Pure and simple. I think it's pretty suspicious that these tortures took place during a Presidential campaign. This is a clear cut case of partisan sadism. You know, come to think of it, I'm pretty sure those Iraqi prisoners want Bush out of office too. You know I wouldn't be a bit surprised if a pile of hooded, naked Iraqis has a job waiting for them in the Kerry Administration.

Churchill on Iraq

Eight decades ago, Winston Churchill, Colonial Secretary, summed up the British occupation of Iraq this way:

"We are paying 8 millions a year for the privilege of living on an ungrateful volcano, out of which we are in no circumstances to get anything worth having."

You said it, Winnie. The price tag has come up a little, though.

After the MASSIVE failure in Iraq - a systemic, horrible disaster of truly gigantic magnitude, the effect of which will be felt for generations to come - WHO is the only person who will be declared responsible for the debacle?


Tells you everything you need to know about this administration.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Andrew Sulivan, warhawk, is rethinking his support for the war, which he had viewed as "vital to reverse the Islamist narrative that pitted American values against Muslim dignity."

"The reason Abu Ghraib is such a catastrophe is that it has destroyed this narrative. It has turned the image of this war into the war that the America-hating left always said it was: a brutal, imperialist, racist occupation, designed to humiliate another culture. Abu Ghraib is Noam Chomsky's narrative turned into images more stunning, more damaging, more powerful than a million polemics from Ted Rall or Susan Sontag. It is Osama's dream propaganda coup. It is Chirac's fantasy of vindication. It is Tony Blair's nightmare.

"And, whether they are directly responsible or not, the people who ran this war are answerable to America, to America's allies, to Iraq, for the astonishing setback we have now encountered on their watch.

"The one anti-war argument that, in retrospect, I did not take seriously enough was a simple one. It was that this war was noble and defensible but that this administration was simply too incompetent and arrogant to carry it out effectively. I dismissed this as facile Bush-bashing at the time. I was wrong. I sensed the hubris of this administration after the fall of Baghdad, but I didn't sense how they would grotesquely under-man the post-war occupation, bungle the maintenance of security, short-change an absolutely vital mission, dismiss constructive criticism, ignore even their allies (like the Brits), and fail to shift swiftly enough when events span out of control. . . .

"But to have allowed the situation to slide into where we now are, to have a military so poorly managed and under-staffed that what we have seen out of Abu Ghraib was either the result of a) chaos, b) policy or c) some awful combination of the two, is inexcusable. It is a betrayal of all those soldiers who have done amazing work, who are genuine heroes, of all those Iraqis who have risked their lives for our and their future, of ordinary Americans who trusted their president and defense secretary to get this right. To have humiliated the United States by presenting false and misleading intelligence and then to have allowed something like Abu Ghraib to happen -- after a year of other, compounded errors -- is unforgivable. By refusing to hold anyone accountable, the president has also shown he is not really in control. We are at war; and our war leaders have given the enemy their biggest propaganda coup imaginable, while refusing to acknowledge their own palpable errors and misjudgments."

Just Trust Us

Paul Krugman's column today:

Didn't you know, in your gut, that something like Abu Ghraib would eventually come to light?

When the world first learned about the abuse of prisoners, President Bush said that it "does not reflect the nature of the American people." He's right, of course: a great majority of Americans are decent and good. But so are a great majority of people everywhere. If America's record is better than that of most countries — and it is — it's because of our system: our tradition of openness, and checks and balances.

Yet Mr. Bush, despite all his talk of good and evil, doesn't believe in that system. From the day his administration took office, its slogan has been "just trust us." No administration since Nixon has been so insistent that it has the right to operate without oversight or accountability, and no administration since Nixon has shown itself to be so little deserving of that trust. Out of a misplaced sense of patriotism, Congress has deferred to the administration's demands. Sooner or later, a moral catastrophe was inevitable.

Monday, May 10, 2004


According to the rhetoric of the last few months, our goal in Iraq was to bring Democracy, elections, free markets, Burger King , and all that good stuff to those poor, benighted folks in the Middle East. We were going to make them more like us.

Instead, we’ve become more like them.

No longer do we hear noble-sounding phrases of America as a shining light of freedom and liberty – a force for good in the world.

Instead, we are told that at least we aren’t as bad as Saddam Hussein.

Well, pardon me for asking, but when the hell did Saddam Hussein become the moral standard that we measure ourselves against?

Those folks who were abused and tortured in prison? According to the Red Cross, 70-90 percent of them were arrested by mistake.

The Red Cross saw “detainees” (that’s “prisoners” is Newspeak) being kept stark naked for days in total darkness. When they asked those in charge what was going on, they were told that it was just “part of the process.”

Just part of the process. Just another day at the Abu Ghraib office. Just the way things are done in Bush’s America.

The Talahassee Democrat had a truly harrowing article today. Here's an excerpt:

Pictures of abuse and humiliation of Iraqis, taken with digital cameras, were burned onto CDs that circulated widely among prison personnel, said Sindar, 25. Peeks could be had in the chow hall.

"It was like a commodity," Sindar explained. "Whatever pictures you had, whoever had the most foul picture out there, everyone wanted to see what it was."

Brutality was also in the air. Sindar recalled a 14-year-old Iraqi with a broken arm being hurled to the ground and then mocked by U.S. soldiers as the boy wept and wet himself in the prison intake center.

From the MPs' accounts, it's clear that problems at Abu Ghraib extended beyond just a few bad apples to a leadership system that failed to temper the outbursts of poorly trained and war-wearied soldiers.

"The thing with the soldiers there, they think because we're Americans, you can do whatever you want," said Spc. Ramon Leal, 25, of San Jose, Calif.

Abuse of a 14-year-old boy with a broken arm. Soldiers were passing around pictures of torture as though they were a valuable commodity.

Bush must go. If we willfully place this person back into office, our position among the family of nations will finally be completely destroyed. The entire world will believe that we, as a nation, condone these horrible things.

If America is ever again to hold its head up among the people of the world - if we are ever again to be viewed as a nation to love and emulate – then Bush must go.

If we as a nation are a moral people, Bush must go.

This cannot - must not - be tolerated.

There is a cancer on the Presidency, and our apathy has allowed it to grow.

America must eradicate itself of this disease.

And the sooner the better.


How can any one person be wrong so consistently?

Wrong about the urgency of invading Iraq.

Wrong about WMDs.

Wrong about the Iraqi's greeting us with flowers and candy.

Wrong about getting rid of the Ba'athists.

Wrong when they claimed that the oil would pay for the costs of the invasions.

Wrong about how many troops we would need.

Wrong about the post-invasion scenario.

Wrong about everything.

If I had an employee who was so wrong, so consistently - he'd be fired.

Fire him.

How bad is Bush doing? A Wisconsin newspaper today felt compelled to ask their readers to send some pro-Bush letters, because they wanted to balance the views on their letters page.

"We’ve been getting more letters critical of President Bush than those that support him. We’re not sure why, nor do we want to guess. But in today’s increasingly polarized political environment, we would prefer our offering to put forward a better sense of balance.

"Since we depend upon you, our readers, to supply our letters, that goal can be difficult. We can’t run letters that we don’t have."

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Found in my email

George W. Bush

APOLOGY Form 3331776
(PLEASE FILL OUT ALL BLANKS or form will be invalidated)


Prisoner # ___________
Nationality: Iraqi _____ Palestinian _____ Afghan_________ African American ________ Latino _______ Other _______
Location: Abu Ghraib ____ Guantanamo ______ Haifa ______Fort Benning GA _______NY Correctional Facility _______
Gender: MALE___ FEMALE___
Level of sincerity: 1-10 (choose one) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Degree of Mutilation: 1-10 (choose one) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Gift basket: Yes No
Send BIBLE Gold leaf Regular
Halliburton Discount coupons: Yes No
Autographed picture of GWB: Yes No
Flight suit replica insert: Yes No
Flag: (choose one only) Standard (with Allah reference)New (no Allah reference)
Card from Laura: Yes No
Burger King Gift Certificate: Whopper Regular

Dear Mr and Mrs (insert parents' name here) _________,

I, President George W. Bush, on behalf of myself and The Wonderful American People, wish to extend my

deepest __
most sincere ___
belated ___
apologies on the unfortunate
abuse _______
torture _______
sexual humiliation_______
death _______
of your (choose one) son__ daughter __,(insert abusee/torturee/corpse/ name here)______________.

He/she (choose one only) was made to
perform forced sex _____
masturbate ____
lie on other prisoners naked _____
wear a leash and walk like a doggie____
wear a hood _____
endure electric shock ______
eat pork _____
by one of our
normally brave soldiers ____
civilian contractors ___
CIA Ops _______
Embedded Journalists ____
who are normally fighting for the great causes of freedom, democracy, and liberation.

We want you to know that (insert first name here) _____________ was/is a very special (insert gender here) ____, and endured
suffered abuse ____
suffered humiliation____
was raped ___
died _____
in the most heroic and courageous way.

The actions by our
normally brave soldiers ___
civilian contractors ___
CIA Ops ____
Embedded Journalists ___
do NOT reflect what I know to be AMERICA or The AMERICAN PEOPLE.

Our War on Global Terrorism will go on, and we will be victorious, due to the sacrifice of men/women like (insert name here)______.

(If necessary:)
Please let us
profusely __
genuinely ___
Omit __
apologize for not being able to attend the funeral.

Sincerely yours,

George W. Bush
Commander - In- Thief
United States of America

The War is Lost

by William Rivers Pitt


"In the eyes of the world, this is America today. It cannot be dismissed as an anomaly because it went on and on and on in the Abu Ghraib prison, and because now we hear of Camp Bucca. According to the British press, there are some 30 other cases of torture and humiliation under investigation. The Bush administration went out of its way to cover up this disgrace, declaring secret the Army report on these atrocities. That, pointedly, is against the rules and against the law. You can’t call something classified just because it is embarrassing and disgusting. It was secret, but now it is out, and the whole world has been shown the dark, scabrous underbelly of our definition of freedom.

"The beginnings of actual political fallout began to find its way into the White House last week. Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the House Democrats’ most vocal defense hawk, joined Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to declare that the conflict is 'unwinnable.' Murtha, a Vietnam veteran, rocked the Democratic caucus when he said at a leader’s luncheon Tuesday that the United States cannot win the war in Iraq.

" 'Unwinnable.' Well, it only took about 14 months.

Friday, May 07, 2004

It stinks from the top.

Many years ago, there was a psychological study showing that most people would be willing to torture another human being, if placed in an environment where torture was acceptable.

And it would be easy to blame the abuse committed at the Abu Ghraib prison on the particular culture of abuse that festered and grew at that particular complex.

But the fact is, there is a culture of lawlessness that has been encouraged by the Bush administration and has been ignored by the entire nation since the start of this debacle.

President Bush has made it clear that he believes that laws are to be followed only when convenient. He has ignored – at times openly mocked - international law. He has sacrificed constitutional protections in the name of security.

The Bush administration currently has a case before the Supreme Court, arguing that the “detainees” (what a nice word for “prisoners”) at Guatanamo Bay are not protected by the Geneva Convention. The administration’s brief on the matter says: “The president, in his capacity as commander in chief, has conclusively determined that the Guantánamo detainees . . . are not entitled to prisoner-of-war status under the Geneva Convention."

In other words, the president has conclusively determined that long-standing legal provisions do not apply to him. Clear enough?

Bush has declared that Americans are not subject to the decisions of the new International Criminal Court, which is supposed to punish war crimes.

Bush has declared that by simply designating any American citizen an “enemy combatant” they are no longer entitled to constitutional protections and legal rights.

Bush has argued that such a person can be confined indefinitely, without charges, without a trial, without a lawyer, and with absolutely no oversight from any legal body.

During the 2003 State of the Union Address, Bush said that more than 3,000 suspected terrorist had been arrested in many countries. “And many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: They are no longer a problem for the United States.”

A rather chilling – and thoroughly lawless - statement.

The fundamental attitude and governing philosophy of this administration is that laws are optional, to be put on and discarded like clothing depending upon whether or not they happen to be convenient at the moment.

He has created an environment in which lawlessness is acceptable.

But if the Commander-In-Chief holds the law in contempt – why would we expect those whom he commands to respect it?

Thursday, May 06, 2004

"OW! I could have had a V-8!"

As the Conservative Turns

Bush lets a little casual racism slip, and GEORGE WILL (of all people) rips Bush another asshole:

"This administration cannot be trusted to govern if it cannot be counted on to think and, having thought, to have second thoughts."

Read the whole thing.

Will Powell Jump?

Powell aides go public on rift with Bush

Chief of staff says secretary of state is fed up with apologising for the administration and is disdainful of 'ideological' hawks

Colin Powell's key aide has described US sanctions policy against countries such as Pakistan and Cuba as "the dumbest policy on the face of the Earth".

In an article in GQ magazine Larry Wilkerson, chief of staff of the United States secretary of state, bemoans Mr Powell's firefighting role in President George Bush's cabinet.

Their candour suggests that the internecine battles within the administration are becoming increasingly bitter and open, particularly those between the departments of defence and the state. "None of Powell's friends had made any pretence of speculating about or guessing at his feelings," wrote the journalist, Wil Hylton. "They spoke for him openly and on the record."

And on the Chickenhawks:

Mr Wilkerson even makes jibes at the war record of Mr Bush's inner circle, comparing their desire for military conflict with their reluctance to serve as young men: "I make no bones about it. I have some reservations about people who have never been in the face of battle, so to speak, who are making cavalier decisions about sending men and women out to die."

Thomas Friedman

We are in danger of losing something much more important than just the war in Iraq. We are in danger of losing America as an instrument of moral authority and inspiration in the world. I have never known a time in my life when America and its president were more hated around the world than today. I was just in Japan, and even young Japanese dislike us. It's no wonder that so many Americans are obsessed with the finale of the sitcom "Friends" right now. They're the only friends we have, and even they're leaving.

Maureen Dowd - Shocking and Awful

President Bush also seemed in a buoyant mood on Saturday. But he might think about getting just a tad more involved so he doesn't have to first see on TV, as he clicks around between innings, the pictures sparking a huge worldwide, American-reputation-shattering military scandal. And so he doesn't keep nattering about how we had to go to war to close Iraq's torture chambers, when they are "really not shut down so much as under new management," as Jon Stewart drily put it.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Swift Boat Veterans for a Big Lie

Blogger Matt Gunn is writing a nearly definitive series of articles debunking the Kerry-bashing "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." It's here and it's important.
"What the country needs is a leader who speaks clearly."

- George W. Bush, May 3, 2004 Attribution

But seriously, folks...

How seriously did the Bush administration take prisoner abuse BEFORE it became a public relations problem?

Not seriously enough to inform Congress.

And not seriously enough to actually punish any perpetrators.

Here’s a Reuters story:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Twenty-five prisoners have died while being held by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and two of them were murdered in Iraq by Americans, U.S. Army officials said on Tuesday.

An Army official said one soldier was convicted of murder in the U.S. military justice system for shooting a prisoner to death in September 2003 at a detention center in Iraq, and another prisoner was killed at the Abu Ghraib jail near Baghdad in November 2003 by a private contractor who worked as an interrogator for the CIA.

The soldier was reduced in rank to private and thrown out of the service but did not serve any jail time, the official said. The official said the soldier shot the prisoner after the prisoner had thrown rocks at the soldier, and the soldier was found to have used excessive force.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said because the CIA contractor was not in the U.S. military no legal action was taken because of lack of jurisdiction, but Army officials referred the case to the Justice Department for possible action. The official did not offer details of this killing.

So there you have it: there have been two known murders (at LEAST). And we know who the murderers are.

Our response?

“The soldier was reduced in rank to private and thrown out of the service but did not serve any jail time.”

He murdered somebody, so he got to go home. He received NO jail time and NO real punishment, and got to go home. Some would view it as a reward.

And in the second case, we have a mercenary who killed somebody.

“[B]ecause the CIA contractor was not in the U.S. military no legal action was taken because of lack of jurisdiction.”

And we CAN’T do anything about it because we have no jurisdiction over mercenaries. Mercenaries are answerable to NO nation and go to war under NO flag. We hire them. They murder. And we can’t do anything to punish them.

You can certainly see how intensely concerned the Bushies were concerned about this stuff, can’t you?

Now they are concerned, of course.

Because it’s begun to affect them politically. Which has always been their only real concern. Not morals. Not ethics. Not decency. Politics and PR.

Gee – I wonder why we’re having a hard time winning the “hearts and minds”?

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Bush to speak on Arab TV

The Bushies are even more clueless than I though they were.

President Bush's national security adviser said Bush "will speak directly to the Arab world," and a White House official said the president is planning to do interviews with Arab television to underscore his feelings about photographs of naked prisoners and gloating U.S. soldiers.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday that Bush will conduct two 10-minute interviews with the U.S.-sponsored Al-Hurra television network and the Arab network Al Arabiya.

Are these people so totally out of touch that they think the Arab world will be comforted by Bush's presence on TV?

What sort of bubble do they live in? Do they really think they can do 20 minutes on Arab TV and fix this? While Iraqi civilians are being killed and while pledging to keep an occupying force in Iraq until 2005?

Does this guy REALLY think this just requires some slick PR moves?

If so, he's not sane.

Clinton destroyed Saddam's WMDs

That headline in actually true, and is something that is almost ignored by the news media.

Saddam had WMDs when Clinton took office. There is no real question about that. He no longer had them when Clinton left. There is ALSO no real question about THAT.

And According to David Kay, our chief Iraq Weapons Inspector in Iraq, the Iraqi atomic weapons program stopped in 1998.

What happened in 1998?

The Desert Fox joint United States-British strike on Iraq.

Well, if Desert Fox stopped the Iraqi atomic weapons program, this means the Clinton administration's Saddam containment policy was far more effective than anyone realized.

In 1998, Saddam had thrown out U.N. inspectors. U.S. and British aircraft bombed Iraq weapons facilities for several nights, while 400 cruise missiles were fired into Iraq. Many right-wingers denounced the strikes. They called it "wagging the dog" and complained that it was taking their attention away from investigating the very important questionof which way Clinton's penis bent.

But, they were wrong. Desert Fox was a resounding success.

Among the Iraqi facilities pounded in 1998 was the Al Zaafaraniyah atomic weapons and missile complex. In 1993, Clinton ordered Al Zaafaraniyah hit with cruise missiles to stop Iraq atomic-weapons research. In 1998, Al Zaafaraniyah was reduced to rubble.

Clinton did that. While the right-wingers tried to stop him. And they are so ungrateful that they've never properly thanked him.

"Al Jazeera: We will show a picture of ANYTHING.

Except a woman's face."

Consistent Phoniness

How phony is Bush?

So phony that EVERYTHING is phony. I sometimes wonder if his lying is compulsive, since he doesn’t just lie about the important stuff, he obsessively lies about trivia, and absolutely everything is all image and no substance.

Anyhow, Bush is on a bus tour through Western Ohio, and it one of these major campaign PR things: the traditional bus tour. But, being Bush, he’s actually taking a plane and calling it a bus tour.

"The bus tour, about 60 miles through western Ohio, actually includes two airplane flights — one from Detroit to Toledo and another from Toledo to Dayton."

Other highlights:

"There are workers who are concerned about their jobs. I understand that. I understand that.”

Oh, spare me, George: the one thing you certainly don’t understand is someone actually needing a job. When was the last time you needed one? In fact, when was the last time you succeeded at one?

"I looked at the intelligence on Iraq and I saw a threat."

And you were wrong. Iraq was no threat. Somebody should tell you that being completely certain when you are dead wrong is not a virtue.

“The world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power…the torture rooms are closed."

George? Are you actually so clueless that you said the above with a straight face? And somehow failed to mention the our own abuse of prisoners in the exact same torture rooms that you say are “closed”?

Yes, you’re actually that clueless.

And then, for a finale, he opened up the floor for questions that were planted. How do we know that they were planted? There were no direct questions about Iraq or even the economy. Not one. In a state that’s lost 300,000 jobs. Can you think of another explanation?

Monday, May 03, 2004


"I am not angry with our President, but I am disappointed. I don't expect an easy solution to the situation in Iraq, I do expect an admission that there are serious problems that need serious solutions. I don't expect our leaders to be free of mistakes, but I expect our leaders to own up to them."
--Paul Rieckhoff, Iraqi veteran from the Weekly Democratic Radio Address


David Brock has launched a new website that will correct right-wing lies and spin in real time. When they BS, they will get called on it, and corrected factually:

Media Matters

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Bill Maher

Bill Maher was on "Hardball" with Chris The Screamer. Check this out:

On John Kerry's medals:
"Why are you covering this? Why are you taking this bait, seriously? Why are you even letting them bait you into covering this complete non-issue? This guy has medals. This guy has ribbons. The other guy didn‘t go. That‘s the whole story.

The other guy is a draft dodger. They were both rich kids in the ‘60s. One of them went to where the bullets were flying and one of them found a way not to go and then he lied about that. Stop covering the medals.

Look, one guy went into the National Guard, which back then was a way of getting out of it. On top of that, he had the nerve to say to Tim Russert, 'You know, if my Guard unit had been called up, I would have gone.' How very brave, Mr. President, considering ... only 8,700 Guard people were ever called up there, 0.03 percent. So there was no chance he would have been called up.

That‘s George Bush for you: 'Hold me back, hold me back'.”

On President Bush:

"I‘m not even talking about the decision to go into Iraq, which, you know, doesn‘t look so good nowadays. I‘m looking at this news about Fallujah, and I hear what President Bush is saying. Do you remember 'Baghdad Bob,' the guy we all laughed at because he was saying things that were completely crazy? Well, President Bush sounds like Washington Bob right now. He‘s saying, “It‘s only a few troublemakers. It‘s a few rotten eggs that we‘re fighting over there.” Are you kidding? Is he joking?

He‘s getting the media to cover this nonsense about John Kerry‘s medals. So Joe public, as President Bush would call him, sits home and goes, 'Well, gosh, there was a controversy with Bush‘s military history and now there‘s a controversy with John Kerry‘s military history. I don‘t know who to vote for.' It‘s nonsense.

One guy actually has honor and integrity, although I will admit that John Kerry certainly is not burdened with charisma, and the other guy only has the words ‘honor and integrity.’ He‘s never connected them to anything.

With enough money, you can convince people of anything. And that is what George Bush does. He is one of the most cynical presidents we‘ve ever had, I believe, because with that kind of money, he plays on people‘s fears, he plays on people‘s ignorance, and he plays on people‘s shortsightedness."

On John Kerry for president:
"John Kerry‘s campaign slogan should be 'Do not resuscitate.' He’s cold. I‘m sorry. But you know what? That‘s who he is. Why do people have to like the guy? I hear people say, 'I don‘t know if I‘m comfortable with John Kerry.' You know what? You don‘t have to go to bed with him. Just vote for him.

We‘re such babies about this. In the days before television, people didn‘t judge presidents on whether he was sunny, warm, or likable. They judged on whether he was the best man for the job. I would like to bring that criteria back now that we‘re at war."