SADDAM CAUGHT..... WAR OVER..... LET'S GO HOME!
Note: Comments (sigh) working again...
Saturday, July 19, 2003
A GENERATION OF DEBTORS?
Marked for Debt
The Bush administration says we'll grow out of our deficit. But the Bush tax cuts make that impossible.
By Daniel Gross, SLATE, Posted Friday, July 18, 2003, at 2:05 PM PT
When he announced the record $455 billion federal deficit last week, Office of Management and Budget Director Joshua Bolten reassured Americans that the red ink will evaporate as soon as the economy perks up. In the long term, Bolten insisted, rapid economic growth will generate the federal revenues needed to close the gap.
Bolten's faith in history is charming, but worrisome. His implication is that just as the '90s boom erased the deficit President Clinton inherited, so economic growth will eventually wipe out the deficit President Bush created.
But Bush's own policies make that very unlikely. Even if the economy rebounds, the tax revenue the federal government needs to balance the budget won't return [due to the tax cuts].... more
And remember, the first of the 77 million baby boomers will start to retire in 2006. But don't think this is bad planning. In the words of Grover Norquist, it's to "strangle the government" so it can't fund social programs including Social Security.
Or in the words of Alice Cooper, "Welcome to My Nightmare!"
Friday, July 18, 2003
Pentagon retaliates against GIs who spoke out on TV
Robert Collier, Chronicle Staff Writer, Friday, July 18, 2003
Fallujah, Iraq -- Morale is dipping pretty low among U.S. soldiers as they stew in Iraq's broiling heat, get shot at by an increasingly hostile population and get repeated orders to extend their tours of duty.
Ask any grunt standing guard on a 115-degree day what he or she thinks of the open-ended Iraq occupation, and you'll get an earful of colorful complaints.
But going public isn't always easy, as soldiers of the Army's Second Brigade, Third Infantry Division found out after "Good Morning America" aired their complaints.
The brigade's soldiers received word this week from the Pentagon that it was extending their stay, with a vague promise to send them home by September if the security situation allows. They've been away from home since September, and this week's announcement was the third time their mission has been extended.
It was bad news for the division's 12,000 homesick soldiers, who were at the forefront of the force that overthrew Saddam Hussein's government and moved into Baghdad in early April.
On Wednesday morning, when the ABC news show reported from Fallujah, where the division is based, the troops gave the reporters an earful. One soldier said he felt like he'd been "kicked in the guts, slapped in the face." Another demanded that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld quit.
The retaliation from Washington was swift.
CAREERS OVER FOR SOME
"It was the end of the world," said one officer Thursday. "It went all the way up to President Bush and back down again on top of us. At least six of us here will lose our careers."
First lesson for the troops, it seemed: Don't ever talk to the media "on the record" -- that is, with your name attached -- unless you're giving the sort of chin-forward, everything's-great message the Pentagon loves to hear.... MORE
I guess its wrong to criticize Der Fuehrer, I mean The President. They weren't kidding when they said "shut up".
IRAQ COALITION COMMANDER TELLS TROOPS TO SHUT UP
Antiwar.com has reported that the coalition forces commander, General Abizaid, has now declared that American troops must silence their criticism concerning the President and Defense Secretary, under threat of reprimand or worse. link
As posted here earlier and in newspapers worldwide, troops of the 3rd Infantry, who've seen the brunt of the fighting both during official hostilities and currently, are pissed off that yet again, promises to send them home have been broken due to the continued violence.
No one has mentioned whether the violence after Bush's infamous "Bring them on" comments or the revelations of Bush's uranium deception have also contributed to their attitude.
One should note that criticism was also ordered to be stopped, during the first weeks of the Clinton Administration during the "don't ask, don't tell" controversy, but that order was winked at by senior officials.
MEDIA UNDERCOUNTS US DEATHS IN IRAQ
Media Underplays U.S. Death Toll in Iraq
Soldiers Dead Since May Is 3 Times Official Count
By Greg Mitchell, JULY 17, 2003, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER MAGAZINE
NEW YORK -- News Analysis
Any way you look at it, the news is bad enough. According to Thursday's press and television reports, 33 U.S. soldiers have now died in combat since President Bush declared an end to the major fighting in the war on May 2. This, of course, is a tragedy for the men killed and their families, and a problem for the White House.
But actually the numbers are much worse -- and rarely reported by the media.
According to official military records, the number of U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq since May 2 is actually 85. This includes a staggering number of non-combat deaths. Even if killed in a non-hostile action, these soldiers are no less dead, their families no less aggrieved. And it's safe to say that nearly all of these people would still be alive if they were still back in the States.
Nevertheless, the media continues to report the much lower figure of 33 as if those are the only deaths that count.
A Web site called Iraq Coalition Casualty Count (http://lunaville.org/warcasualties/Summary.aspx) is tracking the deaths, by whatever cause, of U.S. military personnel in Iraq, based on official Pentagon and CENTCOM press releases and Army Times and CNN casualty trackers. Their current count is 85 since May 2.
Looking at the entire war, there was much fanfare Thursday over the fact that the latest U.S. combat death this week pushed the official total to 148 -- finally topping the 147 figure for Gulf War 1. However, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, the total number of all U.S. deaths, combat and otherwise, in Iraq is actually 224. MORE
This report also adds credence to the claim posted here earlier that some combat casualties may be being reported as accidents.
Thursday, July 17, 2003
IT WAS ABOUT THE OIL
From Kos and Thismodernworld:
Iraq war WAS about the oil
File this under "holy shit": there's a reason Cheney was so adamant about keeping the deliberations of the Energy Task Force secret. It wasn't about Enron or ANWAR (although I'm sure they surely had their role), it was about divying up Iraq's oil fields. It really was about the oil.
Judicial Watch, the conservative legal group that bedeviled the Clinton Administration has effectively done the same for Cheney and Bush:
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse, said today that documents turned over by the Commerce Department, under court order as a result of Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.”So were such documents used for truly innocent purposes? It'll be interesting to see the administration's and its backers' tortured explanations as to why the Task Force would have pondered over who held the contracts to Iraq's oil wealth.
Given the Iraq sanctions, those oil wells could not play any role in the formulation of US energy policy.
That is, unless... Yeah, you get the picture. LINK
And maybe this also explains the posting about Cheney being pressured to resign as well.
TENET TRIED TO TAKE THE FALL, WILL IT BE CHENEY NEXT?
Cheney under pressure to quit over false war evidence
Anger grows on both sides of Atlantic at misleading claims on eve of Iraq conflict
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington and Marie Woolf, INDEPENDENT, UK. 16 July 2003
Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President and the administration's most outspoken hawk over Iraq, faced demands for his resignation last night as he was accused of using false evidence to build the case for war.
He was accused of using his office to insist that a false claim about Iraq's efforts to buy uranium from Africa to restart its nuclear programme be included in George Bush's State of the Union address - overriding the concerns of the CIA director, George Tenet.
Mr Cheney was also accused of knowingly misleading Congress when the administration sought its authorisation for the use of force to oust Saddam Hussein.
The allegations against Mr Cheney have come most vocally from a group of senior former intelligence officials who believe that information from the intelligence community was selectively used to support a war fought for political reasons. In an open letter to President George Bush, the group have asked that he demand Mr Cheney's resignation. LINK
THIS IS IT: SMOKING GUN NUMBER LXXVII
Tenet Says Official Wanted Iraq Claim
Thu Jul 17,10:32 AM ET, By KEN GUGGENHEIM, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - CIA Director George Tenet told members of Congress a White House official insisted that President Bush's State of the Union address include an assertion about Saddam Hussein's nuclear intentions that had not been verified, a Senate Intelligence Committee member said Thursday. LINK
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
BUSH LIED, WASHINGTON POST ALMOST ADMITS IT
Bush Faced Dwindling Data on Iraq Nuclear Bid
By Walter Pincus, Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 16, 2003; Page A01
In recent days, as the Bush administration has defended its assertion in the president's State of the Union address that Iraq had tried to buy African uranium, officials have said it was only one bit of intelligence that indicated former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was reconstituting his nuclear weapons program.
But a review of speeches and reports, plus interviews with present and former administration officials and intelligence analysts, suggests that between Oct. 7, when President Bush made a speech laying out the case for military action against Hussein, and Jan. 28, when he gave his State of the Union address, almost all the other evidence had either been undercut or disproved by U.N. inspectors in Iraq. LINK
Let's deconstruct the headline for a moment:
It's implying Bush HAD to lie, given the "dwindling data " on Iraq's so-called "nuclear bid." Poor fellow! Pushed right into a corner by those Iraqis NOT building nuclear weapons!
ARE SOME COMBAT DEATHS BEING DISGUISED AS ACCIDENTS?
...First Sgt. Christopher Coffin, 51, became the fifth soldier with Maine ties to die in Iraq after his vehicle ran into a ditch on July 1. He was a member of the 352nd Civil Affairs Command assisting convoys traveling between Baghdad and Kuwait.
The details of Coffin's death have been mired in confusion since the day it was announced by the military.
Initially, a press release from Coffin's unit stated he died after his vehicle swerved to avoid a civilian vehicle.
But a report from the U.S. Central Command issued a day before said a member of Coffin's unit was killed July 1 when his convoy was hit by "an improvised explosive device."
That report did not name Coffin, but he was the only member of his unit to die that day....
..."The case raises a very troubling question, which is, are combat deaths being disguised as accidents . . . so it would appear less harm is being caused by the Iraqi resistance than is the case?"
Congressman Tom Allen (D-Maine)
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
THE "OTHER" OTHER VIETNAM
Washington's Afghan plan unravels
By Ramtanu Maitra, ASIA TIMES
In recent weeks, two major incidents along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border have laid bare the new complexities in the area. And a large part of the blame for these two incidents lies with the United States's duplicitous role in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The first of the two incidents occurred on July 4, a Friday afternoon at the Jama Masjid-o-Imambargah Kalaan Isna Ashri, a Shi'ite mosque in Quetta in the western Pakistani province of Balochistan bordering Afghanistan. On that holy Muslim day, while the Shi'ite faithful were offering their prayers, three killers, apparently including a suicide bomber, attacked the mosque: 53 were killed and 57 injured...
The second incident occurred three days later, on July 7, when about 2,000 Afghan demonstrators, protesting the Pakistan army's alleged occupation of Afghan territory in the Nangarhar and Kunar provinces along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, climbed the Pakistan embassy walls in Kabul and broke windows and furniture. Pakistan promptly closed the embassy. In all likelihood, the embassy will be opened shortly, but the bad blood developed between Islamabad and Kabul, both virtual client states of the United States, will continue to bring death and mayhem for some time to come...
...The stoning of the Pakistan embassy in Kabul was yet another incident waiting to happen. The fact is that under the guidance of its Afghan-born expert, Zalmay Khalilzad, the Bush administration has been pursuing a policy that will not only set Pakistan and Afghanistan on the road to confrontation, but also threaten to tear down the already-stretched fabric of Pakistani society...
To repeat the ABCs of this situation: the key players in Pakistan on whom the US is relying to eradicate Taliban extremists are the very individuals who created the Taliban.... LINK
Worth reading in its entireity.
ANOTHER VIETNAM, PART LXXXIV
US Troops Demotivated, Iraqis Angry...
... After hearing they would head home several times, 3rd Infantry soldiers were stunned by news that the gritty streets of Falluja would continue to be home for the foreseeable future.
"We were told three times we would be going home in a couple of months. It is not a good time to announce this. We are demotivated," said Sergeant Chris Grisham, a military intelligence officer... Soldiers in the 3rd Infantry were just as disconsolate in the nearby town of Habbaniyah.
"I felt probably a level of hopelessness that I never felt before in my life. It just felt like the knockout punch," said Sergeant Eric Wright....
American soldiers were not the only ones angered by the decision to keep them in Iraq. Local Iraqis are also eager for them to depart.
"We boil inside when we see these American soldiers drive by. There is no security here. If they stay we will fight them with our weapons," said Ahmed Abdel Razak, puffing on a water pipe in a crowded market.
A man stopped his car to happily tell him that he had heard a U.S. tank had been attacked.... LINK
Meanwhile, US Officials in Washington brushed off criticism.
"No big deal, we just cut a big deal with Eli Lilly to send our troops Prozac, " one official commented. "They'll be happy campers soon enough! And as for the Iraqis, from my background in business, I know there's no such thing as bad publicity. It's better that they think bad thoughts about you, than no thoughts at all.
"In fact, I'll wager that for 9 out of 10 Iraqis, if you said "Heartless Imperial Power" they'd say United States and nobody else!"
Monday, July 14, 2003
ANOTHER VIETNAM: KEY POLLING BENCHMARK TURNS ANTI-WAR
Almost unnoticed, what is perhaps the KEY indicator in public opinion about Iraq has trended into negative territory: that is, whether the casualties suffered are acceptable. Note that this is probably irreversible, insofar as casualties will continue to rise and can never fall. This is the point at which Iraq has become another Viet Nam.
"...thinking about the goals versus the costs of the war, so far in your opinion has there been an acceptable or unacceptable number of U.S. military casualties in Iraq?"
.............Acceptable .............Unacceptable.... No Opinion % % %
7/9-10/03........44 ................ 52 .................3
6/18-22/03......51 ................ 44................. 5
4/9/03.............66 ................ 28................. 6
4/3/03.............62 ................ 32................. 5
3/27/03...........58 ................ 34................. 9
SOURCE: ABC News/Washington Post Poll. July 9-10, 2003. N=1,006 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3. Fieldwork by TNS Intersearch link
EPA refuses to examine clean air proposals
Critics Say E.P.A. Won't Analyze Some Clean Air Proposals
By JENNIFER 8. LEE, NY TIMES, July 14, 2003
WASHINGTON, July 13 — In the last several months, the Environmental Protection Agency has delayed or refused to do analysis on proposals that conflict with the president's air pollution agenda, say members of Congress, their aides, environmental advocates and agency employees.
Agency employees say they have been told either not to analyze or not to release information about mercury, carbon dioxide and other air pollutants. This has prompted inquiries and complaints from environmental groups, as well as Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
"It's totally unacceptable," said Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut. "This is an administration that lets its politics and ideology overwhelm and stifle scientific fact."
Mr. Lieberman said the agency refused to analyze legislation that he and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, sponsored to limit emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas implicated in global warming.
Lisa Harrington, a spokeswoman for the agency, said, "These decisions were not motivated in any way by politics." LINK
Excuse me while I laugh and throw up.
Sunday, July 13, 2003
GOP is "proposing to slash worker benefits in order to give employers funding relief."
Treasury plan could slash pension payouts
By Christine Dugas, USA TODAY
Workers could receive significantly smaller lump sum pension payments under a Treasury Department proposal unveiled this week. The proposal also includes relief for underfunded corporate pension plans, which have been battered by bear market losses and low interest rates.
Companies have pressed hard for funding relief. But worker advocates say they shouldn't get pension help at the expense of retiree benefits. "We think this is a big deal," says David Certner, AARP's director of federal affairs. "They're proposing to slash worker benefits in order to give employers funding relief."
Congress must approve the Treasury plan. It is expected to be added to a pension bill in the House that is sponsored by Reps. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Benjamin Cardin, D-Md... LINK
It's as old as history, bail out the fat cats with the peasants' money...
ANOTHER LIE CHALLENGED BY EX-OFFICIALS
Ex-Officials Dispute Iraq Tie to al-Qaida
By MATT KELLEY, The Associated Press
Saturday, July 12, 2003; 12:42 PM
WASHINGTON - As President Bush works to quiet a controversy over his discredited claim of Iraqi uranium shopping in Africa, another of his prewar assertions is coming under fire: the alleged link between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaida.
Before the war, Bush and members of his cabinet said Saddam was harboring top al-Qaida operatives and suggested Iraq could slip the terrorist network chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons. Now, two former Bush administration intelligence officials say the evidence linking Saddam to the group responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was never more than sketchy at best.
"There was no significant pattern of cooperation between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist operation," former State Department intelligence official Greg Thielmann said this week.
Intelligence agencies agreed on the "lack of a meaningful connection to al-Qaida" and said so to the White House and Congress, said Thielmann, who left State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research last September. link
Of course, anyone who was informed knew most of Bush's reasons for war were lies a year ago.