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War, politics, religion... & other stuff you shouldn't talk about over dinner...

Dedicated to the proposition that GW Bush and Saddam Hussein are figments of our unconscious minds

Cost of the War in Iraq
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According to Amnesty International, Iraq executes "scores" of political prisoners every year, at least 31 confirmed last year. How long would it have taken Saddam to execute the 6000+ Iraqi civilians we've killed this year? Figure it out.

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LEAGUE OF LIBERALS

 


SADDAM CAUGHT..... WAR OVER..... LET'S GO HOME!

Note: Comments (sigh) working again...

Saturday, September 20, 2003


 
BUSH'S ENRON TYPE ACCOUNTING STARTED WITH TEXAS SCHOOLS AND CONTINUES THRU TAX CUTS UP THRU THE IRAQ WAR

Frpm Sydney H. Schanberg, Village Voice:

...As a sample, here is some of what Winerip found on the scene in Houston, where he described Sharpstown High School: "[This] poor, mostly minority high school of 1,650 students had a freshman class of 1,000 that dwindled to fewer than 300 students by senior year. And yet—and this is the miracle—not one dropout to report. Nor was zero an unusual dropout rate in this school district that both President Bush and Secretary of Education Rod Paige have held up as the national showcase for accountability. . . . Westside High here had 2,308 students and no reported dropouts; Wheatley High 731 students, no dropouts. A dozen of the city's poorest schools reported dropout rates under 1 percent."

This was the district cited as the model for Bush's No Child Left Behind law enacted by Congress in the first months after his inauguration. Congress authorized $18 billion to launch the program nationwide. Oddly, the president has budgeted only $12 billion, lopping off one-third of the money.

This is the disconnect that runs through nearly all of the president's cornerstone policies. He utters grand slogans and then slips behind his Wizard of Oz curtain and pretends that's all he has to do....\


 
DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH

Bush to Issue 'Call to Action' to U.N. on Iraq

40 minutes ago, By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush will issue a "call to action" to U.N. member states to help out with postwar reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, senior Bush administration officials said on Saturday.

The move comes a year after Bush challenged the United Nations to back its anti-Iraq resolutions with the threat of force or risk becoming irrelevant, opening an ultimately doomed bid for a U.N.-backed resolution authorizing war against Iraq.
LINK

Hmm, the UN didn't back the war, and suddenly the UN IS relevant after all. How embarassing. But let's just pretend it didn't happen...



Friday, September 19, 2003


 
SHADES OF VIETNAM: WHY WE ARE IN IRAQ

"...Our kids are dying over there for a single purpose: to prevent an election." - Greg Palast

From: gregpalast.com:

....Remember when General Jay Garner called for a vote [in Iraq] in 90 days?

Here's why we can't have an election (and why the General got the boot): Bush's oil patch buddies can't complete the sell-off of Iraq's oil fields under an
elected Iraqi government - no elected Iraqi government would let it happen. Rather than take on the issue of oil and blood, [Journalist Thomas] Friedman fries the French.

Get off it, Tommy - this is not about France. This is about a bunch of half-baked cowboys in the White House who made a mess in Mesopotamia and now want Europe to pay the bill before an enraged, bankrupt American electorate throws the Bushitas out on their big fat deficit...
link



 
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TWO WARS

Clinton welcomed as hero in Kosovo

Ethnic Albanians greet former president as their liberator

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro, Sept. 19 — Basking in public adoration the United States can only dream of in Iraq, ex-president Bill Clinton got a hero’s welcome in Kosovo on Friday, four years after NATO bombing ended Serb rule.

THOUSANDS OF KOSOVO Albanians turned out to greet the man they see as their liberator from a decade of repression under then Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.

Schoolchildren got the day off and well-wishers waving
the Star and Stripes thronged Pristina’s Bill Clinton Boulevard as his motorcade drove by.
MORE

The difference? I think it could be that it's between liberating a people and liberating their oil...


 
WASHINGTON POST SLAMMED FOR BURYING PRE-WAR REBUTTALS OF BUSH LIES

"There was a disconcerting pattern of underplayed or missed stories..." -W.P. Ombudsman Michael Getler

The Postwar Post

by ARI BERMAN, THE NATION, [posted online on September 17, 2003]

On February 7, two days after Colin Powell's much-auded presentation before the United Nations Security Council,
Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus described how foreign government officials, terrorism experts and members of Congress disputed a key claim: the supposed link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Despite the article's relevance, the Post buried it in journalistic no man's land--page A21--where it had little effect. An article a week later by Pincus and military correspondent Dana Priest, "Bin Laden-Hussein Link Hazy," got a similar A20 placement.

On March 16 another Pincus article, "U.S. Lacks Specifics on Banned Arms," explained that US intelligence agencies believed the Bush Administration had exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam's purported stocks of WMD. Its placement: A17. Two days later, Pincus and White House correspondent Dana Milbank wrote a strenuous indictment of the Administration's rationales for war: "As the Bush Administration prepares to attack Iraq this week, it is doing so on the basis of a number of
allegations against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that have been challenged--and in some cases disproved--by the United Nations, European governments and even U.S. intelligence reports." That one managed to vault only up to A13.

It wasn't until May 29, almost a month after Bush declared an end to major combat operations, that Pincus, along with co-writer Karen DeYoung, broke onto the front page with a story headlined "U.S. Hedges on Finding Iraqi Weapons; Officials Cite the Possibilities of Long or Fruitless Search for Banned Arms."...
MORE


 
"I can no longer justify my service on the basis of what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies."

We are facing death in Iraq for no reason

A serving US soldier calls for the end of an occupation based on lies

Tim Predmore, Friday September 19, 2003, The Guardian

....what is our purpose here? Was this invasion because of weapons of mass destruction, as we have so often heard? If so, where are they? Did we invade to dispose of a leader and his regime because they were closely associated with Osama bin Laden? If so, where is the proof?

Or is it that our incursion is about our own economic advantage? Iraq's oil can be refined at the lowest cost of any in the world. This looks like a modern-day crusade not to free an oppressed people or to rid the world of a demonic dictator relentless in his pursuit of conquest and domination, but a crusade to control another nation's natural resource. Oil - at least to me - seems to be the reason for our presence.

There is only one truth, and it is that Americans are dying. There are an estimated 10 to 14 attacks every day on our servicemen and women in Iraq. As the body count continues to grow, it would appear that there is no immediate end in sight.

I once believed that I was serving for a cause - "to uphold and defend the constitution of the United States". Now I no longer believe that; I have lost my conviction, as well as my determination. I can no longer justify my service on the basis of what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies.
link


 
CIA REPORT PREDICTS AIDS WILL TRIPLE BY 2010

Report: HIV epidemic could triple by 2010

WASHINGTON (CNN) --By the end of the decade, the number of people infected with HIV in Russia, India, China, Ethopia, and Nigeria could more than triple, far exceeding the number in central and southern Africa, the current epicenter of the worldwide epidemic, a government intelligence report said Monday.

"Looking at AIDS as an African problem will be at odds with the reality of the disease," said David Gordon, former national intelligence officer for economics and global issues with the National Intelligence Council, which carries out mid-term and long-term strategic thinking for the CIA, and which prepared the report.
LINK



Thursday, September 18, 2003


 
GULP.... BUDGET DEFICIT WILL BE 5X THE EXPECTED 1.5 TRILLION

Maybe you missed this:

The Brainteaser of Deficit Math

By the time you’re finished adjusting for reality, the projected budget deficit is about $7.4 trillion, not the advertised $1.4 trillion

ALLAN SLOAN, NEWSWEEK, Sept. 8 issue

...let’s look at the figures that emanated from the Congressional Budget Office last week but seemingly vanished into the haze of late August.

YOU MAY REMEMBER something about a projected $1.4 trillion deficit over the next 10 years and dismissive remarks from the White House about how the numbers are unreliable. And there were reassurances from various gurus that these deficits aren’t very big relative to the size of our economy. A fiscal food fight that seems strictly Yawn City. Pass the suntan lotion, dear, let’s roll over and bake our other side.

But I’ve been back at work for more than a week now. So I read the
whole report instead of just the summary. By law, the budget office has to assume that existing laws expire as planned, and that no new programs are added or subtracted. But this report includes numbers that you can use to adjust for political reality. Which I did. First, I counted the $2.4 trillion Social Security surplus, which the Treasury uses to offset its cash shortfall. Then I figured that the last three years of tax cuts will become permanent; that Congress will pass a Medicare prescription-drug package and will also stop the dreaded alternative minimum tax from hitting 30 million taxpayers. These changes add $3.6 trillion to the deficit. So by the time you’re done, the total projected deficit is more than five times the aforementioned $1.4 trillion. Call it $7.4 trillion. And I’m being generous, assuming we spend nothing in Iraq starting Oct. 1, 2005...
LINK

Anyone know a nice country I can move to when this one is used up?


 
QUOTE OF THE DAY

thanks to daily kos:

Max Cleland. American Hero. Former Senator. Victim of the Right Wing smear machine. More heroic, more courageous, and more principled than the entire administration and its Chickenhawk Cabal combined, had this to say:

"The president has declared "major combat over" and sent a message to every terrorist, "Bring them on." As a result, he has lost more people in his war than his father did in his and there is no end in sight [...]

"Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President. Sorry you didn't go when you had the chance."


 
SOMEONE NEEDS TO STARTING ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT WHY OTHER COUNTRIES ARE ARRESTING MORE AL QAEDA SUSPECTS THAN US

As has been noted in the official US govt website, nearly 3000 terrorists were arrested worldwide in the first 12 1/2 months after 9-11. Five more Al Qaeda were arrested in Spain yesterday.

But how many were actually arrested in the US? I'm remembering only about a dozen. The half dozen in Buffalo, NY, the 5 in Oregon and the pathetic so-called "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla(who didn't even have a dirty bomb).

Why so few? It's not that I am envious, but there are only 2 possible explanations:

[1] John Ashcroft's heavy-handed tactics have alienated the very people who could have helped us, the law-abiding Muslim community, or

[2] There were hardly any terrorists here in the first place.

Inquiring minds want to know! Depending on which, the privacy-invading "Patriot Act" is either unjustified or ineffective. Or JUST MAYBE.... it is BOTH.


 
FIGHTING HEATS UP IN IRAQ

Up to eight US soldiers were reported killed in an ambush by Australian TV (unconfirmed) and the oil pipeline to Turkey sabotaged according to CNN.

Remember after Uday and Qusay were "killed", commentators thought the attacks would slow down? Things are getting worse not better.

UPDATE: MILITARY FIRES AT REPORTERS AT AMBUSH SCENE

US Forces Suffer Casualties in Attack West of Baghdad
VOA News, 18 Sep 2003, 14:29 UTC

U.S. forces have suffered casualties in an attack Thursday west of Baghdad. Eyewitness reports from the town of Khaldiyah say a U.S. military convoy was attacked, and two vehicles were on fire.

Reporters at the scene say American troops sealed off the area. The Associated Press says a reporter who tried to approach one of the disabled vehicles was fired on by an American tank.
LINK

UPDATE II: The US is now only confirming 2 wounded, but with preventing reporters from viewing the scene, one wonders if other casualties will be "folded" into the count later. Remember, this would've been the largest casualties since the war was declared "over."


 
Syria, Libya Listed as 'Rogue States'

By Timothy M. Phelps, NEWSDAY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, September 17, 2003

Washington - The Bush administration named Syria and Libya yesterday as "rogue states" whose weapons of mass destruction must not just be controlled but must be eliminated by whatever means necessary
. link

Deja Vu all over again!

Meanwhile someday soon we will see this headline:

US listed as 'Rogue State'




Wednesday, September 17, 2003


 
BUSH IN EFFECT ADMITS HE LIED...And it Appears to be Grounds for Impeachment

From the leftcoaster(via tom tommorrow and kos):


Bush Backtrack on Saddam/9-11 Link Creates Legal Problem

With both Rummy and now Bush walking away from their claims that Saddam was involved in 9-11, it is worthwhile to remind the media what exactly Bush has said in justifying the Iraq invasion.

As I noted in this very blog on the day Bush authorized the invasion under the requirements of the congressional resolution, this is exactly what Bush said in writing to Congress:

March 18, 2003

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Sincerely,


GEORGE W. BUSH


But today, Bush says that:

"There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaida ties," the president said. But he also said, "We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the Sept. 11" attacks.

The failure to find any imminent WMD threat has now negated Article 1 of the rationale Bush used above. Today he says he has no evidence that Saddam was involved in September 11(when on March 18 he says he did have such evidence), which then negates Article 2 of his legislatively-required justification for war as outlined under PL 107-243.


Excuse me, but doesn’t this mean he lied to comply with the provisions of PL 107-243? And is that not an impeachable offense?

Bush lied to Congress to get us into a war, and he now admits it.


It sounds to me like it's impeachable... It's the equivalent of lying under oath. And remember all the times post-Clinton when some Repub big-wig was caught lying - the response was "well, at least it wasn't under oath."

Well, this is. And it's on matters of war and peace, too. That's a High Crime/ Misdemeanor. So it is impeachable. Anyone listening?

Tom Tommorrow comments:


The question...

...is why they're suddenly backing off the Saddam/9-11 connection, when they've managed to convince 70% of the public that there is one. Why now, particularly when it is an outright admission that they lied to Congress to justify the war (see post below)? Are they just trying to defuse the issue so the Dems can't beat them over the head with it? Is something going on behind the scenes that we don't know about? Are they just so insanely short sighted that they're reacting solely to criticism of Cheney's Meet The Press appearance, without any thought to the larger implications of what they're saying? That last would certainly be in keeping with their usual MO, but I have to admit, I'm stumped on this one. What's Karl Rove's angle here?


The answer is there is no angle. They are just reacting to criticism of Dick Cheney. In fact they are not evil geniuses at all (just evil). They are used to getting their way and they ARE insanely short-sighted -- otherwise would they be squandering our nation's inheritance and destroying the environment simply for quick profits today?


 
THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE

An Undiplomatic Display

By Al Kamen

Wednesday, September 17, 2003; Page A25

State Department types were taken aback last week to find that a longtime diplomatic photo exhibit along a busy corridor to the cafeteria had been taken down. The two dozen mostly grainy black and white shots were a historic progression of great diplomatic moments, sources recalled.

There was an original political cartoon from the Jefferson era showing Britain and France pick-pocketing the Americans; there were pictures of negotiations with Indian tribes over land; President Woodrow Wilson at Versailles; former secretary of state Elihu Root somewhere; Roosevelt and Churchill signing the Atlantic Charter; former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze in cowboy boots at Jackson Hole; a splendid shot of the old State Department building; and a photo of President Ronald Reagan at a meeting with a very young Colin L. Powell seated behind him.

Then they were gone. And what was put up in their place? What else? A George W. Bush family album montage of 21 large photos of the president as diplomat. He's speaking at the United Nations and meeting with foreign leaders. There are several shots of Bush with first lady Laura Bush -- exiting a plane, touring the Forum in Rome and visiting Japan. (There's one of just Laura Bush and Jordan's Queen Noor at a U.N. conference.) There's one of Bush meeting in happier days with his very good friend Jacques Chirac, president of France, and another with his even better friend, Gerhard Schroeder, chancellor of Germany. There's a fine shot of him yucking it up in Beijing with former Chicom boss Jiang Zemin, aka the Robin Williams of the Middle Kingdom.

The new exhibit -- actually it was on a lesser-traveled corridor on the first floor for several months -- was sent over from the White House at the request of State's administration folks. It's part of an effort to "spruce up the building . . . liven up the halls," one official said. There are other similar photos on other floors, we were told. The old photos are to be re-hung in that other corridor once it's painted.

But such a stunning collection of Bush photos and only a couple of Secretary of State Powell -- both with Bush? "Well, the president is our boss," the official observed.

Quite true. But no picture of Bush swimming in the Potomac?

Our personal favorite is a shot of the president looking out from the official limo in Beijing. The ID placard, done at the State Department, says he's in Tienemen Square.

No. No tiene men. No tiene women either. That would be Tiananmen Square.
LINK


 
GW IS "HALF THE MAN" LBJ WAS

The last word on the GW to LBJ morph is from draftclark.com:

...I like to say that GW Bush Jr. is half the man that LBJ was - he is a Texan who has made all the big mistakes of LBJ by overheating the economy and sucking America into a war without end against an enemy without a face - but unlike LBJ, he has not made sure that the benefits of living in this, the greatest and most prosperous nation the world has ever seen, flow equally to all her people. Health benefits are contracting as the cost goes through the roof, incomes are falling - as local taxation is jacked up to offset federal cuts. Civil rights are being curtailed.

We cannot ask Americans to die for America - unless America, in turn, is willing to sacrifice for its people. We need a program of jobs, hospitals, schools, doctors, nurses, trees, open skies and open education. We need Wesley Clark to put his hand to the difficult task of healing a shattered Western Alliance, which kept the peace for 40 years against Soviet Empire, and has a duty to keep the peace in the transition from an imperial past, to a free and open future....
LINK


 
ROBERT FISK TELLS IT LIKE IT IS IN BAGHDAD

Secret slaughter by night, lies and blind eyes by day

In the suburbs of Baghdad and the Sunni cities to the north the American military policy of 'recon-by-fire' and the breakdown of law and order is exacting a heavy toll on a war-torn people.

Robert Fisk, 14 September 2003: (The Independent. UK)

...In Baghdad, up to 70 corpses - of Iraqis killed by gunfire - are brought to the mortuaries each day. In Najaf, for example, the cemetery authorities record the arrival of the bodies of up to 20 victims of violence a day. Some of the dead were killed in family feuds, in looting, or revenge killings. Others have been gunned down by US troops at checkpoints or in the increasingly vicious "raids" carried out by American forces in the suburbs of Baghdad and the Sunni cities to the north. Only last week, reporters covering the killing of the Fallujah policemen were astonished to see badly wounded children suddenly arriving at the hospital, all shot - according to their families - by an American tank which had opened up at a palm grove outside the town. As usual, the occupation authorities had "no information" on the incident.

But if you count the Najaf dead as typical of just two or three other major cities, and if you add on the daily Baghdad death toll and multiply by seven, almost 1,000 Iraqi civilians are being killed every week - and that may well be a conservative figure. Somewhere in the cavernous marble halls of proconsul Paul Bremer's palace on the Tigris, someone must be calculating these awful statistics. But of course, the Americans are not telling us.

It's like listening to Iraq's American-run radio station. Death - unless it's on a spectacular scale like the Jordanian or UN or Najaf bombings - simply doesn't get on the air...
MORE


 
Unchoking the Terrorists?

According to Debka.com:

Jordan’s Central Bank retracts day-old order to kingdom’s banks to refuse business to 6 top Hamas leaders and 5 Palestinian charities.

DEBKAfile adds: Amman’s reversal follows Hamas rebuke of Jordan as the first Arab-Muslim nation to “bow to American dictates” as well as pressure from Riyadh. US treasury secretary John Snow is due in Saudi Arabia Wednesday to discuss ways of choking off terrorist financing

Arafat offers Hamas portfolios in Abu Ala government and backdoor financing in negotiations on phony ceasefire led by adviser Jibril Rajoub and Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti from Israeli jail.


 
HISTORY REPEATS

Iraqis' Bitterness Is Called Bigger Threat Than Terror
By DOUGLAS JEHL with DAVID E. SANGER

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 — New intelligence assessments are warning that the United States' most formidable foe in Iraq in the months ahead may be the resentment of ordinary Iraqis increasingly hostile to the American military occupation, Defense Department officials said today.

That picture, shared with American military commanders in Iraq, is very different from the public view currently being presented by senior Bush administration officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who once again today listed only "dead-enders, foreign terrorists and criminal gangs" as opponents of the American occupation.

The defense officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were concerned about retribution for straying from the official line. They said it was a mistake for the administration to discount the role of ordinary Iraqis who have little in common with the groups Mr. Rumsfeld cited, but whose anger over the American presence appears to be kindling some sympathy for those attacking American forces.
... more

I would say this is a "duh." Or a more literately, a perfect example of Georges Santayana's famous dictum, "Those who will not learn from history are condemned to repeat it."

No doubt that will be the Bush Epitaph. They would not learn from the Gilded Age and Reaganism about the fallacies of laissez-faire. They would not learn from Viet Nam and Lebanon about the fallacies of occupation and "pacification". There is a word for such willful ignorance and it is hubris. Republicans: feel free to look it up.



Tuesday, September 16, 2003


 

COLIN POWELL HAS DESCENDED INTO HELL AND BECOME ANOTHER BUSH DEMON



I posted this below but it is so outrageous, I think it deserves reposting complete with update:

COLIN POWELL LIVES IN ALTERNATIVE REALITY, SAYS U.N. SHOULD HAVE STOPPED SADDAM SOONER

Powell says world should have stopped Saddam sooner

By Jonathan Wright

HALABJA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell used a visit to a mass Kurdish grave in northern Iraq on Monday to defend the war which ousted Saddam Hussein, and accused Syria of allowing saboteurs to slip over its border.

Powell and leaders of Washington's Kurdish allies lit candles at a memorial for 5,000 Iraqi Kurds killed in a 1988 gas attack, which he said showed the world should have acted sooner against the brutal regime of the former Iraqi president
. LINK

Hmm, 1988. Isn't that when Reagan was President, and Rumsfield, Cheney and their pals were selling him poison gas and biological agents? Maybe someone should have stopped THEM?

UPDATE: 9/16 Mahablog reminds us that in 1988, Colin Powell was Reagan's National Security Advisor, and as such bears the blame for the Reagan response to the gassing: Actually rewarding them with MORE aid! link

Have you no shame Mr. Powell? At long last, have you no shame?


 
BEN AFFLECK JOINS PRESIDENTIAL RACE

(LAS VEGAS) Movie star Ben Affleck joined a crowded field by announcing he would seek the Democratic Party nomination today. His announcement which followed closely announcements by N. Carolina Senator John Edwards and Ex-Gen. Wesley Clark made him the 11th candidate to seek the nomination.

When asked about his chances in the crowded field, Affleck wisecracked, "Better than my chances as J.Lo's third husband."





 
COLIN POWELL STILL ON DRUGS, CLAIMS WE ARE "LIBERATORS"
(with marginal notes)

Powell: 'We are not occupiers' in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) --U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday said U.S. forces are not occupiers but liberators, shortly after the military said another American soldier had died in an attack on a U.S. convoy.

(That is why the Iraqis are so happy that we are there)

"We are not occupiers," Powell told a Baghdad news conference. "We have come under a legal term having to do with occupation under international law, but we came as liberators."

(Excuse me, which international law is that?)

"We have liberated a number of countries, and we do not own one square foot of any of those countries, except where we bury our dead," Powell said on his first visit to Baghdad.

(So THAT'S Bush's secret plan: to take over Iraq by turning it into an American graveyard. Now his policy makes SENSE!)



US troops line up to receive thank you's from Iraqi policemen

link



 
FRENCH GET PISSY, BUT IN A GOOD WAY

French block airlift of British troops to Basra

By Henry Samuel and Michael Smith, DAILY TELEGRAPH, (Filed: 16/09/2003)

The French government has told an airline that it is not to ferry British troops to Basra, a ban that will be seen as reflecting Paris's opposition to the occupation of Iraq.

Corsair, which has been chartered numerous times to transport UK forces around the world, pulled out of a contract to fly reinforcements to Basra at the weekend.
LINK


 
IRAQI POLICE PISSED, DECLARE WAR ON U.S.

Iraqi police ready to turn guns on US troops
From Richard Lloyd Parry in Fallujah, The Times (London), September 15, 2003

Iraqi policemen declared themselves holy warriors yesterday and vowed to take revenge for the deaths of their comrades in the town where ten police and a security guard were killed on Friday in the worst "friendly fire" incident of the Iraq conflict. "I am full of hatred for the Americans and I am ready to kill them," said Arkan Adanan, who was injured in the shoulder early on Friday morning when US troops poured rifle and machinegun fire into three police vehicles that were chasing suspected bandits.

"All Fallujah people are Mujahidin and they care only about killing Americans. We don't care about their powerful weapons, because we know that if we die we will become martyrs."

Survivors of the incident and relatives of the dead and injured men made similar comments.

At a news conference with Colin Powell, the visiting US Secretary of State, Paul Bremer, the US administrator, said: "The very regrettable incident in Fallujah is still under investigation by our military. We have expressed regrets for it publicly.

"When we have reached conclusions about how the incident came about, we'll take appropriate steps. In the past we have paid families where we felt it was appropriate, but this incident is still under investigation."

The apology issued by a US spokesman over the weekend has done little to calm rage over the incident, which many local people claim was a deliberate ambush by the American soldiers. Conspiracy theories are circulating about how wounded policemen were shot in the head by unidentified foreigners allegedly working for the coalition.

"From today, I am a Mujahidin," Anwar Jabar, a policeman whose brother and cousin died in the attack, said. "I have lost two heroes, so why not let it be three?" The Fallujah killings are a grave setback to the US-led coalition, which was already struggling to persuade ordinary people of the sincerity of its intentions in Iraq.

That the incident occurred in Fallujah, already the centre of the country's most violent resistance to coalition authority, makes it doubly disastrous.

The response was swift. An American soldier was killed and three others injured yesterday morning when a Humvee armoured vehicle ran over a homemade bomb.

Passers-by laughed as the carcass of the Humvee was dragged back to the US base on the outskirts of Fallujah a few hours later. ...
LINK



Monday, September 15, 2003


 
RECALL DELAYED, BLAMED ON AFFLECK, J.LO

(SAN FRANCISCO) The US 9th District Court today ruled that the California gubernatorial recall must be delayed until March. Justices ruled that it was inherently unfair to allow the recall to proceed when the Ben Affleck/ Jennifer Lopez wedding was called off.



 
COLIN POWELL LIVES IN ALTERNATIVE REALITY, SAYS U.N. SHOULD HAVE STOPPED SADDAM SOONER

Powell says world should have stopped Saddam sooner

By Jonathan Wright

HALABJA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell used a visit to a mass Kurdish grave in northern Iraq on Monday to defend the war which ousted Saddam Hussein, and accused Syria of allowing saboteurs to slip over its border.

Powell and leaders of Washington's Kurdish allies lit candles at a memorial for 5,000 Iraqi Kurds killed in a 1988 gas attack, which he said showed the world should have acted sooner against the brutal regime of the former Iraqi president
. LINK

Hmm, 1988. Isn't that when Reagan was President, and Rumsfield, Cheney and their pals were selling him poison gas and biological agents? Maybe someone should have stopped THEM?

UPDATE: 9/16 Mahablog points out that in 1988, Colin Powell was Reagan's National Security Advisor, and as such bears the blame for the Reagan response to the gassing: Rewarding them with MORE aid! link

Have you no shame Mr. Powell? At long last, have you no shame?


 
BEN REVEALS REASON FOR BREAKUP WITH J.LO

He suspected Al-Qaeda links, says father

[Las Vegas] Ben Affleck's rumored breakup with Jennifer Lopez on the eve of their planned wedding, may have been due to suspicions of terrorist links, said Ben's father.

"Ben is a very patriotic guy, and he may have gotten suspicious because of her swarthy complexion," Ben's dad speculated.

When asked how their relationship had proceeded so far, Ben's dad responded, " Well, Ben is also very trusting. I'm sure that he assumed Chris Judd or Puff Daddy wouldn't do no terrorist."



 
"DISINFORMATION AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS," SAYS AMANPOUR

Amanpour: CNN practiced self-censorship
Peter Johnson, USATODAY

CNN's top war correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, says that the press muzzled itself during the Iraq war. And, she says CNN "was intimidated" by the Bush administration and Fox News, which "put a climate of fear and self-censorship."...

...As criticism of the war and its aftermath intensifies, Amanpour joins a chorus of journalists and pundits who charge that the media largely toed the Bush administrationline in covering the war and, by doing so, failed to aggressively question the motives behind the invasion.

"All of the entire body politic in my view, whether it's the administration, the intelligence, the journalists, whoever, did not ask enough questions, for instance, about weapons of mass destruction. I mean, it looks like this was disinformation at the highest levels."...


MORE


 
BUSH REVIEWS TROOPS, DEMANDS LEBENSRAUM!





 
Pentagon Initiates New Research into Prohibited Chemical Weapons

Source: Sunshine Project, Posted: September 9, 2003


AUSTIN, TX - Recently unearthed US government documents reveal new information on illicit US chemical weapons research. The US Marine Corps program on so-called "non-lethal" chemicals has inked new deals for prohibited weapons. The contracts include development of a new kind of rocket propelled grenade that began at the end of 2002, only weeks after the Moscow Theater disaster. Also last year, a senior US Army toxicologist investigated tacrine, a close cousin of several nerve gases, as a candidate "non-lethal" chemical weapons payload...

... In February 2002, at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, the toxicologist ordered a literature review on its potential for weaponization. Chemically, tacrine is a acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, a first cousin of the nerve gases sarin, tabun, and VX (among others).

The discovery that the Army is investigating close relatives of extremely lethal nerve gases as "non-lethal" weapons heightens concerns previously raised that the Army's "non-lethal" chemical weapons program is practically indistinguishable from one with a fully lethal intent. The Army's interest in tacrine should draw particular scrutiny from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and governments who are members of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
link


 
MILITARY BUDGET LARGEST IN FIFTY YEARS

The Military's Bloated Budget
It hasn't been this big in 50 years.
By Fred Kaplan
Posted Friday, September 12, 2003, at 4:18 PM PT

This year, if all goes as President Bush plans, the United States will spend more money on the military than in any year since 1952, the peak of the Korean War.

Here are the stark numbers. The original defense budget for fiscal year 2004 was $400 billion. Bush's supplemental request for Iraq and Afghanistan, which he announced last Sunday on television, is $87 billion, for a total of $487 billion. Let's be conservative and deduct the $21 billion of the supplemental that's earmarked for civil reconstruction (even though the Defense Department is running the reconstruction). That leaves $466 billion.

By comparison, in constant 2004 dollars (adjusted for inflation), the U.S. defense budget in 1985, the peak of the Cold War and Ronald Reagan's rearmament, totaled $453 billion. That was $12 billion to $33 billion less than this year's budget (depending on whether you count reconstruction). In 1968, at the peak of the Vietnam War, the budget amounted to $428 billion. That's $38 billion to $59 billion below Bush's request for this year.

link

And the amazing thing is we only have 1/3 the number of troops on the ground!



Sunday, September 14, 2003


 
WAR ON TERROR MISGUIDED SAYS SPOOK

Former spy criticizes U.S. method of fighting terrorism

By Mary Manning, 9/12/03, LAS VEGAS SUN

The next terrorist attack on the United States won't involve a cockpit takeover, former CIA spy Robert Steele said in Las Vegas on the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Instead it will come from a Stinger missile or explosives planted in a cargo container, the ex-Marine said Thursday night to members of the Nevada Committee for Foreign Relations.

Steele, while critical of Attorney General John Ashcroft in his speech, said that he believes both major political parties have failed the American people.

"America gets the government and intelligence services it deserves," said Steele, who spent 25 years in covert operations in El Salvador and other places.

The United States hasn't changed the way it gathers or uses intelligence since the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were hit two years ago, Steele said.

"You are no safer today than you were before the 9-11 attacks," he said.

"We should not be throwing rocks in Iraq and Afghanistan until we strengthen our glass house here at home," Steele told about 25 people at the Las Vegas Country Club.

Instead, the federal government should build intelligence centers in every state and every major city, including Las Vegas, for the purpose of gathering information, Steele said.

Las Vegas is particularly vulnerable to an attack on water delivery pipelines or other utilities, he said.

"There's going to be a worldwide war over water," Steele said, pointing out droughts and spots of political unrest on a world map.

Las Vegas is particularly vulnerable if international companies are permitted to buy water and privatize the resource, he said.

The Bush administration is approaching terrorism from an outmoded perspective, as if the former Soviet Union were the only enemy, Steele said. Instead, terrorists, gangs and fragmented attackers are creating much of the violence.

"The answer is not John Ashcroft peeping into every window," Steele said.

Five of the Sept. 11 hijackers visited Las Vegas before the attack, and the FBI has never been able to determine why they came here. It could have been for anything, including selling drugs to raise money for the cause, Steele said.

Many U.S. cities are most vulnerable from a biological attack, such as a bacteria, Steele said.

"We stopped investing in public health 30 years ago," Steele said.

Howard Dean, the Democratic presidential candidate, has paid attention to the multi-faceted threats, Steele said. Stealing a page from Dean's presidential playbook, he said the country should still spend $500 billion on defense, but cut the heavy military budget to $250 billion. Put $100 billion into economic growth, the Peace Corps and environmental cleanup efforts and another $75 billion into public utilities, port security, border patrols and intelligence, he said.
LINK




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