By David Sirota, Huffington Post
When I worked on the House Appropriations Committee, I worked around Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) a lot. He's a really intimidating, no-nonsense kind of guy (he was the guy that I always worried would scream at me a la Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann in Full Metal Jacket if I screwed anything up).
And when it comes to defense-related issues, there literally is no member of Congress more informed and more pro-military than Murtha. That's why his announcement yesterday demanding an immediate withdrawal from Iraq was so important: because if someone like Murtha says its time for a withdrawal, then any Democrat in America should be able to say its time for a withdrawal.
BIG DICK PILES ON
"He has the least interest in human beings of anyone I have ever met."
-- John Perry Barlow, former Cheney supporter
Mmmmm, baby blood.
Someone let Dick Cheney out of his cage last night. After Bush on Monday and Rumsfeld on Tuesday, Big Dick delivered the third and dirtiest punch in the administration's 1-2-3 'hit-back' strategy to counter mounting criticism of their war. He said the accusation that Bush deliberately misled the nation into war is "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city." Pretty funny coming from perhaps the most dishonest and reprehensible person to ever air his vitriol in that city. Really, in a town as historically crooked as DC, that's a pretty hefty charge. READ MORE
"It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion."
-- Rep. John Murtha, yesterday
The president himself has said it's "ok to debate the conduct of the war," so let's do that. The mess they have created is so big it's almost impossible to know where to begin. Simply put, it's been an absolute disaster on all fronts. We'll let Rep. John Murtha take it from there. I encourage you to read the full text of Murtha's bombshell (or watch it at C&L), but here are some of the more salient passages: READ MORE
TODAY'S DEMOCRACY NOW!:
* Woodward Downplayed CIA Leak Case Despite Involvement *
Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward was told of Valerie Plame's identity
in June of 2003 - before Judith Miller or any other reporter. Woodward never
reported this in the pages of the Washington Post and only mentioned it to
his editors last month. We speak with Steve Clemons, editor of the popular
news blog, The Washington Note.
* A Debate: Does Wal-Mart Work or is it a High Cost for Low Price? *
Wal-Mart - the world's largest retailer - has been in the headlines recently
What began with a documentary broadcast on Italian TV asserting that U.S. troops fired white phosphorous at Iraqi troops, intensified when bloggers unearthed the smoking gun.
U.S. officials claimed that white phosphorous, considered a chemical weapon when used on troops, was only used to illuminate the battlefield and provide smoke for camouflage. This claim fell apart when bloggers dug up an article in the US Army's Field Artillery Magazine, which makes quite clear that WP was used as a weapon not just as illumination or camouflage.
Confronted with the new evidence, the U.S. changed their tune saying, "We have learned that some of the information we were provided is incorrect. White phosphorous shells, were used in Fallujah not for illumination but for screening purposes and as a potent psychological weapon.
By Dave Lindorff, http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/
Rep. John Murtha, the decorated Vietnam and Korean War Marine vet and conservative Pennsylvania Democrat who stunned Bush administration and Republican congressional warhawks and Democratic go-alongs like Sens. Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden alike with his call for an immediate U.S. pullout from Iraq, left unsaid one important word in his dramatic turnaround announcement: defeat.
But that’s the real message of his change of heart from Iraq War backer and booster to peacenik.
The war begun by President Bush with such bravado and so little braino, which was designed to convert him from a dismal president to a crisp and awe-inspiring commander-in-chief, has been lost.
By Mike Hersh, Progressive Democrats of America
Wednesday, November 15, 2005 / Washington, DC--When Rep. Maxine Waters closed the Out of Iraq Press Conference at the Longworth Office Building this morning, Progressive Democrats of America had come of age. This event was part of two days packed with activism, retrospectives, and planning, and confirmed that PDA has a new mission. Several members of the House Out of Iraq Caucus specifically charged us and other activists with leading the efforts to force a long-overdue discussion of Iraq policy in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Waters opened the press conference by offering best wishes for PDA National Advisory Board member Cindy Sheehan who was about to stand trial for civil disobedience at the federal courthouse a few blocks away. PDA Chair Mimi Kennedy, Executive Director Tim Carpenter, and Political Director Kevin Spidel dashed from a vigil with Cindy to attend the announcement this morning.
By Larry C. Johnson
John Murtha's courageous call for American troops to leave Iraq is the right policy at the right time. The Bush chickenhawks already are impugning Murtha's patriotism, but when you have a purple heart and a silver star compared to a President with a spotty attendance record with the National Guard and a Vice President with five deferments, that dog don't hunt.
The situation in Iraq is clear. The United States does not have enough troops on the ground to contain and destroy the insurgency. The Iraqi insurgency consists of at least 26 different groups and draws upon as many as 250,000 supporters. These groups represent a spectrum of beliefs ranging from secular nationalists to hard core jihadists. The only thing they agree on is that they hate the invader; which is us.
BY: JUDD LEGUM, Christy Harvey, Nico Pitney, Payson Schwin,
Faiz Shakir and Amanda Terkel
SOURCE: APAF's 11-17-05 column, "The Progress Report."
On Wednesday, Vice President Dick Cheney said that "the suggestion
that's been made by some U.S. senators that the President of the
United States or any member of this Administration purposely misled
the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most
dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city." 
Let's be clear: President Bush and many members of his administration
A former CIA director has claimed that torture is condoned and even approved by the Bush government.
The devastating accusations have been made by Admiral Stansfield Turner who labelled Dick Cheney "a vice president for torture".
He said: "We have crossed the line into dangerous territory".
The American Senate says torture should be banned - whatever the justification. But President Bush has threatened to veto their ruling.
The former spymaster claims President Bush is not telling the truth when he says that torture is not a method used by the US.
COURTS SIDE AGAINST CINDY SHEEHAN AND OTHER PEACE ACTIVIST IN FIRST AMENDMENT CASE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
Contact: Shay Lohman 626-833-0105
COURTS SIDE AGAINST CINDY SHEEHAN AND OTHER PEACE ACTIVIST IN FIRST AMENDMENT CASE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
WASHINGTON, DC--'Peace Mom' Cindy Sheehan stood in solidarity with dozens of other peace activist who were arrested in front of the White House on September 26, 2005 while attempting to peaceably petition the President of the United States to end the unjust and immoral war in Iraq. Sheehan along with over three hundred other activist were arrested for "demonstrating without a permit." The group chose to take their case to the United States Court's, arguing that they were indeed not committing a crime by attempting to petition the President of the United States in front of the White House. The activist argued that the United States Constitution protected their right to peaceably petition the government to saves American and Iraqi lives. Any law prohibiting them to do so would be in violation of the United States Constitution.
From Tomdispatch today a piece that couldn't be more timely (given the breaking story of Bob Woodward's reluctant Plame revelation): Former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, "The 'Some Other Dude Did It' Defense of I. Lewis Libby: Is Woodward's Revelation a Bombshell or a Smokescreen?" http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=38034
You certainly remember de la Vega's recent piece, "The White House Criminal Conspiracy," a cover story for the Nation magazine and for a major one for Tomdispatch -- in which she made a case for the way the Bush administration defrauded the American people into war. In her latest piece, which runs against most of the immediate media commentary on the significance of the Bob Woodward's leak revelation, she considers the fate of I. Lewis Libby and suggests that those who believe Woodward's testimony will work to Libby's advantage are simply wrong.
House Republicans will call for a vote on the pullout on Iraq this evening after a call from hawkish Democrat Jack Murtha (D-PA) for the U.S. to immediately begin removing troops from Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.
Unlike the resolution Murtha proposed, which called for the removal of troops to begin immediately, the Republican resolution calls for all troops to be pulled out at once. Democrats say this dramatically changes the nature of Murtha's original proposal.
The following email went out earlier from the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to members of her caucus. Democrats have now received a copy of the GOP resolution.
From Former White House Counsel John W. Dean
By John W. Dean
Friday 18 November 2005
The Honorable Patrick J. Fitzgerald
Bond Federal Building
1400 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Special Counsel Fitzgerald:
Excuse my being so presumptuous as to send you this open letter, but the latest revelation of the testimony, before the grand jury, by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward has raised some fundamental questions for me.
In your post as Special Counsel, you now have nothing less than authority of the Attorney General of the United States, for purposes of the investigation and prosecution of "the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a CIA employee's identity." (The employee, of course, is Valerie Plame Wilson, a CIA employee with classified status, and the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.) On December 30, 2003, you received a letter from the Deputy Attorney General regarding your powers. On February 6, 2004 you received a letter of further clarification, stating without reservation, that in this matter your powers are "plenary." In effect, then, you act with the power of the Attorney General of the United States.
By Kim Sengupta
The Independent UK
Iraq's Interior Minister has defended the treatment of abused prisoners found in a government bunker, declaring that "no one was beheaded or killed". But while Bayan Jabr insisted that the allegations of torture were "exaggerated" fresh details emerged of the horrific conditions endured by the captives.
Witnesses said many of the 169 men and youths were emaciated and looked like "Holocaust survivors". Some had suffered beatings so severe that their skin had peeled off, and three men had been kept locked in a cupboard where they could not move. All the others were packed, blindfolded, into three rooms nine feet long and 11 feet wide.
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Investigative Report
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will present evidence next week to a grand jury in his two year-old investigation into the outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson in the hopes of securing a criminal indictment against an undetermined number of senior officials in the Bush administration for playing some sort of role in the leak, attorneys who have been working on this case since its inception said.
Adding a new wrinkle in the ongoing drama surrounding a federal probe into the Plame Wilson leak, Bob Woodward, the assistant managing editor of the Washington Post, disclosed that he testified under oath this week before Fitzgerald, stating that he too was told about Plame Wilson’s CIA status in June 2003 by an administration official.
Eli Stephens, Left I on the News
Serendipity. Driving from one place to another with a bit of time on my hands, I was sucked into a passing bookstore, and what did I find on the shelves but Not One More Mother's Child by Cindy Sheehan, the just-published first book from Koa Books. The book features a prominent picture of Sheehan, Martin Sheen, and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War standing behind a striking IVAW banner on the cover. I'm sure I've read many of the writings inside, all of which have been on the web somewhere or other, but I'm sure it will still be a worthwhile purchase.
dear friends on the good cause trail
I thought you might appreciate this story - in preparation for our
upcoming action for National Stand Down Day, I decided to take a copy
of our press release into each of the recruiting offices out on 41st
Avenue and just give them a heads up on what we were doing - this is
excerpted from something I sent out to our planning group about the
"I went out to the recruiting center on Tuesday to check it out, my
first time! - I did go into each office, introduce myself, told them
what we will be doing, and gave them a copy of our press release - I
Senator Harry Reid
t r u t h o u t | Statement
Washington, DC - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid gave the following speech on the Senate Floor tonight.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Tonight the Vice President has come out of his bunker and is speaking at a gathering of Washington DC insiders, which is closed to the press.
Unfortunately, he brought his bunker mentality with him. He is repeating the same tired attacks we've heard from administration officials over the last two weeks.
In the last 24 hours, 10 of our brave soldiers have been killed in far off Iraq. On such a night, you would think Cheney would give a speech that honors the fallen and those still fighting by laying out a strategy for success.
TODAY'S DEMOCRACY NOW!:
* Pentagon Reverses Position and Admits U.S. Troops Used White Phosphorous
Against Iraqis in Fallujah *
The U.S. government has now admitted its troops used white phosphorous as an
incendiary weapon against Iraqis during the assault on Fallujah a year ago.
Chemical weapons experts say such attacks are in violation of international
law banning the use of chemical weapons. We speak with columnist George
Monbiot and the news director of RAI TV, the Italian TV network that
produced the film "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre."
Scheer out as Bush attacks Iraq War critics
Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer was fired on November 11 after nearly 30 years at the paper, the last 13 as one of its most progressive political columnists.
In a published statement announcing op-ed page changes (11/10/05), the Times insisted that it is dedicated to "provid[ing] readers with a wide range of voices and perspectives," but in dumping Scheer, the paper has gotten rid of one of the few prominent progressive columnists in the country.
Scheer's forceful and independent commentary has often placed him in the middle of national debates. He has been one of the strongest critics of the White House over the Iraq War. For instance, in a pre-war column (8/6/02) that undercuts the current notion that everyone got the WMD story wrong, Scheer wrote that “a consensus of experts
By Kent Bye, Director, The Echo Chamber Project
This is the audio from a 30-minute speech by Scott Ritter that I heard
on August 22, 2002 in Baltimore that is undeniable evidence that not
everyone believed that Iraq absolutely had Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Money Quote from Ritter at the 7:03 mark:
But the problem is, this war hinges on Iraq's possession or efforts
to reacquire weapons of mass destruction. If you listen to the rhetoric
that comes out of Washington DC -- from members of the Bush
By Robert Scheer, The Nation
At a time when approximately 57 percent of Americans polled believe that President Bush deceived them on the reasons for the war in Iraq, it does seem a bit redundant to deconstruct the President's recent speeches on that subject. Yet, to fail to do so would be to passively accept the Big Lie technique-which is how we as a nation got into this horrible mess in the first place.
The basic claim of the President's desperate and strident attack on the war's critics this past week is that he was acting as a consensus President when intelligence information left him no choice but to invade Iraq as a preventive action to deter a terrorist attack on America. This is flatly wrong.
By Andrew Buncombe, Kim Sengupta and Colin Brown
The Independent UK
US finally admits using white phosphorus in Fallujah - and beyond. Iraqis investigate if civilians were targeted with deadly chemical.
The Iraqi government is to investigate the United States military's use of white phosphorus shells during the battle of Fallujah - an inquiry that could reveal whether American forces breached a fundamental international weapons treaty.
Iraq's acting Human Rights minister, Narmin Othman, said last night that a team would be dispatched to Fallujah to try to ascertain conclusively whether civilians had been killed or injured by the incendiary weapon. The use of white phosphorus (WP) and other incendiary weapons such as napalm against civilians is prohibited.
(Editor's note: Sent to my mailbox...)
President Bush says, "We don't torture," but his actions speak otherwise. He has threatened to veto bills that contain amendments sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would definitively ban torture by U.S. forces . His vice president, Dick Cheney, has repeatedly pushed to exempt the CIA from McCain's bill. Cheney's tune hasn't changed in the four years since he said, "A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies...so it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective" (emphasis added) .
Moore's response to McClellan
November 17th, 2005 10:47 pm
Statement by Michael Moore on the Bush Administration's Statement
STATEMENT BY MICHAEL MOORE
Unfortunately, the President doesn't understand that it is mainstream middle America who has turned against him and his immoral war and that it is I and the Democrats who represent the mainstream. It is Mr. Bush who is the extremist.
LINK TO ORIGINAL
The Presidential Spokesidiot
Casey Morris, Democracy Cell Project
After Jack Murtha took his brave stand yesterday calling for the immediate redeployment of US troops from Iraq, I expected to hear some stupidity among the various responses. I didn't expect that Scott McClellan would take the prize with this nugget of idiocy:
Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party.
Somebody needs to explain to Scott McClellan that this is precisely the point. It is no longer the extreme liberals who are calling for the redeployment of American troops from Iraq. It's the majority of the American public.
Bush turns to political base as war support wanes
18 Nov 2005 21:06:43 GMT
By Alan Elsner
WASHINGTON, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Fighting a decline in public support for the Iraq war and his own leadership, U.S. President George W. Bush and Republican allies have chosen to court his political base with a campaign-style offensive against Democrats.
The Republican National Committee on Friday unveiled a new television advertisement accusing Senate Democrats of dishonesty for turning against a war they originally supported, although polls show the broad U.S. public following a similar track from support to disillusionment.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Cong. Murtha on Cheney
by John in DC - 11/17/2005 09:54:00 PM
From AP today
Vice President Dick Cheney jumped into the fray Wednesday by assailing Democrats who contend the Bush administration manipulated intelligence on Iraq, calling their criticism "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city."
Murtha, a Marine intelligence officer in Vietnam, angrily shot back at Cheney: "I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."
LINK TO ORIGINAL
House GOP Seeks Quick Vote on Iraq Pullout
By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer
Friday, November 18, 2005
(11-18) 12:37 PST WASHINGTON, (AP) --
House Republicans, sensing an opportunity for political advantage, maneuvered for a quick vote and swift rejection Friday of a Democratic lawmaker's call for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq.
"We want to make sure that we support our troops that are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. "We will not retreat."
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi had no immediate reaction to the planned vote.