Washington Update

United For Peace and Justice
Washington Update – November 22, 2005

Members of Congress are home for the holidays, we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to visit them in their district offices, or question them about the war in Iraq at public events in the district. For updated lobbying materials – including talking points, bills and actions to ask for and more, please check the legislative page on the UFPJ website: http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=3116#grassroots

It was a busy week in Congress, the upshot is that we have many vehicles to press members on to show their support for an end to the war.

Bob Graham Denounces Bush Lies

Watch this CNN VIDEO. Former Senator Bob Graham describes the pre-war Bush lies while repeatedly refusing to call them lies. What is he doing, auditioning for a job on CNN?

Worse than Watergate, The Mother of All Constitutional Crises

From Tomdispatch this morning, Judith Coburn's "Worse than Watergate, The Mother of All Constitutional Crises" http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=38684

Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's protection of a source has bookended the two great constitutional crises of the last half century, but (despite the parallels) how times have changed since Richard Nixon's impeachment in 1973. Judith Coburn, who covered the Vietnam War and the Watergate hearings as a young reporter, looks back on that moment and on ours, making unexpected parallels, and highlighting the differences -- in the media, the legal proceedings, and in our politics.

The Truth About "Curveball" and Bush's Case for War

By Joel Wendland
http://www.politicalaffairs.net

The Bush administration's case for war continues to fall apart. It has taken far too long and at such a great expense in lives and resources, but more revelations in the Los Angeles Times show that the administration manipulated intelligence in order to strong arm Congress and confuse the public into supporting its war.

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that some information used to support the cause for war was nothing more than "watercooler gossip."

According to this account, an Iraqi engineer who left Iraq and sought asylum in Germany, code named "Curveball," never was connected to any WMD production in Iraq. Apparently, in order to gain legal residency in Germany, Curveball had told German intelligence agents that Saddam had developed mobile laboratories for manufacturing WMD.

N.J. Lawmaker Targeted for Iraq

N.J. Lawmaker Targeted for Iraq Comments By DONNA DE LA CRUZ, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo.com
42 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (news, bio, voting record) is among eight Republican congressmen targeted by a liberal advocacy group for criticizing a call for American troops to immediately withdraw from Iraq.

Television ads featuring the congressmen were to begin airing nationally on Thanksgiving Day, and then will run in each of the lawmakers' home districts a few days later.

Last Thursday, Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), D-Pa., called for an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. The next day, the Republican-controlled House hastily arranged for a vote on Murtha's resolution. Democrats accused Republicans of orchestrating a political stunt that prohibited thoughtful debate on the issue, and nearly all voted against the measure. The final tally was 403 against Murtha's resolution, and 3 in favor of it.

Report: Bush Talked of Bombing Al-Jazeera By ROBERT BARR

Report: Bush Talked of Bombing Al-Jazeera By ROBERT BARR, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo.com
1 hour, 56 minutes ago

LONDON - A civil servant has been charged under Britain's Official Secrets Act for allegedly leaking a government memo that a newspaper said Tuesday suggested that Prime Minister Tony Blair persuaded President Bush not to bomb the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera.

The Daily Mirror reported that Bush spoke of targeting Al-Jazeera's headquarters in Doha, Qatar, when he met Blair at the White House on April 16, 2004. The Bush administration has regularly accused Al-Jazeera of being nothing more than a mouthpiece for anti-American sentiments.

Schmidt in war of words Rookie lawmaker's 'coward' remarks ricochet

Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Schmidt in war of words
Rookie lawmaker's 'coward' remarks ricochet

By Malia Rulon
Enquirer Washington Bureau


Photo Credit: unknown
Schmidt

HOUSE RULES
Excerpts from the House Rules and Manual:

"In the practice of the House, a member is not permitted to refer to another member by name, or to address him in the second person. The proper reference to another member is 'the gentleman (or gentlewoman) from ...,' naming the member's state.

She'll get you, Rep. Murtha, you little pretty

She'll get you, Rep. Murtha, you little pretty
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Gen. JC Christian, patriot
Patriot Boy. Blogspot

Rep. Jean Schmidt
US House of Representatives

Dear Representative Schmidt,

It's about time someone called Rep. Murtha to account for the cowardice he's shown during America's darkest times. When Sen. McCarthy needed him to fight the war of ideas by exposing the communist professors on our campuses, Murtha left his college and slunk off to hide out with the Marines. When Strom Thurmond needed him to beat up the uppity brown people holding sit-ins at our finest drug store lunch counters, Murtha wormed his way over to Vietnam. And while you were voting to cut the taxes of our best Americans and take away food stamps and health benefits from the un-moneyed rabble who don't deserve America's bounty, he was calling for us to abandon the fledgling Islamic theocracy we're building in Iraq.

The Tipping Point of Absolute Moral Authority

November 22, 2005
The Tipping Point of Absolute Moral Authority
Casey Morris, Democracy Cell Project

Since last Friday when Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) made his historic call for redeployment of troops from Iraq, people have been wondering why his statement has garnered such attention.

Russ Feingold made a proposal earlier this year. Dennis Kucinich has been calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq since the beginning of the war.

Why is John Murtha different?

If you ask Congressman Murtha, he will tell you that even he doesn't know for sure, but he thinks that people know we are losing this war, and they are thirsting for a solution.

What the Troops Are Saying

Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Andrew Sullivan.com

WHAT THE TROOPS ARE SAYING: Move over, Mr Rumsfeld. The people actually fighting this war just told something called the truth:
In contrast to the Pentagon's stock answer that there are enough troops on the ground in Iraq, the commanders said [to a Senate committee] that they not only needed more manpower but also had repeatedly asked for it. Indeed, military sources told Time that as recently as August 2005, a senior military official requested more troops but got turned down flat. There are about 160,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq, a number U.S. commanders in the region plan to maintain at least through the Iraqi national assembly elections on Dec. 15. But the battalion commanders, according to sources close to last week's meeting, said that because there are not enough troops, they have to "leapfrog" around Iraq to keep insurgents from returning to towns that have been cleared out. The officers also stressed that the lack of manpower—rather than of protective armor or signal jammers—posed one of the biggest obstacles in dealing with roadside bombs, which have caused the majority of U.S. casualties in Iraq. The commanders, according to the meeting sources, said there are simply "never enough" explosives experts on the ground. So far, no officer has been willing to go on record to complain about the need for more troops. But there is one positive sign: the Army recently decided to double the number of explosives experts to 2,500 over the next few years.

U.K. charges official with leaking Blair memo

U.K. charges official with leaking Blair memo
Document allegedly says PM dissuaded Bush push for attack on Al-Jazeera

NBC News and news services
Updated: 2:37 p.m. ET Nov. 22, 2005

LONDON - A civil servant has been charged under Britain’s Official Secrets Act for allegedly leaking a government memo that a newspaper said Tuesday suggested that Prime Minister Tony Blair persuaded President Bush not to bomb the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera.

The Daily Mirror reported that Bush spoke of targeting Al-Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha, Qatar, when he met Blair at the White House on April 16, 2004. The Bush administration has regularly accused Al-Jazeera of being nothing more than a mouthpiece for anti-American sentiments.

McCain wants Senate to interview senior administration officials about pre-war statements

By Alexander Bolton in The Hill:

Dems win McCain’s backing

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has emerged as a leading opponent of the Bush administration’s policy on interrogating detainees in the war on terrorism, wants Senate investigators to interview senior administration officials about their statements regarding the threat posed by Saddam Hussein before the war.

McCain backed Democratic calls for interviews of top-level administration officials in an interview last week. But his position is at odds with many in his party, including Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), whom McCain may face in the 2008 GOP presidential primary.

Kucinich Calls For Congressional Hearings On Vice President Cheney’s False Statements On The War

Kucinich Contact: Doug Gordon (202) 225-5871
http://www.kucinich.house.gov

Sends Letter To Chairman Of House Government Reform Committee

Washington, Nov 21 - Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich sent the following letter to Tom Davis, Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee:

Dear Chairman Davis:

I am requesting that the Government Reform Committee hold a hearing on the war in Iraq and specifically the role that Vice President Richard Cheney, and his staff, played in leading this nation to war.

We now know that the Vice President, and his aides, were at the forefront of the Administration planning and execution of the war in Iraq. We also now know that many of the statements made by Vice President Cheney have turned out to be false and misleading.

America's tipping point

From TomsDispatch.com, by Tom Engelhard:

[Excerpts]

It's finally Wizard of Oz time in America. You know -- that moment when the curtains are pulled back, the fearsome-looking wizard wreathed in all that billowing smoke turns out to be some pitiful little guy, and everybody looks around sheepishly, wondering why they acted as they did for so long.

..to their amazement, Bush administration officials find themselves thrust through the equivalent of a Star-Trekkian wormhole into an anti-universe where everything that once worked for them seems to work against them. As always, in the face of domestic challenge, they have responded by attacking -- a tactic that was effective for years...

But instead of watching the Democrats fall silent under assault as they have for years, they unexpectedly found themselves facing a roiling oppositional hubbub threatening the unity of their own congressional party.

..Now, the war threatens to crack open the Republican base and chase the dream of a single-party Republican political future -- only recently so close -- right off the map.

No Way Out for Bush and Co.

By Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

As visual metaphors go, it was a lavishly gilded lily of an image, a hanging curveball across the plate, a George Tenet-style slam-dunk: A weary President Bush, trying to escape a news conference in Beijing on Sunday, strides away from the microphone to a pair of locked doors, which he pulls and tugs in vain. No exit , the image screamed. No way out. Of course, George Bush will inevitably get out of the mess he has made -- he leaves office in three years and two months, not that anyone's counting. But the rest of us will be left with his handiwork: crushing national debt, rising economic inequality, a poisoned political atmosphere and, oh, yes, the war in Iraq. We're the ones trapped in the dark with no exit sign in sight.

Cheney Attempts to Tie Iraq to 9-11 Again

By Douglass K. Daniel
The Associated Press

Washington - Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday said he strongly disagrees with a battle-tested congressman who advocates quickly pulling all US troops from Iraq, calling such a proposal "a dangerous illusion."

But Cheney stopped short of joining those Republicans who have questioned the patriotism and courage of Rep. John Murtha, D-PA, calling him "a good man, a Marine, a patriot." Cheney's subdued comments about Murtha followed those of President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

At the same time, Cheney pressed the administration's high-voltage attack on war critics, particularly Senate Democrats who voted in October 2002 to give Bush authority to go to war in Iraq and who now oppose his policy, calling them "dishonest and reprehensible."

Waters Leads Anti-War Caucus

By Kevin Alexander Gray and Mike Hersh

Washington, DC (November 15, 2005) -- Since the beginning of President
George Bush's unpopular war against the Iraqi people, black female
leadership has led the fight in opposing what has now become Bush's moral
and political albatrose.

Although Representative John Conyers (D-Mich) remains the dean of
progressive politics in Congress, a coterie of black female lawmakers has
emerged on the leadership forefront of opposition to the war. Many are
familiar with Oakland area Congresswoman Barbara Lee's lone challenge to
the war at the start-up and Georgia's Cynthia McKinney's constant vocal

Cheney Lies a Little More

By David Swanson

Dick Cheney lied earlier today, "We operated on the best available intelligence, gathered over a period of years from within a totalitarian society ruled by fear and secret police."

Sheesh - I thought only his critics described the United States in those terms.

Katherine Jashinski's Statement


PHOTO ALBUM

Statement made at Ft. Benning, GA on November 17, 2005 by SPC Katherine Jashinski, first woman in the military to publicly declare resistance to participation in the war:

My name is Katherine Jashinski. I am a SPC in the Texas Army National Guard. I was born in Milwaukee, WI and I am 22 years old. When I graduated high school I moved to Austin, TX to attend college. At age 19 I enlisted in the Guard as a cook because I wanted to experience military life. When I enlisted I believed that killing was immoral, but also that war was an inevitable part of life and therefore, an exception to the rule.

Ubiquitous Culture of Death and Violence

By Jozef Hand-Boniakowski

I grew up in what most non-city folk would call a "big" city. After all, Jersey City, New Jersey, has a population that is one-half that of the entire state of Vermont. Growing up in "Joisey City" in the sixties meant living daily with violence in the streets. The street violence was supplanted and perhaps fostered by the racism, violence and killing seen daily on television. I remember my mother, a working class immigrant, complaining about the language children used while they played in the street. Often, that language was directed at the "green horns" of eastern European decent. Since my family is from Romania and Poland I am well familiar with the term. When my mother complained about the children's language she was not referring to their poor choice of vocabulary, the four-letter words we commonly hear today. She was referring to violent phrases, especially, "I will kill you!" Even in jest, when a child would disagree with another, they would often shake their fist and say, "I will kill you". This made my mother extremely uncomfortable. Her discomfort didn't register much with those of us dodging gangs in the neighborhood or coming home with their lips busted open, or heads bleeding with welts. This was the way of the streets in the New World and we adjusted. It was the way of the popular culture as reflected in television programs we watched and the magazines we saw on the candy store racks. I vividly recall the comic books in the racks on the walls of Herbie's candy store on Grove Street in downtown Jersey City. The one that sticks out in my mind is "Man Comics" which depicted barely clothed women tied up being "interrogated" by men in black Nazi uniforms and weapons. Torture and sex was a potent mix then as it is now. Few people besides my mother in the early sixties concerned themselves about the children's use of the phrase, "I will kill you". Ethnic slurs were rampant as well. Italians were called Wops. Poles were called Pollacks. Jews were called Kikes. Hispanics were called Spics. We all know what African Americans and women were called. The culture spoke for itself.

The Young Dead Soldiers

By Sherry Conable

As part of our action for National Stand Down Say, we did a brief memorial in honor of the 6 soldiers from Santa Cruz County who have died in Iraq - six people held flowers and we read this poem. We then left some flowers and a copy of the poem at the door of each of the four military recruiting offices.

The Young Dead Soldiers

The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless, they are heard
In the still houses; who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night
And when the clock counts.

They say: We were young. We have died. Remember us.

HOW WE GOT INTO IRAQ AND HOW TO GET OUT

U.S. Tour of Duty presents
HOW WE GOT INTO IRAQ AND HOW TO GET OUT
Featuring in person: SCOTT RITTER

Monday, December 5, 7:30-9:00 PM at Venice United Methodist Church, 1020 Victoria Avenue, Venice (1 block north of Venice Blvd. at Lincoln Blvd.)

Join Scott Ritter, former UN Weapons Inspector and author of Iraq Confidential (Nation Books), and Lila Garrett, host of KPFK's "Connect the Dots," for an incisive discussion on how to extract ourselves from the Iraq quagmire.

A book sale and signing will follow the event.

Doors open 6:30 PM. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Suggested donation: $10 (nobody turned away)

Blowing the Whistle On Bob Woodward

By Larry C. Johnson

Among the many op-eds spawned by Bob Woodward's duplicity, this one in the Tampa Tribune struck a nerve. Entitled, Woodward Failed His Readers By Holding Back What He Knew, the piece sparked a reaction by Len Colodny. Len's site, watergate.com, has some fascinating background on Bob Woodward and his ties to military intelligence.

Woodward has been the consumate insider while cultivating the image of the hard charging investigative reporter. He is anything but, and it is time to blow the whistle on his incestuous relationship with certain government officials. The fact that the Washington Post is still covering for this joker says volumes about the decline of the Post.

USAID Official Calls for "Regime Change" in Syria

By the American Lebanese Coordination Council
Media Office Phone: 727-641-9764, Fax: 727-577-0183, www.alcc-research.com

“The Time has come for change in Syria…The Assad Ba’ath is like the Saddam Ba’ath

"No Permanent Bases in Iraq" -- It's the Least Congress Can Do

Please urge your Congress Member to co-sponsor H. Con. Res. 197, sponsored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

Ask Congress to End the War

Current Cosponsors

H. CON. RES. 197

Widespread Violence Kills Dozens Across Iraq

By Edward Wong
The New York Times

Baghdad - The Marine Corps said today that 15 Iraqi civilians and a United States marine were killed on Saturday when a roadside bomb exploded in the town of Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad. At least 11 other Iraqis were killed or discovered dead today in various incidents, and military officials reported the deaths of two more Americans and a British soldier.

The deaths capped one of the deadliest three-day periods since the American invasion. In all, at least 155 Iraqis and 7 foreign soldiers have been killed in a spate of bombings and assaults that began Friday morning, when jihadists tried using two trucks packed with explosives to demolish a Baghdad hotel full of Western journalists.

Once in a While There's a Reason to Watch Fox News

Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL), who voted for Congressman Duncan Hunter's resolution for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, will debate Hunter on FOX at 11:10 a.m. ET Tuesday.

Thanksgiving Day 2005

Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Peak oil and Thanksgiving Day are now linked. Eminent geologist Kenneth Deffeyes predicted two years ago that the peak moment of world oil production would occur on Thanksgiving Day 2005.

Peak oil is a term for the point in time when world oil production will stop increasing and begin to decline. Deffeyes acknowledges that his prediction is just a guess based on extrapolated figures, but given all the unknowns, it may be as good as any other prediction about the end of the oil age.

One thing that is not in doubt is that the oil age will end. Geology and physics tell us that much. But because so many governments and corporations have not shared honest information about their oil reserves, they have not presented a reliable timeframe for the depletion of the oil resource.

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