Open Letter to George Bush

By Kevin and Monica Benderman
http://orbstandard.com

Open Letter to George Bush from Kevin Benderman November 20, 2004 followed by Open Letter to George Bush One Year Later By Monica Benderman

George Bush

When are you going to tell the truth to the people of the United States? Why don't you tell them why you want to be in Iraq so bad? I was there for six months and I did not see the first weapon of mass destruction. I did receive orders from the company commander to shoot children if they threw small rocks at us and that was when I figured out that the entire thing was way over the line.

Getting Out of Iraq

By Norman Solomon

Thanksgiving week began with the New York Times noting that “all of
Washington is consumed with debate over the direction of the war in
Iraq.

Not necessarily the news

From GQ, November 21, 2005, via FreePress
By Wil S. Hyton

Chances are you’ve never heard of Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sure, it might be the largest independent owner of television stations in America, an empire of sixty channels spread across thirty-seven cities with a signal that reaches nearly a quarter of the TV-watching public, but even if you happen to receive that signal and watch it every night, getting your Sinclair news and Sinclair weather and Sinclair commentary from a Sinclair station, chances are you’ve still never heard of Sinclair and have no idea you’re watching it. You won’t see the word Sinclair on your screen, and you’ll probably just think you’re watching ABC or CBS or NBC, whichever network you thought you tuned in. Right there on the screen, you’ll see the old familiar logo—a peacock, an eye, the ABC bubble—and the anchors will look the same as ever, and the fact that the station has been purchased by Sinclair will be no more apparent than the fact that twenty or thirty minutes into the program, the real news will suddenly fade to black and Sinclair’s news will take over. It may be a glowing interview with a defense contractor or a fiery commentary on the evils of the French, something brief and punchy lasting two or ten or fourteen minutes, then slipping back into the regular news as quietly as it came. Not so much as a blip or a bleep to let you know that what you just witnessed was not the local NBC or CBS broadcast but just a little insert from the guys who own the station. That’s the goal at Sinclair: to be seen without being seen.

Rumsfeld's 'Hit Back'

From American Progress Action Fund

Fresh from his trip to Australia, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld yesterday made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows as the Bush administration official to "hit back" against Iraq war critics. (Vice President Cheney will continue the campaign in a speech this morning at 11:00 A.M.) Rumsfeld tried his best to deflect calls for troop redeployment, charges that the White House manipulated intelligence to sell its war in Iraq, and that progress in Iraq has stalled. But instead of offering strategies and plans, Rumsfeld followed the lead of his colleagues and gave the American people excuses. "We're consistently passing off responsibility," said Rumsfeld on Fox News Sunday, referring to the transfer of power from U.S. troops to Iraqi soldiers. But Rumsfeld's statement rings true on other fronts, as the White House passes off responsibility for its failures in the Iraq war onto lawmakers, U.S. soldiers, and the American public.

Democrats Plan to Caucus on Iraq

By Erin P. Billings, Roll Call Staff

House Democrats plan to meet immediately after the Thanksgiving recess to discuss Members’ positions on the Iraq war and whether to adopt a formal Democratic Caucus position on an issue that has divided lawmakers for more than three years.

Sources said the House Democratic leaders decided to hold a special session devoted to the war largely in deference to a growing bloc of Members who are ever more frustrated with the war and increasingly upset that House Democrats remain uncommitted to a particular policy track.

Those frustrations came into focus last week when Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a moderate and a defense hawk, called for an end to the war and rapid troop withdrawal.

Associated Press Claims Falsely That Friday's Vote Was on Murtha's Bill

Murtha says Americans agree with his call for Iraq withdrawal
By DAN LOVERING, Associated Press

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - U.S. Rep. John Murtha, a key Democrat on military issues, on Monday defended his call to pull U.S. troops from Iraq, saying he was reflecting Americans' sentiment.

"The public turned against this war before I said it," Murtha said. "The public is emotionally tied into finding a solution to this thing, and that's what I hope this administration is going to find out."

Murtha, 73, a decorated Vietnam veteran and the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriates defense subcommittee, said he has received support from the public since calling for the troop pullout on Thursday. He said he has gotten e-mails from World War II veterans and parents of American soldiers in Iraq.

Scurrilous Politics in the U.S. House -- You Helped Democrats Resist!

By Progressive Democrats of America

PHOTO: Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)

November 18, 2005--In a surprise move today, the Republicans moved a grossly amended version of Rep. Murtha's (D-PA) Resolution on Iraq out of committee and onto the floor of the House for a vote in an attempt to trick Democrats into supporting a 'cut and run' position on withdrawing U.S. troops. The attempt backfired. Instead, the move simply demonstrated the Republicans' continued unwillingness to allow reasoned bipartisan debate on bringing an end to the Iraq war debacle.

DNC December Meeting Update

By Progressive Democrats of America

PDA plans to be meeting with Democratic National Committee (DNC) members at their next meeting in Phoenix, AZ. Our goal will be simple: to message that the progressive movement within the Democratic Party is organized and in force!

We also plan to host an evening reception for attendees of the Young Democrats of America (YDA) and DNC events. This event will be open to the public and a place for folks to network with DNC members. There is a possibility of having some very progressive, well-known musicians there. Stay tuned as we firm that up. The details of this event are linked below.

PDA Makes Another Congressional Endorsement: Tony Trupiano!


By William Rivers Pitt, LINK TO ORIGINAL

Tony TrupianoTony Trupiano is a force of nature -- a man of tremendous accomplishment who has succeeded at virtually everything he has tried. He is a leading voice in progressive talk radio, he has written books, and teaches a seminar on the effective use of media. Now he is running for office, and he needs your help.

Mr. Trupiano is running for the House seat in Michigan's 11th District, which covers the greater metro Detroit area. His opponent, two-term incumbent Thaddeus McCotter, has not announced his candidacy yet, but it is only a matter of time before he does. It would be a worthwhile exercise to run a bag of doorknobs against McCotter, who votes with the GOP caucus 93% of the time and voted with Rep. Tom DeLay 92% of the time. Beyond this, Mr. McCotter has amassed a profound record of doing little to nothing for his constituents. He needs to go.

PDA's Future & My Advice to PDA Activists

By Tom Hayden, PDA Advisory Board Member
LINK TO ORIGINAL

Request for Comments: Tom Hayden has submitted these recommendations for PDA for the year of 2006. We need your feedback, as well as your own thoughts on the direction you'd like to see PDA take in the upcoming year. Please submit your comments by filling out this form. Your ideas will be emailed to us immediately. Comments will be summarized later in an article on this web site. Thanks for your help!

The tide has turned. There is an opening. Expect the counter-offensive.

PDA Hosts Town Hall in Western Massachusetts

By Progressive Democrats of America
Launch of Town Hall Tour and Bonifaz's announcement that he will explore a 2006 run for Secretary of the Commonwealth

PHOTO:From left: Massachusetts State Democratic Chair Phil Johnston, PDA Director Tim
Carpenter, and author John Bonifaz

November 5, 2005--On Saturday, November 5, Rep. Jim McGovern and PDA National Board member John Bonifaz were featured at the first forum on the Iraq War sponsored by PDA and the Massachusetts State Democratic Party. The event took place at Turners Falls High School in Montague, Massachusetts. State Democratic Chair Phil Johnston presided over a panel that also included Anita Deutsch of the National Priorities Project, and Kevin Lucey, whose son Jeffrey's suicide after serving in Iraq was attributed to post-traumatic stress disorder. While Ms. Deutsch focused on war spending and what that means to each of our towns, Mr. Bonifaz spelled out some of the impeachable offenses he has detailed in his book "Warrior King: the Case for Impeaching George W. Bush." The highlight of the evening was the speech given by Rep. McGovern explaining his long-awaited bill which will cut off funding for the war in Iraq.

Liberating Iraq By Shooting Children

Iraqis killed as U.S. fires on car

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- As many as four Iraqis were killed and five others wounded when a U.S. military patrol opened fire on a vehicle driving near a U.S. military base on the road between Baquba and Khalis, a Baquba police official said.

The official said two children were among the dead in the incident, which took place at 6:30 a.m. (0330 GMT) on Monday.

A U.S. military spokesman in Baquba confirmed to CNN that American forces did open fire on a civilian vehicle but said three people were killed and one was injured.

The spokesman said the circumstances of the shooting were still under investigation but that a civilian vehicle approached the military base and did not heed warning shots to stop, resulting in U.S. forces opening fire on the vehicle.

Ending the Occupation

By Marjorie Cohn
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

In a bombshell that reverberated throughout the country, Congressman John Murtha called Thursday for an immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. "The US cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily," Murtha said. "It is time to bring [the troops] home ... They have become the enemy."

Murtha, a decorated and highly-respected veteran of the Vietnam War, said he has been visiting our wounded troops at Bethesda and Walter Reed hospitals almost every week since Bush invaded Iraq.

Rep. Murtha probably saw "soldiers with faces slashed by bombs and stitched up by doctors, soldiers with legs terribly mangled, soldiers with no legs - amputees with short stumps, with long stumps, without any stumps since entire limbs are missing," as fellow veteran Stewart Nusbaumer reported seeing at Walter Reed in his article in Intervention Magazine last month.

Iraqis Hold Sit-In to Demand Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Workplace

By Falah Alwan, President, Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq

Our federation will hold a sit in protest in the station of electrecity in Musayab, calling for withdrawal of the US troops from the station.
___________

A number of workers in the thermal power station in the city Musayeb have submitted complain to the Federation of worker councils and unions in Iraq regarding the current situations in the station. Therefore we write this memorandum a according to these demands, and our commitment as a union to reject the transformation of the workplace into military barracks.

Thank Murtha

From U.S. Labor Against the War

We encourage all USLAW affiliates, members and contacts to follow the lead of this initiative by USLAW affiliate SEIU District 1199P. Many Democrats are running scared away from Murtha. It is important to contact your local Democratic members of Congress to tell them they should not just support Murtha, they too should demand an immediate end to the war and occupation of Iraq.

Brothers and Sisters,

In coordination with US Labor Against the War (USLAW), we are asking key leaders of important labor organizations in PA to join us in making calls to PA Congressman John Murtha to offer our support and encouragement for the courageous position he announced yesterday calling for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Below is a link to his speech:

George W. Nixon

By Bob Fertik, www.ImpeachPAC.org

How low can Bush go? Here's the latest from Harris, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:


READ MORE

Powell aide: Torture 'guidance' from VP

Former staff chief says Cheney's 'flexibility' helped lead to abuse

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A former top State Department official said Sunday that Vice President Dick Cheney provided the "philosophical guidance" and "flexibility" that led to the torture of detainees in U.S. facilities.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, who served as former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, told CNN that the practice of torture may be continuing in U.S.-run facilities.

"There's no question in my mind that we did. There's no question in my mind that we may be still doing it," Wilkerson said on CNN's "Late Edition."

The Rendon Group: Proof The Administration Manipulated Intelligence

ThinkProgress

From “Saddam Hussein’s Development of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Debating Iraq: A Murtha Moment and the Slide to An Exit

A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
By Danny Schechter, Mediachannel.org
http://www.buzzflash.com

The much-maligned Mr. Marx said history often begins as tragedy and repeats itself as farce. That was never more true last Friday night as we watched the great Iraq war “debate.

Tired of Being Lied to? Modern History You Can't Afford to Ignore

Part 1 of a 3-Part Series
By Maureen Farrell, http://www.buzzflash.com

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

"The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." ~ Harry S. Truman

A couple years ago, historian Chalmers Johnson predicted that thanks to the "entrenched interests" of the military-industrial complex, the United States can look forward to a future of perpetual war, increased propaganda, fewer Constitutional rights, and a bloated executive branch. America, he warned, "will cease to resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787" unless there is a "revolutionary rehabilitation of American democracy."

The war on war critics

Toledo Blade Editorial

An orchestrated campaign by the White House to chastise critics of the Iraq war is coming off as a political act of desperation. As polls increasingly show public support for the war and the President plummeting, the Bush Administration has embarked on an aggressive but unimaginative strategy to dismiss dissenters who have found their voices of late.

As in the past, Mr. Bush and top administration officials are lashing out at opponents of the U.S. invasion and its messy aftermath by casting aspersions about their patriotism and integrity.

With his job-approval rating hitting new lows, Mr. Bush began his latest barrage on Veterans' Day, charging Democratic critics with trying to rewrite history by accusing the White House of manipulating intelligence before the war.

Wrapped in olive drab

Preaching only to the choir
By Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune

When President Bush wanted to make a speech on the war in Iraq in May, he went to the Naval Academy. When he wanted to make a speech on the war in Iraq in August, he went before members of the Idaho National Guard and their families. When he wanted to make a speech on the war in Iraq in November, he went to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage.

Vice President Dick Cheney also likes a gathering that knows how to salute. When he emerges from his bunker to castigate critics of the war, it's usually at a safe remove from those critics. Last month, it was at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. In June, it was at the Air Force Academy.

Would Bush have gone to Iraq without Blair?

By Patrick Seale, The Daily Star (Lebanon)

As Iraq sinks deeper into disaster, the question people are asking is this: Was the Iraq war inevitable? Could it have been avoided? Had Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair refused to take part, would President George W. Bush have gone to war alone?

If it can be established that Britain could have checked America's rush to war, but failed to do so, then Blair must share with Bush a heavy personal responsibility for the catastrophe that followed - for the vast number of civilian and military deaths, for the huge expenditure of resources, for the physical destruction of Iraq and the continuing misery of its people, for the attacks on London's transport system last July and, more generally, for the terrorist explosion which now threatens much of the world.

Guy: Bush people have cranked up the ol' fog machine

By Barb Guy, Salt Lake Tribune

The Bush team has been taking potshots at anyone who dares to note the overwhelming evidence that the administration manipulated - if not downright manufactured - pre-war intelligence in order to sell the American people on the Iraq war.

People have pointed these things out for years, for all the good it's done. So what has brought on the recent nasty counterattacks? Sidney Blumenthal said in Salon.com Thursday: "The Senate's decision last week to launch an investigation into the administration's role in prewar disinformation, after the Democrats forced the issue in a rare secret session, has provoked a furious presidential reaction."

Lose in Iraq later and destroy our Army, or just lose now

Excerpts from an article by Paul Krugman in the NY Times (paid subscription required and I encourage you to sign up and pay so that the NY Times knows Krugman is popular):

Not long ago wise heads offered some advice to those of us who had argued since 2003 that the Iraq war was sold on false pretenses: give it up. The 2004 election, they said, showed that we would never convince the American people. They suggested that we stop talking about how we got into Iraq and focus instead on what to do next.

It turns out that the wise heads were wrong. A solid majority of Americans now believe that we were misled into war. And it is only now, when the public has realized the truth about the past, that serious discussions about where we are and where we're going are able to get a hearing...

Good News in Iraq?

By Larry C. Johnson

The neocons who helped bum rush the United States into war are insistent that things are actually peachy keen in Iraq. It is just that damn liberal media who keeps spreading the lies and the bad news about the place. Oh really?

Consider the following:
The strife between the Shias and the Sunnis in Iraq is escalating. A dandy piece in today's New York Times by Sabrina Tavernise lays it out in excruciating detail.

Two and a half years after the American invasion, deep divides that have long split Iraqi society have violently burst into full view. As the hatred between Sunni Arabs and Shiites hardens and the relentless toll of bombings and assassinations grows, families are leaving their mixed towns and cities for safer areas where they will not automatically be targets. In doing so, they are creating increasingly polarized enclaves and redrawing the sectarian map of Iraq, especially in Baghdad and the belt of cities around it.

White House used 'gossip' to build case for war

By Rupert Cornwell in Washington, The Independent (UK)

The controversy in America over pre-war intelligence has intensified, with revelations that the Bush administration exaggerated the claims of a key source on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, despite repeated warnings before the invasion that his information was at best dubious, if not downright wrong.

The disclosure, in The Los Angeles Times, came after a week of vitriolic debate on Iraq, amid growing demands for a speedy withdrawal of US troops and tirades from Bush spokesmen who all but branded as a traitor anyone who suggested that intelligence was deliberately skewed to make the case for war.

Losing the Fear Factor, How the Bush Administration Got Spooked

From Tomdispatch today, "Losing the Fear Factor, How the Bush Administration Got Spooked" http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=38464

In this piece, I follow the "fear factor" from September 11, 2001 to the present, discussing how the Bush administration played the fear card, why in recent months it stopped working, and what this means -- for all the President's men, for the Republicans, for the Democrats and for the rest of us. It is also the story of how the President's war of choice in Iraq chased his presidency over an opinion-poll cliff -- and a survey of a radically changed political landscape in the media, in Congress, and in the White House. In the process, I suggest the way two central agendas of the Bush administration proved to be in conflict, although for years this was less than evident (even to the players involved). The unfettered imperial presidency and an unfettered Republican Party -- two dreams joined at the hip by September 11, 2001 -- were parted by the Iraq War. Check out how and why in my latest piece.

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