By Michael Smith
Details 'chill factor' imposed around Iraq intelligence; Putting Downing Street docs in perspective
By Gary Hart
The Washington Post
Wednesday 24 August 2005
"Waist deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool said to push on," warned an anti-Vietnam war song those many years ago. The McGovern presidential campaign, in those days, which I know something about, is widely viewed as a cause for the decline of the Democratic Party, a gateway through which a new conservative era entered.
Like the cat that jumped on a hot stove and thereafter wouldn't jump on any stove, hot or cold, today's Democratic leaders didn't want to make that mistake again. Many supported the Iraq war resolution and -- as the Big Muddy is rising yet again -- now find themselves tongue-tied or trying to trump a war president by calling for deployment of more troops. Thus does good money follow bad and bad politics get even worse.
Camp Qualls, the pro-Bush camp in Crawford, Texas
This picture is straight from the web page of the National Review Online touting the existing of "Camp Qualls", about which we are told: "Granted, the site is much smaller than the anti-Bush crowd, but it’s growing each day."
I guess the crowd is still in the process of amassing! For the record, there are three pictures on the web page. None of them shows a single human being!
July 19, 2005
Senator John McCain
241 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0303
Re: Your letter on Iraq in response to my contact
Dear Senator McCain:
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my contact and express your position on Iraq.
I find your letter very disturbing because of its gross oversimplifications and your total avoidance of the realities of President Bush's policies on Iraq and on the war on terrorism.
I am not proud that this nation was sent to war on a pack of lies - and you should not be proud of this either. I knew the lies were coming the moment I learned we were to undertake a WW II style invasion to counter a non-geographically based, amorphous enemy who was not in Iraq - and you should have known this too. I knew the lies were coming when I read in the Los Angeles Times in the Fall of 2002 that the intelligence community was coming under intense pressure from Cheney and the Bush administration, to "re-examine" their intelligence analyses - and you should have known this too. I knew the lies were coming when Bush prevented the U.N. inspectors from finishing their inspections and attacked instead - and you should have known this too.
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)
By Tom Maertens
The Bush administration is facing a major dilemma in Iraq. Sen. Chuck Hagel expressed it unambiguously: "The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."
The United States doesn't have enough troops on the ground to suppress the insurgency and has no real prospect of getting enough troops. No allies are about to commit more forces to this quagmire, and the U.S. military is stretched so badly that, as Gen. Barry McCaffrey expressed it, the wheels are coming off.
A draft could provide more troops, but that is only a theoretical possibility. Opinion polls show that a majority of Americans believes that invading Iraq was a mistake and that more than half the people no longer trust this president. Any serious effort to revive the draft would meet with a firestorm of opposition.
By Jeff Norman
U.S. Tour of Duty
August 24, 2005
Joan Baez has been embedded with the military families at Camp Casey since Sunday. Last night she performed and told stories for the third consecutive night. Joan clearly recognizes that the time is now for the peace movement. "I waited for the appropriate moment to show up," she told the audience.
The mixture of storytelling (detailed accounts of her activism) and music is a format that Joan should bring on the road, at least occasionally. She not only entertains and inspires, but provides a context that helps everyone understand the significance of this moment in history.
By Cindy Sheehan
I'm coming back to Crawford for my son. As long as the president, who sent him to die in a senseless war, is in Crawford, that is where I belong. I came here two and a half weeks ago for one reason, to try and see the president and get an answer to a very simple question: What is the noble cause that he says my son died for?
The answer to that question will not bring my son back. But it may stop more meaningless deaths. Because every death is now a meaningless one. And the vast majority of our country knows this. So why do more young men and women have to die? And why do more parents have to lose their children and live the rest of their lives with this unbearable grief?
August 24, 2005
KWTX Channel 10 Central Texas
After spending nearly in week in California after her mother suffered a stroke, anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan returns to Central Texas Wednesday afternoon to resume her vigil near the President’s ranch.
Sheehan is the Vacaville, Calif. woman who is demanding a meeting with the President about the death of her 24-year-old son Casey, a 1st Cavalry Division soldier who was killed in Iraq in 2004.
Sheehan’s protest has attracted international attention and has sparked both local and national controversy.
She began her vigil on Aug. 6, but interrupted it late last week after learning of her mother’s stroke.
By Norman Solomon, AlterNet
The Bush administration may ratchet up the Iraq war.
That might seem unlikely, even farfetched. After all, the president is facing an upsurge of domestic opposition to the war. Under such circumstances, why would he escalate it?
A big ongoing factor is that George W. Bush and his top aides seem to believe in red-white-and-blue violence with a fervor akin to religiosity. For them, the Pentagon's capacity to destroy is some kind of sacrament. And even if more troops aren't readily available for duty in Iraq, huge supplies of aircraft and missiles are available to step up the killing from the air.
SEAN PENN IN IRAN
San Francisco Chronicle
- Sean Penn, Special to The Chronicle
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
After a series of mysterious phone calls, arrangements are made to transport Sean Penn to a compound in the foothills of Tehran to meet with Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini. Penn visited Iran in June, in the days before the national elections.
We rendezvoused with the Siths at 2:45 p.m. in the hills over Tehran. We were waiting for another car full of them to join us. A police station to our left, the armed sentry paced, nervous about our growing convoy across the street. The third car joined us, and we snaked up the road, like a cruise into the Oakland hills. We came to a guard station, our arrival was announced, the traffic bar raised and we were allowed on to the estate.
By Bob Ray Sanders
Fort Worth Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Last week's column about Cindy Sheehan's protest near President Bush's ranch in Crawford generated so much reaction that I could not respond to all of you personally.
After directly replying to more than 50 e-mail messages, I finally had to create a "form letter" explaining my dilemma and promising to print some of your comments in a future column, which I will do Friday. My apologies to those of you who received that sincere but canned response.
The reaction was about evenly divided between people who support Sheehan, who lost her 24-year-old son in Iraq last year, and those who despise her for what she is doing and saying. A few people said they felt sorry for Sheehan but thought she was misguided to bring her complaint to the president's "doorstep" and demand a meeting with him.
By Joel Wendland
Opposition to Bush's war on Iraq continues to grow. An important sign of this fact is the growing dissension in the Republican Party as some GOP leaders are beginning to regard support for the war as an electoral liability in 2006. While others like Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who recently compared the Iraq quagmire with the Vietnam war, might see the war issue as part of a presidential bid in 2008.
Republican opportunism doesn't overshadow the wide national support for Cindy Sheehan's two week long "occupation" of Crawford, Texas or a 2,000 person anti-war demonstration in Salt Lake City, a bastion of conservatism at which Bush gave a weak defense of his war effort over the weekend. Read more about Cindy Sheehan here.
Congressman Jim Leach (R, Iowa) has informed Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D, California) that he will co-sponsor her Resolution of Inquiry into Bush Administration communications with the U.K. about Iraq at the time of the Downing Street Memos. Leach is the first Republican member of Congress to publicly support a demand for an inquiry into the Bush Administration's pre-war claims. The 131 congress members who have signed Congressman John Conyers' letter to the President about the Downing Street Memo are all Democrats. The 11 Senators who have asked the Senate Intelligence Committee to do the investigation it committed to in February 2004 but never did are all Democrats.
New York Times
By MAUREEN DOWD
W. vacationed so hard in Texas he got bushed. He needed a vacation from his vacation.
The most rested president in American history headed West yesterday to get away from his Western getaway - and the mushrooming Crawford Woodstock - and spend a couple of days at the Tamarack Resort in the rural Idaho mountains.
"I'm kind of hangin' loose, as they say," he told reporters.
As The Financial Times noted, Mr. Bush is acting positively French in his love of le loafing, with 339 days at his ranch since he took office - nearly a year out of his five. Most Americans, on the other hand, take fewer vacations than anyone else in the developed world (even the Japanese), averaging only 13 to 16 days off a year.
Two Ohio Women Heading to "Peace Mom" Protest
Aug 24, 2005, 7:11 AM
COLUMBUS (AP) -- Two Columbus-area women with children in the military headed Tuesday to Texas to join an anti-war demonstration outside President Bush's ranch.
Teresa Dawson, 42, of Gahanna, said she has been against the war since it began. One of her children is serving with the Ohio National Guard in Iraq. "We are asking questions," she said. "We'd like the courtesy of truthful answers."
Dawson will lend support to the demonstration begun by Cindy Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son died in Iraq last year. Sheehan began the protest in Crawford, Texas, on Aug. 6. She left about two weeks later after her mother had a stroke, but plans to return.
A little advice, Mr. President
BY WILLIAM MCKENZIE
The Dallas Morning News
(KRT) - Dear Mr. President:
As a columnist who has written about you since your first run for governor 11 years ago, I offer this advice: Pay attention to the voice of Cindy Sheehan. It isn't just hers.
She may have left Crawford for the moment, but if her message starts to resonate in the American mainstream, the spirit behind her will light a prairie fire that could engulf your presidency.
Yes, there's a flake element to some of what's going on outside your ranch gate. I spent an afternoon last week interviewing folks at Camp Casey and came across plenty of tattoos and stringy hair. Not exactly Main Street, Texas.
Debating Sheehan and the Iraq policy
FBI whistleblower and congress candidate faces off with talk show host
Cindy Sheehan's son was killed while serving in Iraq and she began an anti-war rally weeks ago in Crawford, Texas, that continues despite her departure due to her mother's stroke.
Coleen Rowley, the Minneapolis-based 9/11 FBI whistle-blower, went to Crawford recently to show her support for Sheehan. Now critics of Sheehan and the anti-war movement are mobilizing, too. Mark Williams is a radio talk show host and one of the organizers of an anti-Sheehan rally called "You Don't Speak For Me, Cindy," a caravan of war supporters leaving California today and arriving in Crawford Saturday.
By David Sirota
This is really incredible. A CBS television affiliate in Boise, Idaho is refusing to air an ad by critics of the Iraq War because, unlike the American public, it says "there is no proof" that President Bush lied about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. No proof? I mean, really? No proof?
How about the CIA's October 2004 report, which CNN noted said:
"Saddam Hussein did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and had not begun any program to produce them...Iraq's WMD program was essentially destroyed in 1991 and Saddam ended Iraq's nuclear program after the 1991 Gulf War."
At this critical moment, it's time for newspapers -- many of which helped get us into this war -- to use their editorial pages as platforms to help get us out of it. So far, few have done much more than wring their hands. Now, it's literally do-or-die time.
By Greg Mitchell
(August 22, 2005) -- As the dog days of August wind down, the editorial pages of American newspapers face a moment of truth on the Iraq war. Over the next few weeks, with vacationers heading home, the president's popularity sinking, hearings planned in Congress, and major protests set, the case for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq -- sooner rather than later, as Al Neuharth has repeatedly put it -- will finally become a center of public and political debate.
Furor erupts over call for assassination
Pat Robertson’s call for the assassination of Venezuela’s president set off a global media frenzy Tuesday, as religious and political leaders heaped scorn on the Virginia Beach-based Christian broadcaster. The Bush administration quickly distanced itself from Robertson’s remarks, but Venezuela’s vice president said Robertson should be investigated for his “terrorist statements.
Bush Says Activist Doesn't Speak for Kin of Casualties
By Sam Coates
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 24, 2005; Page A03
BOISE, Idaho, Aug. 23 -- President Bush, confronted by antiwar protesters on his travels, Tuesday renewed his refusal to meet with high-profile activist Cindy Sheehan, asserting that she does not speak for the majority of families who have lost relatives in combat.
Bush dismissed demands from Sheehan and others to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq. "I think immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake," he said. "I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq but the Middle East are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States."
September 24-26: End the War on Iraq!
Three Days of Peace & Justice Actions in Washington, D.C.
Report Sent in By Phil Restino
I just wanted to thank you once again for putting together and posting on your website the afterdowningstreet.org "honor our dead" 20 x 30 sign kit ... i was able to print up a few of them in time for last Wednesday's national vigil to support cindy sheehan ... in daytona beach we had between 70 and 80 people protesting ... maybe more ... we got coverage in the daytona beach news-journal in the local section with both photos and text ... anyway, attached is one of the 11 photos i took from the daytona beach vigil ... it has a few of the "honor our dead" signs in it....
Phil Restino reports:
According to today’s telephone conversation (888) 225-5322 with the FCC, this threat needs to be reported in writing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with the following details of when, where and offense and sent into the FCC’s Broadcast Complaint Office via Fax, Email and/or U.S. Mail.
FCC Broadcast Complaint Office
445 12th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20554
Fax: (866) 418-0232
Pat Robertson calls for Assassination of Foreign Leader
When: Monday, August 22, 2005 at 6:30 PM and 11:00 PM EST
Where: Christian Broadcast Network “The 700 Club
Here's a new photo gallery.
Three are photos of crosses at Camp Casey sent in by Carly Miller.
Four are photos of a candlelight vigil in New York sent in by Julie Peny along with this report:
Here are some of the pictures I took. I made a lot of extra posters, brought extra candles, and flags. (We always have to remember to bring flags so the right doesn't outpatriot us). Our vigil was in Water Mill, Long Island, NY. I did a head count: 230 of us but I knowI missed some. We had the press there: Newsday, & the local press: The Southampton Press, The East Hampton Star, The Independent, (but TV didn't show) The Sag Harbor Express will carry a photo I took. Our "East End Vets" were there. They put up the crosses. The Vets spoke, and a nun just back from Iraq. Even the model Christie Brinkly (it is the "Hamptons" afterall) read an essay on truth telling and compassion. We lined up along the Montauk Hwy and the summer traffic--a captive audience--drove by us slowly waving, giving us peace-signs, tooting their horns. The best was when truckers would go by and blast their air-horns in solidarity with us.
Evangelist tells 7m TV viewers: US should kill Venezuela's president
Julian Borger in Washington and Duncan Campbell
Wednesday August 24, 2005
The Guardian (UK)
America's leading televangelist appeared to take Christian fundamentalism into uncharted territory yesterday when he called for the assassination of Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez.
Speaking on his own channel, the Christian Broadcasting Network, Pat Robertson said President Chávez should be targeted because he was a "terrific danger" whose country, a big supplier of oil to the US, was "a launching pad for communist infiltration and Islamic extremism all over the country".
We definitely do more than sit in ditches around here, and tomorrow's main event is proof positive: at 11 a.m. we'll be caravaning from the Crawford Peace House to the VA hospital in Waco to protest its imminent closure. Texas has the nation's third-largest population of veterans, and the hospital in Waco provides what is considered the best post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and blind rehabilitation facilities in the country. Over 250,000 veterans entered the VA health care system this fiscal year; 40% of them are from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a figure that highlights the decreasing average age of vets. Yet Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson says it needs to go, along with 17 other VA hospitals around the country. As many Vietnam and Iraq vets here at Camp Casey have asked, "Is this how we treat our veterans?" Think of us tomorrow, and even better, find out about the fate of VA hospitals in your area. After all, when we send our soldiers to war, we'd better make sure we take care of them properly when they return.