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Judge Halts Award Of Iraq Contract
By Alec Klein and Steve Fainaru
A federal judge yesterday ordered the military to temporarily refrain from awarding the largest security contract in Iraq. The order followed an unusual series of events set off when a U.S. Army veteran filed a protest against the government practice of hiring what he calls mercenaries, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The contract, worth about $475 million, calls for a private company to provide intelligence services to the U.S. Army and security for the Army Corps of Engineers on reconstruction work in Iraq. The case, which is being heard by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, puts on trial one of the most controversial and least understood aspects of the Iraq war: the outsourcing of military security to an estimated 20,000 armed contractors who operate with little oversight.
As surely as the sun rises in the east, those who shriek the loudest about how much they Luv America have contempt for other Americans. Here's more from The Final Days:
Almost from the beginning, Kissinger had secretly had all his telephone calls, including those with the President, monitored and transcribed...
Nixon was often on the phone with Kissinger for fifteen minutes or longer. The President was repetitive, sometimes taking minutes to come to a point, or he might suddenly shift to another topic...
During one call, the President drunkenly related to Dr. Kissinger the Vietnam policy of his friend Bebe Robozo...
During another call, Kissinger mentioned the number of American casualties in a major battle in Vietnam. "Oh, screw 'em," said Nixon.
An interesting thing about this is that if it were about a Democratic president, it would be famous. Every schoolchild would learn about the hatred that Democrats secretly harbor in their hearts for our Brave Men In Uniform. In every presidential debate the Democrat would be asked how they could possibly convince the country they weren't like their damnable predecessor. But since Nixon was a Republican, it's dropped out of history entirely. (I can find only one reference to it online.)
From a column today by Georgie Anne Geyer:
...by all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness.
Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny."
Here's the famous "crazy" section from The Final Days by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein:
I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose - We Were Both Doing Our Duty By Andrew J. Bacevich Sunday, May 27, 2007
Parents who lose children, whether through accident or illness, inevitably wonder what they could have done to prevent their loss. When my son was killed in Iraq earlier this month at age 27, I found myself pondering my responsibility for his death.
A Different Memorial Day Remembrance by Colonel Dan Smith, USA (Ret.) 05/22/2007
“Humility must always be the portion of any man who
receives acclaim earned in blood of his followers and
sacrifices of his friends.” - Dwight David Eisenhower
Every national holiday develops traditions that pass from generation to generation. Except for Armistice Day – now called Veterans Day – no holiday is observed with more melancholy than is Memorial Day. But this day, unlike, say, July Fourth, seems to have developed two traditions depending on whether or not the United States is at peace or the armed forces are in a hot war when the last weekend of May arrives...
The Democrats, fresh from selling out the soldiers and marines in Iraq by handing the mad George Bush $120 billion to continue funding his war, are claiming victory.
Oh, they can’t hide the fact that they gave up on the war issue. But they’re quick to brag that they won a big one by cleverly including in the war funding supplemental bill a hike in the minimum wage, bringing the federal rate from the current $5.15/hour to $7.25.
On Tuesday night, attendees at the Wilshire Theater in Beverly Hills witnessed an invigorating match of wit and wisdom, as Al Gore sat down with Harry Shearer to discuss Gore's latest book, "The Assault On Reason." Believe me, sitting down with Harry Shearer is no easy task, for there is no such thing as a banal discussion with Harry. In fact, anyone who knows Harry Shearer is keenly aware of his astute, well-studied social commentary, and hysterically funny spot-on political satire.
Harry does his homework and let's loose his opinion with no holds barred. His irreverence is akin to Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, who are actually latter-day versions of Harry, with significantly shorter resumes.
In a display of gratitude for taking the high road for their nation, Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson were honored tonight by the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club. The impressive couple, appearing confident and relaxed, addressed a packed audience in the ballroom of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel.
Introducing the Wilsons was Arianna Huffington, applying her customary irreverent wit. It's always difficult with Arianna to select her best line since they're all so topical and on the mark. But in my opinion she hit it best when describing the late-night Comey caper, with Alberto Gonzales, Andy Card and James Comey rushing to the hospital bed of ailing John Ashcroft. In an act of good conscience, heretofore unheard of for Ashcroft, the former Attorney General refused Gonzales and Card's dubious request to approve the electronic surveillance act. To which Arianna quipped, "Who would have ever thought John Ashcroft would be the good guy?"
Why I Fight by Tom Baxter
Now at the fourth anniversary of the proclamation of ‘Mission Accomplished’ and the ‘end of major combat operations’ of ‘Operation Iraq Liberation’ I have been standing on Thursdays and Sundays in front of the (Florida) Capitol with my antiwar signs for almost six years in the 'Eternal Peace Vigil'. People have asked, “Why?” Some of the reasons are the lives and deaths of Dwight H Johnson, David Funchess and Jeffrey Lucey...
By Dave Lindorff
In case you’re wondering why crude oil prices are down from last year, hanging around at about $60 a barrel, while gasoline prices have soared past $3.10/gallon nationwide, just check out the latest profit reports from the oil companies. They are at record levels.
The answer for this seeming contradiction is simple: Americans are being robbed blind by the oil industry.
What a bunch of jackals at National Journal! Completely dissin' Mike Gravel and treating Dennis Kucinich none too kindly either, rating him 67th... and this from what's considered the most authoritative news source inside the beltway...
White House 2008 rankings: The Democrats
A bi-weekly rating of the presidential candidates
Updated: 10:45 a.m. ET April 30, 2007
WASHINGTON - After the first debate, things changed -- and stayed the same. We still have two front-runners, John Edwards is solid and Joe Biden is flourishing, relatively speaking. Forty-five more debates to go...
(We're not ranking Mike Gravel... This guy's not just a third-tier longshot, he might be a little, um, off. Seriously, he was downright rude. Why should anyone agree to appear on stage with him? And why should any mainstream Democratic group invite him?)...
Published on Saturday, April 28, 2007
by General William Odom
The following is a transcript of the Democratic Radio Address delivered by Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Ret.) on Saturday April 28, 2007:
“Good morning, this is Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army, retired.
“I am not now nor have I ever been a Democrat or a Republican. Thus, I do not speak for the Democratic Party. I speak for myself, as a non-partisan retired military officer who is a former Director of the National Security Agency. I do so because Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, asked me.
“In principle, I do not favor Congressional involvement in the execution of U.S. foreign and military policy. I have seen its perverse effects in many cases. The conflict in Iraq is different. Over the past couple of years, the President has let it proceed on automatic pilot, making no corrections in the face of accumulating evidence that his strategy is failing and cannot be rescued.
“Thus, he lets the United States fly further and further into trouble, squandering its influence, money, and blood, facilitating the gains of our enemies. The Congress is the only mechanism we have to fill this vacuum in command judgment.
“To put this in a simple army metaphor, the Commander-in-Chief seems to have gone AWOL, that is ‘absent without leave.’ He neither acts nor talks as though he is in charge. Rather, he engages in tit-for-tat games.
Published on Saturday, April 28, 2007
by ABC News
by Brian Ross and Justin Rood
Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias submitted his resignation Friday, one day after confirming to ABC News that he had been a customer of a Washington, D.C. escort service whose owner has been charged by federal prosecutors with running a prostitution operation.Tobias, 65, director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), had previously served as the ambassador for the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief.
Published on Wednesday, April 25, 2007
by Ewen MacAskill
WASHINGTON - A female US soldier who came to personify the US invasion of Iraq yesterday appeared before a Congressional hearing to reject the Pentagon’s portrayal of her as “Rambo from West Virginia”, shot down in a blaze of glory.Appearing as a witness at the Congressional committee investigating military misinformation from the battlefield, Jessica Lynch said: “Tales of great heroism were being told. My parent’s home in Wirt county [West Virginia] was under siege of the media all repeating the story of the little girl Rambo from the hills who went down fighting. It was not true.”
Published on Wednesday, April 25, 2007
by Robert Scheer
Blame it on the military but make it look like you’re supporting the troops. That’s been the convenient gambit of failed emperors throughout history as they witnessed their empires decline. Not surprisingly then, it’s become the standard rhetorical trick employed by President Bush in shirking responsibility for the Iraq debacle of his making.Ignoring the fact that we have a system of civilian control over the military, which is why he, the elected president, is designated the commander in chief, Bush hides behind the fiction that the officers in the field are calling the shots when in fact he has put them in an unwinnable situation and refuses to even consider a timetable for getting them out.
It wasn’t too long ago that the death of socialism, the triumph of capitalism and the end of history were being widely hailed.
What a difference a few years and a few fractions of a degree in world temperature change makes!
We may still be contemplating the end of history, but of a different sort. It is suddenly becoming painfully obvious that the pursuit of profit and the philosophy of growth for growth’s sake and of dog eat dog is about to kill us all off.
MoveOn blows it
From: Mark Crispin Miller
From Paul Lehto:
MoveOn strikes a devastating blow against its own credibility as an activist organization with this strong support for Holt's HR 811 "paper trail and audit" "solution". They specifically reference the last minute strong opposition which was activists burning up the fax lines of Congress, with a little help from some elected officials opposing unfunded mandates. Word on the street was that this committee of Congress had never seen such a response to oppose legislation, yet here MoveOn attempts to commit the activists who aren't keeping close tabs on this into fighting with the other activists! We can have legitimate disagreements and oppose each other, but for MoveOn not to even identify the issues correctly is truly abysmal...
Ex-Aide Says He’s Lost Faith in Bush By JIM RUTENBERG
AUSTIN, Tex., March 29 — In 1999, Matthew Dowd became a symbol of George W. Bush’s early success at positioning himself as a Republican with Democratic appeal. A top strategist for the Texas Democrats who was disappointed by the Bill Clinton years, Mr. Dowd was impressed by the pledge of Mr. Bush, then governor of Texas, to bring a spirit of cooperation to Washington. He switched parties, joined Mr. Bush’s political brain trust and dedicated the next six years to getting him to the Oval Office and keeping him there. In 2004, he was appointed the president’s chief campaign strategist.
Looking back, Mr. Dowd now says his faith in Mr. Bush was misplaced....
James Carroll nailed it. The biggest government mistake of the past century, not demilitarizing after WWII, instead escalating into the Cold War and the National Security State...
60 years of faulty logic By James Carroll
SIXTY YEARS AGO today, Harry Truman went before a joint session of Congress to announce what became known as the Truman Doctrine. "At the present moment in world history, nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life." With that, an era of bipolarity was inaugurated, dividing the world between forces of good and evil....
On 6 of Past 7 Days, Rockets or Shells Have Hit Sector That Includes U.S. Embassy
By Karin Brulliard and Robin Wright Washington Post Staff Writers Thursday, March 29, 2007; Page A15 www.washingtonpost.com
BAGHDAD, March 29 -- Iraqi insurgents are increasingly hitting Baghdad's fortresslike Green Zone with rockets and mortar shells, officials said Wednesday.
"So, the question arises: what influence does the CPC have with the rest of its party..."
David, the question, or should I say, marginalization of the Progressive Caucus is the thing I find most disturbing. Despite the numbers, which should indicate considerable influence, it appears there are forces, or influences, more formidable than that of the 71 member CPC....
Updated: 11:35 a.m. ET March 27, 2007
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: ....Here... to talk about it, Joan Walsh—she‘s editor-in-chief of Salon.com—John Nichols from “The Nation” and MSNBC contributor and “Boston Herald” columnist Mike Barnicle.
John Nichols, let me begin by reading you what Republican senator and possible presidential candidate Chuck Hagel said involving the impeachment of George W. Bush. He said, “You can impeach him, and before this gets over, you might see calls for his impeachment. It depends on how this goes.”...
Hmmm, despite the veto threat my bet is the war profiteers take the money and ruuuuuun...
Senate GOP Will Not Block Iraq Bill - Senate GOP Leader Says Republicans Will Not Block Iraq Bill if Iraq Timeline Stands By ANNE FLAHERTY
WASHINGTON Mar 26, 2007 (AP)— Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Monday he will try to block a Democratic effort to force troop withdrawal but won't stand in the way of the Iraq spending bill that would contain it because he knows President Bush would veto the package. "Our goal is to pass it quickly," said McConnell, R-Ky. "Our troops need the money." Unable to override Bush's veto, Democrats would have to redraft the bill without a "surrender deadline," he said....
The King, The Jester, and The Fool...
Kind of reminds you of something Johnny Carson's 'Carnac The Magnificent' might say, placing a "hermetically sealed" envelope to his temple to channel the mysterious question inside. Carnac would repeat the phrase, rip the "hermetic" seal, blow into the envelope, repeat the phrase again, then reveal the inner query:
The King, The Jester and The Fool: Who are Jordan's King Abdullah II, Christian fanatic Tom Delay, and CongrASSwoman Illiana Ros-Lehtinen?
The true answer. They are three individuals inextricably linked to the Israel/Palestine travesty, but in uniquely different ways. The King wants a peaceful resolution. DeLay wants Raptured Revolution. Ros-Lehtinen wants persecution.
I'm with The King.
By Dave Lindorff
What a pathetic joke this nominally Democratic Congress has proven to be.
Despite polls showing that 6 in 10 Americans want the U.S. out of Iraq asap, the best that this crew can come up with is a call—not binding, or course—for the president to pull out the troops by next spring or even summer. That would be over a year from now, and more than five years (!) into this criminal and incredibly stupid war.
I love Elizabeth Edwards. Which is odd, since I've never met her.
When it comes to celebrity, I'm not much impressed. In fact, I find the whole concept of idolization abhorrent. More like insane. But when it comes to Elizabeth Edwards, I'll relinquish a bit of my 'sanity' and let awe take command over me.
Elizabeth is an anomaly. She's that rare public person who can take center stage and yet remain REAL. She's unaffected by fame. Impervious to admiration. Strong in the face of catastrophe and humble in the face of success.
Not long ago I watched an event on Cspan where Elizabeth Edwards discussed her book, "Saving Graces." Elizabeth gave a detailed account of her recovery from grieving the death of her teenage son, Wade. She shed no tears, but the depth of her pain was palpable. She paid minor attention to despair and major attention to healing. Not as a preacher. Or authority. But as a vessel of resolve and understanding. She freed the audience from fear of discussing her child by explaining how his essence is honored whenever they mention his name. She explained that avoiding discussing him was like erasing him and that he should never be erased. A simple lesson, but profound.
If you need any more signs that we don't have a plan for Iraq, consider the newest recruit to our fighting forces: Charles Storlie.
Some of you may remember Storlie as the Minneapolis Police Officer who riddled undercover cop Dan Ngo with bullets from an MP5 submachine gun ("Shot to Hell," CP 5/21/03). Ngo survived and sued Storlie and the city for $9 million. Now comes news that Storlie has quit the MPD to go to the Middle East as a private contractor.