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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.
Pulse of the Twin Cities Letters 03-14-07
U.S. created harm’s way
Here is U.S. Rep. John Kline’s approach—put the troops in harm’s way, refuse to take the troops out of harm’s way, then use harm’s way as a reason to continue funding this mess. Kline will “not deny additional funding for our troops in harm’s way.” He’s using the troops as pawns and then trying to come across as a noble a stand-up guy in funding them.
By DAMIEN CAVE New York Times
BAGHDAD, March 18 — He comes to her in dreams, dressed in the blue police uniform he wore the day he disappeared.
“I’m alive,” he tells Intisar Rashid, his wife and the mother of their five children. “I’m alive.”
And so she restlessly keeps searching. Ever since the Thursday two months ago when her husband failed to come home, Ms. Rashid has tried to find the man she loves.
In the Green Zone last week, where she waited to scour a database of Iraqis detained by American troops, she said she had already visited the Baghdad morgue a dozen times, every hospital in the city and a handful of Iraqi government ministries.
“I feel like I’m going to collapse,” she said, carrying her husband’s police identification card in one hand and a crumpled tissue in the other. “It’s taken over my days, my nights.”
The past year of dizzying violence here has produced thousands of Iraqis like Ms. Rashid — sad-eyed seekers caught in an endless loop of inquiry and disappointment. Burdened by grief without end or answers, they face a set of horrors as varied and fractured as Iraq itself.
Has my son or husband or father been killed by a death squad, his body hidden? Or has he been arrested? Is he in a legitimate prison with his name unregistered, or trapped in a secret basement jail with masked torturers?
Most importantly: How can he be found?
A most intriguing line of questioning transpired during the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the firings of the eight U.S. Attorneys. During Senator Lindsey Graham's interrogation of the former U.S. Attorneys, the first-term South Carolina Senator made some very telling remarks.
Graham began his round of questioning by asking the four U.S. Attorneys how long they had served in office. They provided their tenures in office, which for each was under six years. Senator Graham replied:
"Those are 'long stints' aren't they as U.S. Attorneys? In my state I'm trying to get as many people through that job as I possibly can. Particularly young lawyers who I see to have great potential serving down the road on the Bench... Do you all agree this is an employment at will job?"
Interesting. Graham supports the rotation of leadership, and abdicating jobs so others can serve.
Graham went on to say, "Let me just say this about each one of ya. I think you all understand the nature of the job. That it's a political appointment but it's also a public responsibility. Once you get there it's not your job to play politics. It's your job to enforce the law and these are 'long stints.'"
Again with the 'long stints'. Senator Graham most certainly believes six years is a long enough time for anyone to hold office. Graham continues:
Just when Bill Clinton needs to distance himself from his ties to the Bushes, the second most controversial Bush crony (second of course to Dick Cheney) rears his wispy dome at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, the shared campus of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library. In the heat of Hillary Clinton's fiercely contested Presidential campaign, Karl Rove, the master of malfeasance, was Thursday's Cspan televised speaker at the CLINTON School.
A mere two days after Scooter Libby's conviction of obstruction of justice and perjury, in a trial that reeked of Karl Rove, the non-repentant megalomaniac filled the minds of the Clinton School students with his special brand of politics. Here's a sample of flab-boy's political wisdom of which he was unabashedly proud.
By Christian Makarian
Edition of Tuesday 20 February 2007
Confronted with the CIA, European countries flout their own principles. That's what the terrorists want.
Up until now, critics of the American engagement in Iraq - the main staging ground for the offensive against terrorism George W. Bush has unleashed on a global scale - have had a concrete political impact only in the United States. Intending no offense to its detractors, I maintain that America, so sensitive to the call of the bugle, is an essentially democratic country where those who supported Bush one day can repudiate him the next when faced with the flagrancy of the facts. After the House of Representatives swing to the Democrats in November 2006, this February 16th the same house of Congress has gone on to adopt a resolution that "disapproves" of the dispatch of 21,500 additional soldiers to Baghdad. The president can be as contemptuous as he likes of this vote "that has no binding force." It doesn't change the fact that 17 Republican representatives joined the Democratic majority for the first time to denounce the strategy Bush has pursued in Iraq.
By Lara Jakes Jordan
The Associated Press
Wednesday 21 February 2007
Federal prosecutors counted immigration violations, marriage fraud and drug trafficking among anti-terror cases in the four years after 9/11 even though no evidence linked them to terror activity, a Justice Department audit said Tuesday.
Overall, nearly all of the terrorism-related statistics on investigations, referrals and cases examined by department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine were either diminished or inflated. Only two of 26 sets of department data reported between 2001 and 2005 were accurate, the audit found.
A slow medical evaluation process leaves many injured troops in limbo
By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Feb 20, 2007 14:41:57 EST
Leaning over the sink in an almost-clean barracks bathroom across the street from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Pvt. Robert Van Antwerp, 20, quickly sheared the hair of his new roommate into a fresh crew cut.
“This is what my dad does when he really wants to get to know someone,” Van Antwerp said, referring to Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, head of the Army’s Accessions Command. “He cuts hair. Now it’s a family tradition.”
By Justin Rood
Monday 19 February 2007
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) won't say what it plans to do with thousands of dollars in campaign donations it received from an accused terror financier.
Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari gave $15,250 to the NRCC since 2002, according to FEC records published on the Web site opensecrets.org.
On Friday, Alishtari pled not guilty to funding terrorism and other crimes, including financial fraud.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FEBRUARY 15, 2007 10:04 AM
CONTACT: National Security Archive Meredith Fuchs - 202/994-7000
House Subcommittee Asks Archive for FOIA Reform Advice Archive General Counsel Testifies that Congress Should Mandate Solutions; Cites 17 Year Delays, Lost Requests, and Agency Obstruction of FOIA
WASHINGTON - February 15 - National Security Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs today told the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that, "problems [with the Freedom of Information Act system] will not be solved unless Congress mandates solutions."
Editor & Publisher
Friday 16 February 2007
New York - Al Neuharth, the former Gannett chief, USA Today founder and currently weekly columnist for that newspaper, has had a change of heart.
A year ago, in honor of President's Day, he stated that while he was often critical of George W. Bush, he did not, and probably would not ever, crack his list of the five worst presidents we've ever had.
A year later he admits he was wrong. In his USA Today column today he announces that Bush has not only cracked the bottom five, he's now at the very bottom.
Published on Monday, February 19, 2007 by the New York Times
by Bob Herbert
If we could manage to get past the tedious and the odious — like the empty speculation on whether a woman can win, or whether Barack Obama is black enough — we might be able to engage the essential issue facing the U.S. at this point in our history.
And that is whether, once the Bush administration has finally and mercifully run its course, the country goes back to being a reasonably peaceful, lawful, constructive force in the world, or whether we continue down the bullying, warlike, unilateral, irresponsible, unlawful and profoundly ineffective path laid out by Bush, Cheney & Co.
a poem after seing "Ground Truth"...
a soldiers bloody tears
conceived by GW Bush & R. Cheney
by rw spisak
the missing limb'
the bodies do not ever dim
anger keeps the pain at bay
the bullets easy spray
in fatal foam
driving death home in collisions colorful
firefights deep in the long nights dark
the soldiers heart
locked out the pain on broken binging hinges
like gentlest rain leaks back
Thanks to Bob for pointing out the latest in wingnutterdom, the "Victory Caucus", who are going nuts over the fourteen white flag surrender monkeys (brave Republicans) who've joined co-sponser Walter Jones in supporting the toothless Democrat-led resolution dissapproving of Smirk's escalation of the Iraq war.
Show them some love....
From a NY Times article about George Tenet and his upcoming book:
The publisher who met with Mr. Tenet said he had spoken extensively about the toll that the Iraq war had taken on his family, particularly on his son, who was “teased mercilessly” at school. “Other kids would yell, ‘Your dad’s a murderer!’ and that kind of thing,” the publisher recalled him saying.
While one feels for Tenet's son, we must remember he has not been the only one to suffer: a recent study by Johns Hopkins researchers estimated that 650,000 Iraqis have also been teased mercilessly. In addition, 3,000 U.S. soldiers have been made fun of so cruelly by the other children that they decided to run back home to America hidden in metal boxes covered in flags.
There's been a lot a big numbers floated by the past few days. Let's review, first the really big one, Smirk's Three Trillion Dollar budget which includes $719 BILLION for the starving military, including almost $300 billion for ongoing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. So how does he plan to pay for this obscene increase in US global military domination? By cutting the budget for Medicare, Medicaid, education, health care and children's programs. What a mean heartless little tyrant our illegitimate Dear MisLeader...
By Tom Lasseter
Saturday 03 February 2007
Baghdad, Iraq - Army 1st Lt. Antonio Hardy took a slow look around the east Baghdad neighborhood that he and his men were patrolling. He grimaced at the sound of gunshots in the distance. A machine gunner on top of a Humvee scanned the rooftops for snipers. Some of Hardy's men wondered aloud if they'd get hit by a roadside bomb on the way back to their base.
By Scott Shane and Ron Nixon
The New York Times
Sunday 04 February 2007
Washington - In June, short of people to process cases of incompetence and fraud by federal contractors, officials at the General Services Administration responded with what has become the government's reflexive answer to almost every problem.
They hired another contractor.
It did not matter that the company they chose, CACI International, had itself recently avoided a suspension from federal contracting; or that the work, delving into investigative files on other contractors, appeared to pose a conflict of interest; or that each person supplied by the company would cost taxpayers $104 an hour. Six CACI workers soon joined hundreds of other private-sector workers at the G.S.A., the government's management agency.
Greetings from the Annual Peace Alliance Conference in Washington, DC!
All of us here wanted to let those of you that couldn't join us, to know you are in our thoughts. This conference is already a huge success. Sold out and standing room only for some events. More requests from the media than we've ever had in the past. And it couldn't have happened without all of the work everyone has done over the past year. Those who were able to make it to the conference and all of those who couldn't join us in person. We know you are here in spirit and that it is our work and energy together that continues to nourish this movement...
By Denise Grady
The New York Times
Friday 02 February 2007
Statistics on a Pentagon Web site have been reorganized in a way that lowers the published totals of American nonfatal casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, deputy director of force health protection and readiness at the Defense Department, said the previous method of tallying casualties was misleading and might have made injuries and combat wounds seem worse and more numerous than they really were.
Published on Saturday, February 3, 2007 by the Associated Press
by Barry Schweid
WASHINGTON -- Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. national security adviser, told Congress the war in Iraq is a calamity and likely to lead to "a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large."
Testifying before the Senate foreign relations committee Thursday, Brzezinski skewered U.S. administration policy as driven by "imperial hubris" and a disaster on historic, strategic and moral grounds.
The Associated Press
Friday 02 February 2007
Monday plan to kick off major debate with Democratic- controlled Congress.
Washington - Keeping troops in Iraq for another year and a half will cost nearly a quarter-trillion dollars - about $800 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. - under the budget President Bush will submit to Congress Monday.
Bush will ask for $100 billion more for military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan this year and seek $145 billion for 2008, a senior Pentagon official said Friday. Those requests come on top of about $344 billion spent for Iraq since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
By John Heilprin
The Associated Press
Friday 02 February 2007
Washington - Despite a strongly worded global warming report from the world's top climate scientists, the Bush administration expressed continued opposition Friday to mandatory reductions in heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases.
Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman warned against "unintended consequences" - including job losses - that he said might result if the government requires economy-wide caps on carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.
By Thomas D. Williams
t r u t h o u t | Report
Friday 02 February 2007
President George W. Bush's repeated statements of the need for 21,500 more combat troops in Iraq to quell the violence in Baghdad and in Anbar Province don't begin to give the full picture, a new Congressional Budget Office report reveals.
The startling report, issued Thursday by Budget Office Director Peter R. Orszag, said ordinarily another 27,500 troops would be necessary to support the additional 21,500 combat forces Bush featured in his talks to the nation. The budget office estimates range from 15,000 to 28,000 support troops that will be needed to back up the 21,500 mentioned by the administration.
Last update: January 28, 2007 – 12:39 AM
Bush & Co. are using taxpayer dollars to run an outsourcing lab in Iraq.
As President Bush took the podium to deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday, five American families received news that has become all too common: Their loved ones had been killed in Iraq. But in this case, the slain were neither "civilians," as the news reports proclaimed, nor were they U.S. soldiers. They were highly trained mercenaries deployed to Iraq by a secretive private military company based in North Carolina -- Blackwater USA.
Published on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
by Bill C. Davis
It sounds cozy – almost storybook. “In harm’s way.” This phrase presents what is happening to and with American troops as a static reality. Harm was there waiting for the troops to arrive and they got in the way of this thing that was coiled ready to meet the unsuspecting soldiers.
The implication is that “harm’s way” is disconnected from any provocative action. It’s presented as a prickly natural phenomenon – a bee sting, an ice patch, poison ivy – harm’s way.
The reality is that more than being “in harm’s way” – they are in the wrong place. It was wrong in 2003 and it’s wrong now. They are in the middle of a cyclone ignited by an immoral decision – by a collection of immoral decisions and abdications.
By PHILLIP BUTLER
Many peace and justice organizations have been promoting and demonstrating lately for awareness of torture and related issues. I'm amazed and profoundly disappointed that this has apparently become necessary in our country.
I spent eight years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, from 1965 to 1973. During that time, I and more than 90 percent of my fellow POWs were repeatedly tortured for the extortion of political propaganda and sometimes just for retribution. We were not recognized by Vietnam as POWs, but as criminals, because the Vietnamese had not signed the 1949 "Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War."
Go to Original. Posted on Jan 12, 2007
By Stan Goff
Editor’s note: In this piece, a retired U.S. Special Forces soldier takes an oil-filtered look at Bush’s “surge” plan for Iraq.
“Jodl! Is Paris burning?”
Aug. 25, 1944
The United States makes up about 5 percent of the Earth’s population, but as an aggregate we burn more than 25 percent of its fossil energy. That’s roughly true of all three main forms of fossil energy—oil, natural gas and coal.