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Andrew Bacevich: Is Perpetual War Our Future? Learning the Wrong Lessons from the Bush Era

TomDispatch writes:

To the problem of an overstretched, over-toured military, there is but one answer in Washington. Both presidential candidates (along with just about every other politician in our nation's capital) are on record wanting to significantly expand the Army and the Marines. In part two of his series at TomDispatch, adapted from his remarkable new book, The Limits of Power, The End of American Exceptionalism, historian and retired colonel Andrew Bacevich suggests a solution to the American military crisis that might seem obvious enough, if only both parties weren't so blinded by the idea of our "global reach," by a belief, however wrapped in euphemisms, in our imperial role on this planet, and by the imperial Pentagon and presidency that go with it: reduce the mission.

That is the heart of his latest piece. As he writes: "America doesn't need a bigger army. It needs a smaller -- that is, more modest -- foreign policy, one that assigns soldiers missions that are consistent with their capabilities. Modesty implies giving up on the illusions of grandeur to which the end of the Cold War and then 9/11 gave rise. It also means reining in the imperial presidents who expect the army to make good on those illusions. When it comes to supporting the troops, here lies the essence of a citizen's obligation."

In this striking post, Bacevich also lays out the wrong lessons that our leaders have drawn from Bush's wars and they all spell trouble: first, that the challenges posed by Iraq and Afghanistan define not only the military's present but also its future, the "next war"; second, that the corrective to civilian arrogance and misjudgment is obvious -- that the civil-military balance should be tilted back in favor of the generals, untying the hands of senior commanders; and third, that the All-Volunteer Force needs to be junked altogether.

Town Still Torn Over Immigrant Murder

Town Still Torn Over Immigrant Murder
Illegal Immigrant's Murder Brings Pennsylvania Town's Divisions To The Fore | CBS Evening News

In the town of Shenandoah, Penn., parishioners at a local church offered up prayers for peace - a peace that was broken the night of July 12, when Luis Ramirez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, was beaten to death

The crime shocked people in this small, Appalachian town, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane. A late night street fight punctuated by ethnic slurs ended in Ramirez's death. Four high school students, all on the football team, are charged in connection with the homicide.

"I never thought there was such underlying hatred or bigotry," the town mayor said.

Pelosi Confesses Knowing the Truth About Bush's War Based on Lies: "I don't know what could have been done..." Tell her!

Begins at 4:51.

Q: If you were to go back and change anything from your political career, what would it be?

A: Well, of course, the biggest disappointment for me is that we are still in this war in Iraq, and, ah, I had always thought at the time that, that, ah, people knew the truth they would not vote for this war and, I don't know what else, er, not have been supportive of this, I don't know what else we could have done, ah, but this has been the most damaging to us:

The Fix Is In - Again!

The Fix Is In - Again!
Ernest Partridge | The Crisis Papers

Better get used to the idea: John McCain will probably be the next President of the United States.

The fix is in, as it has been in every election since 2000.

This follows from two overarching facts that the corporate media will not report, and the Democrats choose to ignore:

1. The ruling oligarchy can not allow a reformist Democrat to occupy the White House.

2. They have the means to prevent it, as they did in 2000, in 2004, and as they might do again in 2008.

All other aspects of this "election" - issues, personalities, media blitzes - are secondary and perhaps even irrelevant.

U.S. Army Deserter Ordered Deported

U.S. army deserter ordered deported | TheGlobeandMail.com

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — One of the first U.S. army deserters to seek refugee status in Canada rather than serve in Iraq was ordered deported Wednesday.

Jeremy Hinzman, along with his wife, son and a new baby, have been ordered by the Canada Border Services Agency to leave by Sept. 23.

“I'm tremendously disappointed, we've been here nearly five years, we have lots of friends and family,” said Mr. Hinzman. “But life goes on and we'll make the most of it wherever we go.”

A handful of friends gathered outside the border services office where the decision came down, along with supporters from the War Resisters Support Campaign.

Putin's War Enablers: Bush and Cheney

Putin's war enablers: Bush and Cheney
Russia's escalating war on Georgia reveals the consequences of the Bush administration's long assault on the international rule of law.
By Juan Cole | Salon.com

The run-up to the current chaos in the Caucasus should look quite familiar: Russia acted unilaterally rather than going through the U.N. Security Council. It used massive force against a small, weak adversary. It called for regime change in a country that had defied Moscow. It championed a separatist movement as a way of asserting dominance in a region it coveted.

American Psychological Association Considers Resolution on Torture

The American Psychological Association has a resolution pending disavowing employment where torture is used. The text of the resolution is below. Pro and con arguments can be read here.

PETITION RESOLUTION

We the undersigned APA members in good standing, pursuant to article IV.5 of the APA bylaws, do hereby petition that the following motion be submitted to APA members for their approval or disapproval, by referendum, with all urgency:

Whereas torture is an abhorrent practice in every way contrary to the APA's stated mission of advancing psychology as a science, as a profession, and as a means of promoting human welfare.

HHS Moves to Define Contraception as Abortion

HHS Moves to Define Contraception as Abortion
Cristina Page | RH Reality Check

In a spectacular act of complicity with the religious right, the Department of Health and Human Services Monday released a proposal that allows any federal grant recipient to obstruct a woman's access to contraception. In order to do this, the Department is attempting to redefine many forms of contraception, the birth control 40% of Americans use, as abortion. Doing so protects extremists under the Weldon and Church amendments. Those laws prohibit federal grant recipients from requiring employees to help provide or refer for abortion services.

Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman Interviews Ron Suskind

The Way of the World: Ron Suskind on How the Bush Admin Deliberately Faked an Iraq-al-Qaeda Connection and Undermined Diplomacy, Democracy in Pakistan and Iran

Watch/listen here.

AMY GOODMAN: The House Judiciary Committee has announced it will review reports that the White House in 2003 ordered the CIA to forge and disseminate false intelligence documents linking al-Qaeda and Iraq. The CIA forged a letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein. It was backdated July 1, 2001 and stated 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta was trained for his mission in Iraq.

Conyers Announces Review of Allegations of Bush Administration’s Forged Iraq Intelligence

Conyers Announces Review of Allegations of Bush Administration’s Forged Iraq Intelligence

Press Release:

Congressman John Conyers
For Immediate Release
August 11, 2008

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today announced plans to review allegations that senior Bush Administration officials ordered the forgery and dissemination of false intelligence documents as reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Ron Suskind, in his new book, "The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism."

Underground FEMA Fuel Tanks Could Leak

AP IMPACT: Underground FEMA fuel tanks could leak
By EILEEN SULLIVAN | AP.Google.com

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government owns hundreds of underground fuel tanks — many designed for emergencies back in the Cold War — that need to be inspected for leaks of hazardous substances that could be making local water undrinkable.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has known since at least the 1990s that tanks under its supervision around the country could be leaking fuel into soil and groundwater, according to Associated Press interviews and research.

Report Claims Large US Military Build-Up Prepping to Partially Blockade Iran

Three major US naval strike forces due this week in Persian Gulf
DEBKAfile Special Report | August 12, 2008

DEBKAfile’s military sources note that the arrival of the three new American flotillas will raise to five the number of US strike forces in Middle East waters – an unprecedented build-up since the crisis erupted over Iran’s nuclear program.

This vast naval and air strength consists of more than 40 carriers, warships and submarines, some of the last nuclear-armed, opposite the Islamic Republic, a concentration last seen just before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Our military sources postulate five objects of this show of American muscle:

Center for Media & Democracy: Be A Citizen Journalist

Be A Citizen Journalist
Featured Participatory Project: Probing the Pentagon Pundit Documents
Source: SourceWatch, August 12, 2008

Remember the New York Times expose on the Pentagon's use of retired military officers who frequently appear as "military analysts" on television and radio news shows? The program was launched in 2002 to help sell the Iraq war, but soon expanded to other controversial issues. Most of the 8,000 pages of internal Pentagon documents used to document the illegal propaganda program haven't been analyzed or reported on. But now, thanks to the Center for Media and Democracy, those documents are now text searchable! Help us dig out the gems in the emails between Pentagon PR staffers, talking points and briefing transcripts. How did the Pentagon use the program to spin Guantanamo Bay or military operations in Afghanistan? Are John McCain or John Murtha mentioned in the Pentagon documents? What about Fox News or PBS? CMD has converted the Pentagon documents so that you can search them by keyword, and posted them on our SourceWatch site. Have a look -- some ideas to help you get started are here -- and post what you find on relevant SourceWatch articles. If this is your first time editing on SourceWatch, you can register here, and learn more about adding information to the site here, here and here. Have fun and thanks for your help!

U.S. Civilians Recruited To Help Troubled Nations

U.S. Civilians Recruited To Help Troubled Nations

by Jessica Wanke | NPR.org | July 31, 2008

In the coming months, the State Department will put out a call to American engineers, city planners and judges in the hopes that patriotism will compel them to leave their comfortable lives in the United States for far-flung locales and potentially dangerous work — saving states the U.S.

Protestors Dog Pelosi on Her LA Book Tour at American Jewish University

Protestors Dog Pelosi on Her LA Book Tour at American Jewish University

Inside report from Marcy Winograd:

Pelosi thanked her host, American Jewish University, proclaimed her support for Israel as a Jewish state, and then talked about the importance of women owning their power – this from the woman who upon assuming her role as Speaker of the House declared impeachment off the table, thus immediately surrendering her power to hold the Bush administration accountable for war crimes.

Mid-way through Pelosi's somewhat surreal Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters book chat in Los Angeles -- Peter Thottam, founder of the LA Impeachment Center -- couldn't take the small-talk and platitudes anymore.

Pelosi Clashes With Protesters Over Impeachment

Pelosi Clashes With Protesters Over Impeachment

By Jason Leopold and Alan Breslauer | The Public Record

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's appearance Monday at a West Los Angeles college to discuss her recently published book was marred by dozens of protestors and several angry outbursts by audience members who demanded Pelosi immediately authorize a House committee to hold impeachment hearings against President George W. Bush.

The Speaker made it clear she would not support any effort to hold impeachment hearings against President Bush saying that the president "will be gone in a hundred days."

Chip's Note: Be sure to watch the commercial at the end - twice I got John McCain.

Most Corporations Don't Pay Income Taxes

Most Corporations Don't Pay Income Taxes
by: Richard Rubin | Congressional Quarterly

Most corporations, including the vast majority of foreign companies doing business in the United States, pay no income taxes, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday.

During the eight-year period covered by the report, 72 percent of foreign-owned corporations went at least one year without owing taxes, and the same was true for 55 percent of domestic corporations.

Small companies were much more likely to pay no taxes than larger companies. Still, more than 3,500 large domestic corporations - with more than $250 million in assets or $50 million in gross receipts - did not pay taxes in 2005.

Attorney General Mukasey Refuses Justice Dept Prosecution: "Not Every Wrong, Or Even Every Violation Of The Law, Is A Crime"

Mukasey: No prosecutions in Justice hiring scandal
By MARK SHERMAN | Yahoo!News

Former Justice Department officials will not face prosecution for letting improper political considerations drive hirings of prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Tuesday.

Mukasey used his sharpest words yet to criticize the senior leaders who took part in or failed to stop illegal hiring practices during the tenure of his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales.

But, he told delegates to the American Bar Association annual meeting, "not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime. In this instance, the two joint reports found only violations of the civil service laws."

Targeting Immigrants - The Largest Ever US ICE Raid

Targeting Immigrants - The Largest Ever US ICE Raid
by Stephen Lendman

"...When the executive branch forces the hand of the judiciary, the result is abuse of power and arbitrariness, unworthy of a democracy founded upon the constitutional principle of checks and balances."

The 2002 Homeland Security Act established its largest investigative and enforcement arm in 2003: the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) created "as a law enforcement agency for the post-9/11 era, to integrate enforcement authorities against criminal and terrorist activities, including the fights against human trafficking and smuggling, violent transnational gangs and sexual predators on children" - "criminal" and "terrorist" threats to the nation.

Muslims are its principal targets. So are Latino immigrants, forced to seek work here because of NAFTA's devastating effect on their lives and well-being. Turning logic, fairness and justice on its head in the current climate of fear, ICE calls them (and Muslims) "people....support(ing) terrorism and other criminal activities....against the United States" - 276,912 so-called "illegal aliens" removed from the country in FY2007 to justify its burgeoning budget to "keep America safe."

Use of Iraq Contractors Costs Billions, Report Says

Use of Iraq Contractors Costs Billions, Report Says
By JAMES RISEN | NYTimes.com

The United States this year will have spent $100 billion on contractors in Iraq since the invasion in 2003, a milestone that reflects the Bush administration’s unprecedented level of dependence on private firms for help in the war, according to a government report to be released Tuesday.

The report, by the Congressional Budget Office, according to people with knowledge of its contents, will say that one out of every five dollars spent on the war in Iraq has gone to contractors for the United States military and other government agencies, in a war zone where employees of private contractors now outnumber American troops.

Auditors Question Blackwater Contracts: But Is It Really $107 Million?

Auditors question Blackwater contracts
By Elizabeth Olson | IHT.com

Blackwater Worldwide, the contractor whose provision of private security in Iraq has been under scrutiny, and its affiliated companies may have improperly obtained more than $100 million in contracts meant for small businesses, according to federal auditors.

A report by the Small Business Administration's inspector general, issued in July, found that Blackwater and its affiliates, including Presidential Airways, won 39 contracts in the fiscal years 2005, 2006 and 2007 despite indications that the companies employed more than the number specified by the U.S. government. In some cases, the report said, the companies also had higher revenues than allowed for a small business.

The RoveCyberGate Campaign: Stunning Revelations About Election Fraud & How You Can Help Preserve the Integrity of Your Ballot

The RoveCyberGate Campaign

Brought to you by VelvetRevolution.us in cooperation with AfterDowningStreet.org

We are working with Ohio election attorneys, Cliff Arnebeck, Bob Fitrakis and Henry Eckert to find out the truth about recent information indicating that Karl Rove architected and directed a strategy to manipulate elections through the use of computers. Rove’s Cyber Guru, Michael Connell, has worked for the Bush family for over 20 years and helped Bush Sr., Jeb and Bush Jr. “win” their elections using his computer skills. Whistleblowers, including a Republican cyber security expert, say that several of these and other national elections have been rigged through various invisible and illegal means, including vote tabulation manipulation, improper partisan use of the Justice Department to target Democrats and uncooperative US Attorneys, and the laundering of hundreds of millions of corporate dollars funneled into fake advocacy groups directed against Democrat candidates running for public office. Ex-Alabama Governor Don Siegelman has stated publicly that Rove was the person who directed Siegelman’s rigged election and criminal prosecution. GOP cyber sleuth Stephen Spoonamore has stated publicly that the leadership of the GOP has been "lying and stealing elections" and doing so through computers. Watch the stunning and revealing video here (play time 30 mins - and worth every minute!).

According to the attorneys, Rove’s goal with this strategy is to establish a unitary Executive Branch with a supportive judiciary, a weak legislature and a fearful press.

Corporate sponsors of this strategy, such as tobacco, energy, telecom, and pharmaceutical companies are rewarded with hands off government: deregulated oversight, stringent limits on class-action damages, the stacking of high courts with pro-business/anti-consumer Justices etc.

Everything to Lose: Who's in Charge in the Middle East?

Everything to Lose: Who's in Charge in the Middle East?
By Susan Morrison – August 11, 2008

There is one belligerent nation in the Middle East. Exactly one.
Stretching from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan there is only one nation in
which nearly a century has dared infringe upon a neighbor, save for
colonial powers. Israel. I make exception here for Hafez al-Assad and
Anwar Sedot's ill-fated gamble to regain lost territory from Israel in
1973. It was a good gamble, a two-pronged assault which may have
regained lost territory, the Golan Heights for Syria and the Sinai
Peninsula, in whole, for Egypt. But it was the master of statescraft,
Henry Kissinger, and Sedot's betrayal of Assad which cut those desires
short. Egypt maintained a portion of the Sinai, but Syria and Lebanon
suffered many losses and came up short. Israel has repeatedly attacked
Egypt, Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria in its fanatical quest

This War Report Has Been Approved by Your Government

By Dave Lindorff

We Americans got a graphic illustration of the demise of any independent American corporate news media these past few days as the coverage on TV and in print was saturated with reports about John Edwards’ infidelity and, equally important, Russia’s invasion of Georgia.

Neocons Now Love International Law

Neocons Now Love International Law
By Robert Parry | Consortium.com | August 12, 2007

It’s touching how American neoconservatives who have no regard for international law when they want to invade some troublesome country have developed a sudden reverence for national sovereignty.

Apparently, context is everything. So, the United States attacking Grenada or Nicaragua or Panama or Iraq or Serbia is justified even if the reasons sometimes don’t hold water or don’t hold up before the United Nations, The Hague or other institutions of international law.

However, when Russia attacks Georgia in a border dispute over Georgia’s determination to throttle secession movements in two semi-autonomous regions, everyone must agree that Georgia’s sovereignty is sacrosanct and Russia must be condemned.

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