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Tomgram: Slaughter, Lies, and Video in Afghanistan

Tomgram: Slaughter, Lies, and Video in Afghanistan
The Value of One, the Value of None
An Anatomy of Collateral Damage in the Bush Era
By Tom Engelhardt | TomDispatch.com

In a little noted passage in her bestselling book, The Dark Side, Jane Mayer offers us a vision, just post-9/11, of the value of one. In October 2001, shaken by a nerve-gas false alarm at the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney, reports Mayer, went underground. He literally embunkered himself in "a secure, undisclosed location," which she describes as "one of several Cold War-era nuclear-hardened subterranean bunkers built during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, the nearest of which were located hundreds of feet below bedrock..." That bunker would be dubbed, perhaps only half-sardonically, "the Commander in Chief's Suite."

Oh, and in that period, if Cheney had to be in transit, "he was chauffeured in an armored motorcade that varied its route to foil possible attackers." In the backseat of his car (just in case), adds Mayer, "rested a duffel bag stocked with a gas mask and a biochemical survival suit." And lest danger rear its head, "rarely did he travel without a medical doctor in tow."

US Missile Attack in Pakistan Kills 14

US Missile Attack in Pakistan Kills 14
Zeeshan Haider | Reuters North American News Service

Fourteen people were killed in the northwestern Pakistani region of North Waziristan on Friday in a missile attack by a pilotless U.S. aircraft on suspected militants near the Afghan border, security officials said.

The strike, near the town of Miranshah, was the first since a recent surge in tension between Pakistan and the United States over how to tackle the Taliban and al Qaeda on the Pakistani side of the border.

"We confirm a missile attack at around 5.30 in the morning (2330 GMT on Thursday) ... We have informed the government," said military spokesman Major Murad Khan.

The military, apparently reluctant to highlight infringements of sovereignty, has rarely confirmed such attacks.

Khan gave no more details but security officials in the region said 14 people had been killed and about 12 wounded.

Residents said two missiles were fired at a former government school where militants and their families were living.

An intensifying insurgency in Afghanistan has raised fears about its prospects seven years after U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban. That worry has compounded pressure on Pakistan to go after militants operating from enclaves on its side of the border, including in North Waziristan.

Bush Secret Order To Send Special Forces Into Pakistan

Bush Secret Order To Send Special Forces Into Pakistan : Fear of escalating regional conflict
by Simon Tisdall | Guardian.co.uk

A secret order issued by George Bush giving US special forces carte blanche to mount counter-terrorist operations inside Pakistani territory raised fears last night that escalating conflict was spreading from Afghanistan to Pakistan and could ignite a region-wide war.

The unprecedented executive order, signed by Bush in July after an intense internal administration debate, comes amid western concern that the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and its al-Qaida backers based in "safe havens" in western Pakistan's tribal belt is being lost.

Vermont Towns Vote to Impeach -- UPDATED

Vermont Towns Vote to Impeach -- UPDATED

A single Vermont community's call for the impeachment of President Bush turned into a chorus Tuesday night, with town meetings across southern Vermont echoing the demand that Congress act to remove the president.

Voters in the town of Newfane, where the movement began, endorsed impeachment by a resounding margin. The paper ballot vote was 121-29 for a slightly amended version of the resolution that had been submitted by Dan DeWalt, an elected member of the town's select board. DeWalt's initial resolution declared:

Whereas George W. Bush has:

1. Misled the nation about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction;

2. Misled the nation about ties between Iraq and Al Quaeda;

3. Used these falsehoods to lead our nation into war unsupported by international law;

4. Not told the truth about American policy with respect to the use of torture; and

Impeachment and truth now. Reconciliation? Maybe later.

Impeachment and truth now. Reconciliation? Maybe later.
by Thomas Nephew | The Bush/Cheney Impeachment Papers

While it wasn’t her point, Nell’s excellent post earlier this week ("Prepare to Dare or Prepare to Despair") reminds me that I’ve been less energetic than I should have been in supporting and discussing Dennis Kucinich’s H.Res. 1258 resolution calling for George Bush’s impeachment. The lengthy resolution presents 35 articles of impeachment, leading with Bush’s propaganda campaign for the Iraq war:

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in

Prepare To Dare or Prepare to Despair

Prepare to dare or prepare to despair

Email conversation with Thomas Nephew about the Million Doors for Peace effort got me to pull together some thoughts I've only let myself reflect on briefly over the last few months.

There's been a divide among antiwar activists -- between those who are serious about ending the occupation of Iraq and those who’d like to do that but only if it doesn’t cost Democrats politically. Depending on the size of the Democratic majorities in Congress, and assuming an Obama administration, that divide might be less important in 2009 than it's been for the last two years.

US Military Trained Georgian Commandos

US military trained Georgian commandos
By Charles Clover in Moscow and Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington | FT.com

The US military provided combat training to 80 Georgian special forces commandos only months prior to Georgia's army assault in South Ossetia in August.

The revelation, based on recruitment documents and interviews with US military trainers obtained by the Financial Times, could add fuel to accusations by Vlad­imir Putin, Russian prime minister, last month that the US had "orchestrated" the war in the Georgian enclave.

The training was provided by senior US soldiers and two military contractors. There is no evidence that the contractors or the Pentagon, which hired them, knew that the commandos they were training were likely be used in the assault on South Ossetia.

Official: Bush OK'd Raids Into Pakistan

Official: Bush OK'd raids into Pakistan
Kelli Arena | CNN.com

President Bush authorized U.S. special forces to conduct ground assaults inside Pakistan without seeking Islamabad's permission first, a senior American intelligence official said Thursday.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said better U.S.-Pakistan cooperation is needed to fight terror.

"We have had the president's OK for months," said the official, who declined to be identified because the order is classified. "It is my understanding that the Pakistanis are well-aware of the change."

TomDispatch: Andrew Bacevich, Worshiping the Indispensable Nation

Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, Worshiping the Indispensable Nation

"The events of the past seven years," Andrew Bacevich begins in his new piece at TomDispatch.com, "have yielded a definitive judgment on the strategy that the Bush administration conceived in the wake of 9/11 to wage its so-called Global War on Terror. That strategy has failed, massively and irrevocably. To acknowledge that failure is to confront an urgent national priority: to scrap the Bush approach in favor of a new national security strategy that is realistic and sustainable -- a task that, alas, neither of the presidential candidates seems able to recognize or willing to take up."

This post represents a powerful analysis from an important critic of the Bush administration's Global War on Terror -- of just how a small group of Washington officials, dreaming of "transforming" the political and military map of the Middle East and deeply convinced of their own perspicacity, led us into disaster. They were, Bacevich writes, believers in the deepest sense. "They worshipped in the Church of the Indispensable Nation, a small but intensely devout Washington-based sect formed in the immediate wake of the Cold War. Members of this church shared an exalted appreciation for the efficacy of American power, especially hard power. Their strategy of transformation emerged as a direct expression of their faith."

Report in Support of Articles of Impeachment Against Bush and Cheney

From the introduction to: "Report in Support of Articles of Impeachment Against President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney for Making False and Fraudulent Statements to Congress and or Conspiring to Defraud Congress Regarding the Most Notorious of the Grounds for the War in Iraq: the Grounds that Iraq Had Sought Uranium for a Nuclear Weapon, And Articles of Impeachment" by Francis T. Mandanici.

In his recent book entitled What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan describes the White House’s deceptive campaign to sell the war in Iraq to the American people.1

Flyer/Media Alert Now Available for War Criminals Planning Conference

A 2-page flyer/media alert is now available to print and fax to your local media outlets and elected officials for the Justice Robert Jackson Conference on the Planning for Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals this weekend.

The event will be live-streamed over the internet and will be available by recorded video post-event. Viewers need to pre-register, so allow a few minutes to do that.

What "Winning" in Iraq Looks Like

Iraq War Results & Statistics at August 27, 2008: 4,149 US Soldiers Killed, 30,568 Seriously Wounded
By Deborah White | About.com

For your quick reading, I've listed key statistics about the Iraq War, taken primarily from data analyzed by various think tanks, including The Brookings Institution's Iraq Index, and from mainstream media sources. Data is presented as of August 27, 2008, except as indicated.

U.S. SPENDING IN IRAQ

Spent & Approved War-Spending - About $600 billion of US taxpayers' funds. In June 2008, President Bush signed a bill approving about 200 billion more for 2008, which brings the cumulative total to close to $800 billion.

U.S. Monthly Spending in Iraq - $12 billion in 2008

U.S. Spending per Second - $5,000 in 2008 (per Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on May 5, 2008)

Survivor Corps Criticizes Use of Cluster Munitions in Russia Georgia Conflict

Survivor Corps Criticizes use of Cluster Munitions in Russia Georgia Conflict

On August 15, 2008, Russia dropped cluster bombs on civilian areas in the neighboring country of Georgia, killing at least 14 civilians and wounding dozens more. This weekend, the Georgian government admitted to having dropped cluster bombs in certain locations between the Roki tunnel and Dzara road. This area links Georgia's South Ossetia with North Ossetia, which is Russian territory. Georgia claims not to have dropped any cluster bombs in civilian areas.

On August 7, 2008, Russia began an armed offensive against Georgia over South Ossetia, a region long recognized as part of Georgia but home to an ethnic minority with close ties to Russia.

Keti Javakhishvili, a twenty-five year-old woman in Gori, Georgia, barely survived a cluster bomb attack. She was walking with neighbors to get bread when the cluster bombs fell. “I heard an explosion and dropped to the ground,” she told Human Rights Watch researchers from her hospital bed.

Cindy Sheehan: Reflections on 9-11

Reflections on 9-11
Cindy Sheehan | www.CindyforCongress.org

The 7th anniversary of September 11, 2001 is approaching and it seems like a good time to reflect on what our nation has lost since that tragic day and what we can do to go forward.

I do not think that anyone alive on that day will forget the shock that struck our nation when the symbols of US capitalism and militarism were struck out of the clear blue sky. I was in panic mode for a few days, because I did not hear from Casey who was stationed at Ft. Hood on that day and his base went into lock-down and he was too busy to call. Even though we mourn with our fellow Americans, the loss of over 3000 innocent people and the pain their families have had to deal with, the attacks of 9-11 have touched every American.

There are several ways to look at 9-11:

  • 9-11 was planned and executed by the US government.

Iran’s Road Less Traveled to Nukes

Iran’s Road Less Traveled to Nukes
By Ray McGovern

Thomas Fingar, the U.S. government’s top intelligence analyst, in a public speech on Sept. 4, repeated the intelligence community’s key judgment that Iran’s work on the “weaponization portion” of its nuclear development program “was suspended” in 2003.

Not that the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) has exactly trumpeted this important conclusion. One has to read down to paragraph 16 of an article titled “Reduced Dominance Is Predicted for the U.S.”, but there it is, right there on an inside page of September 10’s Washington Post. The New York Times did not consider Fingar’s remarks fit to print.

Kucinich: Seek truth, not 'fake political unity'

Kucinich: Seek truth, not 'fake political unity'
Nick Juliano | RawStory.com

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) says he won't cease his efforts to hold the president and his administration accountable for their alleged abuses of power just because George W. Bush will be returning to his Texas ranch come January.

Kucinich says he wants Congress to create a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" to examine what really went on within the Bush White House in the aftermath of 9/11 and the lead up to the Iraq war. He says only an independent body with truth-seeking as its goal -- rather than "fake political unity" -- can repair divisions that have emerged in an increasingly polarized nation.

Kucinich Announces New Effort For National Truth & Reconciliation

Kucinich Announces New Effort
Grassroots Leaders, 2 Million Supporters, Rally Behind Impeachment

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 10, 2008) -- On the day before the observance of 9/11, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who has led Impeachment efforts in Congress over the past two years, will announce a new effort toward establishing a process of national truth and reconciliation.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 1:00 -1:30 P.M

WHERE: Room 2456 of the Rayburn House Office Building

Un-embargoed comments:

"Before the Congress adjourns, I will bring forth a new proposal for the establishment of a National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation, which will have the power to compel testimony and gather official documents to reveal to the American people not only the underlying deception which has divided us, but in that process of truth-seeking set our nation on a path of reconciliation.

US Military Combat & Non-Combat Casualty Report for Week Ending Sept. 9, 2008

US Military Combat & Non-Combat Casualty Report for Week Ending Sept. 9, 2008
Compiled by Michael Munk | www.michaelmunk.com

US military occupation forces in Iraq suffered 68 combat casualties casualties in the week ending September 9 as the official casualty total climbed to at least 68,321. It includes 34,011 dead and wounded by what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 34,310 dead and medically evacuated (as of August 2) because of "non-hostile" causes. The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesdays) by the Pentagon.

The actual total is over 88,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the approximately 20,000 casualties reported only after they returned from Iraq - mainly brain trauma from explosions.

Pentagon Reports Omit Non-Combat Injuries

Pentagon Reports Omit Non-Combat Injuries
By SUZANNE GAMBOA | WashingtonPost.com/Associated Press

Veterans groups and Sen. Barack Obama say government officials are obscuring the actual number of wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars by leaving out of some public documents troops who suffer non-combat injuries.

From the Pentagon Web site to press materials handed out at the opening of an amputee center in Texas last week, the number of wounded in the wars often circulated publicly is around 23,000.

That number only accounts for those wounded in combat. When troops from those wars who were wounded in other ways are counted, the number more than doubles, to about 53,000.

AfterDowningStreet.org Coalition Demands Impeachment

September 10, 2008

Today, September 10, 2008, at 1 p.m. ET, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio) will hold a press conference in Room 2456 in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., to discuss his delivery today to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of petitions calling for the immediate commencement of impeachment hearings, and a new proposal for a national truth and reconciliation commission.

David Swanson, Cofounder of AfterDowningStreet.org and Washington Director of Democrats.com will join Kucinich at the event, along with representatives of several allied organizations, including Susan Serpa and Ralph Lopez of Northeast Impeachment Coalition, Linda Boyd of Washington For Impeachment, Sandra Marshall of Progressive Democrats of San Luis Obispo, CA, Cynthia Papermaster of National Impeachment Network, Gael Murphy of CODEPINK: Women for Peace, and John Heuer of North Carolina Grassroots Impeachment Movement.

Rep. McDermott signs on to impeachment resolution

By Nick Langewis and David Edwards, Raw Story

Congressman Jim McDermott, representing Washington's 7th district, stood up on the House floor to give his official support to efforts to impeach President Bush.

Video and transcript of his remarks appear below. The video was broadcast on C-SPAN on the morning of September 9, 2008.

Kucinich Press Conference on Delivering Petitions to Pelosi Demanding Impeachment

Wednesday, September 10, 2008, at 1:00 p.m. in room 2456 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Be There!

Kucinich Ramps Up Impeachment Efforts Against Bush

By Jason Leopold, The Public Record

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and groups supporting the impeachment of President George W. Bush will hold a press conference Wednesday announcing the results of a continuing grassroots campaign to gather signatures in support of Kucinich’s impeachment resolution which calls for the president to be held accountable for taking the country to war against Iraq based on lies.

Kucinich has collected 150,000 signatures, 100,000 of which have already been filed. On Wednesday, the day before 9/11, about 50,000 additional signatures will be filed with the Speaker through the Clerk of the House. Kucinich's office said the effort is ongoing.

Wednesday's news conference is entitled “The day before the world changed, a day to change the world!” It will focus on Kucinich's ongoing efforts to hold impeachment hearings against Bush.

Impeachment Lobbying Underway on Capitol Hill

Activists who refuse to give up on their country are spending these next two weeks on Capitol Hill lobbying for impeachment. They've even created new fact sheets for the effort:

History of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" - list crimes of four presidents and the results. [PDF] [DOC].

"Guide to Impeachment and Contempt of Congress" General reference, not about Bush. 12 pages. [PDF].

These and many other resources are IN THE RESOURCE CENTER.

“We Need to Remind People that You Cannot Trample the Bill of Rights” – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Calls for Impeachment

“We Need to Remind People that You Cannot Trample the Bill of Rights” – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Calls for Impeachment
Interview by Amy Goodman | DemocracyNow.org

A day after Ted Kennedy addressed the Democratic convention in Denver, the Kennedys gathered at the historic Brown Palace Hotel in Denver to remember another Kennedy, Ted’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy. He was assassinated forty years ago, the night he won the Los Angeles Democratic primary. After the event, I sat down with Robert F. Kennedy’s son, environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. He spoke about torture, impeachment and the most poignant memories of his father.

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