Saturday, July 09, 2005

Half-Staff Full Time: Mourning the Victims of Terror

Half Staff Full Time: Mourning the Victims of Terror

John Kaminski - The 24 Hour News Cycle is, in its ubiquitous predictability, giving the tragic London Bombings the full treatment. Fortunately, they still had the 9/11 formula on the shelves. Cue: Flags at half mast at the U.N., Buckingham Palace, and miscellaneous edifices of international governance. Voice Over: Sombre-toned newscaster's report/fill (see 9/11, Madrid, Bali). Cut to: Aftermath Carnage. Cut to: Talking Head Wrap: "What mad bastards could do such a thing? Etc..." What I'd like to know is, where are the half masts and sombre suited pressmen remembering the daily slaughters perpetrated for business' sake? Best leave those flags forever low on the pole in remembrance of the perpetual tragedy sustaining our glorious way of life. {ape}

When the Cops are the Crooks: Staged Bombings Terrorize
Everyone while the Real Perps keep getting Richer
John Kaminski
July 8, 2005

How long are we going to permit this vicious tomfoolery to continue?

Every time there's an embarrassing incident, a charge of official malfeasance, or some nasty revelation to cover up, the powers that be stage a terrorist incident — randomly throw away the lives of an arbitrary number of innocents — and then blame some fantasy enemy as an excuse to further ratchet up the corrupt oppression of ordinary people.

Notice how the accused perpetrators are never caught — often, as with 9/11, never even adequately identified — or if they are, they turn out to be some brainwashed patsy like John Hinckley or Timothy McVeigh, both of them (and all the assassin-type villains who have been publicly caught and liquidated since JFK's public murder) obviously incapable of carrying out the demonic deeds they are so sensationalistically accused of — without some serious assistance.

The London bombings remind me of the Madrid, Istanbul, and Bali bombings. No one is ever caught. Stereotypically rabid Arabs are blamed. And innocent people everywhere suffer the consequences.

When are we going to put together the pieces and see that this worldwide terror threat that is so ballyhooed in the totally corrupt establishment press is nothing more than stage-managed chaos designed to further consolidate the profit-making power of the super-rich, that all these senseless murders are nothing more than anecdotal sacrifices to the financial plans of the capitalist titans who control most of the world and covet the rest of it?

Will we ever realize what this awful game really is?

We've had plenty of chances, a half-century's worth, at least.

And we've flubbed every single one. We've failed to halt this demonic progression of corporate totalitarianism every time. And as a direct result, each new calculated terror gambit has been a little bit worse.

Yes, plenty of people do see what this demented game is, but they are not the powerful people. It remains the eternal shame of the American people that not a single person in the U.S. representative form of government has had the courage to even acknowledge that serious questions exist about the government-sponsored massacres on 9/11 in New York City or on 4/19 in Oklahoma City.

Oh sure, a few trendy liberals have dipped their toes in the water and mentioned in a barely audible murmur that maybe the Iraq war — which is surely the most cruel and irresponsible action the U.S. government has ever taken (in a long, sorry list of reckless actions taken that have used hollow lies as their justification) — is not quite on the up and up, but even those timid would-be patriots have received no support from the mindlocked corporate media.

And as a result, people are afraid to speak out, for fear of losing their jobs, or even their families, or — in the cases of someone like Paul Wellstone or Hunter S. Thompson — their lives.

So what I want to know is how long we are all going to cower in fear, and continue to make believe that the big U.S. newspapers and TV networks are telling the truth, when it should be clear (IMHO) that they are lying — just like their president and Congress — about just about everything?

It should be clear by now that if we continue to do this, they're going to pick us off, one by one.

But who will have the courage to stand up and say — Hey, wait a minute! This is our own government doing these things to us at the behest of the influential people who control them. How else could Halliburton keep getting all those contracts as judges’ heads snap in the opposite direction whenever the subject is mentioned? How else could all those pharmaceutical companies get senators to legislate them immunity for putting poisons in their medicines that create millions of vegetative children?

How much longer are we going to tolerate this egregious level of corruption? Surely we must realize that everything we thought we held dear has already been destroyed by this kind of behavior. I mean, does everybody still secretly harbor the fantasy they will turn into Kenneth Lay and suddenly be able to bilk the public out of hundreds of millions of dollars and then escape because they are protected by their contributions to the Republican National Committee? Is that the new American dream?

I was thinking about these things one recent day as I was riding the train into New York City and perusing its formidable skyline, which of course is now forever missing those two tall square edged towers that used to be the symbol of American fortitude. They are still there, in my mind, ghost towers in the sad shadow of memory, exuding horrifying memories of smoke and dust and little stick figures forever falling into the uncaring abyss of time.

And I was thinking about why they weren’t there anymore, those two tall towers, and remembering some of the things I’d said about that over these past three years, and maybe I was reviewing how I should go on talking about them as the train rattled down the the tracks toward Secaucus.

I have among other things said that the entire Congress and thousands of people who work for the federal government should be indicted as accomplices to mass murder and treason for abetting all the horrible things that the American government has done to the rest of the world — not to even mention its own people — over these past few years, and I began to think about that.

I’ve been one to advocate not voting at all because the process has become so corrupted, and I’ve insisted that in order to fix what is wrong with America and the world the whole rotten system has to come down. Ship everyone in Congress to Guantanamo and let all those innocent Arabs and Afghanis go home to their families where they belong.

But then I started to think about what the system really is — people who rely on their government for their disability checks in order to breathe and eat for another day; millions of government employees at all levels who raise families on their paychecks, worry about medical bills, and try to get their kids into college; millions of other who wouldn’t even live more than a few days should the whole system suddenly crash.

And yet, there it was, staring me in the face, right where the ghost towers stood. The system that made all these people’s lives (including mine) so palatable, so enjoyable, so viable, was the same system that invented (with the help of Israeli intelligence, British bankers and the Muslim brotherhood) the al-Qaeda terror concept, and under the tutelage of the Mossad, MI-5, and the CIA, was setting off all these bombs all over the world and blaming them on fantasy Arabs so that sad amputees could get on buses in Queens and news vendors could hawk the venomous, hate-crime-advocating New York Post on oily street corners in Manhattan and thereby feed their families and find a little joy in their mundane little lives, which were really not that different from mine.

And I thought (as I have so many times), what a warped deal this whole thing is. Do we really have to kill so many, and lie so often, to get so little, even though we need every bit of it?

So then I turned off my mind and turned back to my cuddly companion and thought how lucky I was to be in this time and space, healthy and happy if a little overcritical and introspective.

Later I would think that we are each one of us all alone in this world, and that if we didn’t insist on being honest and not killing people we didn’t have to kill, would the world fall apart because of that? In other words, is all this dramatic killing necessary to enable we Americans to live the bounteous lives we have become accustomed to?

And if it is necessary — if George W. Bush is really right about the way the world is — is this any kind of world I would want to be a part of? I don’t think so. And yet, as a sometimes thoughtless American, I take part in the bounty, I reap the dividends of (relative) affluence and amusements that America affords me, and that everyone in the world continues to covet.

So in that sense, I share in the responsibility for the trauma America’s war machine wreaks around the world.

So if forced to make a choice, which one would I choose? The powers that be are continuing to blow up innocent people to make America a soft and sweet place to live. Could it be such a place without the carnage? Without the lies?

Is our dalliance with Super Bowls and Xanax directly dependent on murdering people of color who happen to be sitting on oil we desire?

Is why most of us don’t say anything about what our government does to innocent bystanders because we are deep down the same kind of people as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and can look the other way when somebody has to be eliminated in order to provide us with our creature comforts?

If we are that kind of person, then we shouldn’t be upset about 9/11, about our government’s killing 3,000 of our own citizens, or about blowing up a few people in London, because it needed to be done so we could play our iPods in peace.

But if we are not that kind of person, isn’t it about time we realized that the 9/11 massacre — just like the London bombing — is something that will inevitably happen to us, because we have tolerated violence in the name of profit for more than 200 years, and we have profited mightily from it. Did you really think we could live our whole lives without paying for what we have done to the world?

You who are reading this right now — pretend, just for argument’s sake, you are an American. What do you think is a fair price you should pay for what you have done to the world?

And when the cops are really the crooks, who will you turn to for help, that one fine day, when the bomb the power elite put there to convince the public the enemy is nearby, is ticking on YOUR bus?

John Kaminski is an internet essayist whose stories have been seen on hundreds of websites around the world. They have been collected into two anthologies titled “America’s Autopsy Report” and “The Perfect Enemy” and are for sale on his website,, as is the booklet “The Day America Died,” written for those who still believe the government’s false story of what happened on September 11, 2001.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Blood will have Blood

London Calling:

The Red Wheel Rolls Back

Chris Floyd
July 7, 2005

I was in London's Heathrow Airport this morning when the bombs went off in the city, many miles away. Unlike America's CNN-saturated airports, Heathrow has no ubiquitous media presence looming inescapably at every turn. The first inkling we had of the slow-rolling attack was the announcement that the underground service from the airport to the city had been suspended "due to a power failure." Then came snatches of overheard conversations of people on their cell phones: "bus blown apart," "bombs in the tube," "I told them to shut all our pubs and get the hell out of there." No way of finding out more. For once, I longed to see one of those toothsome talking heads blaring out the news to a captive audience.

Soon we were in the car, still under media blackout with a broken radio, driving north on the London Orbital, the great bleak wheel of concrete that encircles the vast metropolis. A line of blaring ambulances passed us on the southern side, heading into the city center. It was almost noon before we were finally able to find out what had happened - or rather, find out the first, still-confused inklings of what had happened.

An unknown number of dead; many injured, perhaps hundreds; several tube stations hit, one bus blown up; a coordinated series of attacks, taking place during the course of an hour, and clearly aimed at crippling London's transporation system - which it did, most effectively. There was the usual claim of responsibility by a hitherto-unknown group claiming connection to al Qaeda, although the police were showing an abundance of caution about naming any possible suspects.

Then Tony Blair appeared on the screen. A brief statement, very halting, off-kilter, apparently choked with emotion. A short time later he was there again, this time with the whole panalopy of G8 leaders and the various world worthies that were attending them at Gleneagles. As the cameras narrowed in, Blair was framed with a somber Jacques Chirac towering over his left shoulder, while good angel standing at his right was George W. Bush, standing stiffly with that striking look of profound constipation he wears on portentous public occasions.

By now, Blair had found his footing - and some ghost-written text - as he laid out a message of stern resolve. The breathtaking obliviousness his language was striking. Let's be charitable at this time of national crisis in the UK and assume that it was obliviousness - and not conscious hypocrisy, not a deep-stained cynicism foisted on a people even in their hour of need. (Although all historical evidence points to the contrary.)

In any case, there was Blair - with Bush at his side - raining contempt and condemnation on all those who would use violence to advance their cause, on "barbarians" who think nothing of killing innocent people to get their way.

What a vertiginous, wrenching disconnection from reality in those words! Here were two men responsible for the deaths of up to 100,000 innocent people if not more; two men whom - as the Downing Street Memos prove - knowingly launched a war of aggression based on "fixed" intelligence, in defiance of the laws of their own nations and international law as well. Today's violence and destruction in London - horrific, sickening, indeed barbaric - still pales in comparison to the epic destruction, looting, chaos and death that Bush and Blair have inflicted upon Iraq.

The hour of destruction and fear in London, and a day of partial paralysis (already easing as I write, at 5 p.m.), while terrible in its own right, especially for those left grieving or injured, again pales in comparison to the daily horror Bush and Blair have engendered in Iraq, particularly Baghdad, where the simplest actions of daily life have become a dance with death, where the people live and breathe fear, ruin, terror and strife every day of their lives.

Bush has done this. Blair has done this. They didn't have to do it. There were no compelling reasons of national security or national survival that compelled them to launch this murderous action - a war of aggression in the very heart of Islam, a war that the US-UK intelligence services admit has engendered more terrorism.

They have made senseless, violent, barbaric war on others; and now others make senseless, violent, barbaric war on them.

This not to excuse the terrorists in any way. Their crime is as heinous as the war made by the great Christian statesmen. Murder is murder - foul, brutal, the all-devouring of a unique human consciousness - whether it is carried out wholesale in aggressive war and state terrorism, or in the "asymmetrical," piecemeal attacks of stateless terrorists, or one on one, between individuals. But you cannot make war and not expect war in return. Once you set the red wheel of slaughter in motion, you can't control it, now matter how powerful you are - or think you are.

I wrote some lines the day after September 11 that still hold true, I think, on this new day of infamy, July 7: "Blood will have blood; that's certain. But blood will not end it. For murder is fertile: it breeds more death, like a spider laden with a thousand eggs. And who now can break this cycle, which has been going on for generations?"

There is much else to say on the London bombing and its ramifications, but I'm too tired at the moment. I had to break off this blog post earlier tonight to write a story at the request of the Bergen Record in New Jersey, where I used to free-lance quite a bit. They called to ask for a story on the London situation, to be turned around in just a few hours. I will either continue this post tomorrow, or else post the NJ story.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

It Blow'd Up Real Goood!

Happy "America Kicks Ass" Day
July 4th, 2005

Now it's the evening of July 4th, the summer sun has gone down and, befitting Independence Day, one can hear the muffled thump of fireworks. I may even be hearing the celebration occurring in the capital or maybe it's just some independent, albeit illegal, pyrotechnics being set off a few block away. In fact, listening for a bit it must be the latter: There's too long a pause between concussions, mixed in with a comical little pop or two, for it to be professional fireworks being set off to music.

Unfortunately, bombing things really is as American as apple pie. Although one of the founders, John Adams, suggested that fireworks, which he called "illuminations", be used to celebrate independence day, I get the impression that the origin of the tradition is a little more martial in spirit, related to our national anthem celebrating our flag withstanding an artillery barrage.

Not that there's anything wrong with a little pyrotechnics. I grew up at a time when most fireworks were still legal, including some that could have been used for light demolition. That I still have all my fingers and both eyes is a minor miracles of dumb kid luck.

A good number of Americans think key passages from the Declaration of Independence sound to "commie" for their tastes. The Constitution isn't really taken seriously, except when it needs to be changed to combat the republic-threatening menace of gay marriage and the half dozen acts of protest through flag burning that happen every couple years. The very concept of "unconstitutional" has fallen out of favor, and the document itself can be ignored when convenient, as it was in the Supreme Court deciding the 2000 presidential election and with a Congress that has totally abdicated its responsibility to make war and reign in the president's power to instigate wars. In light of all that, one needs something a little uncomplicated to inspire the general public.

Like blowing shit up

After all, the "post-9/11" world begins and ends with blowing shit up. On 9/11, things got blown up and so, in turn, we felt obligated to blow things up, even things that had nothing to do with the initial spate of blowing things up. Really, the "Shock and Awe" campaign beginning the Iraq war had less to do with any strategic value and more to do with making the folks here at home exclaim "ooh and ahh" like they just saw a string of multicolored air bursts timed to the 1812 Overture. How could we not feel safe while we're blowing shit up, up until the next time that someone is inspired by our blowing their shit up to blow more of our shit up.

Fundamentalist Christians like to complain about the pagan motifs that remain in Christmas, ironically after Christians co-opted pagan festivals. They want, to coin a phrase "Put Christ back in Christmas". Well, similarly, somewhere along the way, the whole point of a day celebrating American Independence got lost, replaced by boasting and bombast, an adjunct to the ongoing American celebration of martial prowess that should be replaced by one all encompassing"We Kick Ass" day just to get it out of our systems in one day-long violent bacchanalia. It would be a hell of a holiday where we get to blow shit up and even run around shooting people at random in the name of liberty.

I suspect that the people behind Independence Day had something of a different idea.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

As I recall, that passage is carved in stone at the Jefferson Memorial. Except, for some odd reason, just an oversight, I guess, they left out the bit about "it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it". So the bastardization of the Declaration, and the meaning of American Independence has a long, carefully executed history.

One of the signs of corruption, and in this case a betrayed revolution, is when people become the very thing they were rebelling against in the first place. In a very short space of time revolutionaries can become the very complacent establishment they sought to overthrow. Pigs become men and men become pigs. If it can happen to individuals within a lifetime, it's not surprising that it would happen in a couple hundred years to a country. Exactly when our revolution was betrayed is a matter of debate. One can say the American revolution was betrayed in the womb by the inability of the founders to deal with the issue of slavery. Perhaps it was betrayed in the late 19th century when the selfish, inordinately powerful entities of corporations were given the full rights of personhood under the law. Maybe it happened during the World War I Sedition Acts or the Red Scare, which undermined the explicitly stated right of the people to alter or abolish the government. Certainly the passage of anything as totalitarian as the USA PATRIOT Act was the sound of one of the final nails being driven into the coffin, but it can't be considered the first.

Whenever it happened, its clear that we need lots of explosions, bright shiny objects and deafening bombast to hide the fact that we are living under a revolution betrayed where we have given up many of the freedoms that people fought and died for in order to maintain a sort of oppressive peace and the illusion of security. We then compounded our betrayal of the sentiments embodied in the Declaration by confusing patriotism with the most stupid form of thoughtless nationalism that allows us to worship the image of founders like Thomas Jefferson without having to pay attention to a single word he wrote.

Perhaps instead of flag waving and pyrotechnic spectacle, we should make the practice of celebrating the Fourth of July simpler, by making it people's civic duty to read and understand the Declaration of Independence and internalize the thought that Jefferson, a real patriot who found conscience and dissent to be inseparable, expressed in succinct and unequivocal language in other writings which is now, at his memorial, carved in stone:

I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

At the very least we should point out to the bombastic uber-patriots, like this incredibly dense fucknugget taken on by Steve Gilliard, that back when the Declaration of Independence was written, there was a group of conservative, God-fearing champions of traditional values in America: Tory monarchists who thought it their sacred duty to kiss King George III's royal ass. Left to those conservatives, this country would still be a British colony. Left to our current crop of conservative, God-boggled, reactionary idiot fanatics thoughtlessly flacking for George the Chickenhearted's cult of personality disorder we'd degenerate into something the founders would never tolerate, which is a dimwitted, malicious theocracy of fools and whores.

Bush Right?

Bush was right, but too late
By Robert Fisk
July 7, 2005

I belong to that generation of undergraduates who cut their teeth on linguistics. Lancaster University in its second year of existence: Class of '67, if I'm not mistaken, was as innovative as it was a bit odd. "Digs" were on the Morecombe seafront, lectures in a converted chapel and tutorials in an old linen factory. But the books we studied invariably included the immensely boring Zelig Harris and the stunningly brilliant Noam Chomsky.

Less famous then than now, it was Chomsky who introduced me to the "foregrounded element." That is when someone places words in such an order that a new meaning is attached to them or deliberately leaves out a word that we might expect. The big bad man emphasizes the meanness of the man. But the bad big man makes us think of size. "Big" has been "foregrounded." Real linguists won't like the above definition but journalists, I fear, sometimes have to distort in order to make plain.

Presidents too, it seems. Because I did a little linguistic analysis on George W. Bush's Fort Bragg address to Americans on June 28 and came up with some pretty strange results. First, of course, was his use of the words "terrorism" and "terror" 33 times.

More interesting was the way in which he deployed these massed ranks of terrorists. If you divided his speech up into eight parts, "terrorists" or "terror" popped up eight times in the first, eight times in the second, three times in the third, nine in the fourth, two in the fifth, none at all in the sixth, a measly three in the seventh and again none at all in the eighth.

The columns in which "terror" disappeared were full of different clichés. Challenge, a good constitution (an Iraqi one, of course), a chance to vote, a free society, certain truths (I won't insult you by telling you where that was snitched from), defending our freedom, flying the flag, great turning points in the story of freedom, prevail (one of Churchill's favorite words) and no higher call.

Put through Chomsky's machine, Bush's speech begins by frightening the audience to death with terrorism and finishes triumphantly by rousing them to patriotic confidence in their country's future victory.

It wasn't actually a speech at all. It was a movie script, a screenplay.

The bad guys are really bad but they're going to get their comeuppance because the good guys are going to win.

Other elements of the Bush speech were, of course, woefully dishonest.

It's a bit much for Bush to claim that "terrorists" want to "topple governments" when the only guys who've been doing that -- in Afghanistan and Iraq -- were, ahem, ahem, the Americans.

There are plenty of references to the evil nature of "the enemy" -- tyranny and oppression, remnants, the old order -- and a weird new version of the Iraqi-9/11 lie. Instead of Saddam's non-existent alliance with al-Qaida, we now have the claim from Bush that the Iraqi "terrorists who kill innocent men, women and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens" on Sept. 11, 2001. Whoops! It's no longer the Saddam regime that was involved in these attacks, it seems; it's now the post-Saddam insurgents who are part of the same gang.

It's strange that for a White House that writes screenplays, the words of Osama bin Laden appear so uninteresting. Whenever Bin Laden speaks, no one bothers to read through his speech. The questions are always: Was it him? Is he alive? Where is he? Never: What did he say?

There are real perils in this. Let me show you why. On Feb. 13, 2003, bin Laden's latest audiotape was broadcast by the Arabic satellite channel, al-Jazeera. This, remember, was five weeks before the Anglo-American invasion.

In that message, bin Laden made a statement in which he said that "it is beyond doubt that this crusader war is ... directed against the family of Islam, irrespective of whether the Socialist party and Saddam survive or not ... Despite our belief and our proclamation concerning the infidelity of socialists, in present-day circumstances there is a coincidence of interests between Muslims and socialists in their battles against the Crusaders."

And there you have it. Bin Laden, who hated Saddam -- he told me this himself, in person -- made a call to his followers to fight alongside an Iraqi force that included Saddam's Iraqi Baathist "Socialists." This was the moment when Iraq's future guerrilla army fused with the future suicide bombers, the message that would create the detonation that would engulf the West in Iraq. And we didn't even notice. The U.S. "experts" waffled about whether bin Laden was alive -- not what he said. For once, Bush got it right -- but he was too late. Always, as they say, read the text.

Robert Fisk writes for The Independent in Britain.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Bush Admin. Tearing at the Seams

Scandal Confluence Tears Bush Administration

PEJ News
- C. L. Cook - Over the past two months, it's been difficult to choose which scandal would be THE one that would bring down the Bush administration. In years past, any one of the stories seeping around the media dyke would be ruinous, but this administration as proven unprecedented in its ability to dodge, deflect, and defer disaster. But the Bush team's canny ability to dexterously maintain balance ended today with the implosion of "Bush Brain" Karl Rove.

Scandal Confluence Tears
at Bush Administration
C. L. Cook
PEJ News
July 6, 2005

With the arrest and jailing of New York Times columnist, Judith Miller for her refusal to reveal the White House source of a leak exposing a CIA deep-cover operative, and the acquiescence of Time Magazine journalist Mathew Cooper to reveal his, criminal proceedings are now bound to be duly filed. But, the despicable outing of Valerie Plame is just the nexus of a web of criminal activity leading directly to the Oval office.

More than any single player, Karl Rove has been the keystone to George Bush's political career, his acute reading of public sentiment and mastery of the media propelling Bush, the unlikeliest of candidates, to the apex of power. Rove's ruthlessness is legendary. Fellow Texan and Rove Biographer, James Morris documented the means and methods of the Mayberry Machiavelli in the best-seller, "Bush's Brain."

In a recent article, Morris commented on the Plame Affair cautiously, warning those who saw this as the end of Bush/Rove, saying, "Since the late 1970's, we [Texans] have watched Karl Rove push so hard on ethical boundaries that he has turned lying into a conventional political tactic. Instead of being prosecuted or humiliated, he has risen in the Republican Party." Morris figures (July 5th) Rove is already one step ahead of prosecutors, and will come out of this smelling like, if not a rose, then W.'s favourite nickname for him, a "turd blossom." And that may have been true in the past.

You can't blame Morris his skepticism; it must be particularly cruel to watch the antithetical embodiment of all you believe succeed despite the law and common decency, again and again. But every dog has his day, and Rove's came the day he decided to take a bite out of Joe Wilson. Though criminality is not new to Rove, by outing Plame, the former ambassador Wilson's wife, he took a bite too big for even the man many consider the most powerful non-elected official in America to swallow. And he will choke on it. But that's not what will kill this administration.

Bush could survive losing Rove; a lame duck president doesn't really need a campaign guru, even one as effective as Karl Rove has proven these many years. The real unravelling will come as the details of his devilry reveal the network of scandals leading to it, implicating directly all members of the close-knit coterie comprising the Bush administration.

According to journalist and former National Security Agency insider, Wayne Madsen it’s inconceivable that Rove would be able to initiate the plot to disclose Plame’s secret identity. He reasons, “Given the fact that Rove has been called “Bush’s brain” and his political alter ego, it is difficult to believe that Bush would not have known about Rove’s plans.”

And it’s not just the president in on this. Madsen cites Belt Way whispers implicating the so-called ‘White House Iraq Group’ an “entity created to manage the propaganda for the war. Its members included Rove, Cheney’s assistant Mary Matalin, White House communications assistants Karen Hughes and James Wilkinson, and Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, Legislative liaison Nicholas Calio, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, her deputy Stephen Hadley, and Cheney Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter" Libby.”

What’s resulted is what Madsen calls the “dovetailing” of several criminal scandal that include the Downing Street Memos, Plame’s outing, the bogus Niger yellow-cake fantasy, and the discovery of espionage carried out against the United States by high-placed members of AIPAC the powerful pro-Israel lobby inextricably linked to the Neo-cons at the heart of the Bush administration. And all threads lead to war with Baghdad, and then Tehran.

It begins with the Bush administration’s determination to go to war in Iraq. As the Downing Street Memos instruct, Bush and company were determined, before the 9/11 attacks to “take him [Saddam] out.” What was lacking was a credible pretence to cloth the naked aggression, illegal both in international and domestic U.S. law. The first choice was WMD and Saddam’s determination to construct an atomic bomb.

Former ambassador, Joseph Wilson IV was sent to Niger to investigate claims made in a document provided circuitously from the Italian spy agency SISMI that Saddam was seeking yellow-cake uranium to produce a bomb. He debunked the claims and the documents were revealed to be forgeries. But that didn’t stop President Bush from including them in his 2003 State of the Union speech.

It was a claim endlessly repeated in the run up to the war, most famously by Condoleezza Rice’s invocation of the “mushroom cloud” smoking gun. Wilson went public with his findings refuting the administration, in essence calling the president a liar. Enter Rove and the leaking of Plame’s secret identity to several “friendly” journalists. It was a ploy that had served Rove well in days past, when he used Robert Novak’s newspaper column to strategically dismember political opponents. Oddly, Novak, the man who first published the Plame identity has not been put through the rigours of Miller and Cooper, yet.

Every hour brings further developments, all bad for Bush. Like his erstwhile hero Nixon, Bush will find his fall into ignominy fast and his disgrace lasting. Americans are tired of this war and this war-president. They are disgusted with the abu Ghraib horrors and what it makes of their reputation. And, they're afraid: Not of Osama, or the fictional al Qaida, but of George Bush and what had become of their nation under his watch. Just today, the administration announced plans to further erode the Posse Comatitus act, allowing the military to more deeply integrate with domestic agencies.

No, the time is fast approaching when George W. Bush waves goodbye, whether from the lawn of the White House, or the steps of a court house remains to be seen.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He’s also a contributing editor to PEJ News. You can check out the GR blog here.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Crippling Withdrawal

Crippling Withdrawal

Stairway Out of Saigon

Withdrawal Would Cripple U.S. Credibility
by Norman Solomon

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Obsession with seeming unequivocal and immovable has been frequent in the Oval Office. During the Vietnam War, such fixations were indifferent to the fact that the war was losing the U.S. government moral credibility around the world. But from the outset, Lyndon Johnson invoked credibility as an argument for staying the course.

"If we are driven from the field in Vietnam, then no nation can ever again have the same confidence in American promises, or in American protection," President Johnson said on July 28, 1965. Early the next year, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard testimony from a legendary foreign-policy savant, there was this exchange with a senator from Iowa:

Senator Bourke Hickenlooper: "Now, there are problems facing us and others.... How we disengage ourselves without losing a tremendous amount of face or position in various areas of the world." George Kennan: "Senator, I think precisely the question, the consideration that you have just raised is the central one that we have to think about; and it seems to me, as I have said here, that a precipitate, sudden, and unilateral withdrawal would not be warranted by circumstances now."

Thirty-eight years later, in a Time cover story headlined "No Easy Options," the magazine noted that "calls for a pullout could increase" and then swiftly put its editorial foot down in the penultimate paragraph: "Foreign policy luminaries from both parties say a precipitous U.S. withdrawal would cripple American credibility, doom reform in the Arab world and turn Iraq into a playground for terrorists and the armies of neighboring states like Iran and Syria." The consensus range of alternatives would need to stay within the bounds of plunging deeper into a bloody vortex of war.

For its several million readers, the nation's largest-circulation newsmagazine summed up with a question and a ready answer: "So when can the U.S. walk away? After last week's eruptions, the most this administration -- or, should Kerry win in November, the next one -- can hope for is that some kind of elected Iraqi government will eventually emerge from the wreckage, at which point the U.S. could conceivably reduce the number of its troops significantly. But getting there requires a commitment of at least several more months of American blood and treasure."

Hedge words were plentiful: "the most" that could be hoped for was that "some kind" of elected Iraqi government would "eventually emerge," at which time the United States "could conceivably" manage to "reduce" its troop level in Iraq "significantly" although even that vague hope necessitated a commitment of "at least several more months" of Americans killing and dying. But in several more months, predictably, there would still be no end in sight -- just another blank check for more "blood and treasure," on the installment plan.


"Quagmire" is a word made famous during the Vietnam War. The invasion of Iraq and the subsequent occupation came out of a very different history, but there were some chilling parallels. One of them was that the editorial positions of major U.S. newspapers had an echo like a dirge.

At one end of the limited spectrum, the Wall Street Journal could not abide any doubts. Its editorials explained, tirelessly, that the Iraq invasion was Good and the occupation was Good -- and those who doubted were fools and knaves (the rough modern equivalent of LBJ's "Nervous Nellies"). In 2004 the Journal editorial writers were fervently promoting a "war on terrorism" version of what used to be called the domino theory. Ultimately disproved by actual events, that theory -- put forward as a momentous fact by supporters of the Vietnam War during the 1960s and early '70s -- insisted that a U.S. defeat in Vietnam would set the dominos falling through Southeast Asia until the entire region and beyond went Communist.

The day after the United Nations' Baghdad headquarters blew up in August 2003, the Wall Street Journal closed its latest gung-ho editorial by touting a quote from General John Abizaid: "If we can't be successful here, then we won't be successful in the global war on terror. It is going to be hard. It is going to be long and sometimes bloody, but we just have to stick with it."

On the same day, the lead editorial of the New York Times insisted: "The Bush administration has to commit sufficient additional resources, and, if necessary, additional troops." The Times went on to describe efforts in Iraq as "now the most important American foreign policy endeavor." In other words, the occupation that resulted from an entirely illegitimate invasion should be seen as entirely legitimate.

During the late 1960s, concerns about a "quagmire" grew at powerful media institutions. Following several years of assurances from the Johnson administration about the Vietnam War, rosy scenarios for military success were in disrepute.

But here's a revealing fact: In early 1968, the Boston Globe conducted a survey of thirty-nine major U.S. daily newspapers and found that not a single one had editorialized in favor of U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam.

While millions of Americans were demanding an immediate pullout, such a concept was still viewed as extremely unrealistic by the editorial boards of big daily papers -- including the liberal New York Times and Washington Post.

After more than a year of U.S. occupation warfare in Iraq, the editorial positions of major dailies were much more conformist than the American public. In midspring 2004, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll was showing that "one in four Americans say troops should leave Iraq as soon as possible and another 30 percent say they should come home within 18 months."

But as usual, when it came to rejection of the latest war, the media establishment lagged way behind the populace. Despite sometimes-withering media criticism of the Bush administration's foreign policy, all of the sizable newspapers steered clear of urging withdrawal. Many favored sending in even more troops. On May 7, 2004, Editor & Publisher headlined a column by the magazine's editor this way: "When Will the First Major Newspaper Call for a Pullout in Iraq?"

In September 2003, trying to justify Washington's refusal to let go of the occupation of Iraq, Colin Powell had used the language of a venture capitalist: "Since the United States and its coalition partners have invested a great deal of political capital, as well as financial resources, as well as the lives of our young men and women -- and we have a large force there now -- we can't be expected to suddenly just step aside."

Over a span of thirteen months, there was a doubling of the number of Americans who viewed the Iraq war as a "mistake" -- 24 percent when the invasion began, 48 percent in April 2004. In late June, a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll found 54 percent said so. "It is the first time since Vietnam that a majority of Americans has called a major deployment of U.S. forces a mistake," USA Today reported. Given the swing of public sentiment against the war, the media's shortage of high-profile policy advocates calling for swift withdrawal of U.S. troops was notable.


In effect, the war had to go on because the war had to go on -- widely promoted as the least bad option, in contrast to the taboo of withdrawal. Meanwhile, a prerequisite for any Baghdad government to exist would be that it sufficiently satisfied the administration in Washington.

The fact that John Negroponte's diplomatic resume included a stint in Vietnam got a positive spin at his confirmation hearing to be ambassador to the new U.S.-assembled Iraq government. "Senator after senator praised Mr. Negroponte for his willingness to take on a tough assignment after a long career that began as a junior Foreign Service officer in Saigon during the Vietnam War, a posting many said might prepare him for Iraq," the New York Times recounted. He had gone on to be the U.S. ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985.

When Negroponte took the oath for his new post in late June 2004, Larry Birns at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs commented: "Rather than heading for Iraq, Ambassador Negroponte should be facing proceedings concerning his sanctioning of Honduran death squads, payoffs to venal Honduran military officials, violations of environmental procedures relating to a supply road construction project he was supervising, and a cover-up of the full scale of human rights violations that occurred in Honduras during his watch." But Negroponte flew off to Baghdad unimpeded by his record in Tegucigalpa.

Pretense and realism were at war. Washington was preparing to hand over power to Iraqis while steadfastly refusing to do so; putting an Iraqi "face" on authority in Iraq while retaining ultimate authority in Iraq; striving for Iraqis to take up the burden of their country's national security while insisting that military control must remain in Uncle Sam's hands.

To some readers, the headline across the top of USA Today's front page one day in June 2004 must have been reassuring: "New Leader Asks U.S. to Stay." The banner headline was a classic of occupation puppetry and media gimmickry. Iraq's "new leader" Iyad Allawi -- selected and installed as prime minister by the U.S. government -- had shown distinct reliability over the years. The USA Today story made only fleeting reference to Allawi's longtime U.S. entanglement, identifying him as "a Shiite close to the CIA."

The contradiction did not seem to trouble American media outlets, though they sometimes openly fretted that Iraqis might not be so accepting. Allawi "is the secretary general of the Iraqi National Accord, an exile group that has received funds from the Central Intelligence Agency," the New York Times reported. "His ties with the CIA and his closeness to the United States could become an issue in a country where public opinion has grown almost universally hostile to the Americans." A separate Times article noted that Allawi "lived abroad for 30 years and is not well known in Iraq." All in all, by Washington's lights, the man was eminently qualified to be Iraq's "new leader." And his superb judgment was immediately apparent: New leader asks U.S. to stay!

Major U.S. news media and politicians refused to challenge the Iraq war along the lines that activist historian Howard Zinn explored in 1967: "The only way we can stop the mass killing of civilians -- of women and children -- is to stop the war itself. We have grown accustomed to the distinction between 'ordinary' acts of war and 'atrocities,' and so came a whole host of international conventions setting up rules for mass slaughter. It was a gigantic fraud, enabling the normal horror of war to be accepted if unaccompanied by 'atrocities.' The Vietnam War, by its nature, does not permit this distinction.

In Vietnam, the war itself is an atrocity. Since the killing of civilians is inevitable in our military actions in Vietnam, it cannot be called an 'accident' on the ground that nobody intends to kill civilians. The B-52 crews, the Marines and GIs moving through the villages, don't plan to kill civilians, but when bombs are dropped on fishing villages and sampans, when grenades are dropped down tunnels, when artillery is poured into a hamlet, when no one can tell the difference between a farmer and a Vietcong and the verdict is guilty until proved innocent, then the mass killing of civilians is inevitable. It is not deliberate. But neither is it an accident. It is not part of the war and so discardable. It is the war."

In the midst of a deepening counterinsurgency war, with the Vietnamese population largely hostile to the U.S. military presence, the White House and editorialists insisted that withdrawal of soldiers from Vietnam was an irresponsible notion, a bumper-sticker idea lacking in realism. From the start, the pullout option was stigmatized as beyond reasonable discussion. Uncounted numbers of erudite commentators made fervent declarations very much like what New York Times columnist C. L. Sulzberger wrote in January 1963: "Come what may, we cannot afford to be driven ignominiously from Vietnam, where we have committed so much prestige, interest and treasure and are beginning tangibly to commit our blood."

Two years later, moderate accommodation to more war was passing for opposition: "In its editorials and in the opinions of its major columnists," Daniel Hallin writes, "the Times broke sharply with the administration early in 1965, calling for negotiation rather than escalation and decrying the secrecy that surrounded administration policy. But it never broke with the assumption that the cause of the war was Communist aggression and that -- to quote [James] Reston -- 'the political and strategic consequences of defeat would [be] serious for the free world all over Asia.' The debate of 1965 ... was a debate over tactics: there were some who favored escalation, some who favored negotiation, but very few in Congress, the press, the administration, and the 'establishment' generally who doubted that the United States had, in one way or another, to preserve South Vietnam as an outpost of the Free World."

"Anti-war" politicians had ways of being circumspect. "We must face the fact that there is no quick or easy answer to Vietnam," Senator Robert F. Kennedy said on April 27, 1966; even when he ran for president in the spring of 1968, RFK did not support quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam.

The mainstream press went with the war flow. Countercurrents were mild. In August 1966, the owner of the Washington Post huddled with a writer in line to take charge of the newspaper's editorial page: "We agreed that the Post ought to work its way out of the very supportive editorial position it had taken, but that we couldn't be precipitate; we had to move away gradually from where we had been," Katharine Graham was to write (unapologetically) in her autobiography.

Many years of horrendous tragedies resulted from such unwillingness to "be precipitate." During the late '60s, after several years of assurances from the Johnson administration about the Vietnam War, rosy scenarios for military success were wilting. But the public emphasis was on developing a winnable strategy -- not ending the war. Pull out the U.S. troops? The idea was unthinkable.

"Thus far," Zinn wrote in 1967, "almost all of the nationally known critics of our Vietnam policy -- perceptive as they are -- have been reluctant to call for the withdrawal of the United States from Vietnam." He believed that frequently "it is because these critics consider total military withdrawal, while logical and right, 'too extreme' as a tactical position, and therefore unpalatable to the public and unlikely to be adopted as national policy." The dynamic included journalists, politicians and academics. "Scholars, who pride themselves on speaking their minds, often engage in a form of self-censorship which is called 'realism.'

To be 'realistic' in dealing with a problem is to work only among the alternatives which the most powerful in society put forth. It is as if we are all confined to a, b, c, or d in a multiple-choice test, when we know there is another possible answer. American society, although it has more freedom of expression than most societies in the world, thus sets limits beyond which respectable people are not supposed to think or speak. So far, too much of the debate on Vietnam has observed these limits."


With the Iraq war in its second year, the option of withdrawal was often derided with the pejorative "cut and run." The phrase had currency among a cross section of the war's supporters. Terry Anderson, the former Associated Press reporter who'd endured a six-year ordeal as a hostage in Lebanon until 1991, wrote an op-ed piece in spring 2004 declaring that the United States was duty-bound to stay in Iraq: "We cannot cut and run, as we did in Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and Vietnam." The reference to Vietnam was remarkable. The U.S. war there lasted a dozen years, causing fifty-eight thousand American deaths in Vietnam and upward of two million Vietnamese deaths.

The magnitude of the bombardment was beyond comprehension. "Before we finished in Vietnam," according to author Ronald Bruce St. John, who was a U.S. serviceman in the war, "we had dropped more bombs on Indochina than had been dropped on the remainder of the world in all the wars to that time." It's difficult to imagine what more Anderson wished the U.S. government had done to Vietnam in order to avoid the retrospective accusation that it had "cut and run."

When Anderson's essay appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the cover story of the latest Newsweek was "Crisis in Iraq: The Vietnam Factor." Near the top of the lead article, assistant managing editor Evan Thomas wrote that the president "did surprise reporters by appearing before them after meeting with the family of Army infantryman Chris Hill, killed by a bomb in the Iraq town of Fallujah. 'We've got to stay the course and we will stay the course,' said Bush, who appeared teary-eyed."

The rest of the paragraph also spun ahead like a war press agent's dream: "Hill's father-in-law, Douglas Cope, had not been eager for the meeting with the president because, he told Newsweek, he was concerned that the encounter would be 'political.' But Cope reported that Bush was emotional and that the president told the dead soldier's family, 'I promise this job will be finished over there.' Cope added: 'That really was what I wanted to hear. We cannot leave this like Vietnam.'"

Newsweek's Thomas wrote: "Not a quagmire, not yet. But the atmospherics have a distinctly familiar feel. At a recent Washington dinner party attended by some famous names from the foreign-policy establishment and the media elite, the conversation went something like this." The article proceeded to paraphrase the discourse:

Former Senior Administration Official: I had real doubts about going in there... Echoes Around the Table: Me too, me too, but... Chorus: But we have to stay the course. We can't cut and run. Lone Voice (who has imbibed one more, or perhaps one less, glass of wine than the others): Why not? Chorus: American credibility!

"The exact same conversation," the article added, "could have been heard in a dozen Georgetown salons on almost any given weekend night from about 1966 to the winter of 1968, when the establishment decided that it was time to get out, one way or the other."

While mocking the lemming-like trudge for war, the Newsweek spread also participated in it. And there was an unnoted irony in the article's claim that "the establishment decided that it was time to get out" of Vietnam in the winter of 1968; after all, the Vietnam War went on for several years after that while the United States continued to make war in Southeast Asia.

As would be the case in 2004 with U.S. forces in Iraq, the calcified wisdom of politics and media insisted that withdrawal was not practical. Even when "the establishment decided that it was time to get out," the elites were determined to take their time; much more carnage would have to ensue. A key technique for keeping the war going was to blast those who suggested otherwise as less-than-honorable people eager to abandon sacred obligations. At the start of what turned out to be his last spring as president, Lyndon Johnson traveled to Minneapolis and delivered a speech that accused war opponents of wanting to "tuck our tail and violate our commitments." Advocates of withdrawal from Vietnam, the president declared, would "cut and run."

For Newsweek in 2004, the way to close the main story of a twenty-three-page "Vietnam Factor" spread was to quote the father of a U.S. Army captain killed a year earlier in Iraq -- "If my son were here today, and I wasn't disabled, we'd both put our uniforms on and say, 'Where to?'" -- and then the dead man's mother. Her final words: "I don't think you can go into a place and start something so significant and just walk out... As family members of soldiers serving in wartime, we have to have faith. It's not blind faith, but it's a deep faith."

That set up one last paragraph, from Newsweek's reportorial voice, telling readers what it all meant with a generalization that winked at the further war to come in Iraq: "It is such faith that sustains Americans and drives them forward. We do best when we defend freedom without trampling it, defeat tyranny without becoming tyrannical, and understand what is worth the blood of our children and what is not. That is the true lesson of Vietnam."

In fact, any number of "true lessons" of Vietnam could be cited -- including many diametrically opposed to each other. For Americans, the Rorschach qualities of the U.S. experience in Vietnam made it susceptible to all kinds of conclusions. If the "lessons" were about trying to make war better next time, then those who had drawn those particular conclusions were inclined to support letting others suffer the consequences. When it became evident during the first few months of 2004 that the American troops in Iraq were fighting a counterinsurgency war against forces gaining strength, polls showed the U.S. public roughly split -- the exact numbers, of course, varied depending on how questions were phrased -- about whether the continuing war was worthwhile.

A month into the spring, assessing a new Washington Post-ABC News poll and a Gallup poll, the Wall Street Journal noted: "Both surveys found there is significant support for sending more troops to Iraq -- a sentiment that the Gallup poll found actually has grown as the problems have gotten worse." A confluence of political tendencies, including many conservative and liberal commentators, saw increasing the troop levels in Iraq as the least bad option; thus, it seemed that the biggest "lesson of Vietnam" might be that no crucial lesson had been learned.

As for what was actually going on in Iraq, a U.S. media focus on the trials and tribulations of the occupiers had the continuing effect of keeping at a psychological distance the people living and dying in their own country. Seen through the lenses of American media and politics, Iraq's big problem was that it was a problem for America.


"Regime change, occupation, nation-building -- in a word, empire -- are a bloody business," George Will wrote. "Now Americans must steel themselves for administering the violence necessary to disarm or defeat Iraq's urban militias, which replicate the problem of modern terrorism -- violence that has slipped the leash of states."

For the horrors that continued to result from unleashing the Pentagon's violence, the rationales were inexhaustible. "There are thugs and terrorists in Iraq who are trying to shake our will," presidential spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. "And the president is firmly committed to showing resolve and strength." With many Iraqis, liberated by the Americans, now taking up arms to liberate themselves from the Americans, the major players of the administration in Washington were on message. A day later, the man running the Pentagon echoed the White House. "We're facing a test of will," Donald Rumsfeld said, "and we will meet that test." The declaration was newsworthy enough for the main headline in the New York Times: "Iraqi Uprising Spreads; Rumsfeld Sees It as 'Test of Will.'"

Donning the royal "we" mantle of the "civilized world," President Bush told a televised news conference: "Now is the time, and Iraq is the place, in which the enemies of the civilized world are testing the will of the civilized world. We must not waver." The crucial need was to not back down: "It's the intentions of the enemy to shake our will. That's what they want to do. They want us to leave. And we're not going to leave. We're going to do the job." New York Times columnist Paul Krugman commented: "One of the real motives for the invasion of Iraq was to give the world a demonstration of American power. It's a measure of how badly things have gone that now we're told we can't leave because that would be a demonstration of American weakness."


The writer James Baldwin challenged our desire to deny responsibility -- what he called "the fraudulent and expedient nature of the American innocence which has always been able to persuade itself that it does not know what it knows too well." Do we really not know that bombs financed by our tax dollars are turning life into death? Aren't we at least dimly aware that -- no matter how smooth and easy the news media and elected officials try to make it for us -- in faraway places there are people not so different than us who are being destroyed by what journalists and politicians glibly depict as necessary war?

This excerpt is from Norman Solomon's new book "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death," published in July 2005. For more information, go to:

Monday, July 04, 2005

Bush D.O.A.'s Medicaid

The Medicaid Wars

by Patricia Goldsmith
June 27, 2005

While George W. Bush has been conducting his lollapalooza tour for Social Security, the quieter work of dismantling Medicaid has been carried on by the National Governors Association. Right on schedule, the states are starting to feel the first deep hunger pains, the beginning of the end, death by starvation. Grover Norquist, who has said of the states, “I’d like to see them all go bankrupt,” must be savoring the moment.

Saturday, June 11, Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, who is about to cut 300,000 people from his state’s Medicaid rolls, gave a national Saturday morning radio address laying out the anti-Medicaid position: “Uncontrolled growth in the cost of Medicaid is a crisis that’s forcing states to choose between quality health care on one hand and a quality education for our children on the other.” This is a classic neo-con false premise. Medicaid costs are 50 percent less than overall health care, which means that rising health care costs for the whole economy are at fault, not Medicaid. And certainly not education.

What is at fault are tax cuts for the wealthy, which are driving scarcity for the neediest among us. By accepting the true underlying premise for Medicaid cuts -- that the wealthiest people in our society deserve to have more and more all the time, even if other people die -- Phil Bredesen is able to put forth a proposal that amounts to the first serious steps toward national health care rationing.

Unfortunately for the poor, the disabled, and children, Phil Bredesen’s talk on Saturday was the Democrats’ weekly radio address to the nation.

In cheery, techno-Dem babble, Bredesen claimed that Medicaid needs to be completely restructured. “[L]et’s launch a new version: Medicaid 2.0.” He describes his plan with punchy, vivid, sports metaphors: “Until there’s a little economic tension . . . until everyone has a little skin in the game -- the system will continue to be inefficient.”

Unfortunately for all the fundamentalist capitalists, both Democrat and Republican, Medicaid is not a free-market program, nor was it ever intended to be. As The New York Times explained in a recent editorial (“Gee, Fixing Welfare Seemed Like a Snap,” Gardiner Harris, The New York Times, 6-19-05), Medicaid is a program that is often used in conjunction with Medicare. Changes to one affect the other; just as rising unemployment and poverty rates lead to increases in Medicaid usage. (In this context, it’s useful to recall that Bush & Co. have already “fixed” Medicare. The provisions of Bush’s new Medicare plan include a specific prohibition against negotiating bulk rates for medicine and billions of dollars in subsidies for private insurance companies.)

“Medicaid is also affected by rules governing private insurance, since anything that makes private insurance more expensive tends to increase the Medicaid rolls.” Furthermore, The Times continues,

And any ill-considered change could have expensive consequences, say many health care economists. A growing number of uninsured patients might crowd hospital emergency rooms with problems that could have been treated earlier and more cheaply had the patients remained in Medicaid.

To pay for treating the uninsured, hospitals increase rates for the insured. Insurance rates rise. Strapped employers drop coverage. And the newly uninsured apply for Medicaid or further crowd hospitals. Some analysts worry that as the ranks of the uninsured grow -- they now number more than 45 million -- the nation may reach a tipping point where the nation’s private health care system starts to collapse.

That’s the cold-blooded analysis, of course, which leaves out all sense of compassion, human obligation, and rights. Those of us who care about such ephemera, mostly Democrats -- or so I used to think -- believe that social justice is dependent on a balanced budget. That’s Howard Dean 101. And yet the Democratic Party leadership --including, I presume, Howard Dean -- signed off on Bredesen giving this address; it didn’t happen by accident.

Troubling as that is on ideological grounds, it is also politically idiocy, since Bredesen has been accused of “frontloading” his 300,000 in cuts, so that he can put some people back on the rolls right before the election in 2006 and look like a super-hero. Sharon Cobb, who was once a Bredesen supporter, says she has written evidence of this plan. Boxes of it, she says. In an interview with Cobb, Bredesen even admits that people will die from these cuts. You can view her documentary at

At a point in time when the only real distinction most people can see between Democrats and Republicans is the historical distinction laid down by the New Deal -- Democrats protect the social safety net, Republicans cut it -- Bredesen and others in the Democratic leadership want to throw that advantage out the window.

I suspect there are three reasons for this. One, it is just easier. Going the other route would mean constantly pounding away at the Bush tax cuts and railing against the unimaginable economic drain of endless war. Two, there’ s money to be had. And, three, we’ve got a Democratic Party that is so far to the right that they are often as guilty as the Republicans of confusing democracy with capitalism.

Medicaid is the nation’s largest anti-poverty program. Half its recipients are children, although they receive less than 20 percent of benefits. Seniors take the lion’s share, with expensive end-of-life treatments. If we allow money to be the deciding factor, if we allow the “market” to make this decision, we will be pitting one generation against the other. The Times editorial concludes with this warning from Representative Joe L. Barton, of Texas: “The emotional debate that we’re eventually going to have to have is the old-versus-the-young debate.”

That is, unless we find the courage to have the-rich-versus-the-poor debate.

Patricia Goldsmith is a member of Long Island Media Watch, a grassroots free media and democracy watchdog group. She is also a frequent contributor to She can be reached at:

A Requiem for Justice

A Requiem for Justice

Justice O'Connor's decision in Bush v. Gore led to the current Bush administration's execution of war crimes and atrocities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places in the Middle East that are as egregious as those committed by the Third Reich and other evil governments in human history.

Supreme Court Justice O'Connor:
'She Never Knew it Would Come to This'
Sheldon Drobny

Monday, July 4, 2005

Justice O'Connor's retirement reminds me of her decision in Bush v. Gore and the last dialogue in the 1961 movie Judgment At Nuremberg, directed by Stanley Kramer.

Ernst Janning: Judge Haywood... the reason I asked you to come. Those people, those millions of people... I never knew it would come to that.

YOU must believe it, YOU MUST believe it.

Judge Dan Haywood: Herr Janning, it came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.

Ernst Janning, a fictional character played by Burt Lancaster, was the head of The Ministry of Justice during The Third Reich. He was put on trial for war crimes in 1948 and he was deeply conflicted by his participation with the evil of his government in the hopes that the greater good of Germany would be served.

Judge Dan Haywood, played by Spencer Tracy, speaks to that kind of conflict in his decision: Memorable Quotes from Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Judge Dan Haywood:
Janning, to be sure, is a tragic figure. We believe he loathed the evil he did. But compassion for the present torture of his soul must not beget forgetfulness of the torture and death of millions by the government of which he was a part.

Janning's record and his fate illuminate the most shattering truth that has emerged from this trial. If he and the other defendants were all depraved perverts - if the leaders of the Third Reich were sadistic monsters and maniacs - these events would have no more moral significance than an earthquake or other natural catastrophes.

But this trial has shown that under the stress of a national crisis, men - even able and extraordinary men - can delude themselves into the commission of crimes and atrocities so vast and heinous as to stagger the imagination.

No one who has sat through this trial can ever forget.

The sterilization of men because of their political beliefs... The murder of children... How easily that can happen. There are those in our country today, too, who speak of the protection of the country. Of survival.

The answer to that is: survival as what?

A country isn't a rock. And it isn't an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for, when standing for something is the most difficult. Before the people of the world - let it now be noted in our decision here that this is what we stand for: justice, truth... and the value of a single human being.


The lesson is clear.

Those people who may be honorable and distinguished in their chosen profession should always make decisions based upon good rather than evil no matter where their nominal allegiances may rest.

Justice O'Connor was quoted to have said something to the affect that she abhorred the thought of Bush losing the 2000 election to Gore. She was known to have wanted to retire after the 2000 election for same reason she is now retiring. She wanted to spend more time with her sick husband.

Unfortunately, she tarnished her distinguished career with the deciding vote in Bush v. Gore by going along with the partisan majority of the Court to interfere with a democratic election that she and the majority feared would be lost in an honest recount. She dishonored herself and the Supreme Court by succumbing to party allegiances and not The Constitution to which she swore to uphold.

And the constitutional argument she and the majority used to justify their decision was the Equal Protection Clause.

The Equal Protection Clause was the ultimate basis for the decision, but the majority essentially admitted (what was obvious in any event) that it was not basing its conclusion on any general view of what equal protection requires.

The decision in Bush v Gore was not dictated by the law in any sense—either the law found through research, or the law as reflected in the kind of intuitive sense that comes from immersion in the legal culture. The Equal Protection clause is generally used in matters concerning civil rights.

The majority ignored their basic conservative views supporting federalism and states' rights in order to justify their decision. History will haunt these justices down for their utter lack of Justice and the hypocrisy associated with this decision

Sheldon Drobny is Co-founder of Air America Radio.

Rumsfeld's Liberation Theology

The Rumsfeld Solution
“Liberating Iraq, One Journalist at a Time”
by Mike Whitney
July 4, 2005

“The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is calling on the United States to investigate three new cases of journalists killed in Iraq over the past week -- all of them at the hands of United States soldiers…[T]his brings to 17 the number of journalists and media staff killed by US soldiers.” -- International Federation of Journalists, July 1, 2005

Last week, Yasser Salihee, a reporter for Knight Ridder news agency, was assassinated in a perfectly executed gangland-style hit a few miles outside of Baghdad. He was struck by a single bullet to the head by an American sniper. Salihee’s murder resulted from his extensive coverage of the torture and murder of “suspected insurgents” by US-backed death squads.

Many readers will remember Donald Rumsfeld rushing off to Baghdad a few months ago to ensure that the “newly elected” Iraqi government didn’t fiddle with the new regime he’d installed in the Interior Ministry. With the help of former CIA-operative Iyad Allawi, Rumsfeld put together a cadre of thugs who operate under the rubric of “The Wolf Brigade” (also referred to as “Rumsfeld’s Boys”). Salihee had uncovered the gruesome details of how this counterinsurgency unit really works: roaming the countryside in white Toyota Land Cruisers, dressed as police, rounding up anti-occupation suspects and either killing and torturing them as they see fit. These special units are similar to the death squads that were used by Ronald Reagan in El Salvador during the 1980s. Now they are thriving in Iraq under the auspices of the Defense Department, operating freely behind the façade of a democratically elected Iraqi government.

The Wolf Brigade has enlisted members of the Republican Guard as well as former members of Saddam’s feared secret police, the Mukhabarat. Both groups are intimately familiar with torture and the other instruments of state terror. Since the elections, the Brigade has played a major role in the crackdown throughout the Sunni Triangle that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis. Salihee was following these developments when he was gunned down.

He discovered that corpses, which were being dumped off at the Baghdad morgue, showed the signs of being killed in a “methodical fashion. Their hands had been tied or handcuffed behind their backs, their eyes were blindfolded and they appeared to have been tortured. In most cases the dead men looked as if they had been whipped with a cord, subjected to electric shocks, beaten with a blunt object and shot to death, often with single bullets to their heads.” (Free Arab Voice) Eyewitness accounts said that many of the victims had been apprehended by people dressed as police who bore all the hallmarks of the Wolf Brigade.

There’s been a steep increase in the number of murders since the elections. “Before March 2003…the morgue handled 200 to 250 suspicious deaths a month, about 16 of which included firearm injuries.” Now there are “700 to 800 suspicious deaths a month, with some 500 having firearm wounds.” Many of these have been killed execution-style with a single bullet-wound to the head.

Rumsfeld’s Post-Election Change in Strategy

The complexion of the conflict has changed dramatically since the election. The Pentagon no longer expects to win the war, so the strategy has changed to inciting widespread violence with the ultimate goal of destroying Iraqi society and dividing up the nation. Every random act of violence should be analyzed with this in mind. Rumsfeld’s three pronged attack now includes a stepped up counterinsurgency campaign (killing and detaining hundreds, if not thousands of innocent Sunnis), a savage Dresden-type, slash and burn strategy of the main Sunni cities (so far, Haditha, al-Qaim and Karabila have received the “Falluja treatment”) and a “no-holds-barred” assault on the press; ensuring that only sanitized reports emerge from America’s embedded journalists.

Salihee, of course, veered from the Pentagon strategy and paid with his life. He leaves behind a wife and a daughter of two years.

Regrettably, Knight-Ridder has tried to paper over the death of Salihee saying that, “[Civilians] die anonymously, every day, at checkpoints and in raids and in suicide attacks. They are crushed when bombs fall on their homes; they are caught in crossfire between insurgents and American troops. Like Yasser, they die on lovely summer days, while looking forward to splashing in the pool, enjoying some rare time off. Little is known about the innocent Iraqis who pay the ultimate price for a war conducted in the name of their liberation.”

Very prosaic, but total rubbish. Salihee was murdered, Godfather style. The only noteworthy aspect of the incident is that it was performed with much greater proficiency than the attack on Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena. It looks like there’s been a decided upgrade in the talent level of the Pentagon’s assassination teams.

Salihee’s Death in Perspective

The Bush administration has developed a coherent strategy for quashing the free press. It’s clear that they regard the free flow of information as every bit as dangerous as a bomb-wielding Ba’athist. Those who aren’t already co-opted into the fold have been subjected to withering attacks from government-friendly stations and news agencies. Hence, CBS anchor Dan Rather is sent packing while Time magazine executives are left groveling before a national audience. Similarly, private citizens like Ward Churchill have withstood the scathing assault of an astonishingly competent right-wing media machine that can descend on its prey at a moment’s notice and leave little behind save a few bleached bones. At the same time, the BBC, NPR and PBS have all been penetrated by hostile forces bound to poison the few remaining bastions of independent reportage and purge those errant journalists whose coverage eschews the Pentagon filter.

This is “Information Warfare” on a grand scale; a conflict that the Bush administration intends to win no matter how many people are sacrificed in the process. Don’t think that Dahr Jamail, Patrick Cockburn or Robert Fisk don’t understand the meaning of Salihee’s death. It’s painfully clear. The Defense Secretary is determined to see that only one storyline will surface in Iraq. Anyone who dares to deviate from the accepted narrative can expect to find himself slumped over in the front seat of his car with blood issuing from his forehead. As Rumsfeld warned earlier this year, “People need to be very careful about what they say, just as they need to be careful about what they do.”

We’ve been forewarned.

Mike Whitney
lives in Washington state, and can be reached at:

Related Article

* From El Salvador to Iraq: Death Squads Come in Waves by Charles Demers

"CIA" Italian Job Gets Interesting

Kurt Nimmo
Monday July 04th 2005
7:32 am

As it turns out, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, who was reportedly abducted in Milan on February 17, 2003, was a CIA informant, according to Albanian intelligence officials. “Why would the U.S. government go to elaborate lengths to seize a 39-year-old Egyptian who, according to former Albanian intelligence officials, was once the CIA’s most productive source of information within the tightly knit group of Islamic fundamentalists living in exile in Albania?” muses the Chicago Tribune.

Italian prosecutors seem to believe Nasr had wandered and the CIA wanted to “turn him back into the informer he once was.” Maybe. However, there is also the possibility the CIA (and there is evidence the abduction has nothing to do with the CIA) wanted to make sure Nasr didn’t spill the beans on their covert activities. Italian prosecutors are discovering some interesting links as they probe the Nasr abduction.

As Wayne Madsen writes, it wasn’t the CIA who kidnapped Nasr but rather “a covert team of U.S. Defense Department Special Forces, mercenaries, and intelligence agents who are now the subject of international arrest warrants.” It now appears members of this Pentagon-based (not the CIA) covert team were in cahoots with Gaetano Saya and Riccardo Sindoca, two neofascists “who reportedly have close ties to both the P-2 (Propaganda Due) Masonic lodge and a secret Cold War network known as Gladio,” according to Madsen. Saya and Sindoca set up something dubbed “the Department of Strategic Anti-Terrorism Studies, which reportedly had links to both the Bush administration and Ariel Sharon’s Likud government in Israel.”

Operation Gladio is very interesting in the current context because it was essentially a “tool for political repression and manipulation, directed by NATO and Washington,” as Chris Floyd explains. “Using right-wing militias, underworld figures, government provocateurs and secret military units, Gladio not only carried out widespread terrorism, assassinations and electoral subversion in democratic states such as Italy, France and West Germany, but also bolstered fascist tyrannies in Spain and Portugal, abetted the military coup in Greece and aided Turkey’s repression of the Kurds.” Gladio employed a “strategy of tension,” that is to say the secretive group pulled off terrorist plots and blamed it on left-wingers, “fomenting fear to keep populations in thrall to ’strong leaders’ who will protect the nation from the ever-present terrorist threat.”

In Secret Warfare: Operation Gladio and NATO’s Stay-Behind Armies, edited by Daniele Ganser and Christian Nuenlist, we learn about specifics of the Gladio “strategy of tension.” Vincenzo Vinciguerra, who confessed to carrying out the Peteano terrorist attack of 31 May 1972 (blamed on the Red Brigades), testified that the “terrorist line was followed by camouflaged people, people belonging to the security apparatus, or those linked to the state apparatus through rapport or collaboration.” Right-wing organizations across Western Europe “were being mobilized into the battle as part of an anti-communist strategy originating not with organizations deviant from the institutions of power, but from the state itself,” specifically NATO.

Mark Zepezauer writes:

One of P-2’s [members of Operation Gladio were also connected to P-2] specialties was the art of provocation. Leftist organizations like the Red Brigades were infiltrated, financed and / or created, and the resulting acts of terrorism, like the assassination of Italy’s premier in 1978 and the bombing of the railway station in Bologna in 1980, were blamed on the left. The goal of this “strategy of tension” was to convince Italian voters that the left was violent and dangerous—by helping make it so.

Is it possible a new (or extended) version of Operation Gladio is currently at work in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, endeavoring to convince us that Islam is “violent and dangerous—by helping make it so”? It appears Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr (currently a disappeared person) worked for either the CIA or intelligence units run out of the Pentagon (specifically, the Pentagon’s Task Force 121 covert units). It should be noted that Osama bin Laden was a CIA asset during the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Last October, I theorized the kidnapping of CARE’s Margaret Hassan was a joint CIA-Mossad operation. I wrote at the time “the kidnapping of Margaret Hassan is part of a counterinsurgency operation devised to make the resistance look bad and thus turn world opinion against it,” in other words a classic Gladio-like operation. “Since it is obviously impossible for the United States to defeat the Iraqi resistance, it makes perfect sense for the CIA—possibly in alliance with other covert intelligence operations, for instance the documented Mossad operation in northern Iraq—to covertly engage in terrorism, which the White House and the corporate media subsequently blame on the resistance.”

It is interesting the Italians are in the process of linking two fascist Gladio warriors to the Pentagon abduction of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, a Muslim apparently working under cover for the CIA, according to sources quoted by the Chicago Tribune. Of course, all of this will blow over in a few days as the news cycle revolves around more important stories—for instance, women desperate for Jessica Simpson’s hair, or singer and reality show attendee Pink’s marriage to motocross racer Carey Hart.

Most Americans have no idea who Nasr is—or if they did would they particularly care—and Gladio must be a movie about gladiators or something. Ignorance is bliss—although it may ultimately prove to be deadly bliss as the Bushcons nudge the nation closer to total war (with more than a little help from “strategy of tension” covert operations) and the cell phone and flat plasma HDTV generation are reminded their “sacrifice” is required (through bullet-stopper conscription) to bring “democracy” to benighted Arabs and such who, coincidentally, are a thorn in Israel’s side and just so happen to be sitting atop a whole lot of oil and other natural resources.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Incredible Mr. Bush


July 3, 2005

“Not only can they not find WMD in Iraq,” I commented to E. as we listened to the Bush speech, “But they have disappeared from his speeches too!” I was listening to the voiceover on Arabiya, translating his speech to Arabic. He was recycling bits and pieces of various speeches he used over two years.

E., a younger cousin, and I were sitting around in the living room, sprawled on the relatively cool tiled floor. The electricity had been out for 3 hours and we couldn’t turn on the air conditioner with the generator electricity we were getting. E. and I had made a bet earlier about what the theme of tonight’s speech would be. E. guessed Bush would dig up the tired, old WMD theme from somewhere under the debris of idiocy and lies coming out of the White House. I told him he’d dredge up 9/11 yet again… tens of thousands of lives later, we would have to bear the burden of 9/11… again.

I won the bet. The theme was, naturally, terrorism- the only mention of ‘weapon’ or ‘weapons’ was in reference to Libya. He actually used the word ‘terrorist’ in the speech 23 times.

He was trying, throughout the speech, to paint a rosy picture of the situation. According to him, Iraq was flourishing under the occupation. In Bush’s Iraq, there is reconstruction, there is freedom (in spite of an occupation) and there is democracy.

“He’s describing a different country…” I commented to E. and the cousin.

“Yes,” E. replied. “He’s talking about the *other* Iraq… the one with the WMD.”

“So what’s the occasion? Why’s the idiot giving a speech anyway?” The cousin asked, staring at the ceiling fan clicking away above. I reminded him it was the year anniversary marking the mythical handover of power to Allawi’s Vichy government.

“Oh- Allawi… Is he still alive?” Came the indolent reply from the cousin. “I’ve lost track… was he before Al Yawir or after Al Yawir? Was he Prime Minister or did they make him president at some point?”

9/11 and the dubious connection with Iraq came up within less than a minute of the beginning of the speech. The cousin wondered whether anyone in America still believed Iraq had anything to do with September 11.

Bush said:
“The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror. The war reached our shores on September 11, 2001.”

Do people really still believe this? In spite of that fact that no WMD were found in Iraq, in spite of the fact that prior to the war, no American was ever killed in Iraq and now almost 2000 are dead on Iraqi soil? It’s difficult to comprehend that rational people, after all of this, still actually accept the claims of a link between 9/11 and Iraq. Or that they could actually believe Iraq is less of a threat today than it was in 2003.

We did not have Al-Qaeda in Iraq prior to the war. We didn’t know that sort of extremism. We didn’t have beheadings or the abduction of foreigners or religious intolerance. We actually pitied America and Americans when the Twin Towers went down and when news began leaking out about it being Muslim fundamentalists- possibly Arabs- we were outraged.

Now 9/11 is getting old. Now, 100,000+ Iraqi lives and 1700+ American lives later, it’s becoming difficult to summon up the same sort of sympathy as before. How does the death of 3,000 Americans and the fall of two towers somehow justify the horrors in Iraq when not one of the people involved with the attack was Iraqi?

Bush said:
“Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. … The commander in charge of coalition operations in Iraq, who is also senior commander at this base, General John Vines, put it well the other day. He said, "We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us."

He speaks of ‘abroad’ as if it is a vague desert-land filled with heavily-bearded men and possibly camels. ‘Abroad’ in his speech seems to indicate a land of inferior people- less deserving of peace, prosperity and even life.

Don’t Americans know that this vast wasteland of terror and terrorists otherwise known as ‘Abroad’ was home to the first civilizations and is home now to some of the most sophisticated, educated people in the region?

Don’t Americans realize that ‘abroad’ is a country full of people- men, women and children who are dying hourly? ‘Abroad’ is home for millions of us. It’s the place we were raised and the place we hope to raise our children- your field of war and terror.

The war was brought to us here, and now we have to watch the country disintegrate before our very eyes. We watch as towns are bombed and gunned down and evacuated of their people. We watch as friends and loved ones are detained, or killed or pressured out of the country with fear and intimidation.

Bush said:
“We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who exploded car bombs along a busy shopping street in Baghdad, including one outside a mosque. We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who sent a suicide bomber to a teaching hospital in Mosul…”

Yes. And Bush is extremely concerned with the mosques. He might ask the occupation forces in Iraq to quit attacking mosques and detaining the worshipers inside- to stop raiding them and bombing them and using them as shelters for American snipers in places like Falluja and Samarra. And the terrorists who sent a suicide bomber to a teaching hospital in Mosul? Maybe they got their cue from the American troops who attacked the only functioning hospital in Falluja.

“We continued our efforts to help them rebuild their country. Rebuilding a country after three decades of tyranny is hard and rebuilding while a country is at war is even harder."

Three decades of tyranny isn’t what bombed and burned buildings to the ground. It isn’t three decades of tyranny that destroyed the infrastructure with such things as “Shock and Awe” and various other tactics. Though he fails to mention it, prior to the war, we didn’t have sewage overflowing in the streets like we do now, and water cut off for days and days at a time. We certainly had more than the 8 hours of electricity daily. In several areas they aren’t even getting that much.

“They are doing that by building the institutions of a free society, a society based on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and equal justice under law.”

We’re so free, we often find ourselves prisoners of our homes, with roads cut off indefinitely and complete areas made inaccessible. We are so free to assemble that people now fear having gatherings because a large number of friends or family members may attract too much attention and provoke a raid by American or Iraqi forces.

As to Iraqi forces…There was too much to quote on the new Iraqi forces. He failed to mention that many of their members were formerly part of militias, and that many of them contributed to the looting and burning that swept over Iraq after the war and continued for weeks.

“The new Iraqi security forces are proving their courage every day.”

Indeed they are. The forte of the new Iraqi National Guard? Raids and mass detentions. They have been learning well from the coalition. They sweep into areas, kick down doors, steal money, valuables, harass the females in the household and detain the men. The Iraqi security forces are so effective that a few weeks ago, they managed to kill a high-ranking police major in Falluja when he ran a red light, shooting him in the head as his car drove away.

He kept babbling about a “free Iraq” but he mentioned nothing about when the American forces might actually depart and the occupation would end, leaving a “free Iraq”.

Why aren’t the Americans setting a timetable for withdrawal? Iraqis are constantly wondering why nothing is being done to accelerate the end of the occupation.

Do the Americans continue to believe such speeches? I couldn’t help but wonder.

“They’ll believe anything.” E. sighed. “No matter what sort of absurdity they are fed, they’ll believe it. Think up the most outrageous lie… They have people who’ll believe it.”

The cousin sat up at this, his interest piqued. “The most outrageous lie? How about that Iraq was amassing aliens from Mareekh [Mars] and training them in the battle art of kung-fu to attack America in 2010!”

“They’d believe it.” E. nodded in the affirmative. “Or that Iraq was developing a mutant breed of rabid, man-eating bunnies to unleash upon the Western world. They’d believe that too.”

Mykeru has a fantastic post about the speech, as do Juan Cole (as usual), and TomDispatch.

- posted by river @ 3:21 AM