Showing posts from 2007

The Cowards of Congress

June, 2007

American soldiers who have been sent to Iraq are now being killed there at a rate of 3 or 4 every day. That's two dozen a week, more than 100 men and women each month who will die in order to sustain the illegal occupation of a sovereign nation.

There will almost certainly be 300 more dead soldiers and 3,000 more wounded by Sept. 1, when our government will provide the American people with a progress report. After that date, more soldiers will die so that our government can keep a military presence in a country it invaded without cause. The only questions left are how many more will be killed, and how long will our government continue to sacrifice their lives?

The blood of every soldier killed in Iraq stains the hands of not only the President and Vice President, but also everyone who ever voted to fund the military invasion and occupation of Iraq. That includes 280 of our current members in the House of Representatives and 80 of our Senators who just voted to spend more t…

Everywhere is up from here...

"The Constitution is being trampled, the very form of our government is being perverted, and nothing less than American democracy itself is endangered. A presidential coup is taking place."
Jim Hightower

When it comes to living up to our own ideal as a nation, we've just about hit rock bottom. We kidnap and torture suspected terrorists, we owe nine trillion dollars to everybody and our soldiers are dying in a country we invaded "by mistake". How low is that?

We weren't all that great a country in the first place – not when right from the start, in the Land of the Free, white men could own black people and women couldn't even vote. But whatever greatness America ever achieved it owes to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, documents that describe an ideal still valid after more than two centuries. We've been at our best whenever we've honestly tried to live up to those ideals in the real world.

We aren't even …

A time for intervention: get in the way

In 1866 the US Supreme Court issued an explicit ruling that no emergency – not even an open civil war like the country had just suffered through – can justify the suspension or removal of any rights recognized by the Constitution. Although five of the justices were appointed by Abraham Lincoln, the Court delivered a message that Lincoln's deliberate disregard of the law of the land during his "war presidency" was illegal.

Their words were clear: "The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances."

The same rights those justices were trying to protect 140 years ago are still being trampled today. The rights of the people of Kaua‘i to assemble and protest are violated by Gov. Lingle and others in her administration as she orders the Coast Guard to arrest anyone who enters hastily-drawn "emergency security z…

I'm getting a little spooked here...

Is it just me, or is there something especially ominous in the latest Presidential Directive? National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20, documents released earlier this month by the Bush administration, give the president some new powers in the event of a national emergency.
Actually, the new National Continuity Policy outlined in those documents formalizes the current reality in Washington, where the White House has exerted firm control over most branches of government. It simply defines and extends that control while giving it some legitimate-sounding cover.
According to this new policy "...any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function" would be sufficient cause for the President to assume full directorial control over every branch of the US gover…

Hanging On By Tooth And Nail

Paul Wolfowitz is being advised to resign his position at the World Bank by almost everyone with connections past or present to that organization. He won't quit, however, until he's forced into doing so to avoid being indicted for corruption.
Alberto Gonzales is being advised by people on both sides of the political spectrum to step down as Attorney General. He has the full support of his immediate supervisors, however, so he has no plans to walk away, even when he's being told that he can no longer be effective in his job by some of the same folks who supported his nomination. Gonzales will be sacrificed once it becomes necessary, but not until his presence threatens the ongoing attempt to impose a neoconservative dominance on the American government.
The Vice President, Dick Cheney, has less credibility than any VP since Spiro Agnew. Even Dan Quayle held a higher level of respect from the general public that Cheney does. He won't be quitting, of course – and no matter …

And all the King’s Men: laying down the law on Bush and his cronies

In March 2002, more than a year before the invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush interrupted a meeting between National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and three U.S. Senators, who were in her office discussing how to deal with Iraq through the United Nations.
“Fuck Saddam, we’re taking him out,” he said.
According to one of the participants, the senators laughed uncomfortably at the President’s comment while Rice merely smiled. Bush then left the room, as he wasn’t part of the work being done there.
Later in the year, Vice President Dick Cheney told Sen. Patrick Leahy to “...go fuck yourself...” as he walked away from their argument on the floor of the Senate about Cheney’s ties to Halliburton.
While this kind of language could be seen as inappropriate, even embarrassing, coming from the two highest elected officials in the land, it isn’t a legal problem.
The Constitution allows anyone to speak freely whenever they choose. Even grandiose dreams of an American military empire aren’…

"Enduring Camps" in Iraq portend a long stay

As a New Year full of uncertainties begins, there's one thing you can be certain of – many thousands of US soldiers will still be in Iraq on New Year's Day of 2008. That sad fact will be true every year in the foreseeable future, based on activities at the four largest military bases in Iraq where construction continues at a high pace.

It doesn't matter what the President or anyone else says about those bases, what matters is the reality of concrete and steel growing into buildings on the sand. Once labeled "enduring camps" but now called "contingency operating bases", the large facilities – primarily air bases with hardened runways – are still under construction in every province in Iraq.

The Iraqi people have seen little or no reconstruction projects at work in their shattered cities, but more than one hundred billion dollars have been spent on military housing and infrastructure to serve a permanent contingent of American troops. Camp Victory North, ne…

The Long War Moves to Iran

On Jan. 10, one day before his televised speech outlining a "new way forward" in Iraq, President Bush spoke to representatives of several network news organizations on the condition that he not be quoted. His purpose was to provide those individuals with more background and context than he would offer in the speech itself, and rely on them to deliver his full message to the American people.

A lot of folks who listened to the President's speech got that message quite clearly, without any help. The first clue came just 193 words into the script, when Bush read the following words from his teleprompter – "Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran, formed death squads."

We've heard this kind of diversion before, where a partial truth is inflated into an active threat and given a false priority. Introducing Iran into a speech about Iraq is the same tactic as introducing Iraq into speeches about Al-Qaida, a diversion that Vice President Cheney still uses today.