Prewar intelligence on Iraqtaking its cue from Bush's already-famous shrug-off of the question to interviewer Diane Sawyer: "So, what's the difference?" "This was a pre-emptive war, and the rationale was that there was an imminent threat," responds Democratic senator Bob Graham, who has said that by elevating Iraq to the most dangerous menace facing the United States, the administration unwisely diverted resources from fighting al-Qaeda and other terrorists. The overwhelming vote in Congress last year to authorize the use of force against Iraq would have been closer "but for the fact that the president had so explicitly said that there were weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat to citizens of the United States," says Graham. The New York Times observes, "In trying to build public and international support for toppling Mr. Hussein, the administration cited, with different emphasis at different times, the banned weapons, links between the Iraqi leader and terrorist organizations, a desire to liberate the Iraqi people and a policy of bringing democracy to the Middle East. When it came to describing the weapons program, Mr. Bush never hedged before the war. 'If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today -— and we do -— does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?' Mr. Bush asked during a speech in Cincinnati in October 2002. In the weeks after the fall of Baghdad in April, the White House was equally explicit. 'One of the reasons we went to war was because of their possession of weapons of mass destruction,' Ari Fleischer, then the White House spokesman, told reporters on May 7. 'And nothing has changed on that front at all.' On Wednesday [press secretary Scott] McClellan, when pressed, only restated the president's belief that weapons would eventually be found. Mr. Bush, despite being asked repeatedly about the issue in different ways by Ms. Sawyer, never did say it, except to note Mr. Hussein's past use of chemical weapons. He emphasized Mr. Hussein's capture instead." (New York Times)
Terrorism detainees and "enemy combatants"It refuses to accept the argument that the US government has "unchecked authority." The ruling relates to the case of a Libyan national captured in Afghanistan and currently being held at Guantanamo. "Even in times of national emergency," reads the ruling, "...it is the obligation of the judicial branch to ensure the preservation of our constitutional values and to prevent the executive branch from running roughshod over the rights of citizens and aliens alike." It adds it could not accept the position that anyone under the jurisdiction and control of the US could be held without "recourse of any kind to any judicial forum, or even access to counsel, regardless of the length or manner of their confinement." The decision comes shortly after another US federal appeals court ruled that US authorities did not have the power to detain American citizen Jose Padilla as an "enemy combatant." (BBC)
Iran's nuclear programAghazadeh, also the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, says signing the agreement would demonstrate Iran's commitment to peaceful uses of nuclear power. "Iran has decided to sign the protocol to prove that the Iranian nuclear program is for civilian purposes," he says. "signing the protocol will also end the propaganda campaign against the nuclear program." On October 21, Iran agreed under international pressure to sign the additional protocol to the nonproliferation treaty. During a visit by the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France, Iran agreed to suspend its uranium-enrichment program and allow unfettered inspections but demanded technical cooperation for its peaceful nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency condemned Iran's 18-year-old secret nuclear program last month and said it had produced small amounts of plutonium, which is needed for making nuclear weapons. Iran's major nuclear partner, Russia, refused this week to deliver nuclear fuel unless Iran signed the protocol. Russia helped Iran build a reactor in the southern city of Bushehr. (New York Times/Arizona Daily Star)
HalliburtonThe accusation was made in a previously undisclosed December 10 letter from the Defense Contract Audit Agency to a top official at Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary handling more than $5 billion of work in Iraq. The letter says that KBR's refusal to turn over the internal audit "is not in the spirit of open communication, trust and cooperation." A preliminary investigation shows that KBR may have overcharged the Pentagon $61 million for gasoline in Iraq; a full investigation is underway. Says KBR president Randy Harl, "We believe our response proves KBR delivered fuel to Iraq at the best value, the best price and the best terms." The preliminary audit indicates that KBR was well aware of the overcharging long before government auditors became aware of it. (Wall Street Journal/Smart Money)
Secrecy of Bush administrationOn April 23, Bush sent top international aid official Andrew Natsios on national television to reassure the world that the cost of war and reconstruction in Iraq would be modest: "In terms of the American taxpayers contribution, [$1.7 billion] is it for the US. The American part of this will be $1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this." That statement has proven to be markedly untrue, with the administration requesting over $166 billion in such funds for 2003 alone. Bush officials have ordered the State Department to purge its Web site of the comments by Natsios, along with the links to the transcript. When asked about the purge, a Bush spokesman lied, saying that ABC News was forcing the government to pay to keep the transcript on its site, an assertion flatly denied by ABC and proven wrong by the fact that plenty of other government sites routinely post links to ABC interview transcripts at no charge. Such Web site changes are not new. After the invasion in Iraq proved to be more troublesome than first expected, the White House edited the original headline on its Web site of President Bush's May 1 speech, "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended," to insert the word 'Major' before the word 'Combat.' More recently, the Justice Department redacted criticism of the department in a consultant's report that had been posted on its Web site.
US veteransand tells them, "We have made a commitment to the troops, and we have made a commitment to their loved ones, and that commitment is that we will provide excellent health care -- excellent care -- to anybody who is injured on the battlefield." The actions of Bush's administration stand in stark contrast to his promise to those wounded soldiers. His administration is fighting the attempt to give National Guard and Reserve members access to the Pentagon's health insurance system, which is doubly egregrious considering that 1 in 5 Guard members have no health insurance whatsoever. Bush has proposed cutting $1.5 billion, or 14% of total funds, from funding for military family housing and medical facilities; this fell on the heels of his 2002 budget, which fell $1.5 billion short of adequately funding veterans care. Less than a year ago, Bush visited the medical hospital, and then on the same day announced his proposal to cut off 164,000 veterans from the VA's prescription drug discount program. Right now, over 235,000 veterans are currently waiting 6 months or more for initial medical appointments, with many veterans waiting 2 years just to be seen by a doctor. At Ft. Stewart, Georgia, hundreds of sick and wounded US soldiers, including many who served in the Iraq war, are languishing in hot cement barracks here while they wait, sometimes for months, to see doctors. This administration appears, in some cases, to be denying benefits to soldiers wounded in Iraq -- specifically, many soldiers say they are seeing their pay and health benefits severely reduced after they are badly wounded. This in no way can be construed as providing "excellent health care" to US military personnel. (White House, Daily Misleader)
Iraq war and occupationThe official American version is that the concerted investigation (along with the arrests and detentions of over 10,000 Iraqis) that yielded one piece of information after another helped achieve the successful result. But the story from the Kurdish Patriotic Union is different. According to Jalal Talabani, the leader of the KPU, it was his men who uncovered Saddam's hiding place and it was a force comprised of his men, together with the American forces, that nabbed Saddam. And other Kurds dispute that story. Another Kurdish faction, led by Massoud Barzani, claim that Talabani's men had nothing to do with Saddam's capture and that this is not the first time Talabani's men are taking credit for capturing senior Iraqis without any basis in reality. "If they had let us run our intelligence network in the past eight months, we would have found him first," says one of Barzani's men. Certainly US intelligence in Iraq has been limited at best, and at times approaches the level of abject incompetence. As of now, though the US story is already crafted and has taken hold in the public perception of the US citizenry, it is hard to say exactly how Hussein was captured. (Ha'aretz [cached Google copy])
Prewar intelligence on IraqKay cites personal and family reasons for his departure. Much of his team has been diverted from the weapons hunt to help search for Iraqi insurgents, and few believe that any weaponry will be discovered. "They took away a lot of his folks, some critical people, the linguists and analysts," says Democrat Jane Harman, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. Harman, a war hawk and moderate conservative, says that Kay's departure would be "a big loss" because he has been "apolitical and thorough." She adds, "I don't think it will set back the effort a lot; I'm not personally convinced there's anything there."
Iraq war and occupation"Women make up 60 percent of the population of Iraq; they are educated, motivated, and represent the voice of moderation and tolerance," says the letter. "Despite these facts, the CPA appointed only 3 women to the 25-member Interim Governing Council. This set a horrible precedent for Iraq and resulted in further acts of discrimination." The lack of representation of women in government has allowed local councils to pursue an anti-women right's agenda and raises concerns about the future of women in Iraq, says the letter, including: women on the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) are not allowed to serve on the Presidential Council; no women being selected for the Constitutional Committee or the new Fundamental Law Committee that will write Iraq's interim Constitution; only one female deputy minister, although the CPA committed to at least five; the CPA-appointed provincial councils are dominated by men who have either ignored unofficial CPA quotas for women, or have selected women they can control and intimidate; local councils in parts of Iraq are excluding women from positions of power. (US NewsWire)
Conservative media slantSky claimed to have a live exclusive showing a missile being fired at Iraq from the British Royal Navy submarine HMS Splendid. It later emerged that at the time of the supposed firing the submarine had been docked, with the dramatic coverage comprising a mixture of library footage and a fake missile launch process staged for the cameras by the crew. Reporter James Forlong, who produced the report, has resigned in July, and committed suicide in October. Britain's Independent Television Commission ruled that his report breached guidelines on accuracy and misled viewers: "Audiences are reliant on the accuracy of news reports, particularly during times of war." (News.com [Australia])
Terrorism detainees and "enemy combatants"The court orders Padilla's release from military custody within 30 days. If the ruling stands, the US government will either be forced to try Padilla in open court or release him. "Under any scenario, Padilla will be entitled to the constitutional protections extended to other citizens," says the decision: "The President's inherent constitutional powers do not extend to the detention as an enemy combatant of American citizens without express congressional authorization." Padilla will be entitled to the constitutional protections extended to other citizens." In a 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says Padilla's detention was not authorized by Congress and that Bush could not designate him as an enemy combatant without the authorization. Such authorization, it says, is required under the Non-Detention Act, legislation passed in 1971 partly in response to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. "As this court sits only a short distance from where the World Trade Center stood, we are as keenly aware as anyone of the threat al-Qaida poses to our country and of the responsibilities the president and law enforcement officials bear for protecting the nation," the court writes. "But presidential authority does not exist in a vacuum, and this case involves not whether those responsibilities should be aggressively pursued, but whether the president is obligated, in the circumstances presented here, to share them with Congress." In a dissenting opinion, the third judge says the president as commander in chief "has the inherent authority to thwart acts of belligerency at home or abroad that would do harm to United States citizens." He adds that Padilla is entitled to counsel.
Iraq war and occupationWaxman and Dingell claim that Nash's office's plans to award $18.7 billion in contracts for Iraqi reconstruction are "fundamentally flawed." Waxman and Dingell observe that the contract procedure will not foster competitive bids between independent corporations, but will instead award "a few hand-picked companies" effective monopolies over different sectors of the Iraqi economy. "In effect, the Administration is giving contractors in Iraq a virtual blank check," they write. They go on to note that the two largest corporations in Iraq, Halliburton and Bechtel, have established "two massive fiefdoms: Halliburton has a monopoly on all oil work and Bechtel has a monopoly on the remaining construction and restoration work in a variety of sectors, including electricity and public works. Whenever a new oil project is proposed, it is awarded to Halliburton without any price competition from any other company. And whenever a new public works project comes along, it's handed to Bechtel without any price competition from any other company. This absence of price competition leaves the taxpayer susceptible to vastly inflated costs. ...Like Bechtel and Halliburton, several large corporations will receive massive contracts worth billions of dollars without ever having to demonstrate an ability to complete specific projects at lower costs than other companies. This may be a good arrangement for the contractors, but it's not a good deal for the taxpayers." (Henry Waxman)
US militaryThe decision, which is unpopular with a large number of active-duty troops and retired veterans, is aimed at, according to the Washington Post, "subtly convey[ing] a central -- if increasingly controversial -- tenet of their worldview: that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are part of the same seamless global military fight against terror." Experts calls the decision politically motivated, and say that it breaks with a longstanding tradition of giving different campaign ribbons for different geographic areas of conflict, no matter how related they may have been. The Post says, "The collection of ribbons and medals worn on the left breast of a military uniform tells a unique story of individual service to the country, career achievement and sometimes valor in combat. These awards are easily identified by the initiated and serve as a kind of résumé of past service. They are proudly worn, and there is enormous attention to detail. The burnt orange of the Vietnam service ribbon is readily identified on the generation that served in Southeast Asia, as are the awards for military service of later generations of soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines in Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo. The Bush Pentagon is not denying campaign ribbons to worthy veterans, but it is denying them recognition for their distinctive service and individual accomplishments by merging Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom in the commemorative process. As their names suggest, these were two separate operations in military terms, fought in two theaters against two different enemies with two different sets of military objectives. Let's remedy this situation quickly by returning to the age-honored tradition of recognizing and honoring our servicemen and women for their specific service in Afghanistan and Iraq and keep politics out the business of acknowledging service to the nation in times of war." (Washington Post)
Iraq war and occupationthat the capture of Saddam Hussein provides the perfect opportunity for US troops to pull out of Iraq. "If we don't bring them home now, they'll be there for years," he says. "We need to bring in UN peacekeepers and bring our troops home." (Quad City Times)
Iraq war and occupationHe notes that as long as the Shi'ite majority had reason to fear a return to power of Hussein and his Ba'ath party, they had reason to cooperate with the US occupation; now with Hussein safely in custody, they are free to push for power. "Until now, the most important Shiite leaders have remained, objectively, allies, or at least neutrals, in Washington's effort to control the country," Pfaff writes. "They now will become active players in the emerging political power struggle. Since they can bring millions into the streets, as demonstrators or as fighters, practicing a version of Islam with a powerful emotional component of suicidal self-sacrifice, they are potentially a more important force than Saddam could ever have mobilized as underground leader or as martyr." The Sunni minority, long the most powerful force in Iraqi governance, now must fight to regain its former status. While a coalition government of all interested parties -- not only Shi'ites, Sunnis, and Kurds, but also Turkoman, Christians, and others -- might be what the US would most favor, a strong US presence would be required to stay in order to maintain the precarious balance. "A continued American presence would run into the obstacle of Iraqi nationalism, which this war has inflamed, and rob the Shiites of the dominant political role," Pfaff writes.
Iraq war and occupationHe writes, "[T]he American media treatment of his capture is an Orwellian nightmare for the following reasons: The main reason America went to war in Iraq was the claim that Saddam Hussein was manufacturing and in possession of weapons of mass destruction that he refuses to expose to international inspectors and which he refuses to dismantle. America claimed that if he exposed and destroyed those weapons, Iraq would not be attacked. It presented apparent evidence that strengthened its argument against Saddam. It was against the background of those assertions that the US invaded Iraq and continues to hold it under occupation. However, the weapons of mass destruction have yet to be found. Now there is serious doubt if they ever existed from the start. Maybe some will yet be found. Until they are found, any reasonable media consumer should doubt American motives for the invasion of Iraq and suspect they have fallen victim to the use of lies or errors to shape their opinion. After all, the war was only a means to discover the weapons of mass destruction.
Iraq war and occupationHe begins by quoting an e-mail from one high-ranking civilian to another: "My opinion is that CPA (the U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority) is a living breathing [obscenity]. It is beyond negligent or even criminal. It is tragic in the Greek sense." He continues, "The Bush administration has spent a lot of time saying how well things have gone in Iraq, contending the happy truth has been obscured by negative news media coverage. This is privately described by officials as the 'smoke and mirrors' technique. Nobody has recognized that more clearly than Jerry [Paul] Bremer [civilian head of the CPA]. He was not summoned to Washington when he volunteered for a brief visit Nov. 11. He wanted to tell the president personally just how bad things really were in Iraq and, in fact, got a rare one-on-one meeting with Bush. The inadequate, unrealistic planning for the occupation of Iraq will never be admitted publicly, but it is common knowledge at high levels of the administration. The notion that Iraqi exiles could step in to run the country, pressed on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld by his civilian advisory board, was a chimera. Bremer, bearing credentials as an anti-terrorist expert, was brought in May 7 with the US occupation already in disarray. Esteemed though he is as a public servant, Bremer lacks experience administering large complex organizations." Novak says that the addition of two deputies to the CPA's administrative structure, Richard Jones and Lieutenant General Joseph Kellogg, will help to get the rebuilding moving in the right direction. Jones is an Arabic-speaking veteran foreign service officer who has been the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait the last two years, and Kellogg is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Chicago Sun-Times)
Prewar intelligence on IraqRumsfeld's visits were made, according to the documents, to defang ostensible US criticism of Iraq's use of chemical weapons, and to reinforce the US commitment to backing Iraq in its war with Iran. Earlier this year, Rumsfeld and Bush administration officials regularly cited Iraq's willingness to use chemical weapons against his own people as evidence of the threat presented to the rest of the world. They presented the attacks against the Kurds, particularly the notorious attack in Halabja in 1988, as a justification for the invasion and the ousting of Saddam. But the newly declassified documents reveal that 20 years ago America's position was different and that the administration of President Ronald Reagan was concerned about maintaining good relations with Iraq despite evidence of Saddam's "almost daily" use of chemical weapons against Iranian troops and Kurdish rebels. In March 1984, under international pressure, America condemned Iraq's use of such chemical weapons. Realizing that Baghdad had been upset, Secretary of State George Schultz asked Rumsfeld to travel to Iraq as a special envoy to meet Saddam's Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz, and smooth matters over. In a briefing memo to Rumsfeld, Shultz wrote that he had met Iraqi officials in Washington to stress that America's interests remained "in (1) preventing an Iranian victory and (2) continuing to improve bilateral relations with Iraq."
HalliburtonThompson, who manages the New York police and fire department pension funds, has been agitating for months for Halliburton's board to reconsider doing business in Iran because of that country's links to terrorism. Federal law bars American citizens from doing business in Iran, but independent foreign subsidiaries of US firms can operate there. The two New York funds have about $31 million invested in Halliburton. "If we are trying to eradicate terrorism, we must ensure that companies in our portfolio are not using offshore subsidiaries to legally evade United States sanctions against terrorist-sponsoring states," says Thompson. Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall responds: "We hope that the [comptroller's] office is not playing politics with pension funds." In March, Halliburton officials promised to detail the company's Iranian operations. In exchange, Thompson agreed to withdraw a shareholder proposal urging the board to reconsider doing business in Iran. In October, Halliburton sent Thompson a report stamped "confidential." Company officials hoped the information would remain secret until Halliburton issues its 2003 annual report next year. Thompson, however, posted the report on his Web site. In that document, Halliburton revealed that its Halliburton Products & Services Ltd., a Cayman Islands firm headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, expected to sell more than $39 million worth of oil-field services to customers in Iran this year. In working in Iran, Halliburton said it was competing against the foreign affiliates of a number of other US companies, including Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Smith International, Weatherford, ABB Vetco Gray, FMC and Cooper-Cameron. Thompson complains the report failed to detail the "potential financial reputational risks" of its operations in Iran. Hall suggests that if Thompson has a problem with the US's Iran policy and with Halliburton's investment strategy for Iran, "we suggest he address that concern to Congress or the executive branch." (Houston Chronicle/Peyk e Iran)
Bush's economic policiesAccording to these conservatives, Bush is a "fraud" and a "disaster" who is betraying the Reagan Revolution and turning the Republican Party into the "the new welfare state party." "This administration has presided over one of the most massive expansions of the federal government in history," says Phil Heimlich, a Republican who serves as a Hamilton County commissioner. "Conservatives feel betrayed," says Brian Reidl, a federal budget expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "As far as this fiscal conservative is concerned, I'm doing everything I can to expose Bush for the fraud that he is," adds Jim Urling, a Cincinnati lawyer and chairman of a local group that fights government spending and taxes. Representative Mark Souder, a conservative Republican who voted for the Medicare bill, said that small-government Republicans have been stirred up by conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. But when the election comes, the libertarian faction's anger will be "almost irrelevant," he said. "It's not to say that there isn't a restlessness and a concern, but at the end of the day you would have a tough time convincing conservatives that George Bush isn't closer to Ronald Reagan than his dad." When people label President Bush a "big government socialist," Souder said, "most conservatives go: 'What? Excuse me?'"
Iraq war and occupationThe Pentagon confirms that at least 40,000 of the 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq don't have basic Kevlar Interceptor vests or the ceramic plates needed for full protection. Many soldiers are forced to scavenge to find plates left behind by Iraqi soldiers -— plates of inferior quality that do not properly fit or provide protection. At a September House hearing, General John Abizaid, head of all military forces in Iraq, admitted he could not give House members a good reason "why we started this war with protective vests that were in short supply." Retailers and manufacturers of the body armor are "deluged" with orders from soldiers and families who are scrambling to provide them with the armor that the US military refuses to provide. The military says that all soldiers should have the proper armor by the end of January. (USA Today/Axis of Logic)
Bush's economic policiesThe organization writes, "This fairy tale was re-told most recently by Republican National Chairman Ed Gillespie when he said in a Dec. 3 speech: '80% of the tax relief for upper income filers goes to small businesses.' It's untrue -– and a classic example of a statistical distortion gone amok. It may be true that 79% of upper-income taxpayers have some income from business, but Gillespie's definition of 'small' business actually includes big accounting firms, law firms and real-estate partnerships, and 'businesses' that are really only sidelines -– such as occasional rental income from a corporate chief's ski condo. In fact, tax statistics show that upper-income taxpayers get far more of their income from salaries, capital gains, stock dividends and interest than they do from small business. ...Their method also counts as a 'small business owner' any member of an investment club -- someone who put $50 a month into a pool to buy stocks with friends and then reported a few dollars of dividends and capital gains on a K-1 form from the partnership at the end of the year. And that's not all. Also counted as 'small business owners' would be: a corporate executive who made $500,000 in salary and bonuses, and who also had $3,000 in income from renting out his yacht; a TV anchorwoman making $1 million in salary and reporting $25,000 in speaking fees as Schedule C income; a partner in a national accounting firm who has no side business at all, but who gets a big chunk of his income as a share of the giant partnership's profits. It's silly to call any of these 'small business owners,' but Gillespie went even beyond what the report said. He said 80% of the tax relief went to 'small businesses,' (as opposed to 'owners'). Not even the Republican staff report can back that statement. So how much of the benefit really goes to small business? According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center...business income accounts for just over 22% of the income that will be reported this year by the most affluent American households. Those upper-income taxpayers actually get more from interest, dividends and capital gains than they get from business income, but Gillespie said nothing of the tax benefits on that score." (FactCheck)
Media manipulation and marketing by GOPThe satellite link is designed to put a more "positive," US-friendly spin on events and circumvent the major networks by making it possible for press conferences, interviews with troops and dignitaries, and even footage from the field to be transmitted from Iraq for use by regional and local media outlets, according to news accounts. "I'm kind of appalled by it. I think it's very troubling," says Charles Kravetz, vice president of news at the regional cable news outlet NECN. "I think the government has no business being in the news business." WBZ-TV's news director Peter Brown adds, "We have no interest in this. The Fourth Estate is independent and should remain so. As news providers, we should go there and see for ourselves." Government officials deny that this is an attempt to manage the news. Former ABC reporter Dorrance Smith, who now works for the CPA in Baghdad, says the satellite link, which has functioned for the past several weeks, is "an expansion of our ability to communicate.... Basically, this provides us with the ability to feed back briefing materials and the substance of what is happening in Baghdad to the Pentagon...on a real-time basis. It's for one or for all as opposed to the very few media who are here in Baghdad." WHDH-TV news director Ed Kosowski characterizes the new Iraq feed as "part of a very concerted effort on the part of the Bush administration to get its message out unfiltered." In recent months, the White House has increasingly used local television as a vehicle for countering negative images and stories coming out of Iraq, but many news directors reject the idea of picking up Pentagon material right from Iraq. WCVB-TV news director Coleen Marren says the station is well served by the reporting resources of CNN and ABC and has no use for what she calls "a government-sponsored television station." (Boston Globe)
US torture allegationsAn investigation by Inspector General Glenn Fine also finds that officials at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn improperly taped meetings between detainees and their lawyers, and used excessive strip searches and restraints to punish those in confinement. The report concludes that as many as 20 guards were involved in the abuse, which included slamming prisoners against walls and painfully twisting their arms and hands. Fine recommended discipline for 10 employees and counseling for two others who remain employed by the federal prison system. He also said the government should notify the employers of four former guards about their conduct. "some officers slammed and bounced detainees against the wall, twisted their arms and hands in painful ways, stepped on their leg restraint chains and punished them by keeping them restrained for long periods of time," the report reads. "We determined that the way these MDC staff members handled some detainees was, in many respects, unprofessional, inappropriate and in violation of BOP policy."
Conservative smear campaignsIn an e-mail fundraising letter sent by Bush reelection campaign manager Ken Mehlman, the Bush campaign accuses Democratic presidential candidates of "raising foreign cash to attack our president." It goes on to say, "Wesley Clark, who was in Europe when Saddam Hussein was captured, criticized the president this week and said that rather than going after Saddam, he would have let the United Nations continue to seek the dictator's cooperation." Clark spokesman Matt Bennett says the Clark campaign considered the reference to Clark being in Europe as a sideswipe against Bush's potential opponent. "We don't know why the Bush allies would question Gen. Clark's participation in a trial against a murderous despot," Bennett says. Clark, the former NATO commander, was in The Hague this week to testify in Milosevic's trial before a UN war crimes tribunal on charges including the massacre of 7,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica. Referring to the letter, Bennett says, "That's bizarre, given that the Bush administration actively encouraged Clark to participate in the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic. The State Department worked closely with Gen. Clark and the prosecution in determining how and when the testimony would be provided." A Bush campaign official who insisted on anonymity says of the reference to Clark's European trip only that "It's a statement of fact. We were describing his location." The fundraising letter says, "Democrats will do or say anything to defeat our president, wild accusations, reckless conspiracy theories and now raising money from foreign anti-American activists. Web sites for Wesley Clark and Howard Dean direct visitors from outside the United States to liberal fund-raising Web sites, where foreign donors can pledge money to fund left-wing efforts to defeat President Bush." Bennett denies the charges as "absurd and pathetic." He notes that among the links on the Clark campaign's Internet site is one to a site called "Canadians for Wesley Clark," which says Canadians cannot donate to the campaign but encourages donations to an independent pro-Clark site. A message on the Canadians for Clark site denies any illegal activities. "Wesley Clark and his campaign have absolutely nothing to do with this web site and...Canada is not a communist nation," it says. The Dean campaign also denies accepting or encouraging any foreign donations to any groups. "It's an absurd and offensive allegation by President Bush's campaign," says Dean spokesman Jay Carson. "These guys just play fast and loose with the facts, and it's another example of it." (Reuters)
Iraq war and occupationthe ongoing bloodshed is inflaming anti-coalition passions in Iraq and beyond it, encouraging paramilitary organizations and provoking acts of revenge from ordinary Iraqis driven beyond moderation by the deaths of friends and family under the Coalition Provisional Authority's military rule. British and American military spokespersons dodge the issue with obfuscation, as with this statement from UK defense minister Adam Ingram: "Through very strict rules of engagement, the use of precision munitions and the tactical methods employed to liberate Iraq's major cities, we are satisfied that the coalition did everything possible to avoid unnecessary casualties. We do not, therefore, propose to undertake a formal review of Iraqi casualties sustained." The CPA has already ordered the Iraqi health ministry to stop collecting statistics on civilian deaths; Iraqi health minister Dr. Khudair Abbas claims the order came about "because hospitals cannot distinguish between deaths that resulted from the coalition's efforts in the war, common crime among Iraqis, or deaths resulting from Saddam's brutal regime." Such statements are nonsensical on their face. John Sloboda, the co-founder of Iraq Body Count and incoming executive director of the Oxford Research Group, writes, "since the start of hostilities, Iraq Body Count has been tracking civilian deaths through worldwide media reports. We will continue this work until some official agency fulfils its responsibilities to the memory of those who have died since March 19 2003. The innocent victims of the Iraq conflict must be recorded and honoured -- and their relatives compensated -- for it is they who have paid most dearly for the decisions of our politicians." (Guardian)
Iraq war and occupation"...[T]hey are telling me something very different from what we are seeing on the evening news. What they are saying to me, often eloquently and in heart-wrenching words, is that they were lied to -- and this war has nothing to do with the security of the United States of America." Moore quotes from some of the letters. A Marine writes, "You'd be surprised at how many of the guys I talked to in my company and others believed that the president's scare about Saddam's WMD was a bunch of bullsh*t and that the real motivation for this war was only about money. There was also a lot of crap that many companies, not just Marine companies, had to go through with not getting enough equipment to fulfill their missions when they crossed the border. It was a miracle that our company did what it did the two months it was staying in Iraq during the war.... We were promised to go home on June 8th, and found out that it was a lie and we got stuck doing missions for an extra three months. Even some of the most radical conservatives in our company including our company gunnery sergeant, got a real bad taste in their mouth about the Marine Corps, and maybe even President Bush."
US militaryThe problem starts with an obscure Federal regulation in Bush's "No Child Left Behind" education act that requires schools to provide military recruiters the names, addresses, and phone numbers of their students. Some systems have designed consent forms for parents to sign and return if they approve of this information being given to the military; during the summer, many systems were informed that the consent forms did not meet federal standards. The consent forms have had to be rewritten to make it much harder for parents to deny military recruiters this information. "It's a George W. Bush thing," says Santa Cruz school board commissioner Cece Pinheiro. "We've been fighting this for some time." One parent has hand-delivered forms to his sons' school in Texas to ensure that the recruiters, who call several times a day at times, will stop. "It's up to parents to tell the schools that, where military recruitment is concerned, they'd prefer their children be left behind," he says. (Christian Science Monitor)
Media manipulation and marketing by GOPThe article says, "The latest chapter unfolded this week with wide publicity -- capped by a favorable mention in a William Safire column in the New York Times on Monday and the usual hosannas on Fox News -- concerning a supposed document that linked 9/11 hijacker Mohammad Atta to Saddam Hussein. ...There's only one problem: Just like every other bit of paper linking Saddam to 9/11 (some of them also touted by Safire), the latest document appears to be bogus. Yet many in the press keep taking them seriously." (Editor and Publisher)
Domestic terrorismThe FBI arrested two suspects, found a sodium cyanide bomb capable of wreaking destruction on the scale of the Timothy McVeigh bombing of 1995, as well as about 100 other bombs, bomb components, machine guns, chemical agents, and 500,000 rounds of ammunition. They also found documents detailing an apparent scheme to actually use these weapons, some indicating other suspects might still be at large. The two suspects plead guilty. The Chronicle writes: "Big story, right? Huge, right? John Ashcroft throwing the curtain over the naked lady statue so that he can crow at the top of his lungs about how his Justice Department is keeping America safe, right? So why haven't you heard about it? Well for starters, it could be because Ashcroft is not crowing about it, nor is anyone else at Justice. Not one press conference. Just a quietly issued press release. If that defies explanation, some Ashcroft critics think they have one: The suspects were named William J. Krar and Judith L. Bruey, not Mohammed or Omar or Khalid. They aren't Muslims, but alleged white supremacists. And they were caught right here in Texas." Media coverage has been all but non-existent. Even news outlets in Texas have all but ignored the story. Except for a single editorial in the New York Times and coverage on Pacifica Network's Democracy Now feature, the national media has paid no attention. The question is: why not? (Austin Chronicle)
George W. BushHuberman, whose book is an overview of the Bush presidency from a liberal viewpoint, tells the interviewer, "I'd have to say that even in an era of big-money politics, of government for sale, this administration goes beyond anything I've seen before. I don't think there's a single thing the Bushies have done that doesn't, in some way, strengthen their hold on power, usually by solidifying the support of their corporate and big-money clientele. Faithfully and generously serving that clientele is this administration's real business. Big business hardly needs lobbyists anymore -- the lobbyists are on the inside now, occupying key positions throughout Bush administration. I think you can even subsume the Iraq war under this heading. The purpose of invading Iraq, if you could reduce it to just one, was to boost Bush's popularity and get him reelected -- to in turn ensure the accomplishment of the right's domestic agenda."
Iraq war and occupation"The police had a roadblock on the road linking Kirkuk and Baghdad," says an Iraqi policeman. "An American patrol arrived around 0200 and opened fire, taking the police to be guerrillas." The US military says it is investigating the incident. (Agence France-Press/Terra Net)
9/11 attacksShe and her staff are arguing over ground rules for her appearance in part because, apparently, she does not want to testify under oath or in public. While the commission may invite -- not subpoena -- the testimony of former president Bill Clinton, former VP Al Gore, and current officeholders Bush and Cheney, it has been seeking the sworn testimony of other Clinton and Bush administration officials. Commission chairman Thomas Kean, who has already suggested that the attacks could have been prevented had mid-level officials done their jobs, is expected to grill Rice and other senior Bush officials over their actions before and after the attacks. One Republican commissioner says a comment by Rice last year that no one "could have predicted that they would try to use a...hijacked airplane as a missile" was "an unfortunate comment...that was, of course, a wrong-footed statement on its face," given that there was years of intelligence about al-Qaeda's interest in airplane attacks. An administration spokesperson says of Rice's cooperation with the commission, "Dr. Rice and the White House continue to work amiably with the commission, consistent with the President's desire to make staff available in accordance with his ability to fight the war on terrorism." (Time)
2004 presidential elections"I'll beat the sh*t out of them." He adds, "I hope that's not on television." It indeed goes out live on C-SPAN. Clark is responding to a question that referred to then-candidate George W. Bush attacking Senator John McCain's commitment to veterans in the 2000 primaries. Clark is asked if he would take the offensive if Bush or any of the other Democrats questioned his trading military caps with a Bosnian general who now is a war crimes suspect, or cited critical comments about Clark by former Army brass. Clark's campaign clarifies his remarks to note that he meant the statement rhetorically, not physically, and will come out strongly against anyone who challenges his patriotism or military service. "General Clark is a military man and a fighter," says campaign spokesman Bill Buck. "He'll stand up to President Bush or any of the administration's chicken hawks that attack his patriotism, military record, or his commitment to veterans, which is one of the reasons why he will beat George Bush." The campaign's traveling press secretary, Jamal Simmons, calls it "an unscripted comment from a blunt-spoken leader. If anyone tries to question Wes Clark's character, integrity, or his commitment to this country or its security, they're going to be in the biggest fight they've ever had." (Boston Globe)
Iraq war and occupationAccording to the Sunday Mirror, the two have fallen out over plans for the reconstruction of the country and the heavy-handed action of American troops against the civilian population. The rift has been deepened by the US's disapproval of a proposed morale-boosting visit by Blair to British troops in Iraq during the Christmas holiday. According to diplomats, relations between the allies have gone into "deep freeze" since the capture of Saddam Hussein last weekend. Reportedly, Bush is "incensed" that Blair stole his thunder by being the first Western leader to confirm that the former dictator had been arrested by US troops. Downing Street rushed out Blair's announcement before he had spoken to Bush early last Sunday, when Bush, six hours behind London, was still in bed. Whitehall insiders confirm that Blair's decision was partly out of anger over a US veto on his proposed visit to British troops in Iraq during the Christmas holiday. Presidential advisers in Washington wanted Mr Bush to be the sole leader to make a Christmas visit to troops in Baghdad and urged Downing Street to postpone any visit. The US refused to co-operate on security arrangements for a Christmas visit by Blair, who is going to spend the festive season with his family in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh. Blair and Bush have had at least three phone conversations during the past seven days which Whitehall officials described as "increasingly terse." A Downing Street insider said: "Relations between the two are at the lowest ebb since they first met. The PM is not happy at having to deal with Britain's European partners who have been left out of the rebuilding contracts. Of course they are still talking -- but the diplomatic temperature is in the deep freeze." Blair has expressed his concern over Bush's decision to rule Germany, France and other European countries out of the running for lucrative contracts in the reconstruction of Iraq. And in recent phone conversations with Bush, Blair has also expressed worries about heavy-handed US tactics against Iraqi civilians. (Sunday Mirror)
Anti-terrorism and homeland securityDHS Secretary Tom Ridge writes, "The US Intelligence Community has received a substantial increase in the volume of threat related intelligence reports. These credible sources suggest the possibility of attacks against the homeland around the holiday season and beyond." No specifics of the nature of the attacks are given. Ridge's advice to Americans about handling the high alert status? "Just go about your business. ...If you've got travel plans, travel." "The information we have indicates that extremists abroad are anticipating near-term attacks that they believe will either rival or exceed" the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Ridge adds. "The volume [of intelligence reports] is up. The quality of the reporting is up. The credibility is there." (Department of Homeland Security, ABC News)
US militaryThe magazine's editors chose the nameless soldier to represent the 1.4 million men and women who make up the US military, according to magazine spokespersons. The magazine honors soldiers but not the Bush administration for putting them in Iraq, calling troops "the bright sharp instrument of a blunt policy," and leaving it to scholars to debate "whether the Bush doctrine is the most muscular expression of national interest in a half-century." It continues, "A force intensively trained for its mission finds itself improvising at every turn, required to exercise exquisite judgment in extreme circumstances. They complain less about the danger than the uncertainty -- they are told they're going home in two weeks, and then two months later they have not moved." (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Global nuclear proliferationInitial visits have found that Libya was quite close to developing a nuclear weapons capability (probably a low-yield atomic bomb), had significant quantities of chemicals capable of being used as weapons; possessed research centers for biological weapons-related work at Tarhuna and Qabilat az Zaribah, and was developing long-range missiles, largely bought from Pakistan. Libya was far more dangerous an enemy than Iraq was when the coalition invaded that country. (The investigation also reveals that Malaysia has joined the hunt for nuclear weapons, using a free-trade zone in Dubai to acquire critical technology.) Even so, as Edmund Greene of the Royal United Services Institute points out, "For its part, the US was certainly not pressing for action against Libya on the question of weapons of mass destruction or its alleged sponsorship with terrorism." The information about Libya's missile program shows the technology was largely dormant and based on the obsolete Scud delivery vehicle, and much of the chemical and biological holdings could have been produced at dual-use civilian facilities. "I am not impressed by what I've seen," says a senior non-proliferation official. "It was not a well-developed program -- not a serious research-and-development approach to make use of what they bought. It was useless. But I was absolutely struck by what the Libyans were able to buy. What's on the market is absolutely horrendous. It's a Mafia-type business, with corruption and secrecy." The IAEA even finds blueprints for the construction of what an IAEA official calls "a sweet little bomb. ...It's too big for a Scud, but it'll go into a family car. It's a terrorist's dream." The US is far more forgiving; while conceding that Libya was "moving in the right direction," a US State Department official says it is too early to say if the findings were based on hard facts: "We're at the start. We will work with them as long as they are genuine in their initiative."
Islamist terrorismThe disclosure comes on the heels of an announcement that Libya will renounce its weapons of mass destruction programs. Libya, which possesses one of the most effective intelligence networks of any Arab nation, has coordinated for two years with MI6, as well as the CIA, to provide key intelligence in return for the lifting of economic sanctions by the West. The key Libyan negotiator, Musa Kousa, the head of Libya's external security organization, was formerly listed as one of the major enemies of the US and Britain, until the 9/11 attacks caused those countries to turn to Libya for help. Mousa has been accused of being heavily involved in international terrorism, including masterminding Libya's support for the IRA, and was expelled from Britain in 1980 for publicly threatening to murder dissidents. He was also named by the French as a suspect in the bombing of a civilian airliner over Niger in 1989 with the loss of 170 lives. In 1995, a secret MI5 assessment accused Kousa of running agents in the UK and of presiding over an organization "responsible for supporting terrorist organisations and for perpetrating state sponsored acts of terrorism." Now Kousa is negotiating the final details of the plan to bring Libya into the fold from a comfortable office in the Travellers' Club in Pall Mall with senior figures from the Foreign Office and MI6.
Iraq war and occupationThe actual story, the newspaper claims, is that Kurdish forces had already taken him prisoner. Hussein was drugged and abandoned, ready for his "capture" by American forces. Hussein was originally captured by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) after being betrayed by a member of the al-Jabour tribe, whose daughter had been raped by Saddam's son Uday, leading to a blood feud. The story is bolstered by information from an unnamed British military intelligence officer. US claims that its own intelligence work led to the capture of Hussein are also being challenged by reports sourced in Iraq's Kurdish language media that say its militia set up the circumstances in which the US merely had to go to a farm identified by the Kurds to take the fugitive former president into custody. The US claims to have taken Saddam prisoner around 8:30 local time on Saturday, December 13, but sat on the dramatic news until 3 PM the next day. But early on Sunday, a Kurdish language wire service reported explicitly: "Saddam Hussein was captured by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. A special intelligence unit led by Qusrat Rasul Ali, a high-ranking member of the PUK, found Saddam Hussein in the city of Tikrit, his birthplace. Qusrat's team was accompanied by a group of US soldiers. Details of the capture will emerge but the global Kurdish party is about to begin." Western media reports of Hussein's capture relied almost exclusively on US military and governmental reports. According to the PUK, it received a vital intelligence breakthrough after a telephone conversation between Qusrat Rasul Ali and Saddam's second wife, Samira, which had prompted the Kurds to move units of their Peshmerga fighters to where Saddam was hiding. The report said the Americans had insisted that it be an American arrest because they worried that such a coup for the Kurds might provoke an Arab-Kurd civil war. A Kurdish member of the Iraq Governing Council, Mahmud Othman, also suggested a critical role for Kurds in the arrest when he said on Sunday the 14th: "Before 4 AM (more than 12 hours ahead of the US announcement) today, Qusrat Rasul Ali called me to inform me that his men, with the Americans, had managed to capture Saddam Hussein." A Western intelligence source in the Middle East says, "Saddam was not captured as a result of any American or British intelligence. We knew that someone would eventually take their revenge, it was just a matter of time." (Bloomberg News, The Age, Channel News Asia)
Iraq war and occupationCPA administrator Paul Bremer says of Hussein, "He looked to me like a man who had lost hope. You could see it in his eyes, particularly. He was tired, obviously, but beyond that, underneath that, you could see resignation. ...He was a defeated man, thank God." Mowaffak Al-Rubaie of the Iraqi Governing Council was one of the men brought in to identify Hussein. Al-Rubaie, who was jailed and tortured by Hussein's regime, said to Hussein, "Saddam Hussein, may God curse what have you done to the Iraqi people. How are you going to face God in the here after, in the day of judgment? What are you going to say to God?" According to Al-Rubaie, Hussein just turned away. "I found him...very defiant, very unrepentant," says Al-Rubaie. "He felt absolutely no remorse towards the crimes he has committed against the Iraqi people. Very unapologetic." Hussein insisted he was still the people's choice. "He was saying that he was an elected...people have elected him to rule Iraq," says Al-Rubaie. "I said, 'There are hundreds of thousands of people out in the streets now, rejoicing and celebrating your capture. Shall we take you and hand you over to these people? They will eat you alive, Saddam Hussein.' He said, 'These are thugs, hooligans, gangsters.'" Al-Rubaie continues, "I said, 'Why did you kill hundreds of thousands of people in the mass graves?' He turned around and said, 'Did you ask their relatives, what they had done these people? They were thieves, or they escaped from the battlefield.''" He also questioned Hussein about the 1988 nerve gas attack on ethnic Kurds in northern Iraq. Hussein, however, claimed that the Iranians had poisoned the people of Halabjah with nerve gas.
Middle East peace processBush tells an Israeli journalist that "we must get rid of" Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Bush made the comment at a Christmas party in Washington, shortly after a keynote speech by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Thursday in which he outlined plans for unilateral disengagement from peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Such a statement by Bush is almost guaranteed to produce an extreme reaction from Palestinians, who already complain that Israel is heavily favored by the US in peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel. (Channel News Asia)
US militaryopening the door for consideration of expanding the military. Rumsfeld has been under pressure from Congress to expand the military by at least two divisions, or 20,000 troops; while he has resisted that idea up till now, indications are that he is giving it new consideration. Rumsfeld says he is opposed to a military draft. (Time)
Military-industrial complexDarleen Druyun is a perfect example of the problem. She retired from the US Air Force in late 2002, where she had spent three decades in various acquisition roles, negotiating billion-dollar weapons contracts and amassing valuable insights into Pentagon policy and the strengths and weaknesses of defense contractors. Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed were all attempting to hire her, and Boeing won out, signing her to a juicy contract. Now the hiring of Druyun is at the heart of the investigation into the company. Boeing fired both Druyun and CFO Michael Sears in November 2003 for what it called "unethical" conduct. Their dealings were a major factor in the resignation a week later of the company's chairman and chief executive, Phil Condit. Druyun was preparing for a position at Boeing two months before she recused herself from handling Boeing contracts. While she was negotiating for a position with Boeing, she was also continuing to push a controversial $21 billion plan to have the government lease and later buy 100 Boeing-made airplanes.
HalliburtonThe case stems from a contract by a consortium including the American company Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), a Halliburton subsidiary, and a French company, Technip, to build a $6 billion gas liquefaction plant in Nigeria. A Paris investigating magistrate has been conducting investigations since October into allegations that $180 million was paid in secret commissions during the late 1990s up to 2002 from funds established by the consortium in Madeira. Cheney was Halliburton's chief executive between 1995 and 2000. Van Ruymbeke believes that some or all of $180 million in so-called secret "retrocommissions" paid by Halliburton and Technip were, in fact, bribes given to Nigerian officials and others to grease the wheels for the refinery's construction. Van Ruymbeke has fingered as the bagman in the operation a 55-year-old London lawyer, Jeffrey Tesler, who has worked for Halliburton for some thirty years. Tesler was paid the $180 million as a "commercial consultant" through a Gibraltar-based front company he set up called TriStar. TriStar, in turn, got the money from a consortium set up for the Nigeria deal by Halliburton and Technip and registered in Madeira, the Portuguese offshore island where taxes don't apply.
Iraq war and occupationInstead, Bremer lays the blame squarely on "35 years of of economic and political incompetence." Bremer is flat wrong. According to retired Iraqi engineer Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar, allied bombing in 1990 had disabled 18 of Iraq's 20 power stations. The two barely operating plants were able to produce only 4% of Iraq's pre-war electricity output. Despite a severe lack of parts and financing, the Iraqis managed to restore power to the country in four months, a task not yet completed by the US even though it has had significantly longer and has tremendous resources. The New England Journal of Medicine reported: "By May 1990, repairs undertaken by cannibalizing spare parts from other plants had brought generation back up to about a quarter of pre-war levels. By August the system was back to two thirds of its 1990 peak output..." Al-Mukhtar has little patience for the ongoing, excuse-ridden failure of US forces to restore electricity in 2003: "To improve the generating capacity from 4% to 67% in four months is a very great achievement that Bremer could not do with all his highly paid people." The horrific effect of US air strikes on Iraq's water and electrical infrastructure between the 1990 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraqi invasion has been well-documented, as has been the devastation wrought by the invasion itself. (Voice of Democracy)
Iraq war and occupationwho promptly punched the former dictator. An official military spokeswoman in Iraq claims no knowledge of the incident: "I think this is an urban legend," she says. Similarly, doubts have been cast upon the widely reported story that one of Hussein's captors greeted him with the words, "Regards from President Bush." The story is now considered "apocryphal." (Time)
2004 presidential elections"...I support missile defense efforts that make us more secure; I oppose deployment of any system not yet proven to work," he writes. "I favor active talks with North Korea, backed by the threat of force, rather than a stubborn refusal to engage that has allowed the situation to become more dangerous by the day. And the role I support for the National Guard is hardly "radical"; it was endorsed by the bipartisan Hart-Rudman commission and in fact is enshrined in our Constitution (Section 8, Clause 15)." Dean goes on to criticize both the Post and the Bush administration for their takes on foreign policy: "More important, The Post's editorial comes close to equating the Bush administration's foreign policy -- including its signature doctrine of 'preemptive war' -- with the American foreign policy mainstream. In fact, the Bush agenda represents a radical departure from decades of bipartisan consensus on the appropriate use of U.S. power and our leadership in the world community. From its derisive treatment of allies to its rejection of important global agreements, this administration has favored a go-it-alone approach and a determination to use force as its weapon of first resort. Its approach has alienated friends and bolstered foes. Its agenda isolates the United States, placing responsibility for all the world's problems in our hands, and runs counter to America's traditions as a republic. By contrast, my national security policy reflects the best of our mainstream tradition. I believe the United States must exercise leadership by working with allies and partners to advance common interests, rather than advancing our power unilaterally."