Iraq war and occupationin a non-binding resolution, that some of the $87 billion requested for Iraqi reconstruction costs be made loans, not grants, as wanted by Bush and the White House. The White House in return threatens to veto the entire bill if any of the monies are appropriated as loans. "It is troubling that the Administration is willing to jeopardize these funds over a dispute over the loan -- especially when the vast majority of the American people support the loan," says Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. (Guardian)
Plame outingAttorney General John Ashcroft has involved himself quite deliberately and deeply into the investigation of the source of the leak that outed CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. Ashcroft is "aware" of virtually every detail of the investigation, and may be taking a far more active role in directing, or misdirecting, the investigation than has previously been acknowledged. Democratic Senator Charles Schumer says that the attorney general's close personal and political ties to the White House pose a potential conflict if Mr. Ashcroft knows the White House officials investigators plan to interview. "When the line prosecutors know that the attorney general knows what they are doing, it could hamper their independence," says Schumer. "It means someone is watching over them, and that's not what we want in a case like this. It has a chilling effect, and it makes the case for Ashcroft recusing himself stronger." (New York Times/Freedom of Information Center)
Mercenaries and "private armies"The latest is the assigning of private security firms to guard military bases. A typical example is the $70 million government contract with Akal Security to guard eight US bases; another is the $35 million contract for Blackwater USA to train soldiers in anti-terrorist tactics. The process can be so secretive that, in Blackwater's case, the company president cannot tell one federal agency about the business he's doing with another. Defense contractors do more than simply build airplanes, they maintain these planes on the battlefield and even fly them in war zones. Private bodyguards supply security for the president of Afghanistan, construct detention camps to hold suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, and fly armed reconnaissance planes and helicopter gunships to eliminate coca crops in Colombia. They run intelligence and communications systems at the US Northern Command in Colorado, which is responsible for coordinating responses to any attack on the United States. Licensed by the State Department, they are contracting with foreign governments, training soldiers and reorganizing militaries in Nigeria, Bulgaria, Taiwan, and Equatorial Guinea. In Iraq, almost a third of the $4 billion monthly costs are going to private contractors. Five times as many civilian contractors are working in Iraq now as were employed during the first Gulf War. Privatization was first employed on such a large basis when Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense for the first Bush administration. Cheney oversaw the awarding of an $8.9 million logistics contract for Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton Oil; Cheney would later become CEO of Halliburton. Of approximately 3,000 civilian contracts awarded by the Pentagon since 1994, about 2,700 have gone to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root and one other firm. (Daily Misleader, Mother Jones)
Conservative hate speech and intoleranceand claims that distortions and misrepresentations are the cause of the public's distaste for the law. Some Democrats agree with their GOP colleagues that criticism of the Patriot Act is sometimes overly harsh, but one, Senator Patrick Leahy, blames part of the problem on Attorney General John Ashcroft, whom he terms "arrogant, dismissive and condescending" of any questions or criticisms leveled at the legislation. (New York Times/Freedom of Information Center)
Bush's foreign policiesand denies he was rebuked by Bush for his earlier remarks. Bush called the initial comments "wrong and divisive," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said earlier, and quoted Bush as telling Mahathir, "It stands squarely against what I believe." Mahathir says reports Bush had rebuked him were wrong. "Certainly, he did not rebuke me," Mahathir says. All he said was that 'I regret today to have to use strong words against you'. After that we were walking practically hand-in-hand." (Reuters/GusDur)
Global nuclear proliferationboth nations may also be in a race to develop biological weapons. Few details are available as yet. (India Times)
Iraq war and occupationHe says the average number of attacks per day is between 20 and 25, reaching as high as 35 on some days. Sanchez also says that the attacks should become more aggressive and effective. He says that some of the recent bombings may be the work of al-Qaeda operatives, though no known members have yet been caught in Iraq. (Voice of America [cached Google copy)]
Iraq war and occupationNon-combatant deaths, or deaths from wounds or injuries, are not reported. A Washington Post editor says, "There could be some inattention to [the number of injured troops]. And obviously if there is, it should be corrected. Soldiers getting wounded is part of the reality of conflict on the ground. I think if you were to find or discover that those figures are being overlooked, that would be something we'd want to correct." The article reports, "since the war began in March, 1,927 soldiers have been wounded in Iraq, many quite severely. (The tally is current as of Oct. 20.) Of this number, 1,590 were wounded in hostile action, and 337 from other causes. About 20% of the injured in Iraq have suffered severe brain injuries, and as many as 70% 'had the potential for resulting in brain injury'...." While many wounded soldiers are able to survive injuries that would have killed them in earlier wars due to modern medical and response techniques, many of the survivors are left with crippling injuries or loss of limbs. Media outlets that only track hostile combat deaths fail to capture the human toll of thousands of troops left injured and crippled. Up until recently, the Pentagon and the US Central Command has refused to provide the numbers to the media, but even after the numbers have begun to be released, many media outlets fail to ask for them. (Editor and Publisher)
Anti-terrorism and homeland securityand that a new agency would help fight a "war of ideas" against international terrorism. "We are in a war of ideas, as well as a global war on terror. And the ideas are important and they need to be marshaled, and they need to be communicated in ways that are persuasive to the listeners." Rumsfeld suggests a "21st-century information agency in the government" to help in the international battle of ideas and to limit the teaching of terrorism and extremism. (Reuters/Wired News)
Bush's economic policies"Betsy, [residents of public housing are] not going to lose it, because if you work less than 30 hours a week -- if you work more than 30 hours a week, you don't have to do it. If you're between the ages of 18 and 62 and you're not legally disabled and you have free housing -- in other words..." McCaughey replies, "No. Wait a second, Sean. Let me correct you. Most people in public housing are not receiving free housing. Many of them are paying almost market rates." Hannity responds, "Betsy, that is so ridiculous and so false, it's hardly even worth spending the time." According to information provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, residents of public housing pay rent scaled to their household's anticipated gross annual income, less deductions for dependents and disabilities. The basic formula for rent is 30 percent of this monthly adjusted income. There are exceptions for extremely low incomes, but the minimum rent is $25 per month. No one lives in public housing for free. (HUD/Center for American Progress)
Iraq war and occupationAlthough the Kay group's report is being kept secret, leaked information from the report indicates that it states that all evidence shows that Iraq had no program to construct any such weapons after the 1991 Gulf War. The report states, in the words of the Washington Post, that "Iraq's nuclear weapons scientists did no significant arms-related work after 1991, that facilities with suspicious new construction proved benign, and that equipment of potential use to a nuclear program remained under seal or in civilian industrial use." Investigators believe that while Hussein still harbored nuclear ambitions, he had no active program to build such a weapon, produce the necessary materials, or obtain the technology needed for either. The Kay group gives final certification of the notorious aluminum tubes, said by the Bush administration to be proof of Hussein's nuclear program, as "innocuous" and definitely used for the construction of conventional rockets. Many of the tubes have not been confiscated by US authorities; one investigator believes that many of them have been looted and "sold as drain pipe." One officials with extensive expertise on Iraq says, "Everybody, including Donald Rumsfeld, agrees the program was destroyed 12 years ago. The question for David [Kay] is whether it restarted." It seems clear that the answer is "no." White House officials refused to comment on the report, but apparently are refusing to back down from their claims that Iraq indeed had a burgeoning nuclear program. Many of Kay's search team have left Iraq to pursue their private careers; though the US insists that the search isn't over, the experts seem to believe otherwise. "By and large, our judgment is that sanctions have been pretty good, or the sanctions effort, to prevent the import of components," says one investigator. In the realm of nuclear proliferation, he says, "I guess there's more fertile ground in North Korea or Iran." (Washington Post)
Iraq war and occupationThe report charges that "billions of dollars of oil money that has already been transferred to the US-controlled Coalition Provisional Agency (CPA) has effectively disappeared into a financial black hole. For all the talk of freedom and democracy for the Iraqi people -- before, during, and after the war which toppled Saddam Hussein -- there is no way of knowing how the vast majority of this money has been spent. This situation is in direct violation of the UN resolution that allowed Iraqi assets to be transferred to the CPA. Indeed, the body that is supposed to oversee how Iraq's assets are used has not even been set up yet. Just as disturbingly, if this lack of transparency is is perpetuated it could well hold the seeds for future disaster in Iraq. The very oil revenues that are potentially the country's greatest asset could, on all available evidence, prove to be a curse." Christian Aid estimates that by year's end, over $9 billion in Iraqi oil money and other assets will have "disappeared," presumably into various US corporate coffers, without a trace. (Christian Aid)
Prewar intelligence on IraqAs reported, "[t]he committee staff was surprised by the amount of circumstantial evidence and single-source or disputed information used to write key intelligence documents -- in particular the Oct. 2002 National Intelligence Estimate -- summarizing Iraq's capabilities and intentions." Like a similar report being prepared by the House, the Senate's report is careful to shift as much blame as possible onto the CIA, FBI, and other agencies, and away from the Bush administration. Many Democrats feel that the Republican committee leadership is attempting to cover for the administration, which is facing criticism for exagerrating, "cherry-picking" and misrepresenting information gleaned from US intelligence sources. Senior Democratic committee member Jay Rockefeller says, "If the majority declines to put the executive branch at risk, then they are going to have a very difficult minority to deal with." He says that he has the votes necessary to launch an inquiry into the administration's use of intelligence if needed. (MSNBC/Information Clearinghouse)
Prewar intelligence on Iraqaccuses Republican chairman Pat Roberts of attempting to protect the Bush administration by laying all of the blame for lapses in intelligence about Iraq solely on the CIA and other intelligence agencies, without holding the administration responsible for anything. Rockefeller says, "It is my belief...that what he wants to do is to put all of this, lay all of this off on the intelligence community and never get to any other branches of government, in particular the White House and associated high and visible government agencies." Rockefeller is advocating that the committee wait until next year, when David Kay's team finishes its search of Iraq for WMDs, before issuing a final report; Roberts wants to issue a report as quickly as possible. "You cannot have a fair report without David Kay's final report and the whole question of the use of intelligence, the possibility of manipulation, the shaping of intelligence," says Rockefeller.
Plame outingJim Marcinkowski and Larry Johnson, both former colleagues of Plame's, insist that the committee open its own investigation to augment and support the Justice Department's current investigation: "I have every confidence they [Justice officials] will come up with the right conclusion," says Marcinkowski. "But obviously there are going to be people that are going to question that conclusion, so you might as well put it all on the table right now." Marcinkowski says the committee must understand that the leak was an "unprecedented and extremely egregious act." He urges the committee "to say, 'We're going to look at this because it's important.'" Johnson, a Republican who contributed to the Bush campaign, adds, "When you start outing clandestine officers for political reasons, that has to be stopped."
US veteransCongressional representatives and the Army's deputy surgeon general are also visiting the facility to investigate the level of medical care and the substandard housing provided to those soldiers. (Savannah Morning News)
George W. BushPrepared to call the book yet another polemic based as much on outrage and emotion and fact ("This is not a Bush-bashing book. Indeed, much of its power comes from the fact that it is not"), Dean is flabbergasted at just how calmly, factually, and systematically Corn proves that the Bush administration is built upon outright and flagrant lies. Dean writes, "Corn found that 'lies, in part, made this president, and lies frequently have been the support beams of his administration.' In sum, Corn has done for George Bush what Ken Starr did for Bill Clinton: provided evidence that places his presidency in jeopardy." (Material from Corn's book has been excerpted for this site.) (FindLaw)
Congressional RepublicansTheir pay increases next year from the current $154,700 to about $158,000. Vice President Cheney and Supreme Court justices will see similar increases in their paychecks. Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, who consistently opposes all such pay increases, says this year's raise is particularly inappropriate given the state of the US economy and the ballooning deficit. "At a time when our country is facing record annual deficits, this automatic stealth pay raise system is absolutely wrong," he says. Feingold has a policy of returning to the Treasury any pay he receives above his salary at the beginning of his six-year term. With the raise, lawmakers will have received five straight pay increases totally $21,000. "I think that our representatives of government deserve a pay raise consistent with the work that we've produced," says Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican. (Guardian)
US veteransJohnson was freed after 22 days in captivity, while Lynch was the focus of a highly publicized, and staged, rescue. Johnson, who was shot through both legs, has been dubbed "the forgotten POW" while Lynch, who is eligible for 80% disability benefits, was lionized by the American press. The difference is between $600-$700 a month. Johnson and her family believe that the Army is employing a double standard (Johnson is black, Lynch is white), and have begun speaking out about the discrepancy. Jesse Jackson, who has taken up Johnson's cause, says, "Here's a case of two women, same [unit], same war; everything about their service commitment and their risk is equal.... Yet there's an enormous contrast between how the military has handled these two cases." "There is [a double standard]," says father Claude Johnson. "I don't know for sure that it was the Pentagon. All I know for sure is that the news media paid a lot of attention to Jessica." The parents say that Johnson, who refuses to talk to the press, suffers from a permanent limp and bouts of severe depression. Reportedly Johnson was stunned and angered when the Army informed her of its decision on her disability. The Army denies that any disparity is involved, and says that all such cases are handled on a basis of injuries suffered. Lynch and Johnson became good friends during their time recuperating from their injuries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center; Johnson visited Lynch after Lynch returned to her home town. (BET, Washington Post)
Iraq war and occupationThe US had asked for commitments totaling $36 billion, but security concerns and opposition to the US occupation cause many countries to refuse to provide assistance. UN president Kofi Annan urged donors to "give and give generously. ...We all look forward to the earliest possible establishment of a sovereign Iraqi government, but the start of the reconstruction cannot be delayed until that day." A representative of the Iraqi Governing Council, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, says: "The Iraqi people need finance, not promises. We need a direct, immediate infusion of cash...a push to get back on the road and get the economy back on its feet." (Sydney Morning Herald)
Iraq war and occupationSome key findings include: the lack of daily intelligence reports produced by designated officials, due to the lack of guidance from superiors; superiors that are junior intelligence officers with little or no training and experience; tremendous problems with computer compatibility, with intelligence databases stored on computers that would not connect with other computers used for compilation and evaluation of critical data. The report also notes that many intelligence officials are improperly used as part of "door-kicker" teams employed to raid suspicious dwellings and buildings. Worse, the intelligence officials "were usually the #2 man, who statistically is the person who gets shot." Journalist Fred Kaplan writes, "In other words, intelligence-gathering and intelligence-analysis teams are held in such low esteem that they're supplied with mismatched computer systems, they're manned by junior officers (or more senior officers who've received little training), they're assigned to risky raid operations that have nothing to do with their missions, and, as if to place an exclamation point on their dispensability, they're put in the raid-team's most dangerous slot." The Washington Post reports, "The Army critique of U.S. intelligence efforts in Iraq is especially noteworthy, because the Bush administration and senior military commanders have maintained for months that more U.S. troops are not needed in Iraq, and that what is needed, instead, is better intelligence." The report also notes that many key intelligence machines were employed improperly or not used at all; one example is an unmanned aerial vehicle system, the Hunter, that sat idle for 30 days because it had not been assigned an operational frequency on which to operate. UAVs that were employed were often next to useless due to operational limitations and an overwhelming number of assigned tasks. Interpreters were in short supply, and were not often used efficiently, often being used as "gofers." (Washington Post, Slate, Global Security [the actual report])
Antiwar protestsThe rallies, sponsored by the coalition groups International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice, draw tens of thousands of participants. In contrast, a pro-administration counter-rally by the Free Republic draws approximately 1,000 protesters. (AP/Yahoo! Asia)
Iraq war and occupationWolfowitz is "visibly shaken" but unharmed, but casualties are high, with one soldier dead and 15 others wounded, including 11 Americans. The hotel is near the heart of the main American compound in Baghdad, in the so-called "Green Zone," and heavily defended; it is not known how the assailants got close enough to mount the attack. Mark Etherington, the then-governor of Wasit province, later writes that the attack "succeeded in inculcating a sense of fear and insecurity in the CPA's headquarters staff that was never again banished. The Green Zone was at once HQ and emblem. Its presumed impregnability -- its walls, check points, wire, and US troops -- now ironically fed a new sense of fear: if this assemblage of defenses had once proved inadequate, who could believe in it again? ...Clearly no one was beyond reach, and it was no longer possible to assume that personal security could somehow be insulated from policy." More broadly, Etherington writes, "Probably the most insistent of the doubts raised by that salvo concerned the truth of political claims that the Coalition was winning the 'war on terror' in Iraq. On the contrary, the impression was now that we faced an expert, determined and courageous enemy able to strike at will; and it was this realization more than any other that steadily eroded morale. These attacks had a further, more damaging effect: the defenses of the Green Zone, which were designed to protect its inhabitants, had also deprived them of sensation, and in further buttressing them and tightening procedures, CPA HQ staff began inexorably to lose the ability to accurately judge the situation outside." Of his own situation farther south in al-Kut: "We plainly had no abiding control over the city."
Iraq war and occupationOther attacks take place around Iraq, apparently carefully orchestrated to take place within 45 minutes of each other. US officials are quick to blame "Saddam loyalists" for the attacks, though no hard evidence is yet available; conversely, an Iraqi general blames foreign fighters, partially because one captured car bomber has a Syrian passport. Bush reacts to the bombings in a chillingly Orwellian fashion, saying, "There are terrorists in Iraq who are willing to kill anyone in order to stop our progress. The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers react." Authors Eric Alterman and Mark Green observe, "By this logic, if all Iraqis and American soldiers are eventually killed, the entire operation may be judged a total success." Republican senator John McCain says of Bush's remarks, "This is the first time that I have seen a parallel to Vietnam, in terms of information that the administration is putting out versus the actual situation on the ground." (Guardian, White House/Washington Post/Eric Alterman and Mark Green)
9/11 attacksKean has already subpoenaed the FAA for documents concerning its response to reports that airliners were hijacked the morning of 9/11, and intends to issue more subpoenas if the White House continues to refuse to provide documents requested by the commission. Kean is losing patience with what he calls the administration's "foot-dragging", and believes the administration wants to run out the clock on the committee's mandate, which is due to expire in May 2004. "I will not stand for it," Kean has said. " Anything that has to do with 9/11, we have to see it -- anything. There are a lot of theories about 9/11, and as long as there is any document out there that bears on any of those theories, we're going to leave questions unanswered. And we cannot leave questions unanswered. ...It's obvious that the White House wants to run out the clock here. It's Halloween, and we're still in negotiations with some assistant White House counsel about getting these documents -- it's disgusting. ...As each day goes by, we learn that this government knew a whole lot more about these terrorists before Sept. 11 than it has ever admitted." Committee member Slade Gorton, a conservative and former senator, agrees with Kean, and says that he was startled by the "indifference" of some executive branch agencies in making material available to the commission: "This lack of cooperation, if it extends anywhere else, is going to make it very difficult" for the commission to finish its work by next May.
9/11 attacksHe characterizes the reports as "very sensitive." Indications are that the administration will continue to refuse to hand over the reports; the documents have been held up for over a year by the White House, among citations of "executive privilege" and "the interests of national security." Two Democratic presidential candidates are highly critical of Bush's decision. "I am very concerned by the president's foot-dragging on cooperation with the bipartisan 9/11 commission," says Howard Dean. "The administration's current stonewalling suggests that there is more that they knew and want to hide from the American public." Senator Joseph Lieberman adds, "President Bush may want to withhold the truth about Sept. 11, but the American people, and especially the victims' families, demand and deserve it." (New York Times)
Secrecy of Bush administration"Sometime between April 2003 and October 2003, someone at the White House added virtually all of the directories with 'Iraq' in them to its ROBOTS.TXT file, meaning that search engines would no longer list those pages in results or archive them," says a DNC article. After the disabling is discovered, the White House changed its search structure to allow the articles to once again be spidered and archived. The White House spokesman, Jimmy Orr, claims that the changes were made to keep users from getting multiple copies of the same information, which doesn't hold water. (Democratic National Committee, Keith Spurgeon)
"The fact of the matter is that this [increased American casualties] is a sign of the success of our operation, not its failure."
-- Ralph Reed, GOP strategist, on MSNBC's program Hardball, 10-28-03, quoted by Brandi Mills
Iraq war and occupationMeanwhile, top administration and Pentagon aides tried to formulate plans to keep further attacks from taking place, possibly spurred by the statement of a senior intelligence official who believes that the US has six months at the outside to bring stability to Iraq, largely because resistance groups are beginning to coalesce into a single, somewhat unified anti-occupation force that intends to present itself as an alternative to the US-mandated Iraqi government-in-waiting. After attacks on police stations and a Red Cross facility killed at least 35 people, Bush claimed that those attacks should be seen as a sign of progress because they show the desperation of those who oppose the occupation. "The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react. ...The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity is available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become, because they can't stand the thought of a free society." Vietnam veteran and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry responds incredulously, "Does the president really believe that suicide bombers are willing to strap explosives to their bodies because we're restoring electricity and creating jobs for Iraqis?" Republican Senator John McCain observes, "This is the first time that I have seen a parallel to Vietnam, in terms of information that the administration is putting out versus the actual situation on the ground." Public opinion experts believe that Bush's credibility is hemorraghing. Democratic pollster Jeremy Rosner says the public is "more and more worried as the drumbeat of casualties continues and the administration constantly shifts rationale and tactics." Republican advisor Frank Luntz says Bush's upbeat argument is "better than saying nothing, but it's not enough to say it. You've got to show the evidence." Judith Yaphe, a former CIA analyst of Iraqi affairs who teaches at the National Defense University, warns, "The attacks focus attention on our inability to provide security or prevent devastating attacks, and possibly deter collaboration by Iraqis and cooperation by outside actors. ...They strike with impunity -- and there seems to be little we can do to prevent them." (Washington Post)
Media manipulation and marketing by GOPand that the "Mission Accomplished" banner was merely a banner put up by the crew to signify their own mission had been accomplished, not that the US mission in Iraq was accomplished: "The 'Mission Accomplished' sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished," Bush claims. "I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff -- they weren't that ingenious, by the way." A White House spokesperson later tries to rework Bush's ridiculous statement, saying that the crew asked the White House to have the sign made, the White House asked a private vendor to produce the sign, and the crew put it up. The spokeswoman says she didn't know who paid for the sign." In reality, the banner was a single element of a meticulously planned public relations event micro-managed by the White House public relations team. CNN reported in May, "Media strategists noted afterward that Sforza and his aides had choreographed every aspect of the event, even down to the members of the Lincoln crew arrayed in coordinated shirt colors over Mr. Bush's right shoulder and the 'Mission Accomplished' banner placed to perfectly capture the president and the celebratory two words in a single shot. The speech was specifically timed for what image makers call 'magic hour light,' which cast a golden glow on Mr. Bush."
Iraq war and occupationCherie Block says, "Look at everything that's going on there [Iraq] this week. And [Bush] still has this perfect picture in his head that they want us there. To me, they're already against us. Either he doesn't really understand what's going on, or he's not telling it the way it really is." Trisha Leonard says, "I think taking out Saddam's regime was a good move. But there is no post-war plan or exit strategy. It's a mess." A month ago, the families mounted a petition drive to bring their spouses home when it was announced without warning that their tours of duty would be extended to 2005. The petition reads in part, "Once-proud Army Reserve families are being disillusioned by the decision to keep reservists beyond their original orders. We ask for your help in getting our loved ones home by the end of their 12-month tour of active duty." Every time Bush says the US won't back down until it wins the war against terrorism, Rachel Trueblood wonders "How? We're already stretched to the absolute limit. Where are you going to lead us next, into Iran or Syria?" And Jodie Holm says, "If it wasn't for God, I'd be a basket case right now. ...I'm so scared. ...More and more, it seems the Iraqi people don't want us there. My husband says don't worry, but I can't help myself. It's the not knowing what is going to happen next that's killing me." (Chicago Tribune/Penn State CentreDaily)
Media manipulation and marketing by GOP"I think these forces [corporate ownership of so many media outlets] have unbalanced the relationship between this White House and the press. Frankly, even if we had tried it in LBJ's time, we wouldn't have gotten away with the kind of press conference President Bush conducted on the eve of the invasion of Iraq -- the one that even the President admitted was wholly scripted, with reporters raising their hands and posing so as to appear spontaneous. Matt Taibbi wrote in The New York Press at the time that it was like a mini-Alamo for American journalism. I'd say it was more a collective Jonestown-like suicide. At least the defenders of the Alamo put up a fight. ...Whether we're being pushovers or prostitutes, it's a sad day for what used to be called 'a free and independent press.' There's a price for this, and democracy pays it. ...[D]uring the invasion of Iraq a big radio-consulting firm sent out a memo to its client stations advising them on how to use the war to their best advantage -- they actually called it 'a war manual.' Stations were advised to 'go for the emotion' -- broadcast patriotic music 'that makes you cry, salute, get cold chills....' I'm not making this up. All of this mixture of propaganda and entertainment adds up to what? You get what James Squires, the long-time editor of the Chicago Tribune, calls 'the death of journalism.' We're getting so little coverage of the stories that matter to our lives and our democracy: government secrecy, the environment, health care, the state of working America, the hollowing out of the middle class, what it means to be poor in America. It's not that the censorship is overt. It's more that the national agenda is being hijacked. They're deciding what we know and talk about, and it's not often the truth behind the news.
Bush's foreign policiesHe speaks on "the loss of US international credibility [and] the growing U.S. international isolation." Brzezinski goes on: "Both together can be summed up in a troubling paradox regarding the American position and role in the world today. American power worldwide is at its historic zenith. American global political standing is at its nadir. Why? What is the cause of this? These are facts. They're measurable facts. They're also felt facts when one talks to one's friends abroad who like America, who value what we treasure but do not understand our policies, are troubled by our actions and are perplexed by what they perceive to be either demagogy or mendacity. Maybe the explanation is that we are rich, and we are, and that we are powerful, and we certainly are. But if anyone thinks that this is the full explanation I think he or she is taking the easy way out and engaging in a self-serving justification.
Iraq war and occupationBush is asked whether he could promise that there would be fewer US troops in Iraq a year from now. Bush testily terms the query "a trick question" and refuses to respond. (USA Today)
Conservative media slantMatthews characterizes Bush as a shallow-thinking, uneducated man who, when confronted by aides with the decision about going to war with Iraq, was given something to think about for the first time in his life. "The 2004 campaign will be and should be fought on the issue of the war," says Matthews, and notes, "presidential politics are driven by foreign policy failures." Matthews calls the administration's rationale for the Iraq war "nonsense" totally dishonest, and believes Vice President Cheney was "behind it all. ...The whole neo-conservative power vortex, it all goes through his office," says Matthews. "He has become the chief executive. He's not the chief operating officer, he's running the place. It's scary." Cheney is also the man "who put his thumb on the scale" to affect the balance between Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. "The ideologues started circling around the president. ...They saw a man who never read any books, who didn't think too deeply and they gave him something to think about for the first time in his life. This thing called pre-emption, the Bush Doctrine. They put it in his head and said 'Iraq, Iraq, Iraq.'" Matthews also tells the students that he personally supports Howard Dean for president: "He came out of Vermont, a small state, with no foreign policy experience and with sheer guts he believed in one big idea and that big idea was: 'It was wrong to go around to the other side of the world to fight a war.'" According to reports, MSNBC is increasingly critical of Matthews for his criticisms of Bush. The White House is similarly critical, calling Matthews' analysis "disrespectful, totally false and irresponsible. Mr. Matthews has lost touch with reality. The President made the decision to go to war using the same facts as the previous administration and the United Nations, which judged Saddam Hussein as a threat to the region." (WorldNetDaily, NY Daily News, Woonsocket Call)
Middle East peace processBush says, "I do not see the same commitment to fight terror from the old guard," referring to Yassir Arafat, president of the Palestinian Authority. "It's going to be very hard to move a peace process forward until there's a focused effort by all parties to assume their responsibilities." Most Middle East analysts have already concluded that the administration's vaunted "road map to peace" is either on hiatus or dead. "They've made a decision that this is not going to be a priority, and if it's not going to be a priority, it's not going to happen," says Shibley Telhami, a Middle East expert at the University of Maryland. "It's clear the administration is disengaged, and the administration will stay disengaged," says Judith Kipper, director of the Middle East Forum at the Council on Foreign Relations. "They don't want to put any political investment in it because we're in an election year." Although Bush blames both Palestinians and Israelis for the failure of the peace process, Rashid Khalidi, director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University in New York, says White House policy is in effect one-sided because it does not address violence by Israel against Palestinians: "The president talks as though 3,000 Israelis have been killed and only 900 Palestinians, when in fact it's the other way around." When Bush is asked about his perceived bias towards Israel, he repeats a previous statement: "I was the first president ever to have advocated a Palestinian state. I did so at the United Nations. I also informed them that in order for a Palestinian state to go forward...there must be a focused, concerted effort to destroy the terrorist networks who are trying to prevent a Palestinian state from emerging, which requires good, strong, capable leadership." Note that Bush is lying when he claims to be the first president to advocate a Palestinian state; Bill Clinton did so in 1999. (Los Angeles Times)
Plame outingInvestigators are looking into contacts between White House officials and the Republican National Committee during the impending scandal, to find out details about the Bush administration's strategy to stymie negative press reports and counter public criticism by former ambassador Joseph Wilson of the leak of his wife's status as a CIA officer. The investigation seems less interested in finding evidence of criminal behavior than to find the names of the leakers, say two senior White House sources, though the investigators' motives could not be independently verified. One source says, "I guess their thinking is that if you were involved in efforts to damage their reputations or discredit them since the leak, you might have been the one to have leaked the name. ...And if you are someone managing the press response...you might have also been in contact with the leaker —- or know who it is." After the news of Plame's outing broke, husband Joseph Wilson began a strong campaign in the media to identify the source of the leak, and was in turn attacked by RNC operatives at the behest of the White House. The sources claim that the White House depended on RNC officials to act as surrogates in questioning his credibility and motives. RNC chairman Ed Gillespie quickly stepped up to lambast Wilson: "Joe Wilson is not an apolitical person himself," he said. "He's...a supporter of John Kerry's campaign, a maxed-out contributor, and wants to endorse him given the opportunity. He has spoken to a Win Without War rally, one of the most radical anti-Bush groups out there." Gillespie, like other GOP attackers, ignored the fact that Wilson won high praise from both Republicans and Democrats during his service, and is trusted and well liked by George H.W. Bush. GOP and administration officials have tried to justify their efforts to smear Wilson because, as they claim, Democrats were trying to use the scandal for their own political purposes. "There should be a recognition that there is a political aspect to all of this," said RNC spokesperson Christine Iverson. "Our job is to focus on politics, while the White House focuses on policy."
Iraq war and occupationWhile many continue to support the Bush administration's policies, others are cautiously questioning the direction the administration is going. Senator John McCain, who recently compared aspects of the conflict to Vietnam, says US forces need to be more proactive. "To set up roadblocks after the bomb goes off is not the answer. We've got to get into prevention. ...We need more troops. We need more special forces. We need more Marines. We need more intelligence capabilities." Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is concerned that US forces cannot anticipate many of the attacks in a situation he described as tantamount to a guerrilla war in which the enemy is able to strike and then quickly retreat into the population. "I can tell you, I'm very worried about the lack of pertinent intelligence to fight that kind of a war. It appears we have some real problems." And former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott says drastic action may be necessary: "If we have to, we just mow the whole place down, see what happens. You're dealing with insane suicide bombers who are killing our people, and we need to be very aggressive in taking them out." (The Hill)
US veteransLike over 600 more soldiers at Fort Stewart, Georgia, these soldiers are on "medical hold." Senate investigators believe there may be "caches" of sick and wounded soldiers squirreled away around the country, languishing out of the media's eye. Waymond Bond, a 15-year National Guard veteran at Fort Knox, says, "I joined to serve my country. ...It doesn't make any sense to go over there and risk your life and come back to this. It ain't fair and it ain't right. I used to be patriotic." He has awaited medical treatment for a broken knee and a broken wrist since July, when he was flown from Germany to Fort Knox. He says it took him two months to get his wrist placed in a cast. Fort Knox Public Affairs Officer Connie Shaffery says, "Taking care of patients is our priority." Soldiers see specialists -- not necessarily doctors -- within 28 days, Shaffery says, and Fort Knox officials hope to cut that time lag: "I think that we would like for all the soldiers to get care as soon as possible." A 30-year veteran who won two Purple Hearts in Vietnam, 57-year old Command Sgt. Major Glen Talley, was hospitalized with heart problems, clotting blood and Graves' disease, a thyroid disorder, after being sent to Iraq. He has waited since October 16 to see a doctor, and is still waiting. He has an appointment with an endocrinologist on December 30. "I don't mind serving my country," Talley says, "I just hate what they are doing to me now." Soldiers interned at Fort Knox have had to endure poor living conditions, being housed in World War II-era barracks with rodent and animal infestations, leaky roofs, and no air conditioning. They lived in those barracks for eight weeks, and now have been moved out of those barracks, which have been condemned as unfit for human habitation. One soldier wrote in an internal survey, "I arrived here and was placed in the World War II barracks. On the 28th of August we moved out. On 30 Aug. the roof collapsed. Had we not moved, someone would be dead." "I have never been so disrespected in my military career," says 16-year veteran Lt. Jullian Goodrum, an Army reservist. "I have never been so treated like dirt." (UPI)
Media manipulation and marketing by GOP"...I gained first-hand experience in dealing with the logical, political and leadership processes of one George W. Bush and his staff, including Karl Rove, Dan Bartlett, Karen Hughes and others. In all candor, with this team, every event is a stated photo op and media event and the objective is closely planned to control each media cycle. However, I found throughout my tenure, absolutely no willingness to dedicate any reasonable effort to planning or decision-making for the good of those governed or of the electorate, other than close friends and associates."
Conservative hate speech and intoleranceMany of the children were wearing traditional Muslim attire. "Our legs were hurting. ...When we came home we were crying," says student Sara Kazim. Angry parents and a reportedly outraged school principal are demanding an investigation; First Student, the private firm that operates the bus lines for the school system, is looking into the incident but denies any knowledge so far. The company says it is investigating where the kids were dropped off and if racism motivated the incident. The children are all enrolled in Fort Caroline Middle School, which is a hub for international students and their families; children from 19 countries go to school there. (WJXT-TV)
Iraq war and occupationThe United Nations is in the process of temporarily pulling its remaining international staff out of Baghdad; the International Committee of the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders groups are also leaving. Both UN and Red Cross spokespersons say that their organizations will continue to operate on a limited basis in the country. (ABC)
Oil profiteering and the "oiligarchy"At the center of these efforts is Executive Order 13303, which gives blanket immunity from any judicial process to every entity with direct or indirect interests in Iraqi petroleum and related products. The order reads in part, "The threat of attachment or judicial process against the Development Fund for Iraq, Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and interests therein...constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. ...[A]ny...judicial process is prohibited, and shall be deemed null and void." The legal director of the Government Accountability Project said in July, "The Executive Order is a blank check for corporate anarchy. ...Its sweeping, unqualified language places industry above domestic and international law for anything related to commerce in Iraqi oil." Administration officials insist the order only protects the oil industries from nuisance lawsuits that would hamper their efforts to revivify the industry on behalf of the Iraqi people. The GAP disagrees, saying that "EO 13303 waives the entire system of administrative law under Federal Acquisitions Regulations for government contracts. ...It cancels liability for civil fraud in government contracts under the False Claims Act...the nation's most effective anti-fraud statute. In short, the EO is a blank check for pork barrel spending." (Center for Public Integrity)
War in AfghanistanThree-quarters of the world's opium is grown in Afghanistan; that opium is used to make drugs like heroin. Two-thirds of the world's heroin users take drugs originating in Afghanistan. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime predicts that the nation will be "overrun" with criminals and terrorists looking to claim some of the staggering profits to be made from such a large opium production. Four years ago 18 of 32 Afghani provinces were involved in cultivating opium; that number has grown to 28. The area devoted to opium poppy cultivation was the third largest since 1994, and is comparable to the area used before 2001, when a Taliban ban on cultivation reduced it to 8,000 hectares. Antonio Maria Costa, the director of the UN drugs agency, warns: "Either major surgical drug-control measures are taken now or the drug cancer in Afghanistan will keep spreading and metastasise into corruption, violence and terrorism. ...Out of this drug chest, some provincial administrators and military commanders take a considerable share. The more they get used to this, the less likely it becomes that they will respect the law, be loyal to Kabul and support the legal economy. Terrorists take a cut as well: the longer this happens, the greater the threat to security." (Independent/Crack Cocaine in Camden)
George W. BushIt was just like a little tiny Enron, but with exactly the same patterns of misbehavior for which he later wound up scolding others. ...There are just certain delicious moments when you find Bush lecturing corporate executives in front of a panel in which the words 'corporate responsibility' are repeated an infinite number of times." Ivins says that corporate malfeasance and corporate fraud has gone virtually unreported since 9/11, and corporations are virtually given carte blanche to do as they please. (NPR)
US militaryOne Army sergeant on duty in Baghdad was informed by the Red Cross that his baby daughter, stricken from birth with spina bifida, had had emergency surgery and was now paralyzed from the waist down. He was denied emergency leave to go home and visit his daughter, even after the Red Cross intervened on his behalf. He is understandably bitter: "I would no longer recommend anyone join the Army. ...My commander simply refused to care." Troops all across Iraq say that the leave policy is enforced inconsistently at best, and often seems to be more influenced by which troops have the money needed to buy airfare on private carriers out of Iraq. "Troops say one soldier is allowed to fly home for the death of a grandparent, while a 20-year-old servicemember whose wife needs surgery for cervical cancer is denied a week off to be at her side. While these troops struggled in the field, they say others with the extra $1,000 or more for a commercial ticket from Kuwait City to the United States flew home for their children's high school and college graduations." Military spokespersons note that granting emergency leave is at a unit commander's discretion, and is based on the need of the soldier against the necessity of his remaining on duty. But that argument fails to satisfy many soldiers, who say that the policy isn't enforced equitably, and that even the parameters for what makes grounds for emergency leave aren't clear. "There is no parity. Why can [one person] go home to be with his family but I can't?" asks the Navy corpsman whose wife faces emergency surgery for cervical cancer. "This crushes personal morale. It destroys unit morale." He continues, "I do not understand or question the beast [the military], but I do, however, have a grudge I will hold against it for a long time. Why do they make promises they can't keep?" (European Stars and Stripes)
Iraq war and occupationSullivan describes his job as advising various Iraqi ministries. Sullivan is married to Carol Haave, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security and Information Operations. Haave claims to have no connection with the firm, even though her name is in the company title, and Sullivan claims that he and his wife keep everything aboveboard and separate. "We have been very sensitive to the issue of conflict for a long time," says Sullivan. (Public Integrity)
Global nuclear proliferationElBaradei says an estimated 35 or 40 countries "ould produce a weapon in just a few months" if they decided to break the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Even under the requirements of the treaty "there is nothing illicit for a non-nuclear state to conduct uranium-enriching activities...or even to possess military-grade nuclear material." He continues, "We have to reach agreement on limiting the construction, in civilian programs, of nuclear material for military ends by confining this to installations under multilateral control." ElBaradei says that nonproliferation efforts in North Korea are "on the verge of catastrophe." On the other hand, Iran seems more cooperative than it has been. The world's official "nuclear club" includes seven nations: Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia and the United States. Israel is also known to have the bomb, but has never confirmed the fact. (AP/CBS)
Iraq war and occupation"Notwithstanding press reports to the contrary, I see no evidence that he's pulling any strings," Powell tells Ted Koppel on ABC's Nightline. "I don't know where he is or what he's doing, but we really don't have the evidence to put together a claim that he is pulling all the strings among these remnants in Baghdad and other parts of the country that are causing us the difficulty." The day before, senior US officials dropped broad hints that Hussein was behind many of the attacks on US troops in Iraq, probably coordinating attacks from or near his hometown of Tikrit. (Reuters/New Hampshire Public Radio)
HalliburtonThe extension comes on the heels of charges that Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, & Root is grossly overcharging US taxpayers to import gasoline into Iraq. Two days before, Halliburton announced the KBR unit's profits rose 400% and sales increased 80% in the 3rd quarter, and a day later, a new study from the Center for Public Integrity questioned the connection between campaign contributions to Bush and reconstruction contracts for Iraq and Afghanistan awarded to companies including Halliburton. Meanwhile, the US Army Corps of Engineers doubles the value of two contracts to repair Iraq's oil industry to $2 billion. While the Corps says the contracts are open for bidding, it is expected that Halliburton Oil and its subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown, & Root, will win the new contracts without much trouble. (Daily Misleader, Reuters/New York Times/King Chuck)
Iraq war and occupationLeaflets declare November 1 a "Day of Resistance," and predict heavy attacks against US forces in Baghdad and Fallujah. "God damn America!" shouts an Iraqi who is helping to carry a friend's corpse back to his home; the man was shot dead after throwing rocks at American troops. "US soldiers are the real terrorists, not us!" he yells. (Guardian)
Middle East unrest"In our tactical decisions, we are operating contrary to our strategic interest. It increases hatred for Israel and strengthens the terror organizations. ...There is no hope, no expectations for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, nor in Bethlehem and Jericho." Ya'alon also accuses the Sharon administration of contributing to the ouster of moderate Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas by offering only "stingy" support to his efforts to end the conflict. A close associate of Ya'alon's warns that Israel is "on the verge of a catastrophe." Sharon and his allies initially called for Ya'alon's resignation, but have pulled back from that demand, instead preferring to publicly ridicule his statements. The plan fails when army radio reveals that foreign minister Silvan Shalom agrees that there needs to be a substantial easing of restrictions on the Palestinian population. The deputy prime minister, Ehud Olmert, also supports the general's view. (Guardian)
Republican corruptionThough many of the companies in question contributed to both political parties, their donations favored Republicans and Bush, in particular, by more than a 2 to 1 margin. 9 of the 10 biggest contractors, of which the largest are Bechtel Corporation and Halliburton, either employed former senior government officials or had close ties to current government agencies and to Congress. The New York Times writes, "The new report is the first comprehensive independent study of companies involved in Iraqi reconstruction, and it provides evidence that the process for handing out big contracts has often been secretive, chaotic and favorable to companies with good political contacts. ...The report confirms that many if not most of the contracts handed out for work in Iraq were awarded through a process that was inscrutable to outsiders and often without competitive bidding." A State Department spokesperson disputes that conclusion: "[T]he reason that these companies get the contracts has nothing to do with who may have worked there before. ...The decisions are made by career procurement officials. There's a separation, a wall, between them and political-level questions when they're doing the contracts." "No single agency supervised the contracting process for the government," says CPI executive director Charles Lewis. "This situation alone shows how susceptible the contracting system is to waste, fraud and cronyism." (New York Times/Peace In Redding CA, MSNBC, Center for Public Integrity)
US militarywritten by the Center for Army Lessons Learned in Fort Leavenworth on October 25; after the Washington Post publishes a story summarizing its contents, the Army removes the report from the Center's Web site. The action makes it obvious that the Army cares less for analyzing its mistakes and correcting them, than for hiding its mistakes from the public. (Slate)
Iraq war and occupationFor instance, the multiple bombings that rocked Baghdad the same day that the Rashid Hotel was attacked, threatening Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, might be called "coordinated," but not "synchronized." The latter term carries too many connotations that the Pentagon wishes to avoid. It seems to be part of the Bush administration's overarching strategy to put a "rosy tint" on the war, a maneuver which is causing more and more distrust and suspicion, even among Republican lawmakers. Conservative war supporters like Senators John Warner, John McCain, and Richard Lugar, and Representatives Frank Wolf and Curt Weldon, think the administration is trying too hard to paint a pretty picture of Iraq. "It is perhaps the greatest mistake made by the Johnson and Nixon administrations with regard to Vietnam," says a Senate Republican source. "You have to tell the American people something that meshes with the facts on the ground, or sooner or later they're going to stop believing anything you say, and then the critics look like geniuses." Another term gaining popularity is "Iraqification," which may be synonymous with the ill-remembered "Vietnamization" of thirty years ago.
Iraq war and occupationReuters reports of "...officials and pundits talking of guerrilla warfare, pacifying the country, combating insurgents and even how to leave with honor. ...The Washington Post said the wave of attacks [on a Baghdad hotel, Iraqi police stations, and the Red Cross installations] 'probably is intended to have the same effect as the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam: to convince Americans that their troops are committed to a losing cause and must withdraw -- even if, in military terms, that is not the case. The attacks so far...like those of Tet, pose no strategic threat to the U.S. military presence in the country; they also pale beside those of 1968, which cost the lives of more than 3,800 U.S. servicemen and 14,000 Vietnamese civilians. ...Still, the bombings have shocked Iraqis, intimidated some would-be allies and strengthened doubts in Congress and the public about the Iraq mission." Deputy Secretary of State used the classic Vietnam term "pacification" to suggest that much of the country is quiet. (Reuters/AlertNet)
Bush's foreign policiesFirst, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld mixed up Iraq with Afghanistan at a news conference, and then the US embassy in Bucharest had to apologize to the president of Romania, Ion Iliescu, for the Pentagon decorating his table with a Russian flag when he lunched with Mr Rumsfeld earlier this week. The DoD issues an apology: "It was an unfortunate and embarrassing mistake. Sometimes mistakes happen, but no disrespect was intended." Romanian officials are gracious about the error. (Guardian)
Bush administration's contempt for democracyTwo Greenpeace members boarded the vessel and hoisted a large banner reading, "President Bush, Stop Illegal Logging." Greenpeace lawyers say this is the first time an entire group has been prosecuted for the actions of individual members: "The government's action is unprecedented -- prosecuting an entire organisation for the expressive activities of its supporters." If the charges stick, the lawyers say, "Non-violent civil protest -- an essential tradition from colonial times to the modern civil rights movement -- may become yet another casualty of [attorney general] John Ashcroft's attack on civil liberties. Two hundred and thirty years ago American protesters boarded ships over objectionable cargo. It was called the Boston Tea Party, and it was critical to focusing colonists' objections to British rule.... If such limited protests against commercial ships are banned, then acts of protest in malls, universities and public plazas will be next." (CorpWatch)
Bush's foreign policies"My philosophy is the United States should cooperate with others whenever we can...and act alone only if we have to," he says. "In the current government, the conservatives, at least, believe that we should act alone whenever we can and cooperate when we have to" He says that the Bush administration consistently prefers to run roughshod over other countries' interests, guided by the mantra "we've got the juice, we're going to use it." He states, "if you believe that we should be trying to create a world with rules and partnerships and habits of behavior that we would like to live in when we are no longer the only military economic superpower in the world, then you would not do that." Beyond the ethical and moral reasons to do so, Clinton says one would arrive at the same conclusions from a selfish perspective, as well: "If you come from a wealthy country with open borders, unless you seriously believe you can kill, imprison or occupy all your enemies, you have to make a world with more friends and fewer enemies –- with more partners and fewer terrorists." Clinton is especially critical of fundamentalists of every stripe: "Once you believe you have the absolute truth, then it's not possible for everyone to count or for everyone to have a role" to play in the world. "There is a truth, life is a search for it, religion is a pathway to it, but we're all imperfect and nobody has it." After the speech, New Haven alderwoman Andrea Jackson Brooks says, "[H]e can be my president again in a drop of the hat. He's an unbelievable contrast to what we have now." (New Haven Register)
Prewar intelligence on Iraq"No WMDs. Biggest joke on the American public in the past 50 years. Saddam doesn't have 'em, and probably never did. Over 1,400 of BushCo's own investigators and specialists and scientists -- affectionately known as the Iraq Survey Group -- canvassing postwar Iraq for six months, not to mention the teams of original U.N. investigators, and finding not a trace of anything resembling huge stockpiles of massive scary weaponry. Which is to say, no nukes. No biotoxins. No big cannons full of scary Korans and rusty bullets and old gum. Nothing at all resembling what Condi Rice and Cheney and Rummy and Wolfowitz, et al., said were absolutely positively no question going to be found any day now because after all that's why we went to war. Except that it wasn't. And they knew it. To paraphrase the Washington Post: Among the judgments of the above-mentioned Iraq Survey Group, as overseen by David Kay, who reports directly to CIA Director George Tenet, are these: Iraq's nuclear-weapons scientists did no significant arms-related work after 1991. Also, all those facilities with suspicious new construction (remember Colin 'Emasculated' Powell's bogus satellite photos?) proved benign, and of no military use whatsoever. This is not speculation. This is not liberal wishful thinking. These are facts. And BushCo knew them. And more. Translation: Bush's urgent call back in March to bomb the living crap out of pissant Iraq because Saddam had irrefutably cranked up his nuke arsenal and might possibly bomb weak depressed New York at any minute and wipe out all the Starbucks and ruin Monday Night Football was not only completely bogus and impossible, it was shockingly dangerous, and unprecedented, and even borderline treasonous.
Iraq war and occupationIt's apparently too late to ask for Rumsfeld's resignation, and Rumsfeld has far too much support in the community of businessmen and defense contractors. So Rumsfeld continues unchecked, publicly contradicting senior intelligence analysts and insisting that the US is making "unprecedented" progress in Iraq. An example of the neoconservative support for Rumsfeld comes from the Internet conservative news site Newsmax: "Now, less than five months after he helped President Bush formulate and execute a bold plan in which a US invasion force drove to Baghdad and toppled the dictatorial government of Saddam Hussein in 21 days, Secretary Rumsfeld is under attack -- by the same coalition of Socialist-led anti-war demonstrators and radical left-wing Hollywood 'actors' that tried to undermine our fight against terrorism with their 'blame America' tactics during the war." (Village Voice)
Secrecy of Bush administrationThe report was heavily edited with black editing bars that blotted out critical information, including all nine pages of the "Recommendations" section. A Tucson writer who archives government documents, Russ Kick, figured out a way to electronically remove the editing and restore the document to its original state. The blotted sections include statements that indicate minorities are far more likely than whites to report stereotyping, harassment, and racial tension, and that minorities make up only 7% of career attorneys and 11% of supervising Assistant US Attorneys. Senator Edward Kennedy says the department's handling of the report called into question its commitment to diversity in its own workplace; Justice Department counsel Stacey Plaskett Duffy responds, "This was a study that we commissioned of our own volition to get a look at what our work force looked like. We didn't have to let people know we were doing this." (New York Times, Disinformation Society, Boston Globe)
Prewar intelligence on Iraq"Far from being a whitewash," Floyd writes, "Kay's report has turned out to be one of the most devastating and unflinching exposes of war crimes in world history. In damning detail, Kay has revealed the torturous machinations and evil practices of a ruthless tyrant seeking to thwart the clear will of the UN Security Council and the international community, using false declarations and crude propaganda to mask his secret plans to abet terrorism, wage aggressive war and threaten the entire world with weapons of mass destruction. Those apologists for tyranny, who for months doubted the veracity of these charges, have now been shown to be nothing more than knaves, fools, lickspittles and dupes. Given the success of Kay's mission, you'd think the Bush Administration would be trumpeting the results of his investigation from every marble pillar and post in Washington. Instead, the report got only the most cursory airing, then was promptly deep-sixed into the shadowlands of 'secret hearings' and 'restricted access.' Strange behavior, you say? Not when you consider that the perfidy which Kay so thoroughly unmasked was, of course, perpetrated by the Bushists themselves. Step by step, Kay and his investigators dismantled -- inadvertently, one presumes -- the public case for war laid out by ...Bush, ...Cheney, ...Rumsfeld and ...Powell. Their relentless claims of the hell that Saddam could unleash against the Homeland 'on any given day' (as Bush himself put it) -- 500 tons of chemical weapons, some already mounted in missile warheads, primed and ready for use; 'mobile labs' cooking up deadly poisons on the run; eyewitness reports from Iraqi defectors providing irrefutable evidence of banned weapons production; and most ominous of all, an 'active' and expanding nuclear arms program that could soon produce 'a mushroom cloud' in America's cities -- were all completely debunked by Kay's investigation."