Thursday, July 26, 2007

the end

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Show A Movie, Raise Awareness on Torture

In a recent article, the Associated Press stated that an executive order issued by President Bush "breathed new life into the CIA's terror interrogation program . . . that would allow harsh questioning of subjects, limited in public by only a vaguely worded ban on cruel and inhuman treatment." The need for torture to be abolished is greater than ever and awareness of this issue is the key to realizing abolition.

To achieve this end, I want to encourage you and your church group to hold a showing of Rory Kennedy's HBO documentary "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" (recently nominated for four Emmy awards) during the week of October 21-28. GBCS is a member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) and it is our goal to have 1000 congregations participating in this "Spotlight on Torture" project. Signing up is simple to receive your free copy of the DVD, "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" and all of the materials needed to lead a discussion afterward.

Bush in Free Fall

By Robert Scheer, Truthdig

At what point will President Bush finally grasp the enormous disaster that the neoconservatives, from Vice President Dick Cheney on down, have visited upon his presidency?

Or, to put it numerically, just how does a president descend from a 92 percent approval rating one month after 9/11 -- the highest of any president since modern polling began -- to the two-thirds disapproval score that has stalked him through the last year, thanks to the Iraq debacle, without getting the message?

Two major polls released this week show that the vast majority of Americans grasp the salient lesson of the Iraq misadventure: "Winning" this war has nothing to do with winning the war on terrorism. Thus, the public overwhelmingly supports the congressional Democratic leadership's demand that the administration begin concrete steps to extract U.S. troops from Iraq.

This week's New York Times/CBS poll found that two-thirds of those polled said that the war is "going badly" and that "the United States should reduce its forces in Iraq, or remove them altogether." Meanwhile, a Washington Post/ABC survey reported that, "by a large margin, Americans trust the Democrats rather than the president to find a solution to a conflict that remains enormously unpopular."

According to the Post poll, more than six in 10 Americans want Congress to make the final decision about when our troops come home. Even a majority of Republicans judge Bush to be too rigid to change course and, significantly, among those who either served in Iraq or had a close friend or relative who did, only 38 percent approve of Bush's handling of the war.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

"Those in power need checks and restraints lest they come to identify the common good for their own tastes and desires, and their continuation in office as essential to the preservation of the nation."

-- Justice William O. Douglas (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice Source: We, The Judges, 1956

The Washington Post is on Crack

By Cenk Uygur

In an editorial in Saturday's paper called "The Phony Debate," the Washington Post claims it is Harry Reid who is keeping the US government from agreeing on a sensible withdrawal plan from Iraq. Who wrote this editorial, Mitch McConnell, Bill Kristol, President Bush?

What kind of crack do you have to be smoking to claim that it's Senator Reid and not President Bush who is keeping us in Iraq? That is such an outrageous proposition that it makes you question the Washington Post's credibility, or their sanity.

Look at this absolute crap they printed:

A large majority of senators from both parties favor a shift in the U.S. mission that would involve substantially reducing the number of American forces over the next year or so and rededicating those remaining to training the Iraqi army, protecting Iraq's borders and fighting al-Qaeda. President Bush and his senior aides and generals also support this broad strategy, which was formulated by the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton commission. Mr. Bush recently said that "it's a position I'd like to see us in."

Are you fucking kidding me? I'm so angry I can hardly type. If President Bush really wants this option, you know what he has to do? Order it! It will be done tomorrow. You have to be either retarded or completely biased to pretend that President Bush wants to leave Iraq but the Democrats won't let him. That is turning reality completely on its head.

I often argue that the mainstream media is absolutely cowered by decades of conservatives calling them liberal. They are willing to do whatever it takes, including often perverting the truth, to get them to stop (which, of course, they never will, because the whole point is to intimidate the media -- and it's working like a charm).


Anderson Cooper Needs to do his Job and Report the News

It Wasn't Terrorism.

It's E. coli conservatism.

An explosion wracked the area around Manhattan's Grand Central Station Wednesday, spewing asbestos, claiming one life, sending the city into a panic. The culprit? A pipe built in 1924.

We've warned here again and again about the decrepitude of our underground infrastructure, about what happens when a nation consecrates itself to no higher domestic goal than the cutting of taxes. New York had a Republican mayor, in fact, who now spends his days boasting that he cut taxes 23 times. Cut spending, too, he's proud to say.

"Midtown is chaos right now," said one witness. "It seemed like everybody in Midtown just dumped into the streets."

"It was mayhem. Nobody knew what to do. Everyone got outside and was yelling," said another.

Maybe it's time to stop listening to conservatives, and start listening to Merle Haggard.


[This is what the Third Worldization of a great nation's infrastructure looks like.]

["'There is no reason to believe whatsoever that this is anything other than a failure of our infrastructure,' [Mayor Bloomberg] said of the 24-inch steam pipe installed in 1924." How encouraging.]


How The White House Will Manipulate Events and Emotions to Maintain GOP Executive Branch Control in 2008

My Wake-up Call: Watch For Another 9/11-WMD Experience

(Thom Harman interviewed this guy [who advocates the impeachment of the president and vice president] on his show on 7/17 in the begining segments. You should listen to it even if you have to pay $2 for it. You can find it on the Air America website or on iTunes. Absolutely chilling.

By Paul Craig Roberts

This is a wake-up call that we are about to experience another 9/11-WMD experience.

The wake-up call is unlikely to be effective, because the American attitude toward government changed fundamentally seventy-odd years ago. Prior to the 1930s, Americans were suspicious of government, but with the arrival of the Great Depression, Tojo, and Hitler, President Franklin D. Roosevelt convinced Americans that government existed to protect them from rapacious private interests and foreign threats. Today, Americans are more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to government than they are to family members, friends, and those who would warn them about the government’s protection.

Intelligent observers are puzzled that President Bush is persisting in a futile and unpopular war at the obvious expense of his party’s electoral chances in 2008.

In the July 18 Los Angeles Times (“Bush the Albatross”), Ronald Brownstein reminds us that Bush’s behavior is disastrous for his political party. Unpopular presidents “have consistently undercut their party in the next election.” Brownstein reports that “88% of voters who disapproved of the retiring president’s job performance voted against his party’s nominee in past elections. . . . On average, 80% of voters who disapproved of a president’s performance have voted against his party’s candidates even in House races since 1986.”

Brownstein notes that with Bush’s dismal approval rating, this implies a total wipeout of the Republicans in 2008.

A number of pundits have concluded that the reason the Democrats have not brought a halt to Bush’s follies is that they expect Bush’s unpopular policies to provide them with a landslide victory next year.

There is a problem with this reasoning. It assumes that Cheney, Rove, and the Republicans are ignorant of these facts or are content for the Republican Party to be destroyed after Bush has his warmonger-police state fling. After me, the deluge.”


Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.

Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as amended (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.)(IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)(NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that, due to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by acts of violence threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, it is in the interests of the United States to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003, and expanded in Executive Order 13315 of August 28, 2003, and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13350 of July 29, 2004, and Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004. I hereby order:

Section 1. (a) Except to the extent provided in section 203(b)(1), (3), and (4) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(1), (3), and (4)), or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order, all property and interests in property of the following persons, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense,

(i) to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of:

(A) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or

(B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;

Read the entire EO HERE

Friday, July 20, 2007

Olbermann's Special Comment on scapegoating.

Special comments on the scapegoating of Senator Clinton!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cheney, The Black Hole

From TPM:

At the dawn of the Bush administration, Vice President Dick Cheney's 2001 Energy Task Force was the hot social ticket for leading luminaries of future GOP scandals.

Once a closely-held secret, the Washington Post today publishes the dance card for the task force. Cheney, citing the principle of executive confidentiality, took the public's right not to know all the way to the Supreme Court when Congress tried to learn the attendance list published today. It comes as no surprise that the list was heavy on energy-industry big shots, including Enron's Kenneth Lay, who got a private meeting with Cheney on April 17, 2001.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Durbin Takes Obstructionist McConnell to Task

I have advocated the Dems do this for some time otherwise the public has no idea who the obstructionists really are. All the public knows is that the Dems aren't getting the things done they said they were going to get done. If the Repubs want to filibuster let them - but make them stand up and do it in front of the nation.

Give 'em Hell, Harry!

Forcing his Republican colleagues to put up or shut up on the notion of an up-or-down vote, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) just moments ago announced that he will immediately file a cloture motion on the Reed-Levin troop redeployment bill and, if Republicans follow through with a filibuster, will place the Senate in a prolonged all-night session Tuesday to force a true continuation of debate.

"Now, Republicans are using a filibuster to block us from even voting on an amendment that could bring the war to a responsible end," said Reid. "They are protecting the President rather than protecting our troops. They are denying us an up or down – yes or no – vote on the most important issue our country faces."

The Reed-Levin amendment to the Department of Defense (DoD) Authorization Bill requires George W. Bush to "commence the reduction of the number of United States forces in Iraq not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act" and mandates a withdrawal of most combat forces by April 30, 2008.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

War ... should only be declared by the authority of the people, whose toils and treasures are to support its burdens, instead of the government which is to reap its fruits.

James Madison (1751–1836), U.S. president. “Universal Peace” (January 31, 1792). W.T. Hutchinson et al., The Papers of James Madison, vol. 14, p. 207, Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia (1962-1991).

Sunni extremists from Saudi Arabia make up half the foreign fighters in Iraq

Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia, according to a senior U.S. military officer and Iraqi lawmakers.

About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa, according to official U.S. military figures made available to The Times by the senior officer. Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said.


Webb Rips Graham As ‘Politician Trying To Put His Political Views Into The Mouths Of Soldiers’

Oh my!

Iraq-Bound Soldier Hires Hitman To Shoot Him

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Bronx Man Admits He'd Rather Go To Prison Than Back To Iraq

The death and destruction of U.S. troops fighting in Iraq seems to have become so rampant to one local soldier that he actually staged an attack on himself -- allegedly hiring a hitman to non-fatally shoot him -- so he wouldn't be sent back for another tour of duty.

Now, 20-year-old Jonathan Aponte is under fire at home in the Bronx for his decision that may send him to prison.

"There are some people mentally that can handle it. There are some people who just can't. You need to know when to say enough is enough," Aponte told CBS 2 HD exclusively Friday.
Click photo to see video.


Bush Is Prepared to Veto Bill to Expand Child Insurance

We're spending 12 billion per month to kill people in Iraq - and our so called "pro-life" president will veto a bill which would reduce the number of uninsured children in the U.S. by 4.1 million by increasing spending over the next five years by $35 billion for a total of $60 billion. This increase would be funded by a cigarette tax increase. If this doesn't crystalize the Republican party's priorities for you - I don't know what will.

The White House said on Saturday that President Bush would veto a bipartisan plan to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program, drafted over the last six months by senior members of the Senate Finance Committee.

The vow puts Mr. Bush at odds with the Democratic majority in Congress, with a substantial number of Republican lawmakers and with many governors of both parties, who want to expand the popular program to cover some of the nation’s eight million uninsured children.


Marine says beatings urged in Iraq

A Marine corporal, testifying Saturday at the murder trial of a buddy, said that Marines in his unit began routinely beating Iraqis after being ordered by officers to "crank up the violence level."

Cpl. Saul H. Lopezromo said Marines in his platoon, including the defendant, Cpl. Trent D. Thomas, were angry when officers criticized them as not being as tough as other Marine platoons.

"We're all hard-chargers, we're not there to mess around, so we took it as an insult," Lopezromo said.

Within weeks of allegedly being scolded, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman went out late one night to find and kill a suspected insurgent in the village of Hamandiya near the Abu Ghraib prison. The Marines and corpsman were from 2nd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

BILL MOYERS JOURNAL | Impeachment Panel Excerpt | PBS

This week, Bill Moyers Journal took an in-depth look at the heated talk of impeachment taking place across the country. To explore the issue, Bill Moyers is joined by Bruce Fein, a constitutional scholar, who was Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Reagan and is a weekly columnist for THE WASHINGTON TIMES and John Nichols, a Washington correspondent for THE NATION magazine and author of THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT: The Founders' Cure for Royalism.

The program aired Friday, July 13 on PBS

Miers Warned of Contempt Citation for Ignoring House Subpoena

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee threatened former White House Counsel Harriet Miers with criminal contempt charges if she continues to defy its subpoena to testify about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

Committee Chairman John Conyers of Michigan gave Miers until 5 p.m. Washington time on July 17 to say whether she will comply. Miers failed to appear yesterday to answer questions under oath before the panel's commercial-law subcommittee, which then voted 7-5 along party lines that her refusal to testify had no valid legal basis.

The contempt threat against Miers further escalates Congress's legal confrontation with President George W. Bush over his refusal to let aides testify under oath about private White House discussions. Congressional investigators are trying to determine whether federal prosecutors were replaced to spur investigations of Democrats or quash probes of Republicans.


The White House Has a Manual for Silencing Protesters and Demonstrations

So the truth comes out.

After a myriad of stories about people being excluded from events where the President is speaking, now we know that the White House had a policy manual on just how to do so.

Called the "Presidential Advance Manual," this 103-page document from the Office of Presidential Advance lays out the parameters for how to handle protesters at events.

"Always be prepared for demonstrators," says the document, which is dated October 2002 and which the ACLU released as part of a new lawsuit.

In a section entitled "Preventing Demonstrators," the document says: "All Presidential events must be ticketed or accessed by a name list. This is the best method for preventing demonstrators. People who are obviously going to try to disrupt the event can be denied entrance at least to the VIP area between the stage and the main camera platform. ... It is important to have your volunteers at a checkpoint before the Magnetometers in order to stop a demonstrator from getting into the event. Look for signs they may be carrying, and if need be, have volunteers check for folded cloth signs that demonstrators may be bringing."


NAACP Symbolically Buries N-Word

There was no mourning at this funeral. Hundreds of onlookers cheered Monday afternoon as the NAACP put to rest a long-standing expression of racism by holding a public burial for the N-word during its annual convention.

Delegates from across the country marched from downtown Detroit's Cobo Center to Hart Plaza. Two Percheron horses pulled a pine box adorned with a bouquet of fake black roses and a black ribbon printed with a derivation of the word.

The coffin is to be placed at historically black Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery and will have a headstone.

"Today we're not just burying the N-word, we're taking it out of our spirit," said Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. "We gather burying all the things that go with the N-word. We have to bury the 'pimps' and the 'hos' that go with it."

He continued: "Die N-word, and we don't want to see you 'round here no more."


White House Claims Executive Privilege To Withhold Key Documents On Tillman Death

This just isn't right no matter which side of the political fence you sit on. This administration is claiming executive privilege to keep from the public every political decision they've ever made. They have politicised EVERYTHING in government from the judiciary branch, medical policy, birth control and how they dealt with the death of a hero. The family has a right to know the details even if those details are damaging to the White House and the Republican party. We already know he didn't die the way they said he did so what are they hiding? Is there a paper trail showing who made the decision to 'spin' his death and use it as war propaganda? Does that paper trail lead to Rove? To Bush himself? Or to President Cheney?

Two influential lawmakers investigating how and when the Bush administration learned the circumstances of Pat Tillman's friendly-fire death and how those details were disclosed accused the White House and Pentagon on Friday of withholding key documents and renewed their demand for the material.

The White House and Defense Department have turned over nearly 10,000 pages of papers _ mostly press clippings _ but the White House cited "executive branch confidentiality interests" in refusing to provide other documents.


Friday, July 13, 2007

The progress of freedom depends more upon the maintenance of peace, the spread of commerce, and the diffusion of education, than upon the labours of cabinets and foreign offices.

-Richard Cobden (1804–1865), British radical politician. Speech, June 26, 1850, to the House of Commons.


Senator McConnell: Is This Your Idea of Progress in Iraq?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Truth is power, but only when one has patience and requires of it no immediate effect. And one must have no specific aims. Somehow, lack of an agenda is the greatest power. Sometimes it is better not to think in terms of plans; here months may mean nothing, and also years. Truth must be sought for its own sake, its holy, divine greatness.

-Romano Guardini

Political Corruption in the Justice Department

About Damn Time!

The Iraqi government is achieving only spotty military and political progress, the Bush administration conceded Thursday in an assessment that war critics quickly seized on as confirmation of their dire warnings.

Within hours, the House voted to withdraw U.S. troops by spring.

The House measure passed 223-201 in the Democratic-controlled chamber despite a veto threat from President Bush, who has ruled out any change in war policy before September.

"The security situation in Iraq remains complex and extremely challenging," the administration report concluded. The economic picture is uneven, it added, and the government has not yet enacted vital political reconciliation legislation.


Nobel Peace Prize Winner Calls for Removal of War President

Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams came from Ireland to Texas to declare that President Bush should be impeached.

In a keynote speech at the International Women’s Peace Conference on Wednesday night, Ms. Williams told a crowd of about 1,000 that the Bush administration has been treacherous and wrong and acted unconstitutionally.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Michael Moore Rips Wolf Blitzer on CNN: "Why Don't You Tell the American People the Truth"

Click photo to see video.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

We need a type of patriotism that recognizes the virtues of those who are opposed to us. We must get away from the idea that America is to be the leader of the world in everything. She can lead in some things. The old "manifest destiny" idea ought to be modified so that each nation has the manifest destiny to do the best it can - and that without cant, without the assumption of self-righteousness and with a desire to learn to the uttermost from other nations.

-Francis John McConnell

Pelosi Not Willing to Protect the Constitution

Conyers Raises Impeachment on ABC's This Week

From Think Progress:

This morning on ABC’s This Week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) highlighted the new American Research Group poll showing that nearly half of Americans want the House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against President Bush, and 54 percent favor impeachment hearings for Vice President Cheney. (Click photo to see video.)


Bomb Kills 150 in Iraq

Iraqis used heavy machines and shovels on Sunday to search for bodies after a huge truck bomb killed 150 people in a northern town and fresh attacks in and around Baghdad killed 31 others.

Two police officers in the Shi'ite town of Tuz Khurmato confirmed 150 people had been killed in Saturday's explosion that Iraqi officials blamed on Sunni Islamist al Qaeda. The officers said 20 people were still missing and 250 were wounded.


White House Will Defy Congress

The White House has decided to defy Congress's latest demand for information regarding the dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys, sources familiar with the decision said yesterday. Such an action would escalate the constitutional struggle and propel it closer to a court showdown.

Senate and House committees have directed President Bush to provide by tomorrow a detailed justification of his executive privilege claims and a full accounting of the documents he is withholding. But White House counsel Fred F. Fielding plans to tell lawmakers that he has already provided the legal basis for the claims and will not provide a log of the documents, the sources said.


A Red State Goes Blue As VA Leans Towards Dems

Virginia, usually a reliably Republican state in presidential elections, may become a key battleground in the 2008 election as broadly negative views among independents of President Bush and the war in Iraq have altered the presidential race.

Mirroring the national mood, Virginians' approval of Bush and support for U.S. policies in Iraq have eroded as the war has dragged on. Bush is the worst of the past nine presidents, say Virginia's independent voters, who helped him win in 2004 but now say they are more likely to prefer that a Democrat rather than a Republican be the next president.


Vote Today

Last night, through Al Gore's Live Earth concerts, 2 billion of us rallied to stop the climate crisis. Now, it's time to change more than our light bulbs, it's time to change our leaders.

That's why we're holding our Virtual Town Hall on the climate crisis. All eight of the Democratic presidential candidates responded to MoveOn members' questions about global warming. Now, it's time to watch their responses and weigh in on which one has the best plan.

This is a critical vote. Your choice sends a strong message to the candidates about what kind of leadership voters want to see. And it'll help ensure that our next president takes the climate crisis seriously.

Click below to hear the presidential candidates' plans to stop the climate crisis and to vote for the strongest one.

NY Times Editorial: The Road Home

More than four years after The New York Times published a series of news stories that arguably helped pave the way toward a US led invasion of Iraq, the country's newspaper of record, in a sobering Sunday editorial, has called for an end to the Iraq war. In stating its position, the Times editorial says, "President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have used demagoguery and fear to quell Americans' demands for an end to this war. They say withdrawing will create bloodshed and chaos and encourage terrorists. Actually, all of that has already happened - the result of this unnecessary invasion and the incompetent management of this war.

The New York Times | Editorial

Sunday 08 July 2007

It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.

Like many Americans, we have put off that conclusion, waiting for a sign that President Bush was seriously trying to dig the United States out of the disaster he created by invading Iraq without sufficient cause, in the face of global opposition, and without a plan to stabilize the country afterward.

At first, we believed that after destroying Iraq's government, army, police and economic structures, the United States was obliged to try to accomplish some of the goals Mr. Bush claimed to be pursuing, chiefly building a stable, unified Iraq. When it became clear that the president had neither the vision nor the means to do that, we argued against setting a withdrawal date while there was still some chance to mitigate the chaos that would most likely follow.

While Mr. Bush scorns deadlines, he kept promising breakthroughs - after elections, after a constitution, after sending in thousands more troops. But those milestones came and went without any progress toward a stable, democratic Iraq or a path for withdrawal. It is frighteningly clear that Mr. Bush's plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump the mess on his successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost.

The political leaders Washington has backed are incapable of putting national interests ahead of sectarian score settling. The security forces Washington has trained behave more like partisan militias. Additional military forces poured into the Baghdad region have failed to change anything.

Continuing to sacrifice the lives and limbs of American soldiers is wrong. The war is sapping the strength of the nation's alliances and its military forces. It is a dangerous diversion from the life-and-death struggle against terrorists. It is an increasing burden on American taxpayers, and it is a betrayal of a world that needs the wise application of American power and principles.

A majority of Americans reached these conclusions months ago. Even in politically polarized Washington, positions on the war no longer divide entirely on party lines. When Congress returns this week, extricating American troops from the war should be at the top of its agenda.

That conversation must be candid and focused. Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.

The administration, the Democratic-controlled Congress, the United Nations and America's allies must try to mitigate those outcomes - and they may fail. But Americans must be equally honest about the fact that keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse. The nation needs a serious discussion, now, about how to accomplish a withdrawal and meet some of the big challenges that will arise.

The Mechanics of Withdrawal

The United States has about 160,000 troops and millions of tons of military gear inside Iraq. Getting that force out safely will be a formidable challenge. The main road south to Kuwait is notoriously vulnerable to roadside bomb attacks. Soldiers, weapons and vehicles will need to be deployed to secure bases while airlift and sealift operations are organized. Withdrawal routes will have to be guarded. The exit must be everything the invasion was not: based on reality and backed by adequate resources.

The United States should explore using Kurdish territory in the north of Iraq as a secure staging area. Being able to use bases and ports in Turkey would also make withdrawal faster and safer. Turkey has been an inconsistent ally in this war, but like other nations, it should realize that shouldering part of the burden of the aftermath is in its own interest.

Accomplishing all of this in less than six months is probably unrealistic. The political decision should be made, and the target date set, now.

The Fight Against Terrorists

Despite President Bush's repeated claims, Al Qaeda had no significant foothold in Iraq before the invasion, which gave it new base camps, new recruits and new prestige.

This war diverted Pentagon resources from Afghanistan, where the military had a real chance to hunt down Al Qaeda's leaders. It alienated essential allies in the war against terrorism. It drained the strength and readiness of American troops.

And it created a new front where the United States will have to continue to battle terrorist forces and enlist local allies who reject the idea of an Iraq hijacked by international terrorists. The military will need resources and bases to stanch this self- inflicted wound for the foreseeable future.

The Question of Bases

The United States could strike an agreement with the Kurds to create those bases in northeastern Iraq. Or, the Pentagon could use its bases in countries like Kuwait and Qatar, and its large naval presence in the Persian Gulf, as staging points.

There are arguments for, and against, both options. Leaving troops in Iraq might make it too easy - and too tempting - to get drawn back into the civil war and confirm suspicions that Washington's real goal was to secure permanent bases in Iraq. Mounting attacks from other countries could endanger those nations' governments.

The White House should make this choice after consultation with Congress and the other countries in the region, whose opinions the Bush administration has essentially ignored. The bottom line: the Pentagon needs enough force to stage effective raids and airstrikes against terrorist forces in Iraq, but not enough to resume large-scale combat.

The Civil War

One of Mr. Bush's arguments against withdrawal is that it would lead to civil war. That war is raging, right now, and it may take years to burn out. Iraq may fragment into separate Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite republics, and American troops are not going to stop that from happening.

It is possible, we suppose, that announcing a firm withdrawal date might finally focus Iraq's political leaders and neighboring governments on reality. Ideally, it could spur Iraqi politicians to take the steps toward national reconciliation that they have endlessly discussed but refused to act on.

But it is foolish to count on that, as some Democratic proponents of withdrawal have done. The administration should use whatever leverage it gains from withdrawing to press its allies and Iraq's neighbors to help achieve a negotiated solution.

Iraq's leaders - knowing that they can no longer rely on the Americans to guarantee their survival - might be more open to compromise, perhaps to a Bosnian-style partition, with economic resources fairly shared but with millions of Iraqis forced to relocate. That would be better than the slow-motion ethnic and religious cleansing that has contributed to driving one in seven Iraqis from their homes.

The United States military cannot solve the problem. Congress and the White House must lead an international attempt at a negotiated outcome. To start, Washington must turn to the United Nations, which Mr. Bush spurned and ridiculed as a preface to war.

The Human Crisis

There are already nearly two million Iraqi refugees, mostly in Syria and Jordan, and nearly two million more Iraqis who have been displaced within their country. Without the active cooperation of all six countries bordering Iraq - Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria - and the help of other nations, this disaster could get worse. Beyond the suffering, massive flows of refugees - some with ethnic and political resentments - could spread Iraq's conflict far beyond Iraq's borders.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia must share the burden of hosting refugees. Jordan and Syria, now nearly overwhelmed with refugees, need more international help. That, of course, means money. The nations of Europe and Asia have a stake and should contribute. The United States will have to pay a large share of the costs, but should also lead international efforts, perhaps a donors' conference, to raise money for the refugee crisis.

Washington also has to mend fences with allies. There are new governments in Britain, France and Germany that did not participate in the fight over starting this war and are eager to get beyond it. But that will still require a measure of humility and a commitment to multilateral action that this administration has never shown. And, however angry they were with President Bush for creating this mess, those nations should see that they cannot walk away from the consequences. To put it baldly, terrorism and oil make it impossible to ignore.

The United States has the greatest responsibilities, including the admission of many more refugees for permanent resettlement. The most compelling obligation is to the tens of thousands of Iraqis of courage and good will - translators, embassy employees, reconstruction workers - whose lives will be in danger because they believed the promises and cooperated with the Americans.

The Neighbors

One of the trickiest tasks will be avoiding excessive meddling in Iraq by its neighbors - America's friends as well as its adversaries.

Just as Iran should come under international pressure to allow Shiites in southern Iraq to develop their own independent future, Washington must help persuade Sunni powers like Syria not to intervene on behalf of Sunni Iraqis. Turkey must be kept from sending troops into Kurdish territories.

For this effort to have any remote chance, Mr. Bush must drop his resistance to talking with both Iran and Syria. Britain, France, Russia, China and other nations with influence have a responsibility to help. Civil war in Iraq is a threat to everyone, especially if it spills across Iraq's borders.

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have used demagoguery and fear to quell Americans' demands for an end to this war. They say withdrawing will create bloodshed and chaos and encourage terrorists. Actually, all of that has already happened - the result of this unnecessary invasion and the incompetent management of this war.

This country faces a choice. We can go on allowing Mr. Bush to drag out this war without end or purpose. Or we can insist that American troops are withdrawn as quickly and safely as we can manage - with as much effort as possible to stop the chaos from spreading.


Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3592/383*

Most Recent Casualties:

April 10, 2007

Army Pfc. Kyle G. Bohrnsen, 22, of Philipsburg, Mont.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

*casualty counts are as of day of posting rather than date of death

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3570/384*

Most Recent Casualties:

April 11, 2007

Army Sgt. Edelman L. Hernandez, 23, of Hyattsville, Md.
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Army Sgt. Raymond S. Sevaaetasi, 29, of Pago Pago, American Samoa
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List
*casualty counts are as of day of posting rather than date of death

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3570/384*

Most Recent Casualties:

April 12, 2007

Army Cpl. Jason J. Beadles, 22, of LaPorte, Ind
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army 1st Lt. Gwilym J. Newman, 24, of Waldorf, Md.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. James T. Lindsey, 20, of Florence, Ala
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Staff Sgt. Casey D. Combs, 28, of Auburn, Wash.
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Army Sgt. David A. Stephens, 28, of Tullahoma, Tenn.
-Operation Enduring Freedom

Army Cpl. Cody A. Putnam, 22, of Lafayette, Ind
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. John G. Borbonus, 19, of Boise, Idaho
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List
*casualty counts are as of day of posting rather than date of death

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3570/384*

Most Recent Casualties:

April 13, 2007

Army Sgt. Larry R. Bowman, 29, of Granite Falls, N.C.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List
*casualty counts are as of day of posting rather than date of death

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3570/384*

Most Recent Casualties:

April 14, 2007

Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel J. Santee, 21, of Mission Viejo, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Basham, 22, of Kenosha, Wis
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Ryan A. Bishop, 32, of Euless, Texas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Joshua A. Schmit, 26, of Willmar, Minn.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Brandon L. Wallace, 27, of St Louis, Mo.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List
*casualty counts are as of day of posting rather than date of death

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3570/384*

Most Recent Casualties:

April 15, 2007

Army Pfc. Steven J. Walberg, 18, of Paradise, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List
*casualty counts are as of day of posting rather than date of death

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3592/383*

Most Recent Casualties:

April 16, 2007

Marine Lance Cpl. Jesse D. Delatorre, 29, of Aurora, Ill
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Lucas V. Starcevich, 25, Canton, Ill
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Aaron M. Genevie, 22, of Chambersburg, Pa
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Mario K. DeLeon, 26, of San Francisco, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine 1st Lt. Shaun M. Blue, 25, of Munster, Ind.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel R. Scherry, 20, of Rocky River, Ohio
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

*casualty counts are as of day of posting rather than date of death

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3592/383*

Most Recent Casualties:

April 17, 2007

Army Pfc. Richard P. Langenbrunner, 19, of Fort Wayne, Ind
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

*casualty counts are as of day of posting rather than date of death

Saturday, July 07, 2007

"Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!"

"Again? That trick never works."

Rocky & Bullwinkle

Republican Mantra Returns

Every time Republicans come under fire they start shouting "BILL CLINTON! BILL CLINTON! BILL CLINTON!" It's pathetic.

BTW Chris Matthews should be permanently replaced by Shuster!

Friday, July 06, 2007


Petition: Watch Dick Cheney's impeachable crimes, then sign the petition demanding Congress begin impeachment hearings. 14 Representatives currently support H. Res 333, 3 articles of impeachment outlining Vice President Dick Cheney's crimes.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A government that spies upon its citizens, evades the courts and feels no compulsion to explain itself beyond vague warnings of security threats must be brought into check. The damage caused by terrorists on 9/11 begins to pale against the havoc wreaked upon America by America itself.

-Editorial "Liberties Lost", Baltimore Sun, 7/4/07

Liberties Lost

Baltimore Sun Editorial
July 4, 2007

Besides all his other gifts, Thomas Jefferson appears to have been prophetic.

In his first presidential inaugural address in 1801, he ticked off a long list of essential principles of government, featuring highlights of the Bill of Rights, and called preservation of the government "in its whole constitutional vigor" the "anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad." These principles "should be the creed of our political faith," he said. "Should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety."

Such moments of error or alarm have sent the government off on dangerous tangents from time to time over the years - but rarely with more wide-ranging consequences than the course embarked upon after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. On this 231st anniversary of Jefferson's eloquent Declaration of Independence from British rule, the United States is desperately in need of restoring the rights and freedoms surrendered in a false bid for security that has perversely put the nation at greater risk.

Consider what has been lost.

Sweeping federal measures, most of them heavily cloaked in secrecy, have robbed Americans of privacy, due process of law, even freedom of movement. Warrantless wiretaps, e-mail surveillance, national security letters secretly demanding information on thousands of citizens and, soon to come, the equivalent of national ID cards - all would be abominations to Jefferson.

America's suspected enemies have fared worse. They have been tortured, held indefinitely without charge and spirited away to secret prisons abroad so no one knows who they are or what has happened to them.

The United States has been fortunate to have suffered no terrorist attacks since 9/11, but there's little evidence that any of these extraordinary measures have had anything to do with that. What they have done is to further isolate the United States at a time when the war in Iraq has left America with no global good will to spare. And Iraq has now become a proving ground for development of terrorist weaponry, such as the roadside bomb, and tactics.

In the weeks and months after 9/11, when the Bush administration was paring back civil liberties through the cynically named Patriot Act and travelers were coping with what would become increasingly burdensome restrictions, fearful Americans were persuaded to accept the sacrifice in return for a greater measure of safety.

But Jefferson would argue that was a false choice. Liberty is the source of security. An open, accountable government is the best protection against tyranny and incompetence. Travel restrictions in the form of identity papers - aimed not at terrorists but at illegal immigrants - represent the cost of unchecked power on the quality of American life.

The portrait now emerging of Vice President Dick Cheney as the unseen hand behind many of the more outrageous violations of civil liberties, aided in part by Alberto R. Gonzales, the lapdog of an attorney general, powerfully underscores Jefferson's point that the time has come to retrace these missteps and get back on the road to peace, liberty and safety.

Congress, now in Democratic hands partly because of a backlash at these heavy-handed tactics, should begin the process by getting out all the facts. Americans have a right - and a responsibility - to know what's being done in their name and what effect it's having.

Some might argue that such a public review would allow America's enemies to learn its secrets. Experience suggests, though, that secrecy often shields abuse and simple bungling. For example, Justice Department auditors reported in March that the FBI had misused, sometimes illegally, the national security letters through which it demands, with no prior court approval and no notice to the individual involved, personal information about Americans. The FBI acknowledges perhaps 1,000 such instances.

America's history of violating constitutional restraints in times of perceived peril is a long one. Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus protections against unlawful detention during the Civil War. Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Japanese-Americans confined to camps during World War II. The FBI's history of misdeeds has roots that predate its creation, when J. Edgar Hoover, who would later become the bureau's first director, used a Justice Department perch to send federal agents on a brutal crackdown of more than 10,000 suspected communists in 1919.

During the Cold War and turmoil of the Vietnam War era, Mr. Hoover's FBI would direct its anti-subversive energies at alleged spies, war protesters and civil rights activists as well as suspected communists.

Records released last week detail a similarly sordid history of the CIA's stepping over constitutional hurdles to plot the assassination of foreign leaders, spy on American journalists and political dissidents, and confine a Soviet defector for three years before he was released without charges.

Public outrage at the discovery of such clandestine abuses has typically resulted in the sort of corrective action Jefferson recommended. Such a process may be under way soon again as Congress and the courts begin to apply some restraints on an administration that as much as or more than any other has considered itself above the law. There's little time to waste before Americans become so accustomed to their lost liberty that the loss becomes acceptable.

A government that spies upon its citizens, evades the courts and feels no compulsion to explain itself beyond vague warnings of security threats must be brought into check. The damage caused by terrorists on 9/11 begins to pale against the havoc wreaked upon America by America itself.