Tag Archives: Iraq

If Obama or Clinton Said That, They’d be Toast

John McCain continues to get the soft touch by the media. As Frank Rich points out his Sunday New York Times piece entitled “The Republican Resurrection

… As if to emulate Dick Cheney, who arrived in Baghdad a day behind him, he (McCain) embraced the vice president’s habit of manufacturing false links in the war on terror: Mr. McCain told reporters that Iran is training Al Qaeda operatives and sending them into Iraq.
His Sancho Panza, Joe Lieberman,
whispered in his ear that a correction was in order. But this wasn’t a one-time slip, like Gerald Ford’s debate gaffe about Poland in 1976. Mr. McCain has said this repeatedly. Troubling as it is that he conflates Shiite Iran with Sunni terrorists, it’s even more bizarre that he doesn’t acknowledge the identity of Iran’s actual ally in Iraq — the American-sponsored Shiite government led by Nuri al-Maliki. Only two weeks before the Iraqi prime minister welcomed Mr. McCain to Baghdad, he played host to a bubbly state visit by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Whatever Mrs. Clinton’s or Mr. Obama’s inconsistencies about how to wind down the war, they are both models of coherence next to Mr. McCain. He keeps saying the surge is a “success,” but he can’t explain why that success keeps us trapped in Iraq indefinitely. He never says precisely what constitutes that “victory” he keeps seeing around the corner. His repeated declaration that he will only bring home the troops “with honor” is a Vietnam acid flashback recycled as a non sequitur. Our troops have already piled up more than enough honor in their five years of service under horrific circumstances. Meanwhile, as Al Qaeda proliferates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a
survey by Foreign Policy magazine of 3,400 active and retired American officers finds that 88 percent believe that the Iraq war has “stretched the U.S. military dangerously thin.”

So what’s the deal with the rest of the media? Not much was said critically of McCain. McCain doesn’t deserve special treatment – either he knows what he’s talking about or he doesn’t. And it appears he doesn’t. McCain is a recipe for disaster. We can’t afford a Bush clone in the White House after 8 years of Bush/Cheney.

Darcy Burner Tops $122,000 in Netroots Fundraiser

breaking news: Darcy Burner, Democratic candidate for Congress (WA-08) announced today at her Town Hall forum on Iraq that Major General Paul D Eaton, retired, has agreed to head up a panel of experts to help develop an Exit Plan for leaving Iraq. General Eaton was in Iraq in 2003 heading efforts to rebuild Iraq’s military. He is a critic of Bush’s lack of direction and results in ending our war efforts in Iraq.

Thank you Darcy for taking action, and working for solutions. You can help Darcy continue her efforts. Go to http://www.darcyburner.com/ and contribute to counter Bush’s effort to put $10,000 checks in the hands of the Republican Party and Congressman Reichert’s back pockets.

As of about 3:45 P.M. – 2721 people have contributed over $104,788 to Burner. Contributions are still being accepted to help Darcy run a strong campaign. Watch the Town Hall discussion and give today.
Update 5:00 P.M. – 2762 people have contributed $105,945. Help the number grow. Send a loud message to Reichert that Darcy’s coming again!
Update 12:00 P.M. Tues. 3195 people contributed $122,160 – final tally!

It’s payola time for Reichert. Seeing Bush on the public’s dollar traveling to Washington State to raise money for an incumbent Republican Congressman who nearly didn’t return last year – certainly shows Bush’s priorities and pay back for Reichert’s loyalty in supporting Bush’s War.

Bush is busy fundraising while the War rages on in Iraq and people continue to die. Instead of working today for an end to the war, like trying to get Iraq to take responsibility for working out their political differences, or dealing with any of the other pressing problems facing America, he is busy raising money for partisan gain. It shows his priorities are not to deal with the nation’s problems or Iraq. No surprise here.

Instead of meeting with the general public or the press, he is meeting with partisan donors.

Meanwhile Darcy Burner is holding a unique Town Hall meeting streaming live over UStreamTV. Panelists are discussing Iraq and foreign policy issues. It is an innovative approach to help shape the public debate and put Reichert on notice that he is in for a tough re-election campaign again next year.

The Reason We Are in Iraq is to "Support the Troops"?

There have been so many “reasons” given by Bush as to why we are in Iraq. But it is a sorry state of affairs when the rationale for Congress continuing to fund the war turns into a debate about who is “supporting the troops” and the Democrats continue to respond to the issue on these terms.

If the issue is really about “supporting the troops“, then bringing them home now is the best way to support them. We can certainly do a better job at home than having to supply them with food and weapons half way around the world.

Why is the main stream media and everyone else seemingly buying into the idea that what the debate is about now is “supporting the troops“? Is it because all the other rationales given by Bush no longer make sense and this is his last desperate attempt to try to tug at the heartstrings of America? Why can’t someone just tell the Pretender Emperor he has no clothes?

What happened to fighting terrorism or bringing peace and democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan?This war is Bush’s war and it has turned out to have been made on false assumptions and false premises and false expectations. But Democrats make a big mistake if they continue to respond to Bush’s false pretenses and phony concerns and attempts to re-frame the debate now into a false issue of “supporting the troops“.

The debate now should not be about “supporting the troops” and never should have been. Democrats are wrong to engage in Bush’s phony attempts to change the debate. Get real. Debate what our goals are in Iraq and what we can or can not do. Whatever happened in the past is done – make your decisions based on the present reality and then act. But what the hell does “supporting the troops” have to do with this?

Debate what we need to do next. Only after you’ve made that decision and come up with a plan to carry out with a time line do you discuss what you can do to support carrying out the mission. Only then do you discuss how to “support the troops” in their mission. But only after you reach agreement on a plan of action can you determine how to “support the troops“.

Bush really is saying, support what I am doing. The problem is Bush choose to ignore the concerns of Democrats and others when he started this war. He chose his own counsel and continues to this day to function in isolation, stubbornly ignoring concerns and suggestions of others, including the bipartisan panel on Iraq that he put together to deflect criticism and then whose recommendations he choose to ignore.

Bush seemingly has no end game or exit plan except to ride things out until his term in office is up. Then he can blame whatever bad outcome there is on the next President. Bush is praying that he will get lucky in the next year and a half but the chances right now seem worse than the odds on winning one of those Mega-Lotteries.

Molly Ivins Warned Us About Shrub

If only more in the media were as hard hitting and insightful as Molly Ivins was, we probably would not be in Iraq today. Molly Ivins, who died this week, warned us repeatedly but not enough people listened and acted on her insights. She  held Bush up to the light for all to see.

In her column entitled, “Call me a Bush-Hater” written in November of 2003, the clarity and directness of her style of writing tells us some of what we’ve lost with her death.

“Then suddenly, in the greatest bait-and-switch of all time, Osama Bin Laden doesn’t matter at all, and we have to go after Saddam Hussein, who had nothing to do with 9/11. But he does have horrible weapons of mass destruction, and our president “without doubt,” without question, knows all about them, even unto the amounts–tons of sarin, pounds of anthrax. So we take out Saddam Hussein, and there are no weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, the Iraqis are not overjoyed to see us.

By now, quite a few people who aren’t even liberal are starting to say, “What the hey?” We got no Osama, we got no Saddam, we got no weapons of mass destruction, the road map to peace in the Middle East is blown to hell, we’re stuck in this country for $87 billion just for one year and no one knows how long we’ll be there”

“… what we need is the Big Picture. Well, the Big Picture is that after September 11, we had the sympathy of every nation on Earth. They all signed up, all our old allies volunteered, everybody was with us, and Bush just booted all of that away. Sneering, jeering, bad manners, hideous diplomacy, threats, demands, arrogance, bluster.”

“In Afghanistan, Bush rode a popular tide; Iraq, however, was a singular act of presidential will,” says Krauthammer.

You bet your ass it was. We attacked a country that had done nothing to us, had nothing to do with Al Qaeda, and turns out not to have weapons of mass destruction.

It is not necessary to hate George W. Bush to think he’s a bad president. Grownups can do that, you know. You can decide someone’s policies are a miserable failure without lying awake at night consumed with hatred.

Poor Bush is in way over his head, and the country is in bad shape because of his stupid economic policies. If that makes me a Bush-hater, then sign me up.”

The complete column was also reprinted in Molly Ivins book, Who Let the Dogs in? Incredible Political Animals I have Known”, which was published in 2004. The words carry as much bite today as they did over 2 years ago.Thank you Molly for speaking truth to power.

John Kerry will not Run for President in 2008

The 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee who probably really won but didn’t become President has decided not to enter the 2008 race. According to the Washington Post Kerry

“announced today that he has decided not to run for president again in 2008, saying that he will devote his energy instead to ending the war in Iraq.

Kerry made the announcement at the end of a lengthy speech on the Senate floor about the war. He said he felt a personal responsibility to work toward ending the involvement of U.S. combat troops in Iraq because he had “made the mistake” of voting for the 2002 congressional resolution that authorized Bush to take military action in Iraq.

Kerry said he came close enough to winning the presidency in 2004 to be tempted to try again. “But I’ve concluded this isn’t the time for me to mount a presidential campaign,” he said. Rather, it is time “to do all I can to end this war” and focus on fighting “the real war on terror,” he said.”

Senator John Kerry is an honorable man and would have served our country well as President. His campaign in 2004 was assaulted by right wing fear mongers inspired by Karl Rove who falsely attacked Kerry’s war record in a Swift Boat ad campaign that falsely distorted Kerry’s record. Rovian tactics were also behind labeling Kerry a flip flopper – another deceitful ad campaign that relieved on repetitious ads amplified by the right wing noise machine of talk radio and Internet postings and right wing media outlets like Fox news. Also numerous instances of attempts to disenfranchise voters like those documented in Florida and efforts to mislead voters and malfunctioning voting machines in places like Ohio as documented by Robert Kennedy Jr and others helped to keep Bush in office.

Kerry was again attacked in 2006 by the right wing propaganda campaign in the telling of a joke about Bush that the media turned into a diatribe about making fun of Kerry. Meanwhile the ineptitude of Bush was ignored by the media for most of Bush’s time in office until finally the 2006 national elections brought home the fact that it was not Kerry but Bush who was the real joke. Its one of those joke where you only laugh at because it’s so painful otherwise.

Kerry leaving now opens up the Democratic race for President by leaving behind the baggage of Kerry’s loss. It also opens up the race to new visions and hopes for a different future.

Iraq War Really about Condoleezza Rice being Single?

Right Wing Attack Zombies have once again attacked a Democrat, this time Senator Barbara Boxer, in an attempt to divert attention from Bush’s War and the Old Time Media buys into it. It’s just as nonsensical as their buying into the same Right Wing Zombies spin diversion coordinated by the Republican Noise Machine when they attacked John Kerry’s Bush joke.

When will the media get out of the business of being manipulated and used by the conservatives to deflect criticism of the Iraq War? The New York Times gives right wing blogger’s and right wing radio attention and coverage on whether Barbara Boxer offended Condi Rice when she suggested that by Rice being single she didn’t have a close loved one in the firing sights over in Iraq. Ouch, the truth hurts.

The NY Times Headline, “Passing Exchange Becomes Political Flashpoint Focused on Feminism“. Excuse me, but doesn’t the media know what Bush and Rove and Rice are doing? It’s political jujitsu. Turn the questioning back on the questioner and make them the issue, thereby deflecting the original question. Flashpoint? No. Just an attempt to deflect questions that need to be asked and answered.

Here is Senator Boxer’s question as quoted in the International Herald

Who pays the price?” Boxer asked Rice. “I’m not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with immediate family.
“So who pays the price? The American military and their families.”

The International Herald’s Headline: “Rice says single women can understand ramifications of war
Excuse me again but what does that have to do with Bush escalating his personal war in Iraq without having to be accountable to America? There is nothing wrong with Senator Boxer’s question. It’s time someone started asking these questions and demanding answers.

The New York Times noted that Rice had no comment at the time but later its attack time. Bush’s press propagandist, Tony Snow comments that he thinks Senator Boxer’s comments were anti feminist and “a great leap backward for feminism” Yes the Bush people should know all about feminism with their anti contraception positions and other regressive policies that are steps backward for women.

The media needs to call this line of attack crap and do their job ferreting out the truth rather than just parroting back the Bush propaganda line. But wait, say too much and Bush will exclude you from being able to ask questions at his press conferences, excusee me, indoctrination conferences. Shame on the media for being so docile and compliant in parroting the White House nonsensical attack.

As Babara Boxer says in the International Herald article:

I spoke the truth at the committee hearing, which is that neither Secretary Rice nor I have family members that will pay the price for this escalation,” she said. “My point was to focus attention on our military families who continue to sacrifice because this administration has not developed a political solution to the situation in Iraq.”

Thank you Senator Barbara Boxer for raising the issue and asking questions like these. Keep up the good work!

More Republican Campaign Legislation

Republicans continue their cynical game playing the terrorism card in an attempt to get voter support for their candidates in the upcoming election. They continue to manufacture legislation to generate votes that they can use in attack ads challenging their opponents.

The terrorism game for Republicans emerges as an attempt to draw public attention away from the failures of the Bush Administration and Republican controlled Congress in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The House in a 253 to 168 vote approved Bush’s bill for interrogating and trying terrorist suspects. Immediately the Republican Majority Leader Boehner said “It’s outrageous that House Democrats, at the urging of their leaders, continue to oppose giving President Bush the tools he needs to protect our country.” So the bill passes and he attacks the Democrats?

But what was at stake? The bill passed by the House, H.R.6166 , is actually entitled ‘The Military Commissions Act of 2006. It deals with setting up new military commissions to try so called “illegal enemy combatants”. Here’s part of what the New York says in their editorial Rushing off a Cliff”:

These are some of the bill’s biggest flaws:
Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of  “illegal enemy combatant” in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The President could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.
The Geneva Conventions: The bill would repudiate a half-century of international precedent by allowing Mr. Bush to decide on his own what abusive interrogation methods he considered permissible. And his decision could stay secret – there’s no requirement that this list be published.
Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.
Judicial Review: The courts would have no power to review any aspect of this new system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The bill would limit appeals and bar legal actions based in the Geneva Conventions, directly or indirectly. All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial.
Coerced Evidence: Coerced evidence would be permissible if a judge considered it reliable – already a contradiction in terms – and relevant. Coercion is defined in a way that exempts anything done before the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and anything else Mr.
Bush chooses.
Secret Evidence: American standards of justice prohibit evidence and testimony that is kept secret from the defendant, whether the accused is a corporate executive or a mass murderer. But the bill as redrafted by Mr. Cheney seems to weaken protections against such evidence.
Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of
nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture.

It is politically motivated legislation that tells the world we really don’t care about the safeguards our founders wrote into the Constitution. I urge you to read the bill yourself.

Here are some quotes (highlighting is mine) and issues I saw.

I could find no mention of how quickly one needed to be charged with a crime, yet a specific time period, 20 days, is all that’s allotted for an appeal.

The definition of who can be tried by these commissions is very broad. The bill is also retroactive to cover any event in the past.

The term `unlawful enemy combatant’ means–
`(i) a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents who is not a lawful enemy combatant (including a person who is part of the Taliban, al Qaeda, or associated forces); or
`(ii) a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense.

And while the judge presiding has to have a judicial background, the people who sit on the commission and vote need not be. “Any commissioned officer of the armed forces on active duty is eligible to serve on a military commission under this chapter.”

Evidence shall not be excluded from trial by military commission on the grounds that the evidence was not seized pursuant to a search warrant or other authorization”

hearsay evidence not otherwise admissible under the rules of evidence applicable in trial by general courts-martial may be admitted in a trial by military commission…”

“The military judge may close to the public all or a portion of the proceedings under paragraph (1) only upon making a specific finding that such closure is necessary to–
`(A) protect information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause damage to the national security, including intelligence or law enforcement sources, methods, or activities;…”

This bill is being pushed now to meet the political agenda and needs of the Republican Party and because this is the time Bush is most likely to get the least objection. I agree with the New York Times that it is full of bad policy and law for our country.