Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bending to George W. Bush's Will

By Brent Budowsky
February 9, 2007

Dear Senator Hagel and Senator Warner:

For four years of failure and bloodshed in the Iraq War, you have issued warnings, concerns, sage advice and major suggestions for change.

Read on.

Smirkingly Shirking an Iraq War Bet

By Jeff Cohen
February 9, 2007

There are many shades of right-wing punditry in our country. Among the shadiest is Jonah Goldberg.

With arrogance seemingly matched only by his ignorance, Goldberg was just being Goldberg when he offered this wager two years ago:

Read on.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Will the Dems Finally Play Hardball?

By Robert Parry
February 7, 2007

The Republicans scored a political victory of sorts by thwarting a non-binding Senate resolution that would have expressed mild disapproval of George W. Bush’s military escalation in Iraq. When the resolution was blocked, White House officials reportedly gave each other high-fives.

The GOP’s use of parliamentary procedures to prevent a floor debate was another sharp elbow in the ribs of the new Democratic congressional majority, which has been trying since November to behave in a bipartisan way on foreign policy, graciously approving Bush’s new war council with nary a tough question.

Read on.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Billions Wasted on Defense Spending

By Ivan Eland
February 7, 2007

Each year, one of the most important events in the nation’s capital is the release of the federal budget. Yet the media provides insufficient coverage because the budget is technical, unglamorous, and requires hard work sifting through mounds of data to uncover the key truths.

It is much sexier to cover whether Condi Rice’s star has fallen as a result of the Iraq War. Very little happens in public affairs, however, without the money to effectuate it. And much has happened.

Read on.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Fourth Anniversary of Powell's Lies

By Robert Parry
February 5, 2007

To make his case for war before the U.N., George W. Bush dispatched the most credible official in his administration, Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Yet, when Powell was assigned to make the case for war, he already counted himself among the growing list of U.S. officials nervous about the quality of the WMD intelligence. Indeed, Powell may have been one of the best positioned officials to know that the threat from Iraq was being exaggerated.

Read on.

The Plight of Damaged Iraq War Vets

By Andrew Weaver and Ray McGovern
February 5, 2007

The California Nurses Association reported that in the first quarter of 2006, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs "treated 20,638 Iraq veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder, and they have a backlog of 400,000 cases." A returning soldier has to wait an average of 165 days for a VA decision on initial disability benefits, and an appeal can take up to three years.

This is unacceptable and reprehensible.

Read on.

Bush's War: Escalation and Expansion

Below are a few good articles on the U.S. "strategy" of escalation in Iraq, and the prospects for expansion of the war to neighboring Iran.

From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq
The same neocon ideologues behind the Iraq war have been using the same tactics—alliances with shady exiles, dubious intelligence on W.M.D.—to push for the bombing of Iran. As President Bush ups the pressure on Tehran, is he planning to double his Middle East bet?
by Craig Unger March 2007

In the weeks leading up to George W. Bush's January 10 speech on the war in Iraq, there was a brief but heady moment when it seemed that the president might finally accept the failure of his Middle East policy and try something new. Rising anti-war sentiment had swept congressional Republicans out of power. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had been tossed overboard. And the Iraq Study Group (I.S.G.), chaired by former secretary of state James Baker and former congressman Lee Hamilton, had put together a bipartisan report that offered a face-saving strategy to exit Iraq. Who better than Baker, the Bush family's longtime friend and consigliere, to talk some sense into the president?

By the time the president finished his speech from the White House library, however, all those hopes had vanished. It wasn't just that Bush was doubling down on an extravagantly costly bet by sending 21,500 more American troops to Iraq; there were also indications that he was upping the ante by an order of magnitude. The most conspicuous clue was a four-letter word that Bush uttered six times in the course of his speech: Iran.

Read on.

Israel's Bomb, Iran's Pursuit of the Bomb and U.S. War Preparations (Part One)


Four years ago today, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell played a major role in persuading a gullible, stupefied and craven American news media and public - but not a cynical world - to support the Bush administration's illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq. He did so by presenting a panoply of lies, false statements and exaggerations about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda terrorists.

Four years later, as both United States and Israel prepare their populations for an illegal, immoral preventive war against Iran -- allegedly to disrupt, if not destroy, the secret nuclear weapons program that both insist (without evidence) is well under way there -- Americans might do well to avoid being duped again. Thus, they might contemplate not only the allegations against Iran, but also the sins of the United States and Israel when it comes to developing, using and brandishing their own nuclear weapons.

Read on.

Meanwhile, even as the administration prepares to escalate and expand its war, some Democrats are urging Bush to re-focus on the "forgotten war," the one being fought in Afghanistan. A Senate resolution introduced by John Kerry calls on the president to beef up "…the efforts of the United States to defeat the Taliban and terrorist networks in Afghanistan."

Cosponsored by Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Joe Biden (D-DE) and Chris Dodd (D-CT), the resolution warns that Taliban activity is returning full-force to the region and that continuing to place that conflict in the back seat to Iraq will cause Afghanistan to "become what it was before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a haven for those who seek to harm the United States and a source of instability that threatens the security of the United States."

“While the Administration moves forward with its escalation plans for Iraq, it has failed to address deteriorating security conditions in Afghanistan.” Feingold said. “We should not be reducing our forces in Afghanistan. Instead, we should be strengthening our efforts to defeat a resurgent Taliban – the same movement that harbored and supported the terrorist elements that attacked our country on 9/11.”

Read on.

With deterioriating situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is difficult to understand exactly what Bush hopes to accomplish by expanding the war to Iran. A.K. Gupta, writing in Z Magazine, offers some useful insights however. Focusing on the plans to escalate the war in Iraq, Gupta describes the tough choice the neocons are faced with: either double down, or withdraw. Because the Bush administration still refuses to acknowledge that its dreams of reshaping the Middle East militarily are simply not feasibile, the only option they see is to escalate the conflict.

This will be bad news for the Iraqi people though, with Gupta describing the possibilities they face as either a "second civil war" or "genocide."

Bush's Iraq Strategy for 2007
A second civil war or genocide
By A.K. Gupta

After all the study groups and reports, an electoral repudiation of a failed war, months of deliberation, and hundreds of thousands dead, the Bush administration policy debate boils down to this: choosing between genocide against Sunni Arabs—a strategy known as the “80 percent solution”—or fomenting a second civil war, this one a Shia-on-Shia death match. Or perhaps both.

The new White House strategy begins with the “surge” option. To try to fend off defeat, the Bush administration has decided to send up to 30,000 more troops. The criticism of this, from the media to the military to politicians, is that Bush has not tied any military escalation to a broader political strategy (see the New York Times December 21 editorial, “Rudderless in Iraq”).

Read on.

Declassified, But Still Unavailable

Two hundred and seventy million pages of FBI files were recently declassified. Why can’t the public access them?

By Nat Parry

At the stroke of midnight on December 31, hundreds of millions of pages of secret government documents—including 270 million pages of FBI files—were instantly declassified, promising to shed light on everything from the Cuban Missile Crisis to government surveillance of antiwar and civil rights activists in the ’60s and ’70s.

It was to be a “Cinderella moment,” said the New York Times, for researchers of the government’s secret history. But upon contacting the National Archives, researchers learned that declassification is not the same thing as release—none of the documents were publicly available for review.

Read on.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Libby's Trial Becomes Cheney's Trial

By Brent Budowsky
February 4, 2007

For the judge and jury, it is the Libby trial. For America and American politics, it is the Dick Cheney trial and the stakes are far higher than reported in the media.

What has emerged in evidence so far, is not surprising, but it is astonishing. Vice-President Cheney was so deeply involved and obsessed with discrediting Joe Wilson that the impact and implications are enormous and underestimated.

Read on.

New Gulf of Tonkin in Persian Gulf

By Daniel Patrick Welch
February 4, 2007

I'm putting my mother into bed and the high-pitched urgency of MSNBC's 'this just in' crisis reporting cuts through evening calm. Same on CNN, and I don't even bother to check the other channels.

Iran, we are being told, is to blame for the Kerbala attack. We have always been at war with Eastasia. I can't believe it is happening so neatly, so on cue and so cutely bundled in such a familiar package.

Read on.