Saturday, September 16, 2006


Real sleepy this morning. I'm sure I've got lizard eyes. :D (They're dry and probably my lids are hanging low. I can barely keep them open.) The Iraq group went great tonight and was a lot of fun but I'm really tired. Big thanks to C.I. who figured it would be hard to blog when the group ended and passed on some stuff for Elaine and me to pick through and use if we saw something we liked. There wasn't time to get all the stuff in the snapshot today so C.I. passed on some stuff with a "use only if you want" note. I grabbed this one from the BBC, "Iraq soldier 'unlawfully killed':"

Chris Hickey was described as the "epitome of a professional soldier"Four Iraqi policemen were seen acting suspiciously near the scene of a roadside bomb which killed a British soldier, an inquest has heard.
The officers were sitting in a vehicle just 50m from the blast which killed Sergeant Chris Hickey, 30, of Bradford, and injured several others.
Sgt Hickey, of the 1st Battalion The Coldstream Guards, was on foot patrol in Basra when the bomb went off.
A verdict of unlawful killing we recorded at the inquest in Harrogate.
Coroner Geoff Fell said there was no evidence to suggest the Iraqi police were complicit in the death but expressed disappointment in their "evasive" behaviour.

That really makes me think about a point I heard Aaron Glantz make and one I heard Robert Fisk make as well (heard 'em both online at different times) which was that the resistance could be in a police uniform. They were both talking about it in detail, how the police officer could be doing the job and all but if you saw him (I don't think there are any Iraqi female police officers and if that's true, you have to wonder why because I'm sure there were before Bully Boy 'liberated' Iraq) at the end of his shift, he might be one of the resistance. It's like that song "Pirate Jenny" in a way.

I think that sort of thing wouldn't be surprising. You need to make some money so you become a police officer and you still hate the occupation so it's the perfect way to make money and further your own resistance.

The other thing I was happy to grab was by a reporter Wally and me have a lot of respect for, Helen Thomas. This is from "Bush's Iraq Rationalization is Lame:"

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is relying on a slender thread to justify its disastrous war in Iraq: Saddam Hussein is now in jail.
"The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power," President Bush insists, because "he was a clear threat."
Bush's rationalization comes up lame, given the administration's reluctant and deferred acknowledgement that Saddam had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks and especially in view of the mounting casualty tolls of U.S. service members and Iraqi civilians.
Vice President Dick Cheney also says, "The world is better off today with Saddam Hussein out of power."
While holding no brief for Iraq's brutal dictator, I question whether we now live in a safer world.
The world would be better off without any dictators, of course. That's a given.
But I'm thinking of all the Americans and Iraqis who would be alive today had there not been a U.S.-waged war of choice.

They keep changing the excuse and changing the justification and you have people who probably wonder, "What was the reason they gave at first?" It was that we had a threat from Hussein who could send biological warfare our way or a "mushroom crowd." Then no WMDs were never discovered and Bully Boy probably thought he could get away with it like he did with Osama. Remember when he said he wasn't too worried about Osama? He figured we were all focused on something else. And he figured we'd all forget the lies he told about WMD too.

So now we go to war because we want a country to change leaders? That's how it works under a Bully Boy and that's all I can do tonight. I'm so tired. But in the snapshot, there's going to be a reference to the New York Times and if you don't get it, read C.I.'s "NYT: Paragraph nine tells you that five US troops died -- they bury it" from early Friday morning.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, September 15, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq and among the dead are US troops; the count of discovered corpses in Baghdad continue to rise, meanwhile the latest US 'answer' is "Castle!"; war resister Darrell Anderson prepares to return to the United States; and Camp Democracy continues in Washington, DC.
Starting with the violence (stick around for the 'answer'),
CBS and AP report that five US troops died on Thursday ("making it a particularly bloody day for U.S. forces" -- well not to the New York Times) and that a marine has died today in al Anbar province. al Anbar? For those who missed it, Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported Monday that that Marine Col Pete Devlin's assesment "that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there, said several military officers and intelligence officials familiar with its contents." Today Will Dunham (Reuters) reports: "U.S. commanders in Iraq have demoted their long effort to subdue insurgents in Anbar province . . . 'Baghdad is our main effort right now,' Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the top U.S. operational commander in Iraq, told Pentagon reporters in a briefing from Iraq."
Staying with the violence.
A senior Interior Ministry official
remarks to Reuters, on the continued discovery of corpses, "Forty bodies, 60 bodies -- it's become a daily routine." Friday started with Rebecca Santana (AP) noting the discovery of 30 corpses in Baghdad. AFP gives the announced figures for the last three days as 64 (Wednesday), 20 (Thursday) and 51 (last 24 hours). In addition to those corpses which were discovered in Baghdad, Reuters reports that in Mussayab a corpse "with a missing head" was discovered.
Reuters reports one person was shot dead and five others wounded in Baghdad. AP reports the incident: "In central Baghdad, a gunman opened fire from the top of an abandoned building in a Sunni Arab neighborhood, killing an Iraqi civilian and wounding five others, said police Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Ali."
Reuters reports a car bomb in Mosul that left nine wounded, while, in Mussayab, a roadside bomb "late on Thursday" left three police officers wounded.
In addition,
Al Jazeera reports that a US soldier is missing after Thursday's car bombing in Baghdad that left two troops dead on Thursday and 25 others wounded. AP raises the wounded from that bombing to 30 and notes the missing soldier "has been reported as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown".
AFP reminds: "The United Nations has also warned that Iraq could slide into civil war as the daily bloodshed shows no signs of abating despire political efforts for national reconciliation." CBS and AP report that John Bolton told the UN Security Council yesterday "that Iraq's sectarian killings and kidnappings had increased in the last three months, along with a rise in the numbef of displaced people."
So where does it stand? Even John Bolton's sounding alarms, US troops are pulling out of al Anabar,
Reuters reports that the 147,000 American troops in Iraq are "the most since January," and the violence and chaos continue.
But don't fret 'a new plan' finally emerges as the 'answer.'
It's being called trenches which is really implying something it's not. When people think of trenches, they tend to think of trench warfare. What's being described is more along the lines of a mote --
AFP reports that Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf described it this way, "We will surround the city with trenches. The entry to the captial will be permitted through 28 roads, as against 21 at the moment, but at the same time we will seal off dozens of other minor roads with access to Baghdad."
Quote: "We will surround the city with trenches." That's the 'new plan.' Baghdad goes from capital to castle. But not overnight.
Al Jazeera notes "an operation of this scale would take months to complete."
In the real world,
Cal Perry (CNN) takes a look at the wounded US troops ("more than 20,000" have been "wounded in Iraq") at the 10th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad.
In peace news,
Courage to Resist has reported that war resister Darrell Anderson will return to the United States (from Canada): "Support is mounting for Darrell and his courageous stand. Two events are planned in conjunction with his return to the U.S. In Fort Erie on Saturday, Septemeber 30 at Noon there will be a rally in Lions Sugar Bowl and then supporters, including Iraq war veterans and military family members, will accompany Darrell as he crosses the border back into the U.S. over Peace Bridge."
Other peace actions are going on and will be going on including a three-day event in NYC that begins this evening at 7:00 pm, continues Saturday at 7:00 pm and concludes on Sunday at 3:00 pm. What is it? The People Speak directed by Will Pomerantz and Rob Urbinati. This is a workshop adaptation of
Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's Voices of a People's History of the United States. The workshop will take place at The Culture Project's Bleecker Street Theater on 45 Bleecker Street. Tickets are ten dollars and can be ordered online here or here or purchased in person at the box office (box office does not take ticket orders). For those in NYC, or who will be during those dates, click here for a map. The presentation is part of the Impact Festival.
In Washington, DC,
Camp Democracy continues, free and open to the public. Today's events have focused on Electoral Reform and include an 8:00 pm (EST) showing of the film Stealing America, Vote by Vote." Among those speaking today were Bob Firtakis. Saturday is peace day and will include Kevin Zeese, Nadine Bloch, Allison Hantschel. CODEPINK's Gael Muphy will report on the visit to Jordan at the start of last month to meet with Iraqis as well as the trip to Lebanon. And war resister Ricky Clousing will discuss the court-martial he's facing. (This may be the first major discussion he's given publicly on the topic since August 11th.)
And on Sunday,
Camp Democracy will host a number of events and the theme will be Impeachment Day. Among those participating: Elizabeth Holtzman, Michael Avery, Ray McGovern, David Green, John Nichols, Marcus Raskin, Elizabeth De La Vega, Dave Lindorff, David Swanson, Jennifer Van Bergen, Geoff King, David Waldman, Dan DeWalt, Steve Cobble, Anthony St. Martin, Cindy Bogard, Mubarak Awad, Susan Crane, Frank Anderson. The camp has daily activities and admission is free. A complete schedule can be found here. Free and open to the public with daily activites.
Finally, in Australia,
ABC reports that Brendan Nelson (Defence Minister) will be expanding their role in Iraq when "Italian forces withdraw at the end of next month." Reuters notes this will be 20 troops added to "the extra 38 troops announced on Sept. 4". The 58 need to be weighed next to the intent, as Dan Box (The Australian) reported earlier this week, the Australian government wants to up the army from 2,600 to 30,000 ("its biggest intake since the Vietnam war")

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bouncing all over the place

Thursday, finally. Almost Friday. I don't know why I get so excited about Fridays, but I do. It's like, "Freedom!" Scary to think I'm going to be spending the rest of my life like that! :D
65's a long ways a way. And that's if they don't raise the retirement age.

Now at the end of next week, I'm not sure when I'll be posting. We're all going to be participating in different activities and I won't be home-based. I'm really excited about that. September 21st is International Peace Day and I hope you're planning some ways to observe it. If not on the day then on the weekend.

But I'm really looking forward to next week. And I can get impatient sometimes but I really think the peace movement is making big strides. I see it on campus and I see it with friends and neighbors. If you're not seeing it, you really should consider doing a once a week thing where you get together with friends and family or friends or family and discuss Iraq. I think that helps a lot because it lets you see how many people do care about a war the media doesn't seem that interested in and it also lets you share stuff.

It's really a lot of fun and it's interesting to hear the connections other people make.

We're getting ready to start breaking off into smaller groups and that'll allow for more sharing and all but it'll also be weird not having everyone together. It seems now like this thing has been going on forever. I'm really glad that we decided to do something instead of just sitting on our butts going, "Duh! Why don't people talk about it? Duh! Someone should talk about it!"

C.I. does this stuff all the time. I mean there's always a crowd over at C.I.'s house and there are all these different discussions and stuff going on all over. I was asking Jess, "How are you ever going to get any studying done?" If it were me, I'd be like, "Oh, it's too fun out there, I can't go in my room and study." But it's cool and probably better than classes. :D

I've been marking off the days on the calender since I got back from California for this trip and now that it's so close, I'm bouncing off the walls. In some ways, it seems like I just saw everybody last week, in other ways, it's like it's been forever. I'm looking forward to having a lot of fun and getting a lot done. May not get much accomplished at the site though.

About websites, The Third Estate Sunday Review is trying some new stuff and Ty says everyone liked the visuals. There should be more this time but you should see some more changes there as well. Tony and I went through some magazines C.I. sent and some of it was stuff I would never buy. Not because it's not good but because I wouldn't think to pick them up. But it's about "refilling the well" (C.I. phrase) and I can really feel a difference. Like things are being shaken up, you know? That's how the visuals came about. While they were doing some brainstorming before the rest of us got on the phone with them, C.I. brought out some finger paints and kids stuff and they just played with it while they were brainstorming and all. Everyone's so busy and I think it was a way to avoid sameness setting in. You know, to keep things fresh.

I can't believe I've been trying to write all this time and this is all I've got. I just read over it and thought, "What have you been doing!" I've been thinking about next week. Hey, Cedric's writing about the joint-posts he and Wally have been doing lately.

Did you read Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY'S WET NURSE LETS HIM DOWN!"? It's a humorous take on the fact (this is real) that Colin Powell is disagreeing with his Bully Boy over military tribunals.

Well I'm useless tonight so let me wind down. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, September 14, 2006. The chaos and violence continues in Iraq, William Caldwell gets lost in his own spin while Harry Reid comes out swinging, two US soldiers are dead, actions on the part of Suzanne Swift result in some US Congressional support, Camp Democracy continues in DC, and 110 Australian soldiers return to Iraq from Australia.
William Caldwell IV, the liveliest Gabor in the Green Zone, explained the mounting corpses (about 100 in the last two days) discovered in the capital as "
murder-executions" -- as opposed to "group hugs"? Somebody ask Willie to adjust the bra strap before the commercial break's over. Not content with being the giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Caldwell also told reporters today that another major terrorist had been captured. CNN reports that the Ethel Mertz of the occupation won't identify the captured but will give lots of non-specific details and, apparently, whine that Fred won't ever take her out anywhere! The non-specific details will allow gas bags to fill in their own details and a non-story to eat hours and hours of psuedo-commentary and it certainly minimizes the tragic reality that two more American troops lost their lives.
CBS and AP report: "Two U.S. soldiers died Thursday in and around Baghdad, the U.S. Command said. The first soldier died from wounds in the early morning hours after his unit came under attack by small arms. The second was killed after his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad." AFP notes that the two deaths follow the Wednesday death of a US soldier as a result of "enemy fire" and CNN notes: "He was attached to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division."
If it seems like Willie Gabor isn't aware of the body count, the
AFP's reporting demonstrates US Senator Harry Reid is: "We have to change course in Iraq, we are approaching 2,700 dead American men and women, more than 20,000 wounded, a third of them greviously wounded, missing arms, and legs, and eyes, paralysis, brain damage. The cost is three billion a week. If Iraq is not in a civil war, I don't know what a civil war is, 100 killed yesterday, 100 killed the day before."
Associated Press reports two car bombs in Baghdad that resulted in at least ten deaths and thirty wounded. CBS and AP note the second blast, outside the passport office, "created a large crater in the street in front of the office, destroyed at least three cars, scattered debris and knocked down the walls of a neibhoring house".
KUNA notes four wounded as a result of a bomb in Mosul. Reuters notes a "sucicide bomber" in Tal Afar has left one police officer dead and two civilians wounded; a roadside bomb in Falluja has left five civilians dead and 15 more wounded; and that "[a] bomb struck a U.S. military vehicle in Ur district, northern Baghdad, as the coalition forces were starting a serach operation. Witnesses at the scene said smoke was rising from the area. The U.S. military said it was unaware of the incident."
BBC reports that a police officer "was shot dead on his way to work in Baghdad."
CNN identifies him as Col. Muthana Ali Hussein. Reuters notes that that a family of six ("including a three-month-old boy") "were shot dead in their home" in Baghdad.
CBS and AP note that two police officers were shot dead in a drive-by in Baquba while three people were shot dead in Ghazaniya. KUNA reports that a police officer was wounded in Kirkuk after being shot by "unidentified armed men". Reuters notes the death of a city council member (Abdulla Khalaf) and his son in Daquq; and "a police lieutenant--colonel" in Mosul.
CNN reports that 20 corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("most with signs of torture").
That's 53 that were reported dead so far today. (Includes the 20 corpses and the two U.S. soldiers.)
In peace news,
Haveeru Daily reports that war resister Mark Wilkerson, "[n]early two weeks after he turned himself in to his unit at Fort Hood in Texas, the baby-faced 22-year-old soldier is still awaiting word on his punishment." Wilkerson returned from Iraq and attempted to receive conscientious objector status only to be denied and told he was redeploying to Iraq. Wilkerson then self-checked out and was AWOL for a year-and-a-half. Writing of Wilkerson's August 31st announcement that he was turning himself in, Aaron Glant (IPS) noted: "Observers say these developments are reminiscent of the Vietnam War, when the refusal to fight by hundreds of thousands of soldiers was a major force toward U.S. withdrawal. According to journalist and Vietnam War resister Peter Laufer, 170,000 U.S. soldiers filed for conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War. Between 50,000 and 60,000 fled to Canada. Others deliberately injured themselves or simply went AWOL." That topic is explored in depth in the documentary Sir! No Sir!, directed by David Zeiger. Wilkerson himself noted the historical connections writing, before his press conference at Camp Casey III, that "I am joining a long history of war resistors, many of whom have died for their beliefs and I know tomorrow they will be looking down on me and war resistors who are alive hopefully will respect what I have to say and I hope that with as big a stage as I am going to have tomorrow that I can make people proud of my message and that I can say everything I truly want to say."
his own web site, Mark Wilkerson reports his first week at Fort Hood "was a good week. . . . I've spent a lot of time speaking with fellow soldiers about how their experiences were in Iraq. And while some had better experiences than others, they all expressed how lucky they were to make it back to the U.S. alive. And some have expressed their anxiety about having to return to Iraq for possibly the third time -- Imagine -- Three year-long deployments to Iraq in 5 years! For anyone reading this, let that sink in for a moment."
In news of war resister
Suzanne Swift, actions on her behalf (a sit-in, phone calls, e-mails and faxes) have resulted in US Rep. Peter DaFazio of Oregon to promise "that he will be initiating a congressional investigation into" her case. Swift self-checked out of the Army after returning from a tour in Iraq where she has reported she was sexually assaulted. Supporters are calling for an honorable discharge of Swift.
In Washington, DC,
Camp Democracy continues, free and open to the public. Today's events includes participation from the Green Party: Joyce Robinson-Paul, Steve Shafarman and Bob Firtakis. Greens are due to speak "between 4:15 and 5:30 p.m." and will address topics including the 2004 election. This evening, Danny Schechter scheduled to be among the participants with a screening of his documentary WMD: Weapons of Mass Deceptions. Friday's topics include election reform, Saturday's peace with Pat Elder, Nadine Bloch, Kevin Zeese and others participating. And on Sunday, Camp Democracy will host a number of events and the theme will be Impeachment Day. Among those participating: Elizabeth Holtzman, Michael Avery, Ray McGovern, David Green, John Nichols, Marcus Raskin, Elizabeth De La Vega, Dave Lindorff, David Swanson, Jennifer Van Bergen, Geoff King, David Waldman, Dan DeWalt, Steve Cobble, Anthony St. Martin, Cindy Bogard, Mubarak Awad, Susan Crane, Frank Anderson. The camp has daily activities and admission is free. A complete schedule can be found here. Free and open to the public with daily activites.
In Australia, Security Detachment IX returned from Baghdad. One member didn't return, Jake Kovco who died in Baghdad on April 21st.
Edmund Tadros (Sydney Morning Herald) reports that Jake Kovco's widow Shelley Kovco was there to greet those returning. Belinda Tasker (NewsCom) reports that Shelley Kovco "finally had the chance to speak to one of the men who was with him [Jake Kovco] when he died" -- Ray Johnson who has previously been identified as "Soldier 17." Dan Box (The Australian) reports: "With the unit's return, however, restrictions imposed by the inquiry on reporting the names of soldiers have been lifted. Although not legally binding, these restrictions were imposed for operational safety and have been followed by The Australian." While the second half of the last sentence is correct (The Australian and most others have readily followed the restrictions), the first half? That's the claim by the government, not established fact. Noting that "One of the cornerstones of our justice system is transparency," Anthony McClellan went on to point out (in The Australian, one week ago today): "When the inquiry began, it was set in a small room that could not accommodate all the media who wanted to be there. On occasions such as this, the media are the public representatives. We have a right to know what happened, and why. Was making it harder for the media to report a deliberate decision or an example of military contempt for civilians being privy to this tragedy? Or was it plain incompetence? Whatever the reason, it neatly encapsulates the past five months. The larger issue is the suppression of the identities of many of the key soldiers connected with Kovco's death. We read about them as Soldier 14, Soldier 17 and Soldier 47. Why? If this set of events had occurred in a civilian setting, they would certainly be named. But no, the names are kept from us because the soldiers are serving in Iraq. It was interesting to see defence chief Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston and Defence Minister Brendan Nelson squirming in public this week when asked why the names were being kept secret."
Soldier 19" is now identified as Rob Shore. "Soldier 14"? Belinda Tasker notes that he is Steve Carr. Box notes Carr is "a person of interest" to the inquiry into Jake Kovco's death due to his DNA being "found on the barrel of Kovco's pistol". The Herald-Sun notes: "The Kovco inquiry, at Sydney's Victoria Barracks, resumes on Monday for closing submissions. Ms. Kovco is to make a statement to the inquiry on Tuesday."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bobble Head Pundit fluffs for Condi

Wednesday. We're watching Sir! No Sir! for the Friday discussion group. We're not watching the whole movie in one night because we want the discussion time but we're going to watch the first half. I'll miss the next week because I'll be out of town but I'm really excited because I think it's a great movie and we've got like over sixty people confirmed so far. The rest of the time, it's been just show up and that's cool but we're trying to figure out where to get together and how to make sure there's enough room. Fly Boy said if it hits a hundred, let him know and he'll book a conference room for both Fridays. This is a great movie so it's going to be so much fun.

So let's get started with some news of today. This is from AP's "Plame sues Armitage over CIA leak:"

One-time covert CIA officer Valerie Plame sued the former No. 2 official at the State Department on Wednesday, accusing him of violating her privacy rights.
However, the lawsuit did not accuse Richard Armitage, who was deputy secretary of state in the Bush administration, of participating in an administration conspiracy to blow her cover.
Plame added Armitage's name to a civil suit in U.S. District Court against Vice President Dick Cheney, his former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and White House adviser Karl Rove.
Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, say the White House leaked Plame's identity as retribution for Wilson's criticisms of prewar intelligence on Iraq.

And for the breakdown of what's what in a funny way, check out Wally ("THIS JUST IN! FRESH FROM LAST WEEK'S CAT FIGHT, R. NOVAK SAYS 'BRING IT!'") and Cedric [Tore up from the floor up Novak says "Bring It!" (humor)"]'s joint post. Beau wondered why they were doing so much joint posts? The reason is because it's fun to do joint posts and also because
Cedric's been busy helping out with an upcoming thing at his church. So when Wally calls and asks, "Joint post?" the answer is "Heck yeah!" I told Cedric about Beau's question and he has been doing Thursday nights on his own so he says he'll try to talk about that tomorrow night.

Two e-mails also wondered about a roundtable at The Third Estate Sunday Review? That's been put on hold by C.I. and I wondered about that until we did a mini-one and I ended up asking a question that was related to something else that I thought only a few people knew about but C.I. knew about it too. That honestly freaked me out. Because it was a really tight secret and all but C.I. picked up on it and when it came up in the mini-roundtable (this is the section C.I. insisted got deleted), we were both talking about, me and C.I., and everyone was going, "What are they talking about?" That's what a big secret it was. Is. I asked C.I., "How did you know?" and C.I. goes it was obvious and started saying how and, yeah, C.I. picked up on it but even with other people in the mini-roundtable, they couldn't figure out what C.I. and I were talking about. I really wasn't going to spill the secret but I was making a reference to it that I thought someone would laugh about it and everyone would go, "Huh?" But C.I. knew. I still can't get over that. So that's why C.I. has nixed the roundtables for weeks now at The Third Estate Sunday Review. (It's a good secret, not a bad secret.)

But it was spooky. C.I. doesn't miss anything. Spooky. :D

Today in class we were talking about a good column on how Bully Boy keeps lying about 9-11.
This is from Derrick Z. Jackson's "Trickery continues on reasons for war:"

THREE AND A HALF years and tens of thousands of bodies after the Great False War began , Vice President Dick Cheney still tells us it "was the right thing to do, and if we had it to do over again, we'd do exactly the same thing."
Tim Russert of NBC's "Meet the Press" asked Cheney, "Exactly the same thing?"
Cheney said, "Yes, sir."
In his address to the nation to note the fifth anniversary of 9/11, President Bush added his thoughts on why the Great False War was the right thing. "I am often asked why we are in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks," Bush said. "The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat."
They still are trying to bamboozle us about the threat. These latest attempts came despite last week's report from the Senate Intelligence Committee that destroyed with exactitude every last major, hair-raising reason the White House gave to launch the invasion.

Hey, did you see the Bobble Head Pundit Helen Cooper's piece of silly nonsense in the New York Times today about how Condi Rice has "rumors" about her love life and it couldn't even mention the one rumor that made the tabloids, her and Bully Boy? I don't know about Condi but I bet her gal-pal Gwen Ifell was really proud that their buddy Helene wrote about Condi. It's nice the way those gals throw each other softballs and talk about silly things like what Condi wore (Helene talked about that today) as opposed to what she does. If they talked about what she actually did, there probably wouldn't be any puff pieces, right?

While the Bobble Head Pundit wasted space in one of the biggest papers in the country, Iraq continued to fall apart so you have to wonder why the paper lets Friend of Condi write about her? Maybe they just want to be sure Bobble Head gets back on Washington Week? They're obviously not concerned about reporting because that love letter to Condi was not reporting. It was embarrassing, even for the New York Times.

In the real world, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 and chaos and violence continue in Iraq claiming the lives of at least 39 Iraqis (AP), occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki continues his Tehran visit, the US military announces two deaths (one soldier died Monday, the other Tuesday), United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan tells some hard truths, and Camp Democracy continues in Iraq.
reported by CNN yesterday, at least 60 corpses were discovered in Baghdad on Tuesday. The BBC reports: "They were found all over the city, from Sunni areas in the west to Shia districts in the east -- but most were found in largely Sunni west Baghdad. Secretarin killings are not unusal in the city but this is a large number for oen day, a BBC corrspondent says." Reuters reminds of the UN estimate in July (100 people killed each day in Iraq from violence) and notes that "[m]orgue officials" have stopped providing figures. CBS corrspondent Pete Gow provides an audio report here that calls into question the 'success' of the 'crackdown' that's been going on in Baghdad since June. CNN also raises questions about the 'crackdown' and notes: "On Monday, the U.S. Command acknowledged that its [own] report of a dramatic drop in murders in Baghdad last month did not include people killed by bombs, mortars, rockets or other mass attacks, The Associated Press reported. The count only included victims of drive-by shootings and those killed by torture and execution."
Puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki continued the second day of his visit to Tehran.
Devika Bhat (Times of London) reports: "Yesterday, Washington reacted with caution to comments from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran that he would offer full support in restoring security to Iraq. . . . A member of Mr al-Maliki's Dawa party said . . . Today Ayatollah Ali Khameni, Iran's supereme leader, . . . [blamed] US troops for Iraq's misfortunes and [told] Mr al-Maliki that the way to end instability was for American forces to withdraw altogether." CNN quotes Kahmenei: "A major portion of Iraq's problems will be solved when the occupying forces leave that country, and that is why we desire and hope that occupiers leave Iraq."
Kahmenei's opinions are hardly surprising and,
Nick Wadhams (AP) reports, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, declared today "that most leaders in the Middle East believe the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath" is "a real disaster". Annan: "Most of the leaders I spoke to felt the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath has been a real disaster for them. They believe it has destabilized the region."
So it's also not surprising that the
AP reports "a resolution setting a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops" managed to get 104 members of the 275 member Iraqi parliament "before [it] was effectively sheleved by being sent to a committe for review."
In the United States, as Robert Knight noted on
KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday, the Government Accountability Office issued a report on Monday that also recommended Congress members ask themselves several questions such as:

-- What political, economic and security conditions must be acheived before the United States can draw down and withdraw military forces from Iraq?

-- Why have security conditions continued to worsen even as Iraq has met political milestones, increased the number of trained and equipped forces and increasingly assumed the lead for security?

Drew Brown (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on the findings and notes: "Though the Bush administration has hailed each political milestone in Iraq as another step on the march to freedom, the report cited a Defense Intelligence Agency finding that 'the December 2005 elections appeared to heighten sectarian tensions and polarize sectarian divides'."
AFP reports that the US military "announced the deaths of two of its servicemen, taking its total losses in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion to 2,670, according to an AFP count based on Pentagon figures. A soldier was killed on Tuesday, south of Baghdad, while another died of wounds on Monday in the western Al-Anbar province, the military said."
Al-Anbar? On Monday,
Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported on the assessment of Col. Pete Develin, "chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq,"
that "prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there". Today,
Ricks reports that Marine Maj. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer "agrees with the findings of a pessimistic classified report recently filed by his top intelligence officer but also insisted that 'tremendous progress' is being made in that part of the country." Ricks also notes: "According to several Defense Department officials who have read the report, Devlin also argued that the lack of political progress has crated a political vacuum in the province."
And as the war drags on . . .
In Baghdad, as
reported by Amit R. Paley (Washington Post), "a car bomb exploeded near an indoor stadium" killing and injuring a number of people and then, as people came forward to help, "another bomb detonated". CNN puts the toll at 14 dead and 67 wounded. AP later raised the death toll to 19 and noted "[b]ut the U.S. military reported the death toll at 15 killed and 25 wounded, and said the blast was caused by two car bombs."
Also in Baghdad,
Reuters reports a car bomb that was aimed at "police protecting an electricity distribution plant [which] killed eight people and wounded 19." The AP reports that the U.S. military states the bomb ended up "killing at least 12 people and wounding 34."
Still in Baghdad,
Al Jazeera notes two separate mortar attacks the claimed one life (police officer) and left six wounded. Reuters reports that mortar attacks wounded four in Samawa. Back to Baghdad, Demka Bhat (Times of London) reports a mortar attack that killed "[a] further two police" officers.
AP reports that, in Falluja, "two pedistrians were killed and two others injured apparently in the crossfire between U.S. troops and unidentified gunmen" and that a man in his car was shot dead in Baghdad. Reuters reports that an attempted kidnapping of "the owner of a currency exchange shop" in Baghdad resulted in the death of "[t]wo bystanders" and two more wounded.
Reuters reports four corpses were discovered in Suwayra. Reuters also notes that Safaa Ismail Inad's corpse was discovered ("journalist at al-Watan Newspaper") in Baghdad.
In peace news,
Cindy Sheehan (Common Dreams) advises: "Don't wait until the creeping militarism and budding fascism of the Bush State comes knocking at your door for one of your loved ones. It will happen unless we stand up and say 'no' with our loudest and most annoying voices" and urges people to take part in Camp Democracy which is ongoing in Washington, DC and free and open to the public.
Ann Wright (Scoop) writes of the genesis for the Camp (from Camp Casey to Camp Democracy): "Since we were in Bush's backyard in Crawford, why not bring our concerns on the direction of America and the need to use and preserve our democracy to the backyard (or frontyard) of Bush in the White House and to other government officials and lawmakers? Well, that's what Camp Democracy is doing right now. Every day concerned Americans are coming to Camp Democracy to think, listen, and act on important concerns."
Today's events included
The Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration release of their verdict: GUILTY: "The panel of jurists consisted of Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, William H. Bowen School of Law, Little Rock; former executive director, National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL). Dennis Brutus, former prisoner, Robben Island (South Africa), poet, professor emeritus, University of Pittsburgh. Abdeen Jabara, former president, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Ajamu Sankofa, former executive director, Physicians for Social Responsibility-NY. Ann Wright, former US diplomat and retired US Army Reserve Colonel."
Tomorrow's events include peace and election education with
Danny Schechter scheduled to be among the participants with a screening of his documentary WMD: Weapons of Mass Deceptions. And on Sunday, Camp Democracy will host a number of events and the theme will be Impeachment Day. Among those participating: Elizabeth Holtzman, Michael Avery, Ray McGovern, David Green, John Nichols, Marcus Raskin, Elizabeth De La Vega, Dave Lindorff, David Swanson, Jennifer Van Bergen, Geoff King, David Waldman, Dan DeWalt, Steve Cobble, Anthony St. Martin, Cindy Bogard, Mubarak Awad, Susan Crane, Frank Anderson. The camp has daily activities and admission is free. A complete schedule can be found here.
In election,
John Nichols (The Nation) examines the primary win of Keith Ellison in Minnesota: "The Ellison victory was one of several for anti-war Democrats seeking open seats. Others came in in New York, where City Council member Yvette Clarke won a fierce fight for a Brooklyn seat once held by Shirley Chisholm, and in Maryland, where John Sarbanes, the son of retiring Senator Paul Sarbanes, led in a crowded House race. In Maryland's highest-profile race, however, former NAACP head Kweisi Mfume, who was outspoken in his opposition to the war, lost to the decidely more cautious Representative Ben Cardin by a 46-38 margin."

Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts and her thing last night (Because of Kat, because of boredom with 'tales of every day housewife' . . .) was great and so was Rebecca's "matthew rothschild joins the cast of fashion house."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hear that? The sound of a gate closing

So it's Tuesday, day after 9-11 and if you go to Common Dreams, you'll see that Matthew Rothschild used 9/11 to lash out at? The administration? The myth-series? Ann Coulter who's demonized the Jersey Girls? Nope. He wanted to spew at a bunch of people searching for answers. That's called gate keepr. He's shutting the gate and saying, "Ye shall not enter." Hopefully, lots of people will realize that this gate keeping is aimed at them. Today, it's people seeking answers about 9-11, tomorrow? Who knows what's next for the soft and center Progressive? But rest assured, they will maintain their requirement that you be middle-aged to be hired by the magazine. Putting a bland face on the movement, The Progressive.

I find that offensive and wish I had links to pull because if I did have links to them (and I thought I did), I'd be pulling the links right now. I feel bad for C.I. who had some nice stuff to say about Rothschild this morning. (It does fulfill the 'curse' C.I. always jokes about. :D) But that's the way it goes. I e-mailed West and asked him what he thought of it? He's the biggest of Rothschild supporters in the community. He said he couldn't believe Rothschild wrote it because it was "so mean." He also said he'll never bother C.I. with highlights from the magazine again.

It was really important for Rothschild to draw a line between himself and what he saw as the "nutty" left. Instead of accepting their passion and respecting their zeal, he wanted to be "respectable." Which just goes to show you that he'll never be a leader on any issue. He can't lead on impeachment. That would be Elizabeth Holtzman, Michael Ratner, David Lindorff, Barbara Olshansky, Lewis Lapham -- none of whom are on staff at The Progressive. In fact, unlike Harper's and The Nation, The Progressive has never even done a cover calling for impeachment. Instead, they played it safe with a little commentary inside an issue that was tucked away so as not to risk being seen as non-respectable.

Exactly what have they supported loudly this year? Guess they're waiting for some internal polling.

They've got Howard and Barbara but neither appears in every issue.

Rothschild always comes off like such a nice guy and now his latest column calls even that into question. I hope it was worth it to him, spewing like that. (Fortunately, I never try to come off like a nice guy or respectable.)

My first thought was, "Why does Rothy have to go nutty when C.I.'s sick?" If you want to gripe about Rothschild, please write me. C.I.'s too sick to deal with this.

You know what I think it is? I think it's a lot of tired and long in the tooth people who need to leave the national stage. Seriously, how does The Progressive expect to have a young readership when they know nothing about young people and don't bother to cover them?

Two things to check out tonight. The snapshot, of course, and Keith Olberman's speech from last night which I'll start with:

History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government by its critics. It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation's wounds, but to take political advantage.
Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.
The President -- and those around him -- did that.
They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers, as those who, in the Vice President's words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."
They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken, a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated al-Qaida as much as we did.
The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had 'something to do' with 9/11 is "lying by implication."
The impolite phrase is "impeachable offense."
Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space, and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.
Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness: even his most virulent critics have never suggested he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.
Half the time, in fact, this President has been so gently treated, that he has seemed not even to be the man most responsible for anything in his own administration.
Yet what is happening this very night?
A mini-series, created, influenced -- possibly financed by -- the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes.
The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.
How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?

Now for C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 chaos and violence continue in Iraq with AFP estimating that at least 27 Iraqis were reported dead today, in the United States the divider shows his ugly/only face again, CODEPINK asks that you Give Peace a Vote,
In the United States, Bully Boy is coming under fire for a speech given Monday night in front of photos of his twin daughters who were apparently supposed to represent Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Speaking to the nation in a nineteen minute pitch during the second night of ABC's VOTE GOP! infomercial, Bully Boy attempted to sell his illegal war on the shaky grounds that "I know I said it would make things worse not to invade and I was wrong, but it will make things worse to leave, forget that I was wrong before."
Using his circular illogic in his seventeen minute pitch, as the
AP notes, "most of his 17-minute speech was devoted to justifying his foreign policy since that day. With his party’s control of Congress at stake in elections less than two months away, Bush suggested that political opponents who are calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq would be giving victory to the terrorists."
Sounding like Ike Turner (or any other abusive husband), Bully Boy looked a nation of soul-surviving Tina Turners in the face and dared to offer, "
Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be" to leave.
Leave it to
David Stout (New York Times) to play Ben Fong-Torres, embrace the tawdry and notice nothing while concluding, "Democrats have long accused Mr. Bush and his top aides of disingenuously implying a link between the Iraq of Saddam Huessien and the 9/11 attacks."
To clarify for Stout and other would be Fong-Torreses, the two latest sections of the
Senate Intel Report (released Friday) once again found no link, none, between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda -- no links, none, between Saddam Hussein and 9-11.
On the fifth anniversary of 9-11, in the midst of a myth-series, Bully Boy elects to address the nation in some sort of effort to offer Frito Pie for the Soul and he is yet again spending "most of his time," talking about? Iraq.
It's not reporting. It's saying that Democrats called heads in the coin toss and now Democrats charge that they won the coin toss without ever noting the fact that, yes, heads won. [
David Corn (The Nation) addresses Dick Cheney's only loose grasp of reality regarding the fact that there is no link.]
Among those Democrats rightly calling the Bully Boy out on his continued and false linkage of 9-11 and Iraq are US Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Reid spoke of 9-11 on Monday at the Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas and nowhere in the nineteen lines did he seek to slam Americans or cite Iraq. Pelosi's sixteen line statement on Monday also failed to politicize the anniversary. By contrast, the Bully Boy offered 31 lines that directly brought Iraq, which, again, has nothing to do with 9-11, into the anniversary.
Even a he-said/she-said press could point out that obvious fact. Possibly all the time spent on Iraq prevented the Bully Boy from noting the obvious, which
Greg Palast has,
"It's been five years and the Bush regime has not done that. Instead, the War on Terror is reduced to taking off our shoes in airports, hoping we can bomb Muslims into loving America and chasing journalists around the bayou. Meanwhile, King Abdullah, the Gambino of oil, whose princelings funded the murderers, gets a free ride in the President's golf cart at the Crawford ranch." No word on what's preventing the so-called mainstream press for noting that reality on the fifth anniversary of 9-11. An earlier BBC News Night report by Palast on the Bully Boy's blocking bin Laden probes can be viewed
Bully Boy did get one thing right in his Monday speech: "
America did not ask for this war". No, but the administration did and resorted to lies, then and now, to have their request granted and continued.
In other "I can't believe it's not butter moment"s,
Reuters reports that Richard Zilmer (Marine Major General in Iraq) declared from Baghdad, outside the al Anbar Province, that the Marines have not lost the province. Citing unspecified "areas," citing them from Baghdad, outside the al Anbar Province, Zilmer stated all was going swimmingly in some "areas" -- unspecified areas. Reuters notes: "The statement did not indicate which parts of the province he believed had effective local government." Prepare for tomorrow's audio-visual presentation where Zilmer, using a projection screen and pointer demonstrates that he can find the province on a map so, therefore, it has not been lost.
Zilmer was attempting to spin
Thomas E. Rick's (Washington Post) Monday report of Marine Col. Pete Devlin's assesment that "that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there, said several military officers and intelligence officials familiar with its contents."
The violence and chaos continues throughout Iraq.
CNN reports six dead in Baghdad when "a car bomb exploded at a busy shopping district" and that fifteen were left wounded. AFP notes that a police officer and a civilian were killed by a roadside bomb "near Baghdad's University of Technology" and left seven more wounded, while, in Abu Sayda, a bomb took the life of "Brigadier General Ali Hassan Jubur, head of operations in Muqdadiyah's police headquarters" and the deaths from roadside bombings of a police officer (in Samarra) and an Iraqi soldier (in Kirkuk). CBS and AP report a bombing in Middadiyah resulted in at least 4 dead and 24 wounded (and that the same location resulted in gunfire Monday night leaving seven dead). Reuters reports that, in Kirkuk, a roadside bomb wounded Kassem al-Bayati and that three other roadside bombs in Baghdad left at least eight Iraqis wounded.
KUNA reports that, in Mosul, Iraqi police captain Ziad Ramzi was shot dead and, in a separate attack, four other people were shot dead. Reuters reports that they were four family members and that a fifth was wounded. CNN reports that a police officer was shot dead in Baghdad ("outside his house"). Reuters reports: "Dolonel Abbas al-Nuaimi was gunned down Monday outside a jail in Hindiya" while "in police custody" to stand "trial for crimes committed during Saddam Hussein's rule."
CNN reports that 60 corpses were discovered around Iraq and one severed head carried the message: "This is the fate of those who deal with the U.S. forces." AFP reports three corpses were discovered in the Diyala province. Remember that discovered corpses never make the media's daily tabulation of the death toll.
On the issue of corpses,
CNN reports: "Of the bodies taken to the morgue last month, 90 percent had been shot, the official said. The other 10 percent were killed by other means, such as torture, beheading and stabbing, the official said. The official noted that the morgue figures do not include most bombing victims, as that number is calculated separately."
CBS and AP report that Sunnis in the parliament are attempting "to work together to prevent" a bill that would turn the occupied nation into a federation "from being implemented without changes." This as puppet of the occupation is once again out of the country. CNN notes that Nouri al-Maliki is in Tehran establishing relations with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran. As the BBC notes, al-Maliki "lived in Iran during the 1980s" and he will be meeting "Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, on Wednesday."
In peace news,
Camp Democracy continues in Washington, DC. Today's events focus on the environmental crisis caused by global warming and this evening Mark Karlin (the editor and publisher of BuzzFlash) will be presenting. Tomorrow is verdict day and Ann Wright and Ray McGovern are among the scheduled participants of the Bush Crimes Commission and World Can't Wait sponsored events. While on Thursday, Danny Schechter is scheduled to be among the participants with a screening of his documentary WMD: Weapons of Mass Deceptions. On Sunday, Camp Democracy will host a number of events and the theme will be Impeachment Day. Among those participating: Elizabeth Holtzman, Michael Avery, Ray McGovern, David Green, John Nichols, Marcus Raskin, Elizabeth De La Vega, Dave Lindorff, David Swanson, Jennifer Van Bergen, Geoff King, David Waldman, Dan DeWalt, Steve Cobble, Anthony St. Martin, Cindy Bogard, Mubarak Awad, Susan Crane, Frank Anderson. The camp has daily activities and admission is free. A complete schedule can be found here.
Events are scheduled through September 21st, the same day that
CODEPINK's Troops Home Fast concludes. Troops Home Fast is currently on day 69 with at least 5023 people participating. CODEPINK is also promoting Give Peace a Vote (Medea Benjamin: "Part of a coalition effort of Voters for Peace designed to create a strong anti-war voting bloc, the petition asks people to pledge that they will only vote for candidates who support a speedy withdrawal from Iraq and no future wars of aggression.") which over 14,000 people have currently pledged to support.
Writing in The Nation, John Nichols reminds Americans to watch the results of the primaries today and zooms in on the Maryland Congressional race John Sarbanes is running in. (He also notes other races.)
Meanwhile, in Australia,
Dan Box (The Australian) reports that the government wants to up the army from 2,600 to 30,000 ("its biggest intake since the Vietnam war") and that this comes while there seems to be no accountability for officers as evidenced by the abuse of Charles Williams and the hearing into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco ("Last week, the family of Private Jake Kovco accused a military board of inquiry into his death of being a 'face-saving exercise' to protect officers.").

Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. Oh! One more thing. Tony showed me this today and we were talking about impeachment. This is an interview with Elizabeth Holtzman care of Truthdig:

Blair Golson: In your book, you lay out five main issues on which Bush could be impeached ["Deceptions in Taking the Country into War in Iraq"; "Reckless Indifference to Human Life in Katrina and Iraq"; "Illegal Wiretapping and Surveillance of Americans"; "Permitting Torture"; and "Leaking Classified Information".] Which of these do you feel has the strongest chance of being provable and leading to actual impeachment hearings?
Elizabeth Holtzman: They're all provable. The issue isn't whether there are grounds. There are grounds, and they're overwhelming, in my opinion. And they spring directly from the constitutional standard that was used during Watergate. The issue is whether there's political will in Congress to use this tool that was designed by the framers of the Constitution to serve our democracy. We see that this Congress, controlled by Republicans, has no interest in holding the president accountable in ordinary kinds of ways--through investigations or inquiries, trying to find out the facts--much less through impeachments. But if control of Congress shifts, there may be an opportunity to hold the president accountable as the Constitution permits.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Brat Lauer gives Bully Boy a pass

Start of the week. Ma was talking to C.I. and Elaine last week about today and ended up having a get together. So it was the family and some friends (like Rebecca & Fly Boy, Elaine and Tony).
The thought was, first off, get people out of the house so they could connect with each other and not watch that hideous ABC myth-series (nod to C.I.) that was praising Bully Boy and creating lies about the Clinton adminstration. Second, don't let people you know and love be home alone staring at cable with the endless shorts of the destruction from five years ago. And there are like four other points but the points can be boiled down to celebrate life and the spirit that picks itself up. (I think it can be summarized like that). It's still going on but Elaine had to leave because she's not missing her sessions tomorrow and when I was saying goodbye to her, Rebecca grabbed me and said that we should get to blogging so we're up here in my room doing our blogs.

This is from Media Matters, "NBC's Lauer failed to challenge Bush's suggestion, contradicted by multiple sources, that he 'couldn't have' foreseen wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq in days after 9-11 attacks:"

NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer failed to challenge President Bush's suggestion, during an interview broadcast on the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, that he "couldn't have" envisioned at the time of the attacks that a response would include -- in the words Lauer used to phrase his question -- "two full-scale wars, Afghanistan and Iraq." In fact, multiple sources including several administration officials have reported that the Bush administration began planning for an invasion of Iraq before September 11 and discussed retaliatory strikes against Iraq in the immediate hours and days following the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.
From the September 11 broadcast of NBC's Today:
LAUER: Three days after the attacks, you came to New York, what we now call Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center. There's that famous moment, you grabbed the bullhorn.
BUSH [video clip]: I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.
LAUER: When you said that, did you have a very clear understanding -- had you formulated a plan in your mind? And did you understand exactly what it was going to take to respond to those attacks?
BUSH: That was not a planned speech. It just came out. There was still smoke. And it was just a -- there was haze. The emotions were unbelievable. There were tears in people's eyes. There was hugging. There was exhaustion. And there was anger. I grabbed that bullhorn and those words reflected my view -- just pure emotion. Which is, we will stay on the offense to protect the country. We had begun to formulate a plan for Afghanistan. But, you know, look, this is a war in which we're constantly having to adjust. My strategy has not changed. The tactics to conduct this war do change. Whether it be in Iraq or Afghanistan or on the home front.
LAUER: At the time when you made that -- those remarks at the World Trade Center, could you have envisioned that the response would include two full-scale wars, Afghanistan and Iraq? The expenditure of some -- by some estimates $450 billion in the overall war on terror and the types of changes that we as Americans have seen in our daily lives over these past five years?
BUSH: You know, those -- that means I've got a pretty good crystal ball if I could anticipate all of that. I couldn't have. But I knew that we were gonna have to be a nation of resolve. And I knew that we were dealing with cold-blooded killers, the likes of which we hadn't seen in a long period of time.
Bush did not respond to Lauer's question directly about whether he could have foreseen two wars. And notwithstanding Bush's explicit reference to plans to attack Afghanistan, at no point in the discussion did Lauer ask Bush about reports that he responded to the 9-11 attacks by initiating plans to attack not only Afghanistan but also Iraq.
Former National Security Council counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke reported in his book
Against All Enemies: Inside the White House's War on Terror -- What Really Happened (Free Press, 2004) and during a March 2004 interview on CBS' 60 Minutes that President Bush ordered him to find a link between Saddam Hussein and 9-11 when Bush returned to the White House after the attacks. Also, according to Clarke, at the same time, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld advocated for bombing sites in Iraq despite Clarke's insistence that "Iraq had nothing to do with" the September 11 attacks. Clarke reported that planning for a strike against Iraq continued on September 12 and the days following.

Matt Lauer's a bald joke and his totalitarian co-host, Meredith, is a bigger one. I guess his little hit-squad on Kitty Kelley's forgotten by many or how he tried to lie and claim to her on air that he'd never gone golfing with Poppy Bush. (They had gone golfing.) And Meredith's a war monger of the first degree. I think the two deserve each other, ugly on the inside, ugly on the outside. I just don't know why anyone would bother to watch that crap. They probably won't for too much longer. He's a little ferret-looking asshole and she looks like she belongs on Fox News. Ever notice how those women seem like they should be pretty, but they aren't? It's like they're drag queens and someone's made them up with a lot of make up but they look too masculine to be convincing as women? That's Meredith. Hopefully, the ratings for the crap-fest will tank and Meredith can move on over to Fox & Friends where she belongs.

Tony reminded me about the whole Tim Robbins nonsesne. I'd forgotten that. He appeared on the show in 2003 and Brat Matt asked him a question about the war at the end of the interview and it cut Tim off to go to commercial, the show did. There was a lot of nonsense online about how brave Brat Matt had tried to get 'some truth' out but NBC had censored him. Then it came out that there was an automatic cut-off where the show stops because of ads. So the excuse was that it wasn't a human thing but the mystery machine kicking in. And?

And all your netties shut up. Smart netties might have asked the question, if this is a regular thing, then Brat Matt knew of it, so was he having a little 'fun' at anti-war Tim Robbins expense? Or maybe Brat Matt was too focused on that vanishing hairline to think too much about it.

Anyway, I took out the link to Richard Clarke's book and the only reason was that I kept getting an error message about how that tag wasn't closed. If you're interested in the book, use the Media Matters link and you can find out about it there but this thing won't post with the link to the book in it.

Read Ava and C.I.'s latest "TV: Bo provides the B.O. stinking up Fashion House" which is so funny, Tony says he's got to watch now just to see how awful Bo Derek is. :D

And let me add I hope C.I. feels better. Jess told me C.I. was throwing up repeatedly today. (Supposedly flu but probably stress as well.) I was talking to Rebecca about that and she goes she spoke to C.I. twice today and wasn't told about it but that was 'par for the course.' She also pointed out that there were 4 posts today and that when C.I.'s feeling under the weather, the usual instinct is to do even more. (Jess' parents came over this evening and they're cool but Ma was worried that they'd be saying "Everything's great" and really be thinking, "I wish she'd put out ___" so she had me call Jess to find out any foods or drinks they disliked and what they really loved.)

Closing with the snapshot. And it's got a lot of stuff in it and gives you the recap of the developments that started mid-day Friday. C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday September 11, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, military intelligence declares al-Anbar province lost, a US soldier was shot dead on Sunday, Ehren Watada's parents continue to get the word out on their son and the White House offers a divided front as various spinners rush to figure out the party line on the revelations from last week that there was no link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.
In the United States, Friday saw the release of the latest two sections of the
Senate Intel Report which underscored there was no link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. As outlined by Jonathan Weisman's (Washington Post) report, the committee findings were based on CIA assessments before the war and (2002 assessments) and during (most recently in October 2005). US Senator Olympia Snowe specifically cited that "the report concluded that Colin Powell recieved his "blot," when testifying to the United Nations before the illegal war, by citing information that "two April 2002 CIA assessments, a May 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency fabrication notice and a July 2002 National Intelligence Council warning" had already refuted.
At the White House, flack Tony Snow Job decired the report as "
nothing new" (BBC News) apparently of the opinion that all Americans already grasped that the nation was lied into war.
On Sunday, fear's playground pusher Condi Rice stormed the airwaves like the star of a tanking big-budget film (think Ahnuld and Last Action Hero) desperate to goose the gross. The always good for a laugh US Secretary of State Rice assured Americans that Iraq still made Speed look like a slow ride to Grandma's; that they should forget the gross, the net on this war was going to be unbelievable; and, oh yeah, forget what the Senate report said, it was wrong. Rice, as
reported by the AFP, stated, "There were ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda" and "We know that Zarqawi was running a poison network in Iraq." So much 'knowledge,' so little awareness. One more time, Condi, for chuckles, what was the name of the August 6, 2001 PDB that you apparently also 'knew' was nothing to fret over?
A White House in shambles divided further on Sunday. After offical flak Tony Snow Job said "nothing new" about the Senate report, after Condi Rice followed that Sunday with her assertion that the report was just plain wrong, the man a heart beat away from the Bully Boy went a different way. Looking America in the face, Dick Cheney basically said, "So f**king what?"
Steven Thomma (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Cheney's money-quote (pay attention, America): "It was the right thing to do and if we had it to do over again, we'd do exactly the same." But would the 2669 Americans who lost their lives in the illegal Iraq war, would they? While Rice tried to dispell the stench of bad box office, Cheney came off like a never-was whose lingered too long and is desperate for that best supporting actress nomination. He's busy preparing his "For your consideration" ad and will probably use this tagline: "Clearly, the intelligence that said he [Hussein] did [have WMD] was wrong." An understatement to be sure and, as Thomma notes, the Dickster failed at "elaborating on his own role or the White House decision to later honor [George] Tenet with the Medal of Freedom."
On Monday,
Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported that a military assessment has written off al Anbara Province in southern Iraq. Ricks reports that Col. Pete Devlin, "chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq," wrote a report on August 16th of this year "concluding that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there".
On the ground in Iraq today, the violence and chaos continued.
CBS and AP note a mini bus bomb in Baghdad that has killed at least 16 Iraqis. BBC says it resulted from a "bomber, who was wearing an explosive belt . . . reported to have boarded the bus at the centre." AFP states: "The minibus was rammed by a car rigged with explosives right next to Muthanna recruiting center". The bus was carry army recruits and CBS and AP state: "Although further details were not avaialbe, such mini buses are often used by suicide bombers."
In addition to the above bombing,
Reuters notes a two in Baghdad (one in Talbiya district, the other in Jihad district) that left at least six wounded while one in Mosul left one person wounded.
In Baghdad, the
AP reports a man and a woman were shot dead "at a telephone exchange center". Reuters reports a police officer (Hasan Radhi al-Azzawi) was shot dead in Kut, a civilian was shot dead ("outside his home") in Iskandariya, a female postal worker was shot dead in Baghdad and a person was shot dead in Hilla.
AFP reports a corpse was discovered in Suweira, two in the Diyala province and three in the Babel province. Reuters reports a severed head was discovered in Hindiya.
Not taking into account the corpses,
CBS and AP report that at least 20 died in Baghdad today and at least nine more elsewhere in Iraq.
In peace news,
Ehren Watada's parents continue getting their word out on their son, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy in Iraq. Speaking with Sandip Roy (Asian Weekly), father Bob Watada explained his son's decision, "It's in the code of military justice, it's in the field manuals that you have a duty to disobey an unlawful order. The Nuremberg Tribunal that we signed on to and probably drafted parts of, clearly says any military official can be prosecuted if they are complicit in war crimes and clearly we have massive war crimes going on in Iraq."
While Bob Watada gets the word out in the mainland, Ehren Watada's mother Carolyn Ho has been speaking in Hawaii.
Amanda C. Gregg (Kauai News) reports on one recent gathering where Ho spoke of, "The [United Nations] charter . . . expressly states that countries cannot go to war unless the security council votes for it. . . . People say the U.S. Congress can allow the president to make war, but the U.S. Congress was given information that was deceptive -- that there was evidence of weapons of mass destruction -- and it made a decision on that basis." Ho hopes for the response to the growing awareness is as follows: "What we've envisioned is to have thousands of people come out to the highway and the streets that surround Fort Lewis and have a group that plans to do so with demonstrations."
That is in the case that Ehren Watada is scheduled for a court-martial. An
Article 32 hearing, heard testiomony Thursday August 17th and the presiding officer's recommendation was to proceed with a court-martial. Lt. Col. Mark Keith's recommendation is now winding its way through the chain of command and, as Gregg notes, a court martial is "expected to be scheduled within the next few months." More information on Watada can be found at Courage to Resist and
Writing for Op-Ed News, David Swanson notes, "Only, we the people of the United States, getting off our couches and acting will put an end to this growing nightmare."
And one way to act (and one of the many ways Swanson is making a stand) is via
Camp Democracy in DC which is free and open to the public and continues daily through September 21st. As David Ceasar (GW Hatchet Online) notes, today's activities revolve around "an all-day festival with workshops, speakers and entertainment on the National Mall between 3rd and 7th streets." Tomorrow's activities include Climate Crisis Day (sponsored by Rainforest Action Network) and an evening presentation by Mark Karlin (the editor and publisher of BuzzFlash). A complete schedule can be found here.
CODEPINK's Troops Home Fast action continues and is on day 68, and due to continue like Camp Democracy, is set to wrap run through September 21st (International Peace Day). Currently, at least 5023 people are participating. Those wanting to fast can grab a one-day fast at any point between now and the 21st or grab a one-day a week fast. Long term fasts are also possible but seek out advice before embarking on any long term fast.
Other peace actions are going on and will be going on. In a correction to an NYC event
noted last week, one that starts this Friday, all performances do not start at 7:00 pm each night. Friday September 15, Saturday September 16 will start at 7:00 pm; however, Sunday September 17's performance will begin at 3:00 p.m. What are we speaking of? The People Speak directed by Will Pomerantz and Rob Urbinati. This is a workshop adaptation of Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's Voices of a People's History of the United States. The workshop will take place at The Culture Project's Bleecker Street Theater on 45 Bleecker Street. Tickets are ten dollars and can be ordered online here or here or purchased in person at the box office (box office does not take ticket orders). For those in NYC, or who will be during those dates, click here for a map. The presentation is part of the Impact Festival.

Elaine was pretty tired but planning to blog when she got home so check out Like Maria Said Paz later tonight. And check out the joint post, Wally's ("THIS JUST IN! CHENEY BUSTS A RHYME OR SOMETHUN!") and Cedric's ("Cheney gets jizzy or izzy or somethun (humor)").