Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Name:
Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Staying the Course.

Anthony Cordesman is a former intelligence analyst with the State and Defense Department, who specialized in Middle East issues. He believes Bush will refuse to give up on his effort to turn Iraq into a docile client state. Cordesman's "Inexcusable Failure" cautions: "all the training in the world will be for naught, if the Iraqi National Guard and Police are corrupt or view their government as a puppet regime of American imperialist".

Republicans claim we should not leave this mission incomplete. The mission of the Bush regime has always been to gain control of the world's second largest oil reserve. At what point does silent acquiescence to the war make members of Congress culpable in carrying out this diabolical mission? Republicans feel that we would be leaving a county that we promised to rebuild. Halliburton and other US corporation are rebuilding, privitizing and expropriating much of Iraq's economy, while pumping out oil. As this continues, Congress is allowing our military to become an expendable economic commodity.

We are told that American soldiers will stay only as long as they are needed to help provide security and stability to that country. Vietnamization lasted a decade. The training of South Vietnam's military didn't expedite our ability to remove troops from Vietnam. Most Iraqis resent the occupation by US forces for delivering death, destruction and destitution upon their shattered nation. Our occupation created and continues the terrorism upon the Iraqi people.

The prolonged presence of American soldiers in Iraq will continue until Congress calls for the immediate withdrawal of our troops. My question to members of Congress is: How do you ask a man to be the last to die in Iraq for an avarice, calculated, imperialistic plan to gain control of the world's second largest oil reserve?

Our strategic interest is Iraqi oil.

Strategic National Interest

A democracy would not exploit its citizens for a purpose that must be kept from them. Nevertheless, in October, we continued to participate in a deal, which traded the lives of 94 Americans for Iraqi oil. Perhaps, we are no longer a democracy.

Former Marine Captain Nathaniel Fick clarified Bush's "noble cause", in an interviewed with Lou Dobbs on CNN. Fick led infantry platoons in both Iraq and Afghanistan. While discussing his book "One Bullet Away", Fick stated: "U.S. involvement in the Middle East is a vital national interest. We need access to energy."

Dobbs responded: "You're being honest in that statement, as you are throughout your book. The honesty about the role of oil in our strategic national interest. Often a veil is put over it or it's ignored altogether."

The veil of dishonesty has been lifted and the truth has been revealed. Our troops are dying for our "God given right", to take whatever we want from the Middle East.

Access to energy in the Middle East has been determined by the White House to be in our strategic national interest. They had hoped the invasion of Iraq would guaranteed access to the world's second largest oil reserve. The Bush regime knew being honest with the American people wouldn't work, so they fed us the following bull...., to ensure support for the invasion of Iraq:
Colin Powell: "What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence."
Dick Cheney: "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."
Condoleezza Rice: "Clearly, there are contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq that can be documented."
George W. Bush: "God...instructed me to strike Saddam..."

In 1960, the House Committee on Government Operations declared "Secrecy the first refuge of incompetents must be at bare minimum in a democratic society, for a fully informed public is the basis of self-government."

Clinton's War

Here's what Republicans said about Clinton and Kosovo. They second-guess our commitment to freedom from genocide and demand that we cut and run. They didn’t support our president in a time of war.
  
"President Clinton is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."-Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)
  
"No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That's why I'm against it."-Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/5/99
  
"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."-Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of presidential candidate George W. Bush

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning...I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."-Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)
  
"You think Vietnam was bad? Vietnam is nothing next to Kosovo."-Tony Snow, Fox News 3/24/99
  
"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years"-Joe Scarborough (R-FL)
  
 "I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"-Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
 Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)
  
 "The two powers that have ICBMs that can reach the United States are Russia and China. Here we go in. We're taking on not just Milosevic. We can't just say, 'that little guy, we can whip him.' We have these two other powers that have missiles that can reach us, and we have zero defense thanks to this president."
  -Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)
  
"You can support the troops but not the president"-Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX)
  
"My job as majority leader is be supportive of our troops, ... not to march in lock step with everything the president decides to do."-Sen. Lott (R-MS)
  
“Bombing a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The international respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly."
 -Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)
  
"America has no vital interest in whose flag flies over Kosovo's capital, and no right to attack and kill Serb soldiers fighting on their own soil to preserve the territorial integrity of their own country" -Pat Buchanan (R)
  
"It is a remarkable spectacle to see the Clinton Administration and NATO taking over from the Soviet Union the role of sponsoring "wars of national liberation."
 -Representative Helen Chenoweth (R-ID)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Economy

We are told the economy is in recovery, but where is all the money going? Warren Buffett the second wealthiest man in the world provides the answer. He points out: "The rich people are doing so well in this county, I mean we never had it so good... It's class warfare, my class is winning, but they shouldn't be...The rich are winning... Right now corporate taxes as a percentage of total taxes raised are very close to the historical low."

Six million more people lacked health insurance in 2004, than in 2000. We have 12.7% of Americans living in poverty, which is the fourth year in a row the number has increased. Presently nearly 1/4 of our children are being raised in poverty.

Allen Lichtman, professor of history at American University wrote: "Like a master pickpocket, George Bush distracts the American people with one hand, while reaching into their pockets with the other." Some religious leaders have assisted Bush in this pilfering, by using social issues such as gay rights, abortion, and creationism to distract their congregations.

While the media is preoccupied over Bush's pick for the Supreme Court, a Republican controlled Congress passed an energy bill with $14.5 Billion in tax breaks for companies like Exxon Mobil, which last quarter alone made $ 9.9 Billion in profits. This was at a time consumers were paying record gas and oil prices. Bush and his supporters in Congress promote the special interests of big corporations, but not the general interests of ordinary Americans.

Howard Dean's "You have the Power" endorses reforms, which will facilitate taking back our country and restoring American democracy. Dean suggests we resurrect the balance between corporate power and the ballot box, by eliminating the loopholes in the campaign-finance law of 2002. We must reinstate the balance between corporate rights and citizens' rights. By narrowing the wealth gap, we will show people that capitalism can works for them.

Monday, September 05, 2005

FEMA

Bush and members of Congress are calling for an inquiry into what went wrong with the relief effort. They need only to look in the mirror to see, who is most responsible for the devastation, which occurred in New Orleans.

In 2004 a New Orleans paper published an article entitled "A Disaster Waiting to Happen" by Jon Elliston. It warned that long before the severe 2004 hurricane season some emergency managers had started sounding the alarm. Bush administration policy changes and budget cuts were sapping FEMA's long-term ability to cushion the blow of hurricanes and other natural disasters.

"Mitigation" programs are measures taken in advance to minimize the damage done by natural disasters and is a crucial part of the strategy to save lives. Since 2001, federal disaster programs developed over many years have been slashed. FEMA's Project Impact, a model mitigation program was canceled. FEMA was deliberately downsized as part of the Bush administration's conservative agenda to reduce the role of government. After the Department of Homeland Security was created, FEMA's preparation and planning functions were taken away. Mitigation budgets for New Orleans were slashed even though it was known to be one of the top three catastrophic disasters facing this country.

The Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans last year. The White House carved it to about $40 million. Nevertheless, Bush and his Republican controlled Congress agreed to a $286.4 Billion pork-filled highway bill which included a $231 million bridge for a small, uninhabited Alaskan island.

Also in 2004, Pleasant Mann, a 16 year FEMA veteran, alerted Congress of the agency's decay. He warned; "Over the past 3 1/2 years, FEMA has gone from being a model agency to being one where funds are being misspent, employees morale has fallen, and our nation's emergency management capability is being eroded. Our professional staff are being systematically replaced by politically connected novices and contractors." Cronies with no relevant experience were installed to head FEMA, and ensured the slow federal response. The devastation was the result of four years of deliberate Republican policy and budget choices that favor ideology and partisan loyalty at the expense of competence.

Dead Wrong

Bush supporters insist it was erroneous intelligence by the CIA, which resulted in his administration being wrong about weapons of mass destruction and a link between Saddam and al Qaeda. CNN's "Dead Wrong", sought to analyze the process by which the argument for a preemptive war was made. The following are some quotes from that program:

"The problem is the White House didn't go to the CIA and ask, tell me the truth, it said give me ammunition."- Robert Baer a legendary CIA field officer, who served most of his 21 year career in the Middle East.

"Policy makers love intelligence when it supports their policy and they have difficulty with intelligence when it does not. The spies call it cherry picking, choosing scraps of intelligence to prove a worst case scenario." - former CIA deputy director of operations James Pavitt.

"There was just a resignation within the agency that we were going to war against Iraq and it didn't make any difference what the analysis was or what kind of objections or countervailing forces there were to the invasion. We were going to war."- Michael Scheuer- senior member of the intelligence community and author of "Imperial Hubris".

"As they embellished what the intelligence community was prepared to say and as the press reported that information, it began to acquire its own sense of truth and reality."- Rand Beers - former National Security Council Official, who resigned his White House post to work against the reelection of Bush.

Paul Pillar is the first high level C.I.A. insider to speak out on the use of prewar intelligence. After 28 years with the C.I.A., Pillar retired in 2005, as senior intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005. He charges the Bush administration with the selective use of intelligence about Iraq's unconventional weapons and of ignoring predictions of postwar chaos in Iraq.

Pillar wrote: “What is most remarkable about prewar intelligence on Iraq is not that it got things wrong and thereby misled policy makers; it is that it played so small a role in one of the most important policy decisions in decades.”... “It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made.”... “If the entire body of official intelligence analysis on Iraq had a policy implication, it was to avoid war...or, if war was going to be launched, to prepare for a messy aftermath.”

Pillar alleges that official intelligence was misused to justify decisions to topple Saddam Hussein. A decision, which had already been made, before 9/11. He claims the administration repeatedly asked the same questions, but when intelligence analysts resisted giving them the answers they wanted, Pillar and others were accused of "trying to sabotage the president's policies."

Pillar believes it’s important is to look at the whole intelligence-policy relationship and get a discussion and debate going to make sure what happened on Iraq doesn't happen again. Pillar has proposed the creation of an independent office, modeled on the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office, to assess the use of intelligence at the request of members of Congress. He suggested that the root of the problem might be that top intelligence officials serve at the pleasure of the president.

Michael Parent's "Superpatriotism" points out: "We are told that during times of crisis we must trust the president. Democracy is not about trust; it's about distrust, accountability, public exposure and responsible government. We must enlist our fellow Americans to trust their leaders less and themselves more. Once fear takes hold, evidence becomes largely irrelevant."