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.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Refusal to Testify

Monica Goodling the top counsel to Attorney General Gonzales is taking the 5th in the investigation into the fired U.S. Attorneys.
 
E-mails and documents related to the firing of the federal prosecutors show that Monica Goodling played a central role.  Goodling was the Justice Department‘s liaison to the White House, and documents indicate she has information about the role of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his top deputy, Paul McNulty, as well as White House counsel Harriet Miers and presidential adviser Karl Rove.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said: “If she feels that what she has to tell us would subject her to prosecution, that raises some really serious questions.”

Goodling’s refusal to talk undercuts Bush’s pledge: “The attorney general and his key staff will testify before the relevant congressional committees to explain how the decision was made and for what reasons.”

In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Goodling’s lawyer John Dowd attempted to explain Goodling’s refusal to testify, by claiming a hostile environment and fears Goodling’s testimony might lead to charges of perjury, false statements or obstruction.

Legal experts point out that courts will not allow you to take the 5th for those reasons, because the fear that somebody might accuse you of perjury will not cut it in terms of invoking the 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

The key issue appears to be a vague reference by Goodling and her attorney to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty.  McNulty testified to Congress about the firings of federal prosecutors, and McNulty has since told Democrats he made a false statement based on information provided to him by Monica Goodling.

Giving false testimony to Congress under oath is clearly a crime.  Consequently, you would want to focus on the people who gave the testimony and the people who briefed them.

E-mails and documents turned over to Congress show that Goodling was involved in the decision to fire New Mexico U.S. attorney David Iglesias.  Some Republicans felt Iglesias wasn’t doing enough to investigate allegations of Democratic voter fraud. An e-mail from Karl Rove‘s deputy, Scott Jennings, to Goodling said two New Mexico Republicans wanted a meeting with administration officials.  Jennings wrote, “It is sensitive.  Perhaps you should do it.”  Goodling replied, “Happy to do so.” Goodling‘s calendar indicates she met with the Republicans the next day.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Fired U.S. Attorneys

The Bush regime is still struggling to come up with a coherent explanation for the abrupt firing last December of eight U.S. Attorneys, who serve at Bush’s pleasure, but are supposed to remain strictly apolitical in the cases they prosecute.

Some of the fired U.S. Attorneys pursued cases with a high potential for political damage to the Bush regime. For example; Carol Lam prosecuted former Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham for bribery, and was actively investigating Republican House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis at the time of her dismissal.

Improper political pressure was applied to David Inglesias to bring indictments against Democrats before last November's election. He has testified that he felt "leaned on" by telephone calls from Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson, both Republicans from New Mexico. Inglesias is a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and the basis for Tom Cruise's character in A Few Good Men.

Paul Charlton was investigating Republican Congressman Rick Renzi for bribery and illegal land dealings, and had publicly clashed with the Bush regime over the merits of the death penalty.

Former Washington state GOP Chairman Chris Vance admitted to pressuring fired U.S. Attorney John McKay to investigate Democrats at the urging of the "White House's political office."

Documents released by the Justice Department show a very high level of White House involvement in the decision to fire these attorneys, most notably by Karl Rove and Harriet Miers. For example, the candidate proposed to replace the U.S. Attorney fired in Arkansas was a Rove aide, with relatively little prosecutorial experience, but plenty of experience in suppressing minority voters.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said "I can accept that mistakes were made." He admitted that eight U.S. prosecutors were improperly fired, because of a Patriot Act provision slipped in by Congressional Republicans, which allowed them to be replaced without Senate confirmation by Bush cronies. Gonzales claimed that he would "never, ever make a change in a United States attorney for political reasons or if it would in any way jeopardize an ongoing serious investigation."

When questioned by Congress, Gonzales's deputy, Paul McNulty, claimed they were fired for poor performance, even though most of the fired attorneys had received excellent performance reviews. The purge of U.S. Attorneys wasn't a "mistake," as Alberto Gonzales claims. It was part of a calculated effort by the Bush regime to silence its critics and remain above the law.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Big Oil

The war has kept Iraq's oil production at 2.1 million barrels a day, which is down from the prewar, pre-embargo production of over 4 million barrels. The war has caused a supply squeeze, which is fine with Big Oil. Oil is now $57 a barrel as opposed to the $ 20 a barrel price under Clinton.

Since the invasion of Iraq, Halliburton stock has tripled to $64 a share, and not, because of those Iraq reconstruction contracts. Cheney's former company has captured a big hunk of the rise in oil prices by jacking up the charges for Halliburton drilling and piping equipment.

In 2005, after a two-year battle with the State and Defense Departments, BBC Newsnight was able to get a report entitled the “Options for a Sustainable Iraqi Oil Industry” released. Despite the State Department seal on the cover, our government didn’t write the report. The plan was drafted in Houston by oil industry executives and consultants.

We invaded Iraq to gain control of Iraq’s crude oil distribution for Big Oil. Documents and secret recordings of those in on the scheme, made it clear that the Bush regime wanted to make certain Americans didn’t get cheaper oil, by keeping a lid on Iraq's oil production.

The plan called for cutting Iraq's oil production and jacking up prices, by keeping Iraq an obedient member of the OPEC cartel and limiting oil-production. Thereby, boosting the price of oil.

The Houston plan is enforced by our military occupation and taxpayer funded mercenaries. The oil law adopted by Iraq's government last month is virtually a photocopy of the "Options" plan first conceived in Houston before the war.

The war has gone exactly as planned in Houston. Exxon-Mobil reported a record $10 billion profit last quarter, the largest of any corporation in history. Mission Accomplished.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ending the War

James Madison wrote, “Those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of things, be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued or concluded.”

On Feb. 2, 2007, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold explained how to end the war in Iraq. Feingold had chaired a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee to remind members of the Senate that, through the power of the purse, they have the constitutional power to end a war.

The Constitution gives Congress the explicit power: “to declare War,” “ raise and support Armies,” and “provide and maintain a Navy”   In addition, under Article I, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”  These are direct quotes from the Constitution of the United States.  Nevertheless, the Bush regime and most congressional Republicans behave as if these powers don’t exist . These powers are a clear and direct statement from the founders of our republic that Congress has authority to declare, to define and, to end the war in Iraq.

Congress must act on the will of the American people by ending our involvement in Bush’s war. Otherwise, they will have failed to perform the role assigned it by acting as a check on the Bush regime, whose policies are weakening our nation.

Bush claims: “The purpose of the emergency war spending bill I requested was to provide our troops with vital funding. Instead, Democrats in the House, in an act of political theater, voted to substitute their judgment for that of our military commanders on the ground in Iraq.”

The Constitution makes no mention of the “military commanders on the ground” having any authority to declare, define or continue a war. Precedents for Congress to exercise its constitutional authority to stop U.S. involvement in armed conflict include, but are not limited, to the following:

In late December 1970, Congress prohibited the use of funds for introducing United States ground combat troops into Cambodia or providing U.S. advisors to Cambodian military forces. In June 1973, Congress set a date to cut off funds for combat activities in Southeast Asia and in March 1994, funding for military operations in Somalia was prohibited.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dire Consequences

Presently, our military is attempting to keep the lid on the civil war in Iraq, but eventually our troops will be redeployed and the sectarian violence will increase. The invasion of Iraq has proven to be a total catastrophe. We should get out now, because there is nothing our military is going to be able to do and it’s not going to get any better.

The way to get out of Iraq is take every American out with us. Otherwise, we’re just going to get further bogged down in Bush’s quicksand of lies. We invaded Iraq for their oil reserve and that is the only reason our troops are continuing to be sacrificed on the alter of imperialistic greed, by the Bush regime.

People around the world had felt sympathy and love for America, because of what happened on 9/11. We had a chance to be the most popular nation on earth, but hatred, vengeance and greed allowed the military industrial complex to take control of the situation.

The Bush regime has stressed the military option as the most effective means to combat terrorism. At times military tactics have merit, but creating an imperialistic war of revenge is clearly not the answer.

The invasion of Iraq was a perfect example of how not to deal with terrorism. The Bush regime has created the conditions for our eventual defeat in Iraq, and it’s all over, but the killing of more of our troops and another trillion dollars in costs to pass on to future generations.

Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel recently said: “What we are doing to our force structure in this country is disastrous. We essentially are ruining our National Guard. We are destroying our Army. We're destroying our Marine Corps. We can't sustain this kind of deployment and training tempo. And the consequences of that, you're seeing at Walter Reed Hospital, for example, and the consequences of that, for example, dumbing down your United States Army. We are now in a situation where we're waiving criminal records, drug-abuse records to entice people to join the Army.”

Monday, March 26, 2007

"The Arrogance of Power"

In 1966, Sen. William Fulbright's book "The Arrogance of Power" pointed out: "We are not God's chosen savior of mankind but only one of mankind's more successful and fortunate branches, endowed by our Creator with about the same capacity for good and evil, no more or less, than the rest of humanity."

Throughout history a number of nations have thought themselves as the chosen people and convinced themselves that they alone are best qualified to lead the world. Not unlike our present leadership, which after a few false starts now claims democracy alone will ensure peace to the Middle East.

Bush described what he’s doing for Iraq as follows: “For the people across the broader Middle East, a free Iraq will be an inspiration. Iraqis have proved that the desire for liberty in the heart of the Middle East is for real. They have shown diverse people can come together and work out their difference. Years from now, people will look back on the formation of a unity government in Iraq as a decisive moment in the story of liberty, a moment when freedom gained a firm foothold in the Middle East and the forces of terror began their long retreat.”

Delhi’s John Ryan has a much different vision of America. “If our nation were truly a follower of the Lord, the deserts would bloom, the hungry would be fed, the naked clothed and, as in western Europe when we initiated the Marshall Plan, around the world the name of the United States would bring joy into the hearts of millions and all would exclaim, "God Bless America." All this could come to pass but it requires wisdom, a thirst for justice, and feelings of compassion and mercy, all of which are absent from our present government.”

On election day, we followed Ryan’s suggestion and voted: “to amend the course of a wayward nation, to begin to restore ourselves in the eyes of God and of the world. The current government has failed both God and Man. There must be a change or God Bless America will be but an empty and self-righteous phrase, indicating that, although we say that we wish to do God’s will, what we really want is for God to do ours.”

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Religious Fascist

Theodore Roosevelt said: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but it is morally treasonable to the American public.”

Counter terrorism experts agree that pressure was applied to the CIA and the embellishment of evidence enabled the Bush regime to falsely report that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction.

After 28 years with the C.I.A., Paul Pillar retired in 2005, as senior intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia. Pillar 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."

Judeo-Christian fascist claim we need to be unified in time of war, because we're facing a serious threat from Islamic fascists. They’re irate that antiwar groups are seeking to dissuade our military and the public from supporting Bush’s allegedly noble effort to save America.

The idea that, if you don't support an imperialistic war in Iraq, indicates that you don't believe there's a threat from Islamic fascism is preposterous. Antiwar protesters acknowledge that there's a real threat from Islamic extremism around the world and many are very concerned for their our loved ones living in large cities, who are most the likely target of terrorists. However, being bogged down in Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11, is hampering us in fighting international terrorism.

Bush appealed to Christian fascist by insisting, that he never consulted with his father about his plan to invade Iraq, but instead consulted with his heavenly father. Bush said: “God told me to strike al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike Saddam...” Bush has convinced many of his followers that he’s on a mission from God.

More recently, Pat Robertson claimed that God told him a terrorist attack on the United States would result in mass killings and we are expected to believe that God talks to Robertson and Bush. These self-anointed prophets are either delusional or blasphemous charlatans.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

“Never Again”

A key part of Benito Mussolini’s fascist philosophy was that he believed neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace.

Perpetual peace has no utility for the Republican party, because they get elected on the illusion that they are the party that will protect us. Critics of Bush’s foreign policy argue that the best road to national security lies not in military conquests abroad, but in a foreign policy that stops making our country an object of hatred. Furthermore, it’s obvious that our military industrial complex would not find perpetual peace profitable and consequently of no utility.

Our forces have delivered death and destitution upon Iraq, while privatizing and expropriating the country's entire economy. People throughout the world are fearful of our military empire, with its unanswerable destructive capacity never before seen in human history.

It’s factually incorrect to suggest that terrorists hate America for our prosperity. In 1989, Jimmy Carter said: "You only have to go to Lebanon to witness first-hand the intense hatred among many people for the United States, because we bombed and shelled and unmercifully killed totally innocent villagers, women and children and farmers and housewives in those villages around Beirut."

We are not envied, but resented for the repression and poverty our policies have imposed upon Muslim countries. In 1993, terrorist wrote a letter declaring the first attack on the World Trade Center was: "in response to our political, economic, and military support to Israel...and the rest of the repressive regimes in the region".

Michael Scheuer reveals: "Both those Muslims who support and those who reject bin Laden's violence appear to genuinely love their God, faith and fellow Muslims in a passionate way, which is foreign to Americans. Evangelical Christians have a fervor for God similar to the Islamists. Even they do not live and love their religion with the ferocity of bin Laden." After the 9/11 attack, bin Laden said: "This is a defensive Jihad. We want to defend our people and the territory we control. This is why I said that if we do not get security, the Americans will not be secure either".

For generations the Muslim world has suffered from European colonial misrule, which was preceded by the cruel medieval crusades. Both Muslims and Jews understandably say "never again" to fascist Christian butchers.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Victory Matters Not

“Victory matters not to the dead, nor to the living who mourn. Only to those politicians who sit in their offices and proclaim ‘mission accomplished’ as some kind of mantra.”- Norman Greenfeld

Below is a letter to Bush, from a father, who’s son was killed in Iraq.

“Dear Mr. Bush: Feb. 4, 2007

This will be the only time I will refer to you with any type of respect.

My son was killed in Iraq on February 2, 2007. His name is Captain Kevin Landeck.

He served with the Tenth Mountain Division. He was killed while riding in a Humvee by a roadside bomb just south of Baghdad. He has a loving mother, a loving father and loving sister.

You took him away from us. He celebrated his 26th birthday January 30th and was married for 17 months. He graduated from Purdue University and went through the ROTC program. That is where he met his future wife. He was proud to be a part of the military and took exceptional pride in becoming a leader of men. He accepted his role as a platoon leader with exceptional enthusiasm and was proud to serve his country.

I had many conversations with Kevin before he left to serve as well as during his deployment. The message he continued to send to me was that of incompetence. Incompetence by you, (Vice President Richard) Cheney and (former Secretary of Defense Donald) Rumsfeld. Incompetence by some of his commanders as well as the overall strategy of your decisions.

When I asked him about what he thought about your decision to “surge” more troops to Baghdad, he told me, “until the Iraqis pick up the ball, we are going to get cut to shreds. It doesn’t matter how many troops Bush sends, nothing has been addressed to solve the problem he started.”

Answer me this: How in the world can you justify invading Iraq when the problem began and continues to lie in Afghanistan? I don’t want your idiotic standard answer about keeping America safe. What did Saddam Hussein have to do with 9/11? We all know it had to do with the first Iraq war where your father failed to take Saddam down.

Well George, you have succeeded in taking down over 3,100 of our best young men, my son being one of them. Kevin told me many times we are not fighting terrorism in Iraq and they could not do their jobs as soldiers. He said they are trained to be on the offensive and to fight but all they are doing is acting like policemen.

Well George, you or some “genius” like you who have never fought in a war but enjoy all the perks your positions afford you are making life and death decisions. In the case of my son, you made a death decision.

Let me explain a few other points he and I discussed. He said when he and his men were riding down the road in their Humvees, roadside bombs would explode and they would hear bullets bouncing off their vehicle. He said they were scared. He thought “why should we be the ones who are scared?” He asked permission to take some of his men out at night with their night vision glasses because as he said “we own the night” and watch for the people who are setting roadside bombs and “take them out.” He said, “I want them to be the ones that are scared.” He was denied permission. Why? It made perfect sense to me and other people who I told about this.

When he was at a checkpoint he was told that if a vehicle was coming at them even at a high rate of speed he could not arbitrarily use his weapon. He had to wave his arms and, if the vehicle did not stop, he could fire a warning shot over the vehicle. If the vehicle did not stop then, he could shoot at the tires. If the vehicle did not yet stop he could take a shot at the driver. Who in their right mind made that kind of decision?

How would you like to be at a check point with a vehicle coming at you that won’t stop and go through all those motions? You will never know!

You or Cheney or Rumsfeld will never know the anguish, the worry, the sleepless nights, the waiting for the loved one who may never return. If the soldiers were able to do their jobs and the ego’s of politicians like you, your “cronies” and some commanders had their heads on straight, we would be out of this mess which we should not be involved with in the first place.

My family and I deserve and explanation directly from you……not some assistant who will likely read this and toss it. This war is wrong.

I want you to look me and my wife and daughter directly in the eye and tell me why my son died. We should not be there, but because of your ineptness and lack of correct information I have lost my son, my pride and joy, my hero!

Again, you, Cheney and Rumsfeld will never understand what the families of soldiers are going through and don’t try to tell me you do. My wife, my daughter and I cannot believe we have lost our only son and brother to a ridiculous political war that you seem to want to maintain. I hope you and Cheney and Rumsfeld and all the other people on your band wagon sleep well at night….we certainly don’t.

Richard Landeck Proud father of a fallen soldier”

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Zero % Evidence

This is another specific response debunking the anonymous letter, which was posted on 3/19.

The fact that the letter wasn’t sent to the Delaware County Times and the writer didn’t provide a name suggests a preference not to confront me in an open forum. Nevertheless, I am compelled to respond to the anonymous writer’s statement: “This intelligence existed before Bush was in office as shown by the comments of the liberal left...”

In 2002, Pelosi was the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. As the senior Democrat in the House, both she and Democratic Senator Bob Graham the chairman of the Intelligence Committee were briefed extensively on the intelligence leading up to the vote to give Bush the power to invade Iraq.

At the time, Pelosi said there was nothing in that intelligence, which indicated that Iraq was an imminent threat to the United States. Both Pelosi and her Democratic counterpart Senator Graham voted against the Iraq War Resolution. Thus, the two Democrats, who had the most operational intelligence at their disposal, as well as, 22 other Senators voted against the resolution.

According to experts: “The White House maintained 100 percent certainty that the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction existed based on zero percent evidence.”- Chief UN arms inspector Hans Blix.

"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.

"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.

Furthermore, the anonymous letter writer claimed: “It is Islam and people like you who make things easier for them.” In fact, Michael Scheuer author of “Imperial Hubris” and the former head of the bin Laden unit insists that Bush’s policies and actions are bin Laden's only indispensable allies.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

People Unlike Me

In the letter posted on 3/19, the anonymous writer expressed concerned that people like me were responsible for the downfall of our country.

President George H.W. Bush, a former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency said: “I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.”

People like me had nothing to do with revealing Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity as a covert CIA officer, nor are we responsible for the millions of middle class families, that are struggling and 37 million Americans living in poverty.

Congressional Republicans are responsible for the decline of our country. They looked out for the interests of multinational corporations, big oil, pharmaceutical companies and defense contractors with huge tax cuts. These corporations hide money overseas to avoid paying taxes and nothing has been done to end special tax giveaways to companies that out source jobs overseas.

Bush has commandeered our military to be gangsters for capitalism, and they’re being used as economic cannon fodder by the military industrial complex to ensure outrageous profits for multinational oil corporations.

Michael Scheuer, former head of the bin Laden unit, predicted on MSNBC, that al Qaeda is “going to detonate a nuclear device inside the United States and we’re going to have absolutely nothing to respond against. It will be a unique situation for a great power, and we’re going to have no one to blame but ourselves".

Billions are being wasted in Iraq by Halliburton, KBR and Bechtel. These Republican-run firms are regularly charged with cheating our government. The “War on Terror” should be called the “Looting of America” by the Bush regime.

Nobel laureate economist and Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University professor of public policy Linda Bilmes estimate the total cost of the war in Iraq has reached more than $1 trillion.

An end to the occupation of Iraq would allow our nation to focus on rebuilding our military and on problems such as corporate outsourcing of jobs, schools, the environment, the elderly and affordable quality health care for all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Common Sense

This is an additional response to the anonymous letter, posted yesterday.

Sensible Americans don’t claim to have the whole truth, because we need to work towards what is best for America. Those that claim scripture provides all the answers have already made up their mind, which makes evidence irrelevant and argument a waste of time.

Bush and his righteous supporters are incapable of taking advice or considering dissenting views. They frequently resort to character assassination, insults and misinformation. In a reality-based world better outcomes are achieved when we operate on the basis of common sense, which may not be that common.

I’ll attempt to apply some common sense observations. The Bush regime would have little interest in the region or the people of Iraq, if America was not addict to oil. We have five percent of the world’s population, but we consume 25% of its oil. The reason we didn’t invaded Cuba to spread democracy is that Cuba doesn’t have oil.

Common sense suggests the chaos in Iraq was created by our occupation, because Saddam Hussein’s secular regime ruled Iraq with an iron fist. Religious extremist and al Qaeda were a threat to his authority and were not tolerated.

If, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, Iraq certainly wouldn’t have aimed them at America. They would have been retained to deter the Iranians from attacking. Only a national leader, who wished to be incinerated would use a nuclear bomb on America, knowing that his country would be pulverized off the face of the earth within a few hours, by our enormous nuclear might.

Before the invasion, Iran was hemmed in by Saddam Hussein on the west and the Taliban on the east. We did Iran a great favor by invading Iraq, because Iraq has ended up with a Shiite dominated government, which isn’t prepared to make any political concession to have a united country. 

Furthermore, we provided al Qaeda the greatest recruitment propaganda imaginable and created a terrorist spawning ground. If democracy is able to take hold in Iraq, the Iranians will have won, because the Shiites make up more than 60% of the population in both Iraq and Iran.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Voltaire

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."-Voltaire

I received this unedited letter from an anonymous reader, and post it in the spirit of tolerance and independent thought.

“Jim, Regarding your letter to the editor of the Delaware County Times:

Your comments are extremely ignorant. “It was Bush’s invasion of an oil rich nation that created the chaos in Iraq” is utter nonsense. Your comments puppet the enemy’s propaganda. Do we control the oil fields and their profits? No! Don’t be so naive. “Pressured the CIA to falsely report that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction” Were you misquoted, or are you really that stupid? This intelligence existed before Bush was in office as shown by the comments of the liberal left-Kennedy, Kerry, Clinton, Pelosi, etc., as well as the actions of the previous Clinton administration. I guess everyone lied because they all said the same thing, but now it’s “Bush’s” intelligence since they all came to the same conclusion. Yeah right!

You blindly soak up everything the liberal media forces down your throat. Try applying some common sense to the issues. Certainly, if you did that you would draw different conclusions. Hussein had already used such weapons. The UN gave Iraq a ridiculous amount of time to get rid of anything, not to mention that we have found mustard gas. We had the legal authority for this war when Iraq disobeyed the first resolution never mind 17 of them.

Thank God Bush had the guts to take the initiative. Has history taught you nothing? God help us if Al Qaida breaks the will of George Bush as they have already broken the will of the people like you. And that is the only way that they can win. Obviously you want to help in that respect.

Why don’t we all do a study on why the terrorist hate us? They hate all prosperous non islam nations. We are the biggest and most prosperous. Sorry to burst your bubble, but George Bush and America are not the bad guys. It is people that think like you that will be the true downfall of this great country. You are pathetic!

Sincerely,
Every sensible American.”

Every sensible American should recognize that Bush’s imperialistic invasion of an oil rich nation created the chaos in Iraq is supported by experts on the Middle East and counterterrorism.

Career counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke served under four presidents beginning as an analyst on nuclear weapons under Reagan and established a record for continuous service in national security policy positions. Clarke wrote: "We invaded and occupied an oil rich Arab country that posed no threat to us...We delivered to al Qaeda the greatest recruitment propaganda imaginable."

Paul Pillar served 28 years with the CIA and retired in 2005, as senior intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia. 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: “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.”

"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."- Former senior member of the U. S. intelligence community, Michael Scheuer, who has two decades of experience in national security issues.

Scheuer, the former head of the bin Laden unit, wrote “Imperial Hubris”, while with the CIA. He emphasized: “We must recognize that our invasion of Iraq was not preemptive; it was an avarice, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat, but whose defeat did offer economic advantages.” Economic advantages is the politically correct term for gaining control of Iraqi oil.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ineffective Congress

Members of Congress are concerned that, given the Bush regime’s track record leading up to the Iraq war, our imperial commander-in-chief will authorize an attack against Iran. The Democratic leadership of the House prepared a legislative provision to require Bush to seek congressional authorization before launching an attack against Iran. They attached that provision to the draft of the Iraq war supplemental spending bill, which would require Bush to follow the Constitution and make a full, public explanation of the need for war and gain congressional approval before launching a war against Iran.

The Blue Dog Coalition forced Nancy Pelosi to take that provision out of the bill. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand has publicly associate herself with this conservative coalition. They profess to want to make a difference in Congress by finding bipartisan answers to the current challenges facing the country. Allegedly, their top priority is focused on balancing the budget and ridding taxpayers of the burden the national debt places on them. Presently, the greatest drain on our national treasury, by far is the war in Iraq. Blue Dog Democrats don’t appear to be taking an effective public stand on the issue of getting our troops out of Iraq, which is costing 8.4 billion a month.

Henry Kissinger, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group have all argued that we need to talk to Iran, not rush to war. The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, U.S. intelligence officers, and the head of the International Atomic Energy Commission all agree that Iran is not on the verge of building nuclear weapons.

The Bush regime has threatened military action against Iran since they came to power. They argue that Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons and that military action may be necessary to bring a halt to Iran’s nuclear program. Iran insists its nuclear program is focused only on building a domestic capacity to generate electricity, a right guaranteed under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In early March, even as our diplomats were meeting in Iraq, with Iranian officials, a second U.S. aircraft carrier arrived in the region, and squadrons of F-18 fighters began "training operations" within striking distance of Iran. These mounting tensions bear an unsettling resemblance to the build-up to prior the invasion of Iraq.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Mercenaries

Recently, I had a letter published in the Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin, about Blackwater USA, the private military company based in North Carolina, which has close ties to the White House. The letter created quite a controversy.

This is one of many very informative responses posted on line. robinea wrote:

“It is no secret that President Bush and his administration have sought to contract private mercenaries, who operate above and beyond US laws, to perform some of the filthiest and politically most delicate tasks in Iraq, including torture. Where, occasionally, a member of the US Armed Forces has had to face some kind of 'justice' for, say, the rape and murder of a young Iraqi girl and the murder of her parents and baby sister, as in the case of the former soldier, Steve Green and his comrades, these 'for-profit' mercenaries have extra-territorial and extra-judicial authority placing them beyond the laws of both Iraq and the United States if they commit crimes in Iraq.

The profits of war-making have been privatized mostly for the benefit of Bush's supporters, although a lot of Democratic Party supporters have had their share of the loot too. Experienced soldiers are recruited directly from the Armed Forces, where they had once 'sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States' they now become private mercenaries where they are committed to their own enrichment and the enrichment of their 'bosses'. This outfit attracts the worst kind of sadists and opportunists.

There are tens of thousands of private mercenaries working through such companies as Blackwater and others, including Israeli companies...in Iraq and elsewhere in this endless series of wars (Clash of Civilizations?). Their commitment is to private profit and nothing more or less. If a Blackwater 'Humvee' runs over your wife and children on their way to school...you are out of luck in Iraq. Neither the Iraqi puppet government nor the US judicial authorities have any power over these 'heroes of free enterprise'.

This is becoming the new face of power in our country. Before there was some semblance of accountability, now there are secret bank accounts and powerful private armies. Machine-gun totting Blackwater commandos, not all of whom were US citizens, patrolled the streets of New Orleans after Katrina - while the National Guard troops from the Gulf States were away securing the Empire in Iraq.

The historic precedent for this use of private armies in controlling the masses, here and abroad, are the notorious Pinkertons, who slaughtered striking coal miners in Pennsylvania in the late 19th Century. At one time there were said to be more armed goons in the Pinkertons, protecting the interests of the Robber Barons, than there were soldiers in the US Armed Forces.”

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Failed Strategy

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow sent me the following reply concerning my e-mail about the war in Iraq.

“Thank you for contacting me about the war in Iraq. I share your deeply-held concerns and appreciate hearing your views on this important matter.
 
In 2002, I was one of only 23 Senators to vote against the Iraq War Resolution. The decision to go to war is one that should be made with great trepidation when our country is at risk and all other options have been exhausted. From day one, the reasoning for this war has been flawed and inconsistent. Our men and women in uniform deserve better.
 
I believe that it is a serious mistake to increase the number of American troops in Iraq. We must do everything we can to support those serving our country. Sending more Americans into combat without a strategy for success will not improve the situation on the ground in Iraq, and it will not bring our armed forces home any sooner. I joined 56 of my colleagues in voting for a bipartisan resolution opposing the President's escalation plan, and I am extremely disappointed that it was filibustered by the minority in the Senate.
 
A free and stable Iraq can only be secured by the Iraqis. They must embrace responsibility for their collective future and decide that living and dying at the hands of sectarian violence is not the future they want for their children or grandchildren. We cannot substitute American troops for Iraqi resolve.

I am supporting legislation, recently introduced by Senator Harry Reid, that will require the President to begin phased redeployment within 120 days, and a full redeployment of all American combat troops in Iraq by March 31, 2008. We can no longer continue to follow the same failed strategy in Iraq. I remain committed to changing the course that has been set and bringing our service men and women home safely.”
 
Unfortunately, Republicans who were in favor of redeployment, like Senator John Warner and Norm Coleman now say they won't support the plan.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Dick Cheney said of Congress: “When members speak not of victory, but of time limits, deadlines or other arbitrary measures, they're telling the enemy simply to watch the clock and wait us out.”

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked former Senator Max Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam, if he could sit down with Cheney, what would he say to him? Cleland replied; “Where the hell were you in the Vietnam War? If you had have gone to Vietnam like the rest of us, maybe you would have learned something about war. You can't keep troops on the ground forever.... As a matter of fact, the real enemy is al Qaeda. It's al Qaeda, stupid! It's not in Iraq.”

Next Blitzer asked: “And what would you say to the president?” Cleland answered: “You screwed up royally when you said, four years ago, major combat over, mission accomplished, bring 'em on. That means you should have gone to Vietnam and learned that you don't challenge guerrillas that way, people who want to blow themselves up just to take you out.... We're just bogged down in Baghdad with no hope of getting out under this administration.”

When asked: “And your Democratic colleagues here in Washington, they seem to be divided over what to do next, some are really pushing hard to cutoff of funding, others saying you can't do that. What advice do you have for them?” Cleland responded: “Keep on pushing, because the right thing to do is to withdraw the ground forces from Iraq and settle this thing about the stability of Iraq and the future of Iraq by diplomatic means.”

Cleland, who had headed the Veterans Administration, points out that you can't repeatedly send young Americans to a place like Iraq over a period of four years and expect them to come home and just fit right in. Over 300,000 Iraq and Afghan veterans have come home suffering emotional trauma.

They experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which often stays with them, the rest of their lives. Walter Reed Hospital and the Veterans Administration are set up to deal with it, but they're overwhelmed.

It’s important to intervene quickly with PTSD counseling, because they’re suffering emotionally as well as dealing with their physical wounds.

As triple amputee, Cleland insists the deepest wounds and scars of war are psychological, mental and emotional, which you carry to your grave. Major depression should be anticipate and if we don't intervene with the emotional aftermath of war early, it can turn into alcoholism, drug addiction, depression and suicide.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Point of View

For over a year there has been a great deal of controversy over a program to establish wind farms on the ridges of Delaware County. Many letters to the editor have been written to area newspapers and the war in Iraq has taken a back seat to the controversy over wind farms. It served to divide some of those that had been united in their opposition to the war. Those that were writing letters to the editorial section of newspaper against the occupation of Iraq began presenting their opposing views on wind farms.

A letter in the Oneonta Star convinced me that not everyone involved in the debate had selfish motives or were limited in their point of view. The perspective presented in the following letter to the editor, by Tom and Diane Beers of Stamford, N.Y. demonstrated a sincere concerned for the common good, which was very refreshening.

“One of us is a Stamford native and the other a transplant from a large city. Our full-time home sits above 2,700 feet, with a magnificent view of the Adirondack, Green, Berkshire and Catskill mountains. Our south wall is glass, and faces Mount Utsayantha and the Moresville Range, the site of the proposed wind farm.

We hope to soon add windmills to our view, and this is what we will see:

Clean, renewable, homegrown energy. No air, water or ground pollution. Minimal impact on the environment compared to drilling or digging for fossil fuels, particularly in sensitive environment and natural treasures. Healthier humans, animals, fish, birds, trees and plants. Community tax benefits. Jobs. Financial incentive for the continuation of family farms. Less dependence on foreign oil, so one fewer reason to go to war. A healthier and safer environment for children, grandchildren, their children and the world at large.

It’s time we do our part!”

Monday, March 12, 2007

A Sobering Picture

Recently, on CBS’s "60 Minutes" the Comptroller General at the Government Accountability Office, David Walker painted a very sobering picture regarding the federal government's ability to meet its future obligations. 
 
Walker explained that government entitlement spending is out of control and singled out the Medicare prescription drug bill passed by Congress as a totally irresponsible piece of legislation. 
 
Congress knew the projections that the program would cost $400 billion over the next decade were inaccurate, when they voted for the bill. The true cost will be at least $1 trillion in the first decade and much more in following decades as our population grows older. 
 
The politicians who get reelected by passing such incredibly shortsighted legislation will never have to answer to future generations, who are the real victims of the debts being incurred in their names.
 
David Walker claims our government can’t keep its promises for Social Security and Medicare, because it's too late to reformed our entitlement system. The official national debt figure is approaching $9 trillion. This merely reflects what the federal government owes in current debts on money already borrowed. It doesn’t reflect what the federal government has promised to pay millions of Americans in entitlement benefits down the road.
 
Allegedly, we can’t grow our way out of this problem through a prosperous economy that yields higher future tax revenues. By 2040 the entire federal budget will be consumed by Social Security and Medicare. Walker claims our only options would be cutting federal spending by about 60%, or doubling federal taxes.

Let’s start by bringing our troops home and save the 8.4 billion a month we’re spending in Iraq.

Next, eliminate the 90 thousand dollar FICA cap on Social Security deductions, we would be procuring significantly more money from the those earning over $250 thousand a year, as well as, from the more than 2 million millionaires and 415 billionaires in America.

Then, the 40 Senators that are millionaires could begin to address the problem by getting rid of the income tax loop holes for the very wealthy and stop subsidizing American companies that move to other countries.
 

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Home Team

Bush's surrogates sought to discredit the integrity of any professional with the courage to disagree with his decision to invade Iraq.

Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson wrote an article in the "New York Times", which contradicted Bush's assertion in his 2003 State of The Union Address that Iraq was trying to obtain uranium from Niger. Wilson knew Bush's claim was false and that he had purposely deceived Congress and the American people to gain support for the invasion of Iraq. A day after Wilson shared his conclusions in the Times, the White House finally acknowledged Bush's assertion; "did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of The Union Address".

Joseph Wilson was acting ambassador to Iraq, under the first President Bush, prior to the start of the Persian Gulf War. Under Clinton, he served our country as an ambassador in African countries. Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame Wilson served this nation for a total of 43 years. Valerie Plame Wilson worked overseas on assignments in areas related to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. She worked as a covert agent to recruit foreigners who knew murky deals involving WMDs.

After Joseph Wilson publicly shared his information about Bush's false claim in the State of the Union Address, Republican columnist Bob Novak revealed Valerie Plame Wilson's identity as a covert CIA agent. She had meticulously crafted her cover over a period of 18 years. Novak has acknowledged that he learned her identity from Karl Rove. Revealing Mrs. Wilson's identity is viewed as political payback for her husband revealing the truth about Bush misleading Congress in his State of the Union Address. The threat of a nuclear weapon was the key component in gaining support for the invasion of Iraq. By revealing Mrs. Wilson's identity, the Bush regime served notice to all other conscientious citizens that there would be a price to be paid for contradicting this president.

Novak's column raised concern that leaking a covert agent's identity might put CIA operatives around the world at risk. Potential foreign agents have seen a CIA officer betrayed by officials in her own government.

Senior member of the U.S. intelligence community, Michael Scheuer asserts: "To have someone exposed deliberately and, on top of that, for political reasons, I think, yes, it probably sends a chill throughout the clandestine service."

James Marcinkowski, former CIA Officer insists: "The issue here is, how are you going to tell agents that their identity is going to be protected when this government can't even protect the home team."

The matter was referred to the Justice Dept. by the CIA and on Dec. 30, 2003, Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed special counsel to investigation this matter. The case raised speculation on how high up in the White House the source was. Last September, former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage finally came forward to admitted being Novak's primary source.

In October of 2005, Fitzgerald brought an indictment of five counts of false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice against Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Libby was found guilty of four of those counts. He had testified under oath, that he learned about Mrs. Wilson's identity from Cheney, forgot about it, and then was reminded by "Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert. Russert testified that Libby never told him about Joe Wilson’s wife.

At the press conference after the verdict, Fitzgerald said the trial had proven that Libby learned Plame's identity from Cheney, who obtained it from official sources. Trial testimony made it clear that Bush had secretly declassified a portion of the prewar intelligence estimate that allowed Libby to leak the information to Judith Miller of the New York Times.

On June 10, 2004, Bush was asked, if he would stand by his "pledge to fire anyone" involved in the leak. He replied: "Yes." However, almost four years after the leak, only Armitage has stepped down from his post and Libby is heading to prison. Karl Rove retains a White House post with high security clearance and Cheney is still the vice-president. Bush doesn’t have a shred of credibility left.

The war grinds on without any end in sight and congressional Democrats recognize that the narrow majority in the Senate makes impeachment impossible.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Vainly Flattered

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate have sent a proposal to Bush, which hopes to change the mission from combat to training of Iraqis, counter-terrorism, and force protection.

Pelosi claims five things are needed; change the mission; redeploy the troops, real reconstruction; diplomatic engagement and political reconciliation. Sadly, political reconciliation wouldn’t.

Prior to our Civil War, John Brown said it best on the day he was hung: "I am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done."

Members of Congress flatter themselves by assuming that the our military can positively influence the eventual outcome of their civil war. We must get out of Iraq and allow them to purge their land with Iraqi blood. The invasion and continued occupation of Iraq makes us less safe, by ensuring more hatred of Americans. Every day, it make our military weaker and the entire region less stable.

Speaker Pelosi hopes Bush will see the light and that the occupation will not be an issue in the campaign coming up. Most Republican want the continuation of the war to be an issue in 2008, in order to brag of their firm resolve. If they cared about the loss of life, they would be urging Chuck Hagel to lead their party in calling for Bush’s impeachment.

Bush firmly believes that he’s a Christian crusader. He doesn’t give a damn about the casualties of war or that the American people have lost confidence in his leadership and his war.

In “The Audacity of Hope”, Senator Obama describes an episode of messianic certainty, which he witnessed. He wrote: “The President’s eyes became fixed; his voice took on the agitated, rapid tone of someone neither accustomed to nor welcoming interruption; his easy affability was replaced by an almost messianic certainty.”

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Public Employee Unions

Congressional Republican agree that airport screeners play a vital role in the war against terror, but they seek to deny them the basic right of unionization by claiming it would “threaten national security.”

In January, the House voted 299-128 for a bill that would repeal a provision of the five year old Aviation Transportation and Security Act, which gave Bush the authority to bar screeners from exercising the collective bargaining rights granted other federal employees.

Republicans threatened a filibuster to block passage in the Senate, but Democrats managed to pass the bill. Bush says that he will veto it, and the Republican minority in the Senate have promised to sustain his veto.

Bush compares the 45,000 men and women who screen air passengers’ luggage with the men and women who are fighting in Iraq.

Unionization enables workers to gain job security and a voice in determining their working conditions. The screeners aren’t happy with their current conditions and have a higher turnover rate than the employees of any other federal employee group and file more discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Screeners complain about being forced to work overtime without prior notice, having their working shifts arbitrarily changed, their paychecks delayed and being sexually harassed. They fear retaliation for complaining about their conditions and lack procedures to resolve grievances.

John Gage, president of The American Federation of Government Employees, wants to bargain on behalf of the screeners. The Transportation Security Agency, which employs the screeners would benefit from unionization, because employers have learned, that things go much more smoothly if there are mutually agreed upon rules and procedures for dealing with labor-management relations and the operations of the workplace. Gage says: “it’s time to put an end to TSA’s bullying.”

Unions are among the Democrats’ most effective supporters, as witnessed by their key role in the party’s midterm election victories. Therefore, Republicans are especially eager to weaken public employee unions, which directly challenge the administration’s authority.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Politically Correct

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has called the Iraq War "a grotesque mistake." The invasion of Iraq was not a mistake.

In “Imperial Hubris”, Michael Scheuer, the former head of the bin Laden unit, made it clear that: "We must recognize that our invasion of Iraq was not preemptive; it was an avarice, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat but whose defeat did offer economic advantages." Economic advantages included control of the second largest oil reserve in the world. That wasn’t a mistake, it was greed. Sadly, it isn’t politically correct to be honest and accuse Americans of greed and the Bush regime of lying.

If politicians would stop being politically correct our troops would have been redeployed by now. Major General Smedley Butler author of “War is a Racket” would have pointed out that our military is being used as gangsters for capitalism.

In 2002, Pelosi was the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. As the senior Democrat in the House, both she and Democratic Senator Bob Graham the chairman of the Intelligence Committee were briefed extensively on the intelligence leading up to the vote to give Bush the power to invade Iraq.

At the time, Pelosi said there was nothing in that intelligence, which indicated that Iraq was an imminent threat to the United States. Both Pelosi and her Democratic counterpart Senator Graham voted against the Iraq war resolution. Thus, the two Democrats, who had the most operational intelligence at their disposal vote against the war.

Today, a survey of the American people shows overwhelming support for what Rep. John Murtha is suggesting. He’s saying obey the law, which asserts that we shouldn't send our troops into battle unless they have a certain level of training. Additionally, the law states that we shouldn't over extend their stay, because that is detrimental to their performance. The law also declares the troops should be home, at least a year before they are sent back. The American people think those rules should be obeyed, but the Bush regime refuses to think first and foremost of our troops and this country’s military readiness.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bureaucratic Nightmare

House Democrats have released an internal memo from Major General George Weightman's deputy to the Army's medical command. The memo dated September 2006 describes how the Army's decision to privatize support services at Walter Reed sparked an exodus of "highly skilled and experienced personnel." Weightman's deputy warned that Walter Reed's "... base operations and patient care services are at risk of mission failure."

The Army awarded the five-year, $120 million contract in January 2006. At that time, Walter Reed had over 300 federal employees in support services. A year later, that number had dropped to under 60. Privatizing key services assured an attrition at Walter Reed, which resulted in not being able to do the job.

The company that was awarded the contract was IAP Worldwide Services. It was one of the companies that had problems delivering ice during FEMA's response to Hurricane Katrina. The CEO of IAP, Al Neffgen, is a former senior Halliburton official.

In a letter to General Weightman, Congressman Henry Waxman said it would be "reprehensible if the deplorable conditions (at Walter Reed) were caused or aggravated by an ideological commitment to privatize government services...”

Furthermore, the base closure commission recommendation that Walter Reed be shut down, which meant that it would go to be at the bottom of the list, when it came to maintenance and repair.

Our casualties of war deserve better. Bush has got to stand up and take responsibility for this situation and Congress has got to make sure the money is provided to fix Walter Reed and the entire Veterans Administration hospital system.

Four years in Iraq has produced more than one million veterans, and 30,000 wounded. This issue must be address, because it's really tearing up the morale of our troops, especially those young men and women laying in beds at Walter Reed.

It’s not an isolated problem at Walter Reed. Similar physical problems exist at other facilities and bureaucratic nightmares are a problem cross the country.

As many as 200,000 of the Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have asked for treatment at the various veteran hospitals and at the military hospitals across the country. There are 500,000 cases requesting help for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the Veterans Administration that have not yet been adjudicated.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Essential Cornerstone

Congress will attempt to restore one of the oldest and most important checks on arbitrary governmental power, the protection of habeas corpus. It’s a principle that no government is above the law and that all detainees can challenge the fairness of their detention in front of an independent court. This has been a cornerstone of Anglo-Saxton legal systems for 800 years.

In 2006, at Bush’s request, the law was changed so that certain detainees who are not citizens can now be denied the ability to question whether they are being wrongfully detained. Just prior to the election, congressional Republicans passed the Military Commissions Act, and stripped non-citizen detainees of the ability to question the legality of their detention in U.S. federal courts.

The Habeas Corpus Restoration Act (S. 185), is a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Arlen Specter (R-PA), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would restore the right of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere around the world to challenge the legality of their detention in a U.S. federal court.

Presently, these detainees are labeled “unlawful enemy combatants” Those imprisoned and do not have any procedure by which they can petition an independent judicial body to claim that they are being wrongfully detained. The Habeas Corpus Restoration Act (S. 185) would repeal the habeas corpus-stripping provision from the Military Commissions Act. The Habeas Corpus Restoration Act would allow independent courts to examine U.S. detention of non-citizen individuals labeled by the administration as “unlawful enemy combatants.”

As of March 1, the legislation has Senators Sherrod Brown (OH), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Hillary Clinton (NY), Russ Feingold (WI) and Ken Salazar (CO) as co-sponsors, but in order to move this legislation forward it needs much more support.

Contact your senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 185, the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act. If they are already cosponsors, thank them and urge them to encourage their colleagues to schedule a hearing and a vote on this bill.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Contradictory Message

Republicans were voted out of office over the war in Iraq and Democrats were given a majority in the House and the Senate.  Many complain Democrats have failed to hold Bush’s feet to the fire, but he has ignored the election results, ignored polls opposing the surge and ignore congressional Democrats and some Republicans.

Many Americans believe it’s time for Congress to step up and show the same kind of courage that troops are showing in Iraq. Instead, the Republican propaganda machine seeks to define Democrats as not supporting the troops, when in fact, the best way to support the troops is to get them out of the middle of an Iraqi civil war.
 
Many American support Rep. Murtha's plan, which calls for stopping the further deployment of troops unless they’re properly prepared and fully equipped, which seems to be a common sense statement. 

Republicans know the war was a mistake and recognize that the war is lost, but still have the audacity to claim Democrats don’t have the courage of their convictions. They want Democrats to take responsibility for making the hard decision to withdraw the troops, which would allow them to blame Democrats for loosing the war.  Democrats like Jack Murtha want to vote to defund the war, get out of Iraq and take responsibility for ending the quagmire. 

Historically, Republicans have proven to be very good at the blame game. Consequently, many Democrats are concerned that if they vote to defund the war and it becomes a greater disaster by the middle of 2008, they will be blamed.

Polls show Americans are against the surge and want troops to start moving out of Iraq, but that same majority insist we shouldn’t defund the troops.

Senate Democrats can’t even get a non-binding resolution passed and voted on, because of a Republican filibuster. They got 56 votes for a non-binding resolution, but needed 60 in order to overcome that filibuster.

Most Americans want to start getting out of Iraq, but 60 percent don’t want to lose the war.  It’s very tough to accomplish anything in Congress, because the message the American people are sending is contradictory.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Taking its Toll

Democratic had hoped to repeal the 2002 Iraqi war resolution and replace it with a new authorization that would shift our troops to a support role.

Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, who was against the war, doesn't want to authorize a new mission in Iraq and wants our troops out.

Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor may oppose reauthorizing the war, but for a different reason. He agrees with the Republican Senators, that Congress should not micromanage the war. He’s concerned about revisiting the original resolution that authorized force in Iraq, because we have soldiers who are getting shot at and blown up every day. Does this mean that, he doesn't want to interfere with their mission of getting shot and blown up every day?

Pryor and other Democrats are reluctant to back any move on Iraq that does not have bipartisan support. Republican Senators will not endorsed the idea of modifying Congress' authorization for war, because they remain loyal to Bush.

Democrats in the House are trying to figure out whether there is sufficient support for Congressman John Murtha’s plan to set conditions on war funding. However, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd, who has been staunchly opposed to the war since 2002, is not in favor of cutting off funding. He doesn’t support Murtha’s proposal, because our military commanders need to have those resources and Congress shouldn't be trying to hamstring our troops in Iraq by setting conditions on funding.

Most Americans are opposed to the war and had been focusing much of their anger on Bush, but have recently started taking their frustration out on the Democrats. According to a recent poll by the "Washington Post" and ABC News support for the war in Iraq continues to decline. Two thirds of Americans disapprove of Bush’s handling of Iraq. Nearly two thirds say the war was not worth fighting and they oppose sending additional troops.

Democrats' inability to start bringing our troops home is taking its toll. In January, sixty percent of Americans said they trusted the Democrats in Congress more than Bush on Iraq. Most still do, but the number is down to 54 percent.

Abraham Lincoln wrote: “Allow the president to invade a nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purposes and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his powers, after you have given him so much.”

Apparently, Congress can’t set any limits and many more troops will be killed and maimed.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Shameful Exploitation

Propaganda is defined as: ideas methodically spread to promote a cause. Historically, Americans have been subjected to a despicable piece of propaganda, which is used to promote the continuation of an increasingly unpopular war.

In 2004, Lt. General Sanchez said, "They must not have died in vain. We must not lose this mission." That is contemptible propaganda. If our troops are pulled out of Iraq today, those that have died in the service of our country will not have died in vain. To suggest otherwise is an insidious distortion of the truth and a shameful exploitation of our fallen heroes; for an economic, political or religious agenda. Our troops remain in great jeopardy, while General Sanchez has come home and is out of harms way. The original mission of searching for WMD's and regime change has been accomplished.

In a "Doonesbury" cartoon a reporter at a White House news conference asked; “What if troops are still dying at the current rate a year from now? Will we withdraw then?”

White House reply; “No, because if we do, all of next year's deaths will have been in vain.” Reporter; “What about two years from now? or five years?"

White House reply; “Again we'll stay the course. We cannot dishonor the upcoming sacrifice of those who have yet to die. Remember, some of them haven't even enlisted yet. If we cut and run, what kind of message would we be sending them and their families?” The reporter answered; “That they might live?”