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.

Monday, December 31, 2007

No Real Choice

Former President Eisenhower warned that the greatest threat to our country could eventually become the military-industrial complex. Nevertheless, most politicians have managed to convince most Americans that a loosely organized band of third world criminals are the greatest threat our country faces.

The former head of the bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer, wrote: “It’s about the impact of our policies in the Islamic world. And because we won’t talk about that here in America, we’re not adequately defended.” However, my Democratic representatives in Congress, Senators Clinton, Schumer and Rep. Gillibrand refuse to mention that our past and present policies in the Middle East endanger our safety.

They ignore the fact that our CIA brought twenty-five years of tyranny and repression upon the Iranian people, which concluded with the Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution. That covert operation helped convince many people throughout the Islamic world that America was its mortal enemy. They avoid mentioning the fact that in 1980, Iraq’s president, Saddam Hussein, invaded Iran and was supported our tax dollars. Eight blood-soaked years later, hundreds of thousands of young Iranian men and boys had been injured or killed.

We’re not adequately defended, because they refuse to talk about how our past and present policies impact the Islamic world. They won’t acknowledge that our military has been ordered to commit horrendous acts, which has caused needless tragedy in the lives of millions of people. Yet, they've never suggest that America spend less on its military, whose primary mission is to protect the assets of the very wealthy or admit that most of the anguish, which our country suffers from can be traced to militarism and imperialism.

Those Republicans and Democrats in Congress that depend on contributions from arms dealers and the military industrial complex are endangering our safety.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Personal Morality

The Mayor of Salt Lake City, Ross Anderson suggests we tell our elected officials: “You have violated your solemn responsibilities. You have undermined our democracy, spat upon our Constitution, and engaged in outrageous, despicable acts. You have brought our nation to a point of immorality, inhumanity, and illegality of immense, tragic, unprecedented proportions.”

Anderson insists that we need to be courageous and tenacious. If, we the voters don’t persist, we are failing to live up to our responsibilities as citizens in a democracy, as well as, our responsibilities as moral human beings. If we remain silent, we signal the candidates running for Congress that we support the status quo. Silence is complicity.

While, acting in our name our government has caused immense, death and destruction by sending our military to attack and occupy a nation that posed no danger to us. We should be raising hell and making it clear in every way possible that the convoluted explanations by Democrats don’t cut it, when so many voted to authorize Bush and his neocon buddies to send American troops to attack and occupy Iraq.

It’s a matter of personal morality, because we cannot support any candidate who continues to vote to fund the atrocities in Iraq. We cannot support any candidate who will not commit to removing all of our mercenaries and troops from Iraq. We cannot support a candidate who is too timid to publicly acknowledge that the occupation of Iraq is about oil.

America has one of the worst voting records in the free world. In 2004, only 45 percent of those eligible to cast a vote did so. Compare that to recent free elections in Australia 96%, Indonesia 93% and Belgium 91%. Unfortunately, many Americans believe that there is no real choice and stay home. Are they right?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Forever in Peace

You’re a grand old flag, You’re a high flying flag and forever in peace may you wave. You’re the emblem of the land I love. The home of the free and the brave.

Forever in peace may you wave is not very likely, because the privatization of the military makes endless war a corporate imperative.

Charlotte Aldebron wrote “What the American Flag Stands For” at 12 years of age.

“The American flag stands for the the fact that cloth can be very important. It is against the law to let the flag touch the ground or leave the flag flying when the weather is bad. The flag has to be treated with respect. You can tell just how important this cloth is because when you compare it to people, it gets much better treatment. Nobody cares if a homeless person touches the ground. A homeless person can lie all over the ground all night long without anyone picking him up, folding him neatly and sheltering him from the rain. School children have to pledge loyalty to this piece of cloth every morning. No one has to promise that people will get a fair wage, or enough food to eat, or affordable medicine, or clean water, or air free from harmful chemicals. But we all have to promise to love a rectangle of red, white, and blue cloth.”

Conservative Alabama Governor Riley cited his Christian faith and called for the largest tax hike in Alabama history, largely on the backs of the wealthy for the benefit of the poor. Riley wrote: “Alabamians are faithful people who believe that creating a better world for our children and helping our neighbors are both sacred duties...Jesus says one of our missions is to take care of the least among us.” Alabama Republicans defeated the tax plan.

Unconscionable tax cuts and the occupation of Iraq has become a sham for wealthy corporate greed, which tarnishes both “Old Glory” and Christianity.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Responsible Redeployment

The Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act would have directed the Secretary of Defense to begin redeploying our combat troops and complete the mission by April 1, 2008. That bill was consistent with the bipartisan Iraq Study Group’s recommendation that all combat troops leave Iraq by the end of 2008, with an exception for troops needed to carry out diplomatic, security and anti-terrorism missions.

Regarding “Responsible Redeployment Act”, Rep. Gillibrand wrote: “It’s time for a new direction in Iraq and to refocus our military’s mission on rooting out terrorism around the world. This bill uses a notice period as leverage to create a sense of urgency for the Iraqi government to be accountable for their country’s security and make the necessary compromises to choose peace over civil war.”

Bush vetoed that legislation, because he is a fascist demigod, not a responsible leader. Getting out of Iraq is a command not a negotiation. Democrats could persuade 100 percent of Congress to set a time line for withdrawal, but Bush wouldn’t allow anyone to tell him how to fight “his” crusade.

Peace will require all of our troops and taxpayer funded mercenaries to depart Iraq completely. That would allow Iraq to become a legitimate democracy.

The Iraqi government is dominated by 80% Shiites and Kurds, who will not make concessions, because both suffered greatly under Saddam Hussein and his Sunni minority.

Clinton, Schumer and Gillibrand avoid asserting that the occupation is only helping the oil companies and war profiteers, while our soldiers die and the national debt explodes. They refuse to acknowledged the expertise of the former head of the bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer, who insists that: “It’s about the impact of our policies in the Islamic world. And because we won’t talk about that here in America, we’re not adequately defended.”

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Come Together

“We should find ways through which we can bring countries to work together for the benefit of all...It is not a good idea to be in a state of war. We ought to try and do our utmost to create different conditions...This constant drum beat of conflict is what strikes me, which is not helpful and not useful.” -Adm. William Fallon, head of U. S. Central Command, talking about Iran.

The last time we tried to improve relation with Tehran was in the spring of 1997, when reform was in the air. Young people and the middle class had spoken. Moderate Mohammed Khatami had just been elected Iran’s new president.

The hard line mullahs still held ultimate power, but Khatami had a mandate and wanted a new beginning for Iran, which included better relations with the west. He praised America, which as an unprecedented olive branch.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recognized Khatami was for real, and responded, “We fully respect Iran’s sovereignty. We understand and respect its serious desire to maintain its independence.”

Severe sanctions had been imposed on Iran, two decades earlier when American diplomats were held for 444 days. The Clinton regime made a series of gestures. Visa restrictions were relaxed, there were visits from Iranian scholars
and American wrestlers went to Iran. We began to ease some of the sanctions in terms of some food stuffs and medicines that the Iranians could buy.

Iran’s distrust of our government is deep-seated, and they point to America’s intervention in 1953, when out CIA installed the Shah to power, bringing twenty-five years of tyranny and repression upon the Iranian people. They remember American support of Saddam Hussein when he was gassing Iranians.

In 2006, former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami argued that our invasion of Iraq has led more young people to join terrorist groups. Our policies are bin Laden’s only indispensable ally.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Calls for diplomacy with Iran:

“I think the diplomatic approach with Iran is a very important one. I would not want to take military options off the table. However, I think they clearly are options of last resort… I think that we have to be very mindful of risks associated with follow-on steps which would engage us in yet a third country in that part of the world in any kind of conflict.” – Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

“Unless there is a strategic shift, I believe we will find ourselves in a dangerous and increasingly isolated position in the coming months. I do not see how the collective actions that we are now taking will produce the results that we seek. If this continues, our ability to sustain a united international front will weaken as countries grow uncertain over our motives and unwilling to risk open confrontation with Iran, and we are left with fewer and fewer policy options.

“Now is the time for the United States to active consider when and how to offer direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with Iran.” - Republican Senator Chuck Hagel in a letter to President Bush

“Iran is not a suicide nation... I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon. I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear. War, in the state-to-state sense, in that part of the region would be devastating for everybody, and we should avoid it — in my mind — to every extent that we can.”- Retired Army General John Abizaid, former head U.S. Central Command

“The United States should join Britain, France and Germany... in direct negotiations with Iran, using the model of the concurrent multilateral talks with North Korea. As it does with North Korea, the U.S. also should simultaneously engage in bilateral talks with Iran about security and financial issues of mutual concern.

“At some point, such talks could lead to a regional agreement for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East — especially after the conclusion of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement — endorsed also by all the Arab states of the region.

“For now, our choice is either to be stampeded into a reckless adventure profoundly damaging to long-term U.S. national interests or to become serious about giving negotiations with Iran a genuine chance...” - Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Carter.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Make Peace The Winner

Bush has announcement a plan to solidify a permanent occupation of Iraq. It’s just one more in a very long list of proposals by the Bush regime that would continue to waste our tax dollars and precious human resources in Iraq, despite the facts that 79% of Iraqi’s oppose the presence of coalition forces, and 72% think that the presence of our forces is making their security worse.

The good news is that the Bush regime’s credibility eroded even further, when our entire intelligence community debunked his claims that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons with a National Intelligence Estimate that refutes their claims that Iran is currently pursuing nuclear weapons.

Members of Congress and candidates hoping to get there are now presented with two clear choices. For the first time Republican candidates will have to defend the indefensible or become responsive leaders and act on the desires of the American people, by investing in domestic needs like health care, education, housing and clean energy. We can’t have both.

The occupation of Iraq and the damage it’s doing to our economy will be the number one issues in the 2008 elections just as they were in 2006. We need to make sure those seeking office hear the voice for peace loud and clear, so that they can provide the leadership America needs and that those who remain in denial to the overwhelming calls for peace will be held accountable.

With your help we can again make an impact in 2008, by educating undecided voters and supporting peace candidates in key races. This will ensure the changes a majority of Americans want. A commitment to vote is not enough, aggressive leadership is needed. Every moral person needs to speak up against the occupation of Iraq, future aggression; and for diplomacy and international cooperation. 

Monday, December 24, 2007

Economic Domination

In 1997, conservatives criticized the policies of the Clinton administration, while resisting isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. The neo-conservatives advanced a strategic plan for America’s role in the world, by making a case for American global leadership.

At the end of 20th century the United States stood as the world’s preeminent power, by having led the West to victory in the Cold War. The plan was to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests. Their plan is entitled: “Project for the New American Century” paved the way for our country’s military to conduct an economic takeover of the world. One of its preparatory stages was a war with Iraq, which has reign havoc upon our nation and the world.

Many are attempting to lay all of the blame at the feet of President Bush. In fact, he couldn’t have done it without the support of the Republican Congress that did so much damage while they were in the majority. The Bush regime lied to the American people with regards to why we went to war with Iraq. We’re in the process of building fourteen “Enduring Military Bases,” and have build the world’s largest Foreign Embassy in Baghdad, which is capable of housing at least 100,000 soldiers. Apparently, most congressional Republicans and some Democrats have no intention of leaving Iraq.

Bush and his cronies have committed war crimes against humanity, as well as high crimes and misdemeanors for which they should be impeached. They have condoned the systematic use of torture against prisoners; violated the first amendment of the Constitution by intentionally choosing to interfere with the free flow of information to the American people.

Congress enacted the Patriot Act, which is eroding our freedom and the Military Commissions Act, which grants a president the right to arbitrarily detain, imprison, and torture American citizens at his/her own discretion. Congress allowed the Bush to disobey more than 750 laws through the use of so-called “signing statements”; and by passing of the Defense Authorization Act of 2007, which set the stage for the likelihood that our country might one day become a military dictatorship.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ruthless and Corrupt

An article by Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law provided the following information.

Pakistan’s President Musharraf declared a state of emergency after the Pakistani Supreme Court indicated it would overturn the results of an illegitimate election that would have extended Musharraf’s term as president. His declaration of emergency attacked the entire population of Pakistan by suspending fundamental constitutional rights to life and liberty, freedom of speech, assembly and association, and equal protection of the law.

Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry has held under house arrest, and over 2500 lawyers in different parts of Pakistan were detained. The detainees include the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and officials of the Democratic Lawyers Association of Pakistan. Furthermore, the government ordered that journalists who brought ridicule or disrepute to Musharraf could face three years in prison.

The motivation for Musharraf’s declared emergency is not to defend the country against Islamic extremists, but to maintain power. He has succeeded in getting his hand-picked Supreme Court to rule, that he can remain in power for five more years.

Bush claims that Musharraf is an indispensable ally in the war against terror, and the money sent to Pakistan supports that goal. Musharraf claims that he will help destroy the Taliban. However, Pakistani Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy believe Musharraf is secretly supporting the Taliban, because most Pakistanis see the Taliban as the only group standing up against the unwelcome American presence in the region.

Bush claimed that he wants to spread democracy throughout the Islamic world, but Musharraf’s mass arrests of his political opponents, isn’t very democratic. Musharraf has received $11 billion of American aid since 9/11. Our tax dollars are being used to prop up this ruthless and corrupt regime.

Marjorie Cohn shouldn’t be surprised, because the Bush regime is also ruthless and corrupt.




 

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Death Toll

Most Americans believe that 10,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since our invasion of Iraq, in March 2003. The most commonly cited figure by the media is 70,000. However, the actual number of people killed is most likely more than one million.

The estimate of more than one million violent deaths in Iraq was confirmed three months ago in a poll by the British polling firm Opinion Research Business, which estimated 1,220,580 violent deaths since the invasion. This is consistent with the study conducted by doctors and scientists from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health more than a year ago. Their study was published in the Lancet, Britain's leading medical journal. It estimated 601,000 people killed due to violence as of July 2006; but if updated on the basis of deaths since the study, the estimate would be more than a million. These estimates do not include those who have died because of public health problems created by the war, including breakdowns in sewerage systems and shortages of medicines.

Amazingly, some journalists and politicians dismiss these measurements because they’re based on random sampling of the population rather than a complete count of the dead. Their disregard for scientific methods and results is inexcusable. If you don’t believe in random sampling, the next time your doctor orders a blood test, tell him that he needs to take all of your blood.

The methods used in the estimates of Iraqi deaths are the same as those used to estimate the deaths in Darfur, which are widely accepted in the media. There is no reason to disbelieve the estimates or accept tallies such as that the Iraq Body Count of 73,305 to 84,222, which include only a small proportion of those killed, as an estimate of the overall death toll.

Friday, December 21, 2007

An Opportunity Wasted

After 9/11, both the U.S. and Iran were allies against the Taliban. They worked together in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban and rebuild the Afghan government. At the time, James Dobbins was Bush’s special envoy to Afghanistan and met with the Iranians several times a day. The Iranians were cooperating and their objectives were largely the same as ours, since they had been fighting the Taliban long before we were.

In the fall of 2001, during our military campaign in Afghanistan, Iran cooperated on the ground providing vital information and safe passage of humanitarian supplies. Afterward, they worked alongside the U.S. to establish a constitution and the government of Hamid Karzai.

Nevertheless, Dobbins was surprise to learn Iran was prepared to participate in a program to assist the creation of a new Afghan national army under U.S. leadership. The Iranians were prepared to house, clothe, equip and train as many as 20,000 recruits as part of a broader American led effort. They proposed that their army and our army would collaborate under American leadership in a joint program to train the national Afghan army.

Another, surprising offer was that the Iranians wanted to expand this dialogue to other issues. They were ready to discuss the Middle East peace process, their role with the Palestinian authority and with the Palestinians, support for terrorism. James Dobbins passed that information on to Washington, but never got a response.

Both Dobbins and Hillary Mann the Iran and Afghanistan specialist at the National Security Council were amazed, when Bush announced in his State of the Union Address that Iran was part of the axis of evil.

“I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of their way and let them have it.”- Eisenhower

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cover-up

Today’s post provides additional information regarding the post of 12/17/07, which divulged the rape of Jamie Leigh Jones, a 20 years old, while working in Iraq for Kellogg, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton.

Our government has assisted Halliburon and it’s then-subsidiary KBR in covering up the incident. In a lawsuit filed in federal court, Jones insists that she was held in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water by KBR, which posted armed security guards outside her door, which prevented her from leaving. She convinced a sympathetic guard to loan her a cell phone so she could call her father in Texas.

She told her father that she had been raped and was being held against her will in the container. Her father called Texas Republican Congressman, Ted Poe. His office contacted the State Department, which quickly dispatched agents from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Jones’ camp, where they rescued her from the container.

Her examination by Army doctors showed that she had been raped both vaginally and anally, but that the rape kit disappeared after it was handed over to KBR security officers. A spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security had no comment and over two years later, the Justice Department has brought no criminal charges in the matter. Legal experts say Jones’ alleged assailants will likely never face a judge and jury, due to an enormous loophole that has effectively left contractors in Iraq beyond the reach of United States law.

Since no criminal charges have been filed, the only other option, is the civil system, which Jones is trying now. However, Jones’ former employer doesn’t want this case to see the inside of a civil courtroom. KBR has moved for Jones’ claim to be heard in private arbitration, instead of a public courtroom. It says her employment contract requires it. In arbitration, there is no public record nor transcript of the proceedings, meaning that Jones’ claims would not be heard before a judge and jury. Instead, a private arbitrator would decide Jones’ case.

In her lawsuit, Jones’ lawyer, Todd Kelly, says “KBR and Halliburton created a boys will be boys atmosphere at the company barracks which put her and other female employees at great risk. I think men who are there believe that they live without laws, and the last thing she should have expected was for her own people to turn on her.” KBR says, it was instructed to cease its investigation by government authorities, because they were assuming sole responsibility for the criminal investigations.

Since the attacks, Jones has started a nonprofit foundation called the Jamie Leigh Foundation, which is dedicated to helping victims who were raped or sexually assaulted overseas while working for government contractors or other corporations. Any proceeds from the civil suit will go to her foundation. Jones states: “I want other women to know that it's not their fault. They can go against corporations that have treated them this way. There needs to be a voice out there that really pushed for change and I’d like to be that voice.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One Day’s Cost

The occupation of Iraq and its effect on our economy, our nuclear weapons policy, our relationship with Iran, as well as our foreign policy in general will be the most urgent issues political candidates are asked to address in the 2008 elections.

Over 70% of Americans oppose the continued occupation of Iraq and aggression towards Iran. Our challenge is to translate that public opinion into political influence. The upcoming 2008 election will provide the best opportunity to do that in the past eight years.

The official cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is $609 billion. Bush has asked for an additional $195 billion for the current year, which Congress is certain to approve. Including the interest payments on borrowed money, by the time Bush leaves office, he will have spent more than $1 trillion on the two wars.

The $1 trillion only reflects direct war costs plus interest. However, as with any war, there are enormous economic and social costs, which Republicans never mention. Whenever, money is borrowed on such a massive scale, every dollar uses to pay for war is money removed from productive private-sector investment by American businesses. Reduced investment means reduced productivity in the long term. Productivity is the engine of growth, and without it, our economy regresses.

Since Bush took office, our national debt has grown by $3.38 trillion, which is more than under any president in history. Despite historically low interest rates, interest payments on that debt in Bush’s first six years reached $1.1 trillion. In 2002, the neocons projected a total cost for Iraq at around $60 billion.

Much of our governments borrowing has been from our Social Security Trust Fund retirement money. Congress and Bush refuse to reform the system to take care of future generations of retirees. Without the trust fund and money from foriegn investors the American economy would be severely impoverished and required to make up the difference from its own depleted resources.

The costs from the lost productivity of dead and wounded soldiers, the costs of caring for the survivors, the replenishing of lost equipment, continued economic disruptions from deployments of Reserves and increased oil costs from Middle East instability, will continue to multiply for many decades into the future. Add in the interest costs on borrowed money, the Joint Economic Committee’s conservative estimate is $2.8 trillion in war costs through 2013. That is assuming that the number of troops are reduced to 55,000.

One day’s war costs, could pay for 9,300 teachers for a whole year, or 14,200 police officers, or 163,700 college Pell Grants, or tuition for 58,000 Head Start children or health insurance for 513,000 children.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Principled Leadership

The former head of the bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer, wrote: “It’s about the impact of our policies in the Islamic world. And because we won’t talk about that here in America, we’re not adequately defended.”

Our representatives in Congress find it politically inconvenient to admit that our past and present policies in the Middle East endanger our safety.

In order to make us safer and ensure real change, Congress must rewrite the National Security Act of 1947, and take away all functions from the C.I.A. that involve sabotage, torture, subversion, overseas election rigging, rendition, and other forms of clandestine activity. A president should be deprived of the power to order these types of operations except with the advice and consent of the Senate. Our C.I.A. should devote itself to the collection and analysis of foreign intelligence. The C.I.A. and other organization, such as Blackwater must never again, becomes a president’s private army.

Our elected officials will take us seriously only if we let them know that we have a moral breaking point. They must be told that they cannot take our support for granted, regardless of political considerations. They must learn the our support will require principled leadership.

The people of this nation have been quiet for five years. We must pledge not let our apathy continue. We must commit ourselves to doing all we can to put an end to the illegalities, the moral degradation, and the disintegration of our nation’s reputation in the world.

It’s time to declare that we have a moral breaking point, by insisting that our representatives in Congress end the occupation of Iraq, and the moral depravity of extraordinary rendition and torturing of people.

“They that would give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” - Ben Franklin

Monday, December 17, 2007

Gang Raped

Jamie Leigh Jones was 20 years old, working in Iraq for Kellogg, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, when several co-workers drugged and brutally gang raped her at her quarters in the Green Zone.

She has stated: “I awoke the next morning in the barracks to find my naked body battered and bruised. I was still groggy from whatever had been put in my drink. I was bleeding... After getting to the clinic and having a rape kit performed...I was locked in a container with no food, no way to call my parents, and was placed under armed guard by Halliburton.”

In a lawsuit against KBR, she claims the attack never would have occurred, but for the “boys will be boys” attitude at the work place in Iraq. After, she reported the incident to her bosses at KBR, they held hostage in a large sea-going steel shipping container, without food or water for 24 hours. The lawsuit also alleges KBR did not let her call anyone, but she convinced one of her guards to let her call her father, who frantically called his congressman, Republican Ted Poe of Texas.

Rep. Poe called the State Department, who sent people to get Jones out of the container. KBR officials claim: “the holding area was a secure unlisted living container where she could rest.” The company denied her claim of sexual harassment prior to the alleged rape and disputes her allegation that they allowed a sexually charged environment. State Department says it investigated and passed its findings on to the Justice Department, but despite more than “two” years passing since the alleged rape, no criminal charges have been filed. Kellogg, Brown and Root claims that it began to investigate the case on its own, but were instructed to stop, because our government was taking over the investigation.

The men who raped this young woman, may never be brought to justice because Halliburton and other contractors in Iraq aren’t subject to US or Iraqi laws. They can’t be tried for a crime in any court. Two days before Coalition Provisional Authority administrator, Paul Bremer left Iraq, he signed a blanket order immunizing all Americans, because he wanted to make sure our civilian contractors were protected from Iraqi law. Thus, the ambiguity of jurisdiction.

Congress must bring US contractors under the jurisdiction of our laws so this can’t happen again. The attackers of Jamie Leigh Jones aren’t the only ones exploiting a legal loophole to get away with their violent crimes. Another female employee of Halliburton says she was raped by her co-workers in Iraq. Blackwater guards killed 20 Iraqis at a traffic stop, including a woman and a child. That incident turned into an international scandal. Private contractors in Iraq, who have received no bid contracts are making massive amounts of money, operating above the law and are accountable to no one.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Corporate Imperative

Democrats are responding to the wishes of an overwhelming majority of Americans, who are demanding our troops be brought home. Bush has retaliated for not getting another 196 billion in funding for the Iraq occupation, by threatening to furlough 100,000 Army and Marine Corps civilian employees. The Pentagon has plenty of money for our troops, but most of the appropriations are going to private mercenary militias like Blackwater. There are more mercenaries in Iraq, than regular members of our armed forces.

Every time Democrats try to impose accountability on this embezzlement of our treasury, Bush claims it threatens our troops and their families. By threatening to furlough 100,000 civilian employees Bush is holding our entire military civil service for ransom.

Hundreds of billions of appropriations are not going to, and have never gone to, support our troops. Instead billions have gone directly into the pockets of war profiteers. The ranks of our troops are being decimated, by war profiteers offering them deals to leave the service. Our military can’t compete, even though taxpayer money is used to do it. Billions of dollars are spent training our armed forces, so that they can leave to work for profiteers, who sell their services back to us at a markup, of as much as 10 percent. The moral of our troops is undermined, because they are taking the same risk.

This is another form of foreign outsourcing, because many thousands of these mercenaries have been recruited from countries like South Africa and Chile. The mercenaries undermine the work of our own military by opening fire on innocent civilians and then pointing out that they can’t be prosecuted for their war crimes.

The privatization of the military is absolutely the worst possible thing for democracy and peace, because it makes endless war a corporate imperative.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Inclusive Health Care

The vision of elite Republicans is for the rich to get richer. They expect you to work longer hours for less pay and less benefits. Eventually, we’ll end up like Mexico with a form of government in which the power is vested in the hands of a small, privileged elite.  

It’s important to recognize that the primary responsibility of insurance companies is to their wealthiest shareholders. Insurance companies are interested in making profits, not in taking care of people who are sick.

The insurance companies support the SCHIPS program, because they like the idea of tax dollars being spent on a health care system that is still controlled by them. All three Democratic front runners for president are wrong with their health care proposals, because they allow the private insurance companies to have a seat at the table. A cost effective health care plan, would excluded the insurers who take 30 percent of every health care dollar.

Rep. Kucinich has proposed a national, not-for-profit health insurance plan that would eliminate for-profit insurers from the health care system. The other plans siphon our tax dollars into private insurance companies. These corporate enterprises don’t need to be there. Even when some people have had health insurance, they’ve been unable to get help, because of a preexisting condition, or the co-pay is too expensive, or the deductible is too high. 

Senators Clinton, Schumer and Rep. Gillibrand should endorse a universal health care plan, which would include them and every other very wealthy American.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Seldom Quoted

Republicans seldom quote former president and war hero, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Obviously, they have forgotten that he said: “When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war.”

Apparently, congressional Democrats and Republicans no longer remember that Eisenhower warned: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Furthermore, they’re unable to recall that Eisenhower said: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hope of its children.”

Today, the least popular quote by any Republican president might be: “I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of their way and let them have it.”

Another seldom quoted war hero that our representatives in Congress never mention is Smedley Butler. That is because few politicians or, for that matter Marines have ever heard of the legendary Marine Corps officer. Major General Butler was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor twice for separate acts of outstanding heroism. The reason that this national hero of the early 1930’s is no longer remembered is that he had the audacity to reveal: “War is a Racket.”

Smedley Butler wrote: “A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.”

Butler spent thirty-three years and four months on active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. He served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General.

During that period, Butler admitted: “I spent most of my time, being a high class muscleman for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.” Butler insisted that: “historically war has been the most profitable racket, and the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”

He pointed out that war is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many and out of war a few people make huge fortune.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Important Facts

“I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”- Alan Greenspan

Our representatives in Congress find it politically inconvenient to acknowledge this fact, because they may loose financial support from the military-industrial complex or be labeled unpatriotic.

Iraq and Iran have never been a real threat to the security of the American people, but most members of Congress are pretending that the occupation of Iraq has nothing to do with oil. They never mention of oil, but it’s obvious that were it not for oil, our military-industrial complex would have little interest in the region or its people.

Al Qaeda was responsible for 9/11, and fifteen of the nineteen perpetrator were Saudi Arabian Sunni Muslims. None were Shiites from Iraq or Iran.

Iran’s Shiite, Grand Ayatollah Saanei insists: “Martyrdom for your faith should never be confused with suicide terrorism. Terrorists should go to Hell, and that is our belief. But if the enemy attacks us, we have the right to defend ourselves in any possible way.”

Our own National Intelligence Estimate said that we’re attracting more terrorists because we’re in Iraq.

General Petraeus admitted that there were no al Qaeda in Iraq, before we invaded. 

In 2006, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami argued that our invasion of Iraq has led more youth to join terrorist groups.

The former head of the bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer, pointed out: “It’s about the impact of our policies in the Islamic world. And because we won’t talk about that here in America, we’re not adequately defended.”

Nevertheless, Clinton, Schumer and Gillibrand refuse to communicate that our past and present policies in the Middle East endanger our safety.

“If any question why we died tell them because our fathers lied.”- Rudyard Kipling

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nation of Sheep

In 1960, William J Lederer wrote in “Nation of Sheep” that the chief cause of most of our international problems was: “overwhelming national ignorance of the facts about the rest of the world.”

The average American doesn’t recognize they’re ignorance, because, they’re too busy working hard trying to pay off their homes, credit cards and debt. They don’t have the time to spend hours everyday researching issues that the mainstream media doesn’t even mention.

The the vast majority of media companies are controlled by a handful of the world’s most powerful interrelated corporate interests. We don’t realize that over the past 25 years we have experienced a scandalous concentration in media ownership and an all out attack on public TV and radio. The number of corporations dominating the US mainstream media in 1983 was fifty. Today, it’s five.

National president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, Mohamed Elmasry has written: “Nearly five years after the American invasion, more than 20 per cent of Iraqis have been killed, wounded, displaced within their own country, exiled as refuges abroad, or have lost one or more next-of-kin. The rest of Iraq’s population exists with little or no security, clean water, electricity, or accessible education for their children. But, their oil is looted every day by the Americans. In the meantime, the Americans are busy preparing to attack yet another country, spreading more looting, more death, more suffering, and more destruction next door in Iran.”

With the exception of Ron Paul, every Republican candidate for president adheres to a doctrine identical to early colonialism, whereby looting-for-profit, death, suffering and destruction are all justifiable. Any measure of lying is also acceptable, along with the despicable tools of propaganda, distorted religion, war-mongering and hate speech that these criminals wield to lure a misinformed public to their side.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Four Letter Word

Bush been president for almost seven years, but you’d never know it from the Republican presidential candidates who want to take over his job. Bush was seldom mentioned in the CNN/YouTube Republican debate on 11/29/07.

It seemed like Bush has become a four letter word, that the Republican presidential candidates don’t want to mention. They don’t dare to say his name, but aren’t in the least bit shy about promoting his agenda.

When Bush’s approval ratings hovered around 70 percent, Republican candidates clamored for Bush to be by their side. Since, Bush’s popularity has plunged, Republicans running for president have tried to make the leader of their party invisible.

Bush’s name was uttered just four times during the two hour debate. Although, every Republican candidate for president except Ron Paul is running on an issue agenda largely framed by the Bush presidency. Even though they won’t readily admit it, most of these candidates agree with the Bush agenda.

Mitt Romney never mentioned Bush’s name, but his policy on waterboarding sure sounds a great deal like Bush. Romney claims that he doesn’t support torture, but parrot’s Bush by saying: “I don’t think it’s wise for us to describe specifically which measures we would and would not use.”

Senator John McCain also walks a tightrope, by not criticizing Bush for a poor strategy in Iraq, but instead blamed it on Rumsfeld. McCain said: “I’m the only one on this stage that said the Rumsfeld strategy was failing and was doomed to failure.”

They would be foolish to take on an unpopular president head on, because most Republican who vote in the primaries support many of Bush’s policies. Furthermore, it would be perceived as handing the Democrats talking point that could be used against them in the general election.

Monday, December 10, 2007

American Style Fascism

“The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have democracy, second the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”-1941 Edward Dowling

In the early ‘60s the economist Milton Friedman pushed an extreme version of the free market, minuscule taxes, wide scale privatization of everything from utilities to schools, and virtually no government involvement in the private sector on everything from tariffs to regulation. 

Friedman’s friend, Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet, imposed much of Friedman’s agenda, introducing school vouchers and privatizing Social Security. Chile’s economy crashed, which gave some of Friedman’s disciples an opportunity to try the shock therapy of remaking entire economies overnight. 

Today, those disciples include Donald Rumsfeld, who saw a chance for Friedman’s shock therapy in Iraq, and coalition administrator Paul Bremer, who cut Iraq’s corporate taxes to 15 percent and planned to sell off Iraq’s biggest businesses, almost all of them owned by the country itself, to foreign investors.  As in Chile, the Iraq people opposed these plans. When it looked like the popular candidates would block the Iraqi selloff, Bremer delayed elections and installed a provisional government. 

Violence surged after Bremer’s provisional regime took control, and word spread of Bremer’s plans. Fear of competition by rich unfettered foreigners devastated Iraqi business.  A Republican lobbyist said, “one well-stocked 7/11 could knock out 30 Iraqi stores.  A Wal-Mart could take over the country.” Consequently, kidnappers targeting foreign businessmen and demanded that foreign businesses leave. 

The basic premise of Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” is that these are very unpopular policies, that people tend to protect their labor and social programs.  They don’t want to hand their democracies over to multinational corporations.  Consequently, some kind of shock is needed. That shock could be a war, an economic meltdown, or a terrorist attack. Anything that creates a period of confusion, the politicians come forward, playing a father figure. 

During a period of confusion they push through policies in a state of emergency that they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.  In this country the shock of September 11th was used to privatize our military and to create a hollow infrastructure of a government that is Bush’s legacy. 

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Disaster Capitalism

An article by Jim Steele and Don Barlett in Vanity Fair, talked about the billions lost in Iraq, between April 2003 and June 2004.

A tractor-trailer truck pulled up to the East Rutherford operation center of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and though accustomed to receiving and shipping large quantities of cash, the vault had never before processed a single order of this magnitude: $2.4 billion in $100 bills. Twelve billion in US currency was shipped from the Federal Reserve to Baghdad, where it was dispensed by Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority. Some of the cash paid for projects and to keep ministries afloat, but at least $9 billion has gone unaccounted for, in a frenzy of mismanagement and greed. Surprising, Alan Greenspan, who was head of the Federal Reserve at the time, claims that he had no knowledge of the missing billions.

Naomi Klein author of: “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” asked Greenspan, whether the wars over resources in other countries are illegal. Greenspan claims that it has not been publicly discussed, because it’s not politically expedient at this moment. Apparently, Greenspan isn’t aware that, according to the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Conventions, it is illegal for one country to invade another over its natural resources. Greenspan pointed out the obvious, that the war was initiated because of our concern about weapons of mass destruction.

Naomi Klein reminded Mr. Greenspan: “I realize that, but Saddam was not simply deposed. The US invaded Iraq, occupied it and took control over its resources. And under international law, that it is illegal to wage wars to gain access to other sovereign countries’ natural resources....You have also advocated economic shock therapy and supported International Monetary Fund programs that have transformed economies very quickly. And then, you say that you are in support of the rule of law.”

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Armed Robbery

Marine Corps, Major General Smedley Butler was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor twice for separate acts of outstanding heroism. In 1933, he delivered a speech entitled: “War is just a racket.”

Iraq is a classic example of the shock doctrine, and that Butler’s statements are more valid today than they were in 1933. In Iraq, we had a military strategy called Shock and Awe. It was a military strategy designed to maximize disorientation of the people of Iraq. Richard Armitage, the former deputy undersecretary of state said that the theory was that Iraqis would be so shocked, they would be easily moved from point A to point B. The Iraqis were supposed to be easy to control, but it didn‘t work out according to their plan. 

The three kinds of shocks in “The Shock Doctrine,” are shock of the crisis, an economic shock therapy program, and if people don’t submit the third shock is torture. 

Naomi Klein was in Iraq that first year of the occupation reporting for “Harper‘s Magazine.” She spoke with a worker at a vegetable oil company, one of the largest state owned factories.  He said that they were opposed to privatizing the company, but felt they had only two choices. They could either burn it to the ground or they would blow themselves up inside it. That was the level of determination against Paul Bremer’s policies. 

The Iraqis perceived the present situation as a continuation of the war. The word that best describes what happens when a country is invaded under false pretense, and their assets are grabbed is looting. This was a corporate takeover of Iraq with guns or to put it more accurately armed robbery. The Iraqis responded as if their country was being looted and not as if it was being restructured. 

Friday, December 07, 2007

Lost Credibility

Senator Joe Biden is the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and the foreign affairs expert for the Democratic party. He is furious that the Bush regime has knowingly disregarded and misrepresented intelligence.

Biden points out that according to the 16 American intelligence agencies, Iran had shut down their program to build a nuclear weapon in 2003. Nevertheless, Bush recently talked about World War III and Iran’s nuclear weapons program ever though he had the information that it had been shut down back in August. Biden calls that irresponsible and insists it’s the same kind of misrepresented, cherry-picked intelligence that led to the invasion of Iraq.

An invasion of Iran would do incredible damage, because it would reinforce those opinions on the streets of the Muslim countries, that this is a war against Islam. Bush's actions are totally counterproductive and makes it more difficult for every moderate Muslim leader, like Karzai, to be able to deal with us. Bush’s threats are incredibly devastating to our interests in the Middle East, from Iraq through Pakistan, as well as our credibility around the world.

Regardless of the moral disapproval of the rest of the world, neocons believe that the only way for us to be able to continue to dominant the 21st century is by using our overwhelming military power to threaten the rest of the world.

The war in Iraq is about our dominating that region of the world and controlling oil. The Bush regime went to war in the hope they would be able to establish a puppet government, which would be indebted to us. Biden claims that the Bush regime has built permanent military bases in Iraq not to steal the oil for American oil companies, but to be able to control the price and access to it. That is Biden's politically correct way of avoiding the term looting, which is a violation of the Geneva Convention. 

Biden has directed a group of constitutional scholars to draft a memorandum, which he will distribute to the Senate explaining that if Bush initiates war with Iran, without congressional authorization, he will call for Bush’s impeachment.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

“The Shock Doctrine”

Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” is an indictment of American institutionalized globalization. It’s a disturbing look at how the neoliberal economic tenets of Milton Friedman have been implemented across the world over the last thirty-plus years.

Simply stated the author’s thesis is: that neoliberal economic programs have repeatedly been implemented without the consent of the governed by creating and/or taking advantage of various forms of national shock therapy. Ms. Klein asserts that in country after country, Friedman and his Chicago School followers have foisted their economic prescription of privatization, deregulation, and cutbacks in social welfare spending on an unsuspecting populace through democratic means. Initially, the primary vehicle was dictatorial military force and accompanying fear of arrest, torture, disappearance, or death.

Over time, new organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were employed to create impossible debt burdens to force governments to accept privatization of state-owned industries and services, complete removal of trade barriers and tariffs, forced acceptance of private foreign investment, and widespread layoffs. Recently, terrorism and its response as well as natural disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis have wiped clean enough of the slate to impose these Friedmanite policies on people too shocked and focused on recovering to realize what was happening until it was too late.

One can only marvel at our government’s behavior, the grievous callousness of it all, the massive human despair and suffering created for no other reason than economic imperialism, and the nauseating greed of mostly Republican politicians, former political operatives, and corporate executives who prey like pack wolves on people’s powerlessness and insecurity.

“The Shock Doctrine” makes it very clear why people around the world hate us and nothing can erase the facts and consequences of behavior that we as a country have implicitly or explicitly endorsed.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Enablers

It’s estimated that the invasion of Iraq caused a million people to be killed, thousands to suffer horrendous injuries and millions to be displaced from their homes.

Some have call for Bush and Cheney to be impeached and removed from office, without further delay. Some claim that the Democratic majority cares more about political gain in 2008, than it does about the vindication of our Constitution, the rule of law and accountability. Impeachment is not a viable options. Ideally, Bush and Cheney should be impeached, but impeachment would be a waste of time and a major distraction from dealing with the war, health care and illegal immigration.

Our only alternative is to nominate and elect presidential candidates in both major parties, who have not aided and abetted the invasion and occupation of Iraq. We need candidates for president, who will publicly admit that the invasion of Iraq was about oil reserves.

We need representatives in Congress, who will read the National Intelligence Estimates, before voting to go to war. We need members in Congress, who will guard Congress’s sole prerogative to declare war. We need independent representatives that are capable of critical thinking, who will not submit to being rubber stamps, should a president requests a blank checks for preemptive wars or dangerous, irresponsible, saber-rattling legislation like the recent Kyl-Lieberman amendment.

Bush and Cheney were enabled by members of both parties in Congress and a pathetic mainstream news media. Ultimately, Bush and Cheney were enabled by the 40% of the American people, who are so ill-informed that they still think Iraq and Iran were behind the 9/11 attacks. The task of educating the abysmally misinformed and immorally manipulated is the responsiblity of everyone, because we can't depend on our politicians or the media.

Another Point Of View

The author of this provocative article, which suggests a change of strategy for congressional Democrats is known to me only as: “cynndara’s diary”

“Angry white men don’t want your dignity, your professional courtesy, your genteel acquiescence to bullying without a fight. Their anger arises out of being trapped in circumstances where they cannot fight against the powers that hold them down without hurting themselves and their loved ones even more. They long for a good, open excuse to land a fist straight on their oppressor’s nose ... except that it’s hard figuring out who that oppressor really is, and very likely that if they do they’ll be hauled away for life; so they’re inclined to follow just about anyone who offers them a target that won’t or can’t punch back, or takes on one of the targets they’d like to hit but can’t, and gets out there and fights.

Are you fighting? Are you taking on the powers that be and landing them a good sock on the nose? Hell, no. You’re sitting around passing meaningless resolutions to disapprove of a private citizen group taking out an ad to say publicly what every one of them has said to his TV set in the privacy of his own home. You have a stupid, arrogant, incompetent lame-duck of a President as an enemy, and you can’t even force him to use the veto power he keeps threatening. You have a majority, and you continue to act like a (expletive deleted) minority. How can the downtrodden and genuinely oppressed turn to you for relief? You can’t visit the congressional washrooms without first getting a pass signed off on by fifteen major lobbyists. You’re as impotent as the NASCAR Dad, but while he attempts to maintain some shred of his own ego, you get down and lick the feet of the corporate toads that are standing on his back.

“Lead, and people will follow. But you can’t be King of the Hill without knocking a few heads together. The people whose approval you are seeking don’t want moderate, reasoned, charitable, “adult” behavior, forgiveness of sins, and “everybody get along”. They don’t want incompetence rewarded by a pat on the back and generous pension, and corporate villains offered the opportunity to shift their investments into a new line of profit while being gently eased out of their last scam. They want competent control reasserted over our military, fiscal, and administrative disasters, and then some solid ass-kicking where it is richly deserved. There are those who say that the conservative mind is a primitive mind, the mind of a child who still wants the bad guys to be punished. Well, if you’re going to court the votes of those primitive minds, you’d best keep in mind what satisfies them.”

My introspective comment: Until, Democrats stop licking “the feet of the corporate toads” a change in strategy will not attract angry white men or exasperated tanned women to the Democratic party. The perception is that with the exceptions of Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich and Joe Biden, every candidate for president appears to be licking the feet of lobbyist for the military-industrial complex.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rev. Douglas Setzer

A letter written by Rev. Douglas Setzer was published in the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin on 11/25.

It stated: “I was very embarrassed for the veterans who were at the Post 80 American Legion on Veterans Day. I had parked my van on Edwards Street and walked down Main Street toward town to see the parade. When I got in front of the American Legion, an older lady approached me and asked me if I wanted to sign a petition to impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

“I kindly told her that Bush was my favorite president; after all, he freed two nations, one more than Truman did with Japan, and he’s given more money to faith-based initiatives than any other president, and I am a preacher of the gospel. She sheepishly blurted out, ‘Well, everyone has their opinions.’ And I said, ‘Yes, this is America.’

“And I thought, what a thing to do, to sabotage a Veterans Parade with this nonsense. She should be ashamed of herself. I want to give a shout-out to the vets: Thank you for fighting for my freedom to say what I said to her.”

Eric Loeb had the following published in the Press & Sun-Bulletin.

As a veteran of the Korean Conflict, I certainly did not feel "sabotaged" by the woman who approached the Rev. Douglas Setzer (see his Nov. 25 letter) at the Veterans Day Parade with a petition to impeach George Bush and Richard Cheney. I was marching in the parade with Veterans For Peace, and the woman was my wife.

Far from "freeing two countries," the Bush-Cheney presidency has devastated Iraq, killed millions of Iraqis, including women and children, and left the place polluted with depleted uranium which will produce cancer in the population for thousands of years. Osama bin Laden has never been found, and it looks like the Taliban may come back in Afghanistan.

Rev. Setzer has the freedom to write a letter to the Press & Sun-Bulletin. My wife and I have the right to petition and to march with Veterans for Peace on the day that was originally called Armistice Day.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Attacking Iran

According to many of the military strategists who testified before a House subcommittee on national security, attacking Iran would be unwise.

Retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson a former Advisor to Colin Powell stated: “The more widespread strikes, while devastating, and they would be, would solidify a nation of 70 plus million people, a great number of whom are under 35 years of age, a nation that is anything but solidified. And the uniting factor would be nationalism and a visceral hatred for America.”

Retired Col. Samuel Gardiner, U.S. Air Force points out: “We can destroy three to five years of construction. We know how long it took to build those, but the effect on the nuclear program, we may accelerate it. As a strategist, I would say you don’t take military action when you don’t know the outcome.”

In fact the strategists argued going to war with Iran would just reinforce the belief it must have nuclear weapons to protect itself. Experts predict the ranks of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard would swell and its support of terrorism would increase and any moderates would be undercut.

Former Deputy Director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center Paul Pillar insists: “Many would see the U.S. action as a blow not against proliferation of weapons but against a Muslim country with a regime that Washington doesn’t happen to like. So the dominant global consequence in my judgment, especially in the broader Muslim world, would be an increase in anti- Americanism.”

Unfortunately, Congress continues to pretend that our government’s occupation of Iraq and preoccupation with Iran has nothing to do with oil.

Senator Clinton voted for Kyl-Lieberman amendment, a resolution giving Bush authority to put more pressure on Iran. The Democratic Senators that voted against that amendment warned that it could open up a new front in Bush’s “war terror.” Bush can now claim that because both the Senate and House have designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization and specified that they’re associated with al Qaeda, he doesn’t need to go back to the Congress to attack Iran.

For years Iranians were subjected to repression by the shah, who was placed on the throne by our CIA. Furthermore, America supported Saddam Hussein throughout the Iraq/Iranian War, when Saddam used chemical weapons against the Iranian people. Obviously, “visceral hatred” is understandable.

Nevertheless, our politicians refuse to admit that Iran’s desire to possess a nuclear weapon is to protect themselves from a capitalistic imperialist superpower.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Adequately Defended

Possibly, Rep. Ron Paul is the only member of Congress that has acknowledged the expertise of Michael Scheuer, author of “Imperial Hubris” by talking about: “the impact of our policies in the Islamic world. And because we won’t talk about that here in America, we’re not adequately defended.”

Our politicians and media should begin by talking about the CIA’s term blowback, which is a metaphor for the unintended consequences of it’s activities, which are kept secret from the American people. In 1953, the CIA feared there would be blowback from its reprehensible interference in the affairs of Iran. By installing the Shah to power, the CIA brought twenty-five years of tyranny and repression upon the Iranian people, which concluded with the Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution. That covert operation helped convince many people throughout the Islamic world that America was its mortal enemy.

In 1980, Iraq’s president, Saddam Hussein, invaded Iran. Hussein was supported by the United States, because Saddam was seen as a bulwark against the spread of Iranian-style Islamic revolution.

We assumed Iraq’s professional army would score a quick victory, but they didn’t reckoned with Ayatollah Khomeini’s holy warriors. Waves of young boys volunteered to become martyrs, clearing minefields by running across them. Eight blood-soaked years later, hundreds of thousands of young men and boys had been injured or killed.

Al Qaeda was responsible for 9/11, and fifteen of the nineteen perpetrator were Saudi Arabian Sunni Muslims. None were Shiites from Iraq or Iran. Sixty percent of the people in Iraq are Shiites, who were oppressed for many years by Saddam’s Sunnis. The Sunnis make up only 20 percent of the population and the Sunni insurgents don’t want to be ruled by the Shiites majority, so their fighting against Democratic rule.

Our military-industrial complex is again threatening the Iranians. Our politicians don’t want to even consider that Iran’s desire for a nuclear weapon would be to protect themselves from capitalistic imperialist.

Grand Ayatollah Saanei insists: “Martyrdom for your faith should never be confused with suicide terrorism. Terrorists should go to Hell, and that is our belief. But if the enemy attacks us, we have the right to defend ourselves in any possible way.”

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Come November

America has one of the worst voting records in the free world. In the last presidential election, only about 45 percent of those eligible to cast a vote did so. Compare that to recent free elections in Australia 96%, Indonesia 93% and Belgium 91%.

Many Democrats are going to have a hard time getting reelected. Voters aren’t going to switch their votes to Republicans, but the vote is going to be depressed, because potential Democratic and Independent voters will simply not show up at the polls in November. They’re angry and disappointed with lack of progress made by the Democrats in Congress, who appear to be ineffective and cynical. Many voters believe that there is not much difference between the Republican fascist imperialist in the Bush regime and House Democrats, that have failed to defund the war. 

Obviously, both political parties find it politically inconvenient to publicly declare that the occupation of Iraq is about controlling the world’s second largest oil reserve. Clinton, Schumer and Gillibrand have never pointed out that the occupation is only helping the oil companies and war profiteers, while our soldiers die and the national debt explodes.

None of these politician have acknowledged the expertise of the former head of the bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer, who pointed out his concern: “It’s about the impact of our policies in the Islamic world. And because we won’t talk about that here in America, we’re not adequately defended.”

Our nation needs decisive leadership to get us “completely” out of the quagmire in the Middle East, which has already cost more than half a trillion borrowed dollars. Actually, the billions for defense spending, high-paying homeland security jobs and contracts make us less safe.

Democrats need to focus on getting all of our troops out of Iraq or suffer the consequences next November.