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Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Seed Newsvine

Coming from the lips of Jimmy Carter this is a real mouthful. My personal respect for Carter has never been high and it went into the toilet after he published his latest anti-semitic diatribe, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. But, that being said, Carter’s conclusions here may be partially right.He comes down hard on George II for his policy of pre-emptive war in the case of Iraq. The disastrous results in Iraq after causing the collapse of the Saddam government were predicted during his father’s Gulf War in the early 90’s. George I stopped short of going straight to Baghdad when he clearly could have done so so as not to destabilize the country. George I’s son just wasn’t that smart.

Carter’s view of the Middle East, however, is generally tainted by his latent, though certainly not vocal until recently, anti-semitic Baptist foundations. Baptists tolerate Jews so long as they need Jews to gather again in Israel to hasten the second coming of the Messiah. Carter, actively sought peace in Israel, I would argue to hasten this ingathering of the Jews, where George II seems to be more willing to let the Israelis address the issue of war and peace on their own.

As Iraq proves, one cannot interfere in essentially local disputes by forcing compliance from afar. We tried this in Iraq and found that it simply didn’t work. Carter tried this in Israel and found that it didn’t work either.

Israel and the Palestinians must solve their own problems. I do not believe that will happen so long as either side has not had enough of war, death and destruction. No amount of outside interference or help will move the process forward until both sides have simply had enough. That is not yet the case. But we also know that it is possible in that one need only look at the recent developments in Northern Ireland to witness the results of exhaustion.

clipped from www.iht.com
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas: Former President Jimmy Carter says President George W. Bush’s administration is “the worst in history” in international relations, taking aim at the White House’s policy of pre-emptive war and its Middle East diplomacy.
The criticism, which a biographer says is unprecedented for the 39th president, also took aim at Bush’s environmental policies and the administration’s “quite disturbing” faith-based initiative funding.
“I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a story that appeared in the newspaper’s Saturday editions. “The overt reversal of America’s basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me.”
Carter also lashed out Saturday at British prime minister Tony Blair.

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Seed Newsvine

I have written about this before but it bears repeating. Bush is high on accountability when it comes to the weakest, most helpless, least powerful members of our society–school children–but refuses to accept measures of accountability for his own actions.It is important to put this into perspective. My personal metaphor for Bush’s actions is that of playground bully. Push around those who cannot or will not fight back and then refuse to accept responsibility when one actually does by claiming that the other guy started the whole thing.

Bush, in refusing to compromise, thumbs his nose at the American PEOPLE. Ours is not a government of the president or of the Congress. Lincoln reminded us that ours is a government “of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE, and for the PEOPLE.”

Speaker Pelosi stands as a voice of the PEOPLE when it comes to the Iraq war. She, along with Senate Majority Leader Reed, are responding to the will of the PEOPLE who decided that 12 years of Republican domination in the Congress was quite enough. Bush stands alone as a voice of global capitalism, religious fanaticism, and war mongering hate.

This war must end. It must end sooner than later. Americans must not die for nothing. Stand with the Speaker of the House and bring our men and women home.

clipped from electioncentral.tpmcafe.com
A partial transcript of Nancy Pelosi’s post-meeting remarks on the broken-down talks between Congressional Dem leaders and the White House:
“The domestic initiatives on the bill in the original we sent to the President are emergencies. Katrina, hurricane disaster assistance, health care for America’s children, all of those issues are emergencies. But because the President made it an issue that they were not appropriate on the war funding bill, we said, ‘Okay, take those off. And then accept the bill that we sent that includes everything you have asked for our troops and more.’
“But it has accountability in it. The President’s representatives said no. Then we said, ‘Okay, you have a problem with timelines, we’ll give you a waiver on that.’ They said no.
“So it is clear that the difference between the Democrats and the President is the issue of accountability. He will not accept any accountability or responsibility for what has happened there.”

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Seed Newsvine

Okay, so I support Barak Obama. That being said, my bias out in the open, I believe he is the only viable candidate that makes sense on ending the Iraq War. With a White House out of control, refusing compromise with the loyal opposition on matters of the war, and with the death toll of American soldiers ever rising, a voice of reason is needed. Obama’s tack is to garner enough votes to override any presidential veto since compromise on a bill is not likely.The power shift in Congress came as a result of the American voter’s disenchantment with the war. The time has come to put an end to this mismanaged fiasco. But this White House looks and acts more and more like the Nixon White House in its efforts to “end” the war by waging even more war. Enough is enough. Support Obama’s “16 vote” campaign and help us get out of Iraq.

clipped from www.chicagotribune.com
MANCHESTER, N.H. — The volunteers were wearing Barack Obama buttons and handing out literature about the Democratic candidate for president, but the explicit message the canvassers were peddling Saturday as they went door-to-door here was about ending the war in Iraq.
First, they asked that voters sign a petition to end the war, specifically calling on their U.S. senators to part ways with the president and move for the withdrawal of troops.
Only after that did they hand out fliers promoting Obama, whom some volunteers went on to describe as the strongest anti-war candidate in the Democratic field—a mantle the other candidates aren’t ready to concede.
Obama has taken his war opposition to a new level in recent days, launching what some are calling his “16 votes” campaign urging that number of senators to vote to override President Bush’s recent veto of a bill to re-deploy troops.
Obama’s anti-war message fused so much with his presidential campaign that it was hard to differentiate

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Seed Newsvine

Watch this one and wonder if the ethics of our soldiers match the ethics of the administration that sent them into battle?This MSNBC report is extremely disturbing.

clipped from www.youtube.com

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Seed Newsvine

George W. Bush wants to hold every school child in the United States accountable for learning and every teacher in the public sector accountable for teaching what must be taught. Yet in his own behavior as President, accountability seems not to be an issue.After vetoing the Democratic Iraq war funding bill, the Democrats in the House of Representatives are working on a new bill that would fund the war effort fully through July. At that time the Bush administration must account to the people’s representatives and demonstrate real progress or changed strategy that will lead to real progress in Iraq or face the reality of not having any more money to fund this disastrous war. The administration’s response is to insist that Bush will veto this bill as well.

Let’s hold little children to the fire by making them accountable to some misguided set of standards, but when it comes to the lives of American soldiers fighting on a battlefield created by the policies of this administration the White House wants no part of being accountable to the American people. This attitude is an egregious breach of the use of power and must not be tolerated by the American people.

Mr. Bush must step up and accept responsibility for his failed policy. He must step up and be held accountable for his policies, decisions and actions. It seems he is unwilling to do so.

clipped from www.reuters.com
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday said they would press ahead with a new Iraq funding bill, despite a White House veto threat and a cold Senate reaction to a bill that would dole out combat funds in pieces and force a July vote on withdrawing troops.
“The House bill is going to change,” promised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat.
White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters President George W. Bush would veto the House bill if it reached his desk.
Under the bill, which is not expected to become law, Bush would get a $42.8 billion down payment. Then, after getting White House war progress reports in July, Congress would cast votes late that month on whether to release an additional $52.8 billion to continue fighting in Iraq through September, or whether to use the money to withdraw most of the troops by the end of this year.

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Seed Newsvine

While Americans fight and die in Iraq, while the President of the United States plans to veto the Iraq War Spending Bill, the Iraqis seem not to take their American partners seriously. Listen as Secretary of State Rice and the Iraqi Foreign Minister defend the Iraqi decision for their Parliament to take a 2 month vacation. How dare they.

The White House from the President to the mail room clerk claim that American patience is not unlimited. Well what is the limit of our tolerance?

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Seed Newsvine

When Bush breaks out the veto pen he does so objecting to what he calls an artificial withdrawal timetable. But what is your plan Mr. President? For the past four years you have insisted that you have a strategy for victory in Iraq and the conflict just deepens. For four years you have insisted that we are winning the war and the death toll continues to rise. For four years you have insisted that the war in Iraq is the front line of the global war on terror but you have presented only rhetoric to support your claim.The time has come for you extend your hand to the Congress and work out a reasonable compromise that contains a withdrawal strategy. The Iraqi government must now step up and take control of their own country. Only Iraqis can solve the Iraq problem that you created in your over zealous desire to invade that nation. Only Iraqis can ease the religious conflict that is a curse on that nation, a curse resulting from your lies and hubris. Not another American life need be lost over this venture and now only you have the power to end what you started. Bring our men and women home. End this conflict sooner rather than later.

clipped from www.cnn.com
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Four years after declaring victory in Iraq in a much-ballyhooed speech from the deck of an aircraft carrier, President Bush prepared to veto a war-spending bill that calls for pulling American combat troops out of the now-unpopular conflict.
Before sending the bill to the president Tuesday afternoon, Democratic congressional leaders urged Bush to sign the bill and begin winding down the war.
“A veto means denying our troops the resources and the strategy they need,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. “After more than four years of a failed policy, it’s time for Iraq to take responsibility for its own future.”
The spending bill, which Congress passed last week, funds military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it also calls for the withdrawal of U.S. troops beginning in October, with the goal of getting all U.S. combat forces out of Iraq by the end of March 2008.

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Seed Newsvine

This page presents a powerful video that raises questions for all of us to think about. I found some of the piece disturbing not because of anything other than the fact that it rang true and reminded me that I do not do everything I could to end the war in Iraq. The video presents a powerful case for action. It calls on each of us to step up and be counted. Watch and be disturbed also.

To view the video click on www.djpauledge.com

clipped from www.djpauledge.com

 
 
 
“To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men”– Abraham Lincoln  



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Seed Newsvine

Is there any wonder why people don’t trust their government? If the Bush administration were honest all shades and colors of violence in Iraq would be counted as violence, not just violence inflicted on our troops. But, not this administration. Let’s cook the books accounting practice is the rule of the day for the Bush White House. Fear not–they must think the American people are so stupid that this intentional breakdown in mathematics won’t be noticed by anyone. Not counting car bombs exploding in Baghdad says two things. First, Iraqis don’t count as war casualties and secondly, the administration is intent on deceiving the American people.  In the Bush version of Christianity I guess overt lying is considered a virtue?  This practice simply makes me sick.

clipped from www.realcities.com
WASHINGTON – U.S. officials who say there has been a dramatic drop in sectarian violence in Iraq since President Bush began sending more American troops into Baghdad aren’t counting one of the main killers of Iraqi civilians.
Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn’t include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

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Seed Newsvine

The debate is an ancient one. Where does sovereignty rest? Is the sovereign concept embedded in the voice and actions of the leader(s) (the crown) of nation-states or does sovereignty rest in the voice of the people and/or the elected representatives of the people.The Bush White House opts, it seems to me, for the former. As President, Bush acts as if he is “The Sovereign.” In terms that Carl Schmitt, a problematic German political philosopher and one that has been strangely adopted by both the right and the left, proposes: “that people will only be responsible for what they are if the reality of death and conflict remain present.” In Schmitt’s view, the sovereign is the agent of state control over the lives of citizens even to the extent of control over life and death. Schmitt’s posture, adopted by Giorgio Agamben, places sovereign power in a state of exception so that life itself, under the control of the sovereign, becomes bare–not subject to sacrifice yet able to be killed without the killer charged with or guilty of homicide. Not only is the sovereign, in these terms, above the law, he is the law. The sovereign holds power because he wears the crown which grants him the power of life and death over all of the subjects of his sovereign power.

As Bush prepares to veto the legislation funding troops in Iraq that contains a non-binding withdrawal timetable, Bush places himself in the position of agent of control over life and death without regard to the will of the electorate. While the Constitution of the United States affords the executive with the power of the veto pen, that power in itself creates the exception and fuels the debate as to where sovereignty rests. The checks and balances embedded in the Constitution act as a check on both imperial sovereignty and on popular sovereignty often making for a cumbersome political exchange.

Bush no longer enjoys a rubber-stamp Congress. The present Congress was elected as an expression of the electorate’s frustration with the war in Iraq. The Congress is acting as the elected voice of the electorate, placing the Congress on the other side of the debate–that sovereignty rests on the voice of the people and is expressed through their elected representatives.

As Americans the stakes here are quite high. The choice is really between the absolute power of the executive and the combined power of the people to self-govern. What is looming is a constitutional crisis, something that George W. Bush has engaged in more than once. Personally, I feel much safer not trusting absolute power to the King, especially to George W. Bush, who, over and over, has demonstrated poor judgment in office. But Bush isn’t alone on this score. During the Watergate scandal while prosecuting a very unpopular war, Richard Nixon plunged the nation into a similar Constitutional crisis over issues of executive privilege–an issue of power and control.

Just as an aside, it is ironic that “Democrats said the bill was on track to arrive on the president’s desk on Tuesday, the anniversary of Bush’s announcement aboard the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

“The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11, 2001, and still goes on,” Bush said on May 1, 2003, in front of a huge “Mission Accomplished” banner.”

Perhaps Mr. Bush needs to rethink his posture on Iraq; perhaps listening to the people for a change might be invigorating.

clipped from news.yahoo.com
WASHINGTON –
President Bush
next week is expected to receive, and swiftly reject, legislation ordering U.S. troops to begin coming home from
Iraq
this fall. The veto could fall on the fourth anniversary of the president’s Iraq “victory” speech.
The House on a 218-208 vote Wednesday passed a $124.2 billion supplemental spending bill that contains the troop withdrawal timetable. The Senate was expected to follow suit Thursday.
The legislation is the first binding challenge on the war that Democrats have managed to execute since they took control of both houses of Congress in January.

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Seed Newsvine

I am saddened for the nation as I watch the president hunker down in his last months in office. He announced that in spite of the increased deadly bombings in Iraq that the troop surge is working and all we need is a bit more patience. He has increased confidence in Alberto Gonzalez in spite of bipartisan calls for his resignation. Sounds like the last days of the Nixon White House; living in a state of denial is not good for the country nor for this president. Frankly, we deserve better.

clipped from www.reuters.com
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President George W. Bush on Monday rejected calls to fire Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, saying Gonzales’ testimony at a stormy congressional hearing last week “increased my confidence” in him.
Bush said Gonzales showed critical lawmakers that the attorney general “broke no laws” in firing eight U.S. attorneys last year despite suspicions that the ousters may have been politically motivated.
Later, Gonzales told reporters at the Federal Trade Commission that he intends to remain the chief U.S. law enforcement officer “as long as I think that I can be effective and the president believes that I should continue.”
Gonzales, who has maintained the firings were justified but mishandled, added, “I have accepted responsibility for the mistakes that I have made.”
Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat helping lead an investigation into the dismissals of eight of the 93 U.S. attorneys, was outraged.

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Seed Newsvine

The President has a strange way of keeping score if he really believes that the surge is working. A significant increase in bombings, including bombs within the highly secure Green Zone, and increased death tolls over the past few weeks seems to be a step in reverse. Unless I miss the mark, progress would mean a decrease in the sectarian violence, a reduction in death toll and an overall calm in all of Iraq. While I don’t have access to all of George II’s intelligence (oh yes–pun intended) I do know what I read in the newspapers and what I read doesn’t look so good.Withdrawal of troops is a sticky business, far more so than the initial commitment of those troops in the first instance. But to walk away from a war that should never have been fought in the first instance, for reasons that have benefited only the very rich no-bid companies that accompany our troops, seems to my mind a no brainer. Provide support for all troops that remain in theater to support the withdrawal and let Iraqis sort out their own political mess. George II’s motives, however, seem to be more about protecting his already tarnished reputation than in finding a way to settle this conflict, the one of his own doing.

clipped from www.reuters.com
EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (Reuters) – President George W. Bush on Friday rebuffed a top Democrat’s charge the Iraq war was lost and asserted progress despite some of the worst carnage since Bush ordered more troops to the region.
Speaking before a world affairs forum in Michigan, Bush said the two-month-old security crackdown under which he is adding 28,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq was “meeting expectations” and the ongoing violence reflected an expected reaction by insurgents.
“There are still horrific attacks in Iraq such as the bombings in Baghdad on Wednesday, but the direction of the fight is beginning to shift,” Bush said.
Insurgent bombs killed nearly 200 people in Baghdad on Wednesday, the same day Bush met Reid and other lawmakers at the White House in a clash over the Democrats’ plans to attach troops withdrawal timetables to a war-funding bill.

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Reported by STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press Writer on Yahoo.com

The powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his militiamen on Sunday to redouble their battle to oust American forces and argued that Iraq’s army and police should join him in defeating “your archenemy.” The U.S. nilitary annoucned the weekend deaths of 10 American soldiers, including six killed on Sunday.

Security remained so tenuous in the capital on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the U.S. capture of Baghdad that Iraq’s military declared a 24-hour ban on all vehicles in the capital from 5 a.m. Monday.


There you have it, the surge must be working. The article goes on to report that at least 47 people were found dead on Sunday, 17 of whom were executed and dumped in Baghdad. What a strategy for winning George II seems to have.

While I don’t really want to go out on a limb, I think I will. I am sort of thinking out loud here. These ideas are in the process of forming in my own thinking but I thought it was time to share. It seems to me that the Iraq war is q 21st Century version of the 11th Century Crusades. Christians and the Christian God fighting Muslims and Allah for control over lands that both consider sacred but for very different reasons. In the 21st Century, the sacredness of the land from the Western point-of-view is the oil riches that lie beneath the ground. Nevertheless, the battle is one with deep religious undertones. Islam and the complete submission to Allah and the Western submission to greed and acquisition of great wealth as an outgrowth of Christian theology. Why does Muqtada al-Sadr refer to the United States as the archenemy? Why else, unless this was, at the core, a war for religion and religious supremacy–the control of the Middle East by the West–domination of Islam by Christians? To ignore this possibility is to ignore the historical record. To ignore this possibility is to live in denial.

Think about the fact that it took a fundamentalist Christian president of the United States, backed by NeoCons and evangelical church leaders to engage the United States in the renewal of this ancient battle. Even George I, (remember him–Saddam tried to kill my daddy), had the sense to accomplish military objectives but leave the dictator in power so as not to destabilize the region. Not George II. His goal, to insert a Western democracy in Iraq, code for lets Christianize the Middle East, demanded the destabilization of the country in order to accomplish his goals. What remains is the simple fact that to date over 3,000 American men and women have lost their lives, over 25,000 more are wounded in battle, scarred for life. This does not count the few British soldiers and even fewer coalition force troops that have been killed or seriously injured in this war effort.

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Vice President Dick Cheney accused U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday of “bad behavior” on her Middle East trip, saying she bungled a message for Syria’s president that was later clarified by Israel.

Cheney harshly criticized Pelosi’s visit to Syria this week and declared in an interview, “The president is the one who conducts foreign policy, not the speaker of the House.”

Of all people to complain about Speaker Pelosi’s Middle Eastern trip! Cheney, one of the war profiteers, is, of course, correct that the president is the one who is supposed to conduct foreign policy–with the advice and consent of the Senate, a constitutional barrier the president no longer has in his back pocket. Bush’s idea of foreign policy seems to be more or less–more troops, more money, more bombs, more deaths, more destruction –less talk, less truth, less democracy, less trust among our remaining friends. The Bush more or less pursuit of foreign policy seems to be no policy at all; rather it appears to be one new strategy for success supplanted by another leading to failure and more still failure; a seat of one’s pants approach to foreign policy. For Cheney, and architect of the Bush non-policy (a colleague of mine disagrees and calls the Iraq policy the first Oedipal War (after all, Saddam did try “to kill my daddy!”), to complain about one who is constitutionally third in line for the presidency seeking meaningful discussions with those with whom we might disagree is simply disingenuous.

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NeoCon BS blogged this one

They’re Terrorists, but They’re Our Terrorists…

Based on a story by Michael Ware at CNN.com U.S. Protects Iranian Opposition Group in Iraq

I really want to scream. Not only is this a bungled war (actually the war effort was a great success–it is the peace that is being bungled) but the hypocrisy of the Bush White House is without bounds.

NeoCon points out that lessons learned (or forgotten) that resulted from the US support of the muhajadeen in Afghanistan in the 1980’s have largely been mislaid. Of course, terrorism is okay if the terror supports our own goals in Iraq.

While I support NeoCon’s basic premise, I want to take it a bit further. Here, the double standard of fighting a “war on terror” while, at the same time, supporting groups that engage in terror for political purposes is merely another nail in the coffin of international support for the United States. As Bush insists on forcing democracy on the world (or at least that part of the world rich in oil resources) he behaves as if he were king at home. Secrecy, deliberately hiding the facts of the prosecution of this peace in Iraq from the American people, whose tax dollars are being used to pay for the Bush aggression, is not the act of the leader of the “greatest democracy” in the world. It is, rather, much like that of a Fascist despot believing that if he tells a lie long and often enough that lie becomes the same as the truth.

When will the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK, the Iranian terrorist group being supported by the Bush administration, come back to bite us?

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In Baghdad, official control over the news is getting tighter. Journalists used to walk freely into the city’s hospitals and the morgue to keep count of the day’s dead and wounded. Now the hospitals have been declared off-limits and morgue officials turn away reporters who aren’t accompanied by a Coalition escort. Iraqi police refer reporters’ questions to American forces; the Americans refer them back to the Iraqis.” reports Newsweek this week.

So the war to bring democracy to Iraq (because democracy is what the people of Iraq really wanted all along) has created a condition where the press is relegated to being locked out of hospitals and morgues by Coalition (the great coded euphemism meaning United States) forces (forget about the handful of British forces and the few more from several other countries). Some demonstration of democracy, eh! Cover-up the facts by not allowing accurate or truthful reporting of events, atrocities, or what have you as an expression of freedom carries with it an arrogance of power that speaks better to Fascism than it does to freely elected democratic governments.

What is Bush afraid of? That reporters might actually report the growing number of casualties and deaths in the streets of Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq? What must the real numbers look like? But, then the administration tells us the lie that the current surge strategy is working in parts of Baghdad. So, it probably isn’t working in other parts, yes? And, then, I was under the impression that Iraq is much larger than merely the city of Baghdad. I don’t think I am mistaken on that one. What is the truth about the surge in the parts of Baghdad and the rest of Iraq where we must assume the policy isn’t working?

Censorship has no place in democratic institutions. While I would not advocate irresponsible journalism such as reporting troop movements or attack plans prior to execution, to report real numbers of casualties and deaths gives no aid and comfort to the enemy. Quite the contrary, what it does is point to the utter failure of the administration strategy (a word Bush loves to slur) in the prosecution of this botched war.

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Writing in the Washington Post, Peter Baker reports:

“He strode alone into the Rose Garden and complained that “it has now
been 57 days” since he asked Congress for more money for the Iraq war
and still has not gotten it. For President Bush, the fight over
war-spending legislation has become the only talking point — an
opportunity, his strategists hope, to demonstrate strength and turn the
tables on a Democratic Congress that may be overreaching.”


What, he thinks he just snaps his fingers and the Democratic Congress just wilts and complies? No, Georgie. In Civics 101 you should have learned about the Constitution of the United States, a document that established 3 co-equal branches of government each with a check on the other in order to maintain a pragmatic balance. But, gosh you must have been soused during those lectures. You have had no checks on your rule in the White House until now. But, oh my, get used to it for the remainder of your time in office.

Rather than asking for more money, perhaps you should begin to think about how you can work to restore balance in the Middle East so that it doesn’t erupt into the melting point for WWIII. But, that one will be on your hands as well. Perhaps you should join forces with Nancy Pelosi as she seeks to be a peacemaker rather than a mad bomber, as she tries to restore confidence in the reputation of America that you have ruined. But, you are do arrogant that I suspect that will never happen.

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