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Archive for the ‘War’ Category

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.

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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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Another Peace Poster

Seed Newsvine

Here is another peace poster. This one I find even more ironic. Here we have the education president bombing Iraq back to the stone age while the DoED is engaged in the Reading First scandal and NCLB is under significant attack from independent researchers across the country. Time to stand up and be counted.

clipped from www.brushstroke.tv

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Seed Newsvine

This poster was entered in a Peace Poster contest. Dripping with sarcasm, I just had to giggle. Worth a clip and a share as well.

clipped from www.brushstroke.tv

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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

Oh Rudy, hubris runs deep among you Republicans. Your shameless exploitation of 9-11 is a deep seated example of the excessive pride and arrogance of the right. Hubris generally is the precursor to downfall or destruction in classical tragedy. The hubris of the Bush White House led to the quagmire in Iraq that, in the final analysis, will prove to be the greatest threat to American security interests at home and abroad by Islamic fundamentalists; a threat far greater than existed prior to that ill-conceived war.Your remarks call into question your capacity to govern the nation. You should be deeply ashamed of your remarks and offer an apology to your Democratic brothers and sisters before you continue on in your efforts to become the president of the United States.

Your claim that the Democrats would cause more death and take longer to defeat terrorism is, quite clearly, the remark of a prideful and ambitious politico who will stop at nothing to further his campaign. It is, in the end, a Faustian deal you make. Name calling may bring short-term gains but, when the battlefield is sorted out, disaster follows.

Do yourself and the country a favor, Rudy, and withdraw from contention. The nation cannot afford a small town mayor as its leader.

clipped from today.reuters.com
What? Giuliani’s shamelessly exploiting 9/11 for political gain? Well, that’s surprising. I thought the man had more integrity than that
All joking aside, Giuliani said Tuesday night at a town hall meeting in Manchester, NH that a Democratic presidential win in 2008 would almost certainly ensure another terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11. What’s the alternative to thousands of American civilians being killed you ask? Giuliani has the obvious answer. “If any Republican is elected president —- and I think obviously I would be the best at this — we will remain on offense and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do and try to stop them before they do it.”
What’s good for liberals is that Giuliani, a faux-conservative, is currently leading in national polls for the Republican nomination. Giuliani seemed to further ignore the reality of our current situation by claiming Democrats would cause more death and take longer to defeat terrorism.

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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

The White House finds itself fighting battles in Iraq and in the West Wing. The excess use of power and the abuse of that power is now rivaling that of the Nixon administration during Watergate (gosh weren’t we fighting an unpopular war then as well?). Where are the Republicans, those that were so eager to impeach Clinton for failure to keep his pants zipped, as REAL scandal rips at the very fabric of our republic. Where are the voices of outrage when REAL abuses are happening right before our eyes. Where does George II stand in all the scandal that is percolating around him? 636 Days more is 635 too many.

clipped from www.chicagotribune.com
WASHINGTON — A little-known federal investigative unit has launched a probe into allegations of illegal political activity within the executive branch, including a White House office led by President Bush’s close adviser Karl Rove.
The new investigation, which began several weeks ago, grew out of two other investigations still under way at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel: the firing of U.S. Atty. David Iglesias from New Mexico and a presentation by Rove aide Scott Jennings to political appointees at the General Services Administration on how to help Republican candidates in 2008.
The office enforces the Hatch Act, a 70-year-old law that bars federal employees from engaging in political activities using government resources or on government time.
Whether executive-branch employees violated federal laws that restrict them from using their posts for political activity also is at the center of the controversy about the January meeting at GSA.

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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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Seed Newsvine

Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff write in Haaretz:

If someone were to offer Ehud Olmert the possibility of drawing a thick, black line through all of the events of the past year, presumably the prime minister would gladly accept it. It isn’t just the war in Lebanon. It is also the affair of the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit two and a half weeks earlier, and the failed “Summer Rain” military operation in the Gaza Strip in the wake of the kidnapping, which did not bring Shalit back and did not yield any other significant accomplishments.

Here are two of the outstanding statements from that period that Olmert would no doubt prefer to forget: On June 26, one day after Shalit was abducted: “The question of the release of [Palestinian] prisoners [in return for Shalit] is not at all on the agenda of the government of Israel.” On July 1, a statement from the Foreign Ministry on Olmert’s behalf: “There will not be any deal. The soldier Shalit will be released, or else we will be compelled to act to release him.” Behind the scenes Olmert’s people were constantly briefing and reminding journalists: The aim is to break the old rules of the game. Israel will act so that the terror organizations, first in the territories and afterward in Lebanon, will lose the desire to abduct more people.

Since then more than eight months have elapsed. The appetite of the would-be abductors has perhaps been tempered – in light of the many losses among the Palestinians and the Lebanese – but the incentive is still there. Israel is now negotiating the release of thousands of prisoners in return for Shalit, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, in two separate channels.

The numbers reported here seem to be a bit excessive. 1400::1 is a very high price to pay for a prisoner exchange with no assurances that this behavior will cease, that rockets will no longer be targeted from Gaza into Israel, with no declaration of both the de jure and de facto existence of Israel (what other state requires this of their neighbors?) As regular readers of this blog know, I am not opposed to the notion of negotiation with one’s political enemies. It must be clear, however, that any negotiations that occur do not amount to a list of demands by one side as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. 1400::1 or even 1400::3 borders on a take-it-or-leave-it demand.

It is clear that negotiations require two sides that are willing to engage each other in meaningful talks. No reasonable person can enter talks that place demands so far out of reach that they don’t pass the giggle test. All one can do is giggle at a demand that 1400 prisoners, each with, to use the Israeli phrase, blood on his hands, in exchange for from 1 to 3 kidnapped soldiers. The demand is simply ridiculous.

If Hamas truly intends to negotiate with Israel as its leadership has indicated in recent days then it is up to that leadership to drop their ridiculous take-it-or-leave-it demands and sit down as honest negotiators. Both sides should negotiate hard, but reasonably. Most importantly, both sides must be willing to make concessions to the other, small ones that can be monitored and deemed successful at first, and then larger ones. In the end, neither side can resort to violence the second one does not get its own way. It is time for a new way of thinking, for the playground bullies to stand aside and let the people negotiate an end to nearly a century of violence.

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Seed Newsvine

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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In a feed from REUTERS, Yahoo News reports:

President Bashar al-Assad met a Republican member of the U.S. Congress on Thursday, a day after Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ended a visit to Syria that was criticized by the White House. The official news agency said the meeting between Assad and Darrell Issa, a member of the House Committee on Intelligence, discussed ways to improve relations between Washington and Damascus.


If this is not evidence of the paranoia of the extremists on the right than I am not sure what might be classified as evidence. Nancy Pelosi, constitutionally third in line for succession to the presidency, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Democrat travels to Syria to engage with Syrian President Assad in discussions that may prove fruitful in the pursuit of a lasting peace in the Middle East and she is roundly criticized by the Bush administration. But, when Darrell Issa, a 4th term congressman from California, does the very same thing the silence from the White House is deafening. Where is Bush now? Where is Cheney, now? Where is the right wing blogosphere now? How is it that when a Democratic leader in the house takes reasonable steps to engage in the political life of the nation she is portrayed as no less than Satan himself but when a Republican back bencher does precisely the same thing not a sound can be heard from the hecklers. Perhaps it is time to stop the vitriolic nature of American politics, to begin to find a common ground from which to conduct ourselves in the world. That won’t happen until we are, once again, able to talk without shouting here at home.

Less than 655 days left in this administration’s tenure. Can we survive that long?

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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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