Prison abuse is disgusting

The Iraq prison abuse story keeps spinning out of control and it seems to highlight what is wrong with humans today.

From conservative pundits comparing the abuse to fraternity hazing to the family of one soldiers who is in the pictures telling the world that the soldier was just following orders to Secretary Rumsfeld sitting on the reports for months, it seems everyone involved or who have knowledge of the abuse don’t want to take personal responsibility.

The National Guard unit that lacked the proper training and who carried out the orders given by superiors who should have known better will end up taking the worse heat while the commanders in charge all the way to the Secretary will go on in their jobs as if the incidents were just bumps in the road.

I wrote the following in a letter to the editor of my local paper to express how I really feel about the issue:

I am writing today to comment on the Dispatch editorial “Keep it in perspective The U.S. will atone for its human-rights sin, but what of the world�s other sinners?” and the related Cal Thomas column “Keep despicable photos in context of a despicable enemy” that appeared in the May 7, 2004 edition of the Dispatch.

It is simply unconscionable for anyone to even try to rationalize the despicable actions of the soldiers who appeared in those Iraqi prison photos.

Humiliating and abusing prisoners, not just POWs, is dead wrong. There is no justification nor rationalization for those actions.

All though the build up to the war and even during the war the Bush administration took great pains to explain that our values and actions were better than that oppressive regime in Baghdad that we needed to remove. Was that a lie too? It seems it is to the average Iraqi, not to mention the other Muslims in the Middle East, who saw the pictures of the smiling and laughing Americans while “playing” with their charges. What better recruiting material is there than having proof that Americans are despicable people.

The argument used by the Dispatch and Thomas that they did it first or what about the other people just doesn’t hold any water.

Remember our playground days when the bully would cause you to lash out and hit him? You almost always got in trouble for hitting him yet you might say to the Principal, “He hit me first…” or “Why am I in trouble? They were doing the same thing…” Did such excuses work. Of course not and it doesn’t work here for this issue.

You leave the moral high road as soon as you start the “Yes, but…..” explanations. We should know better. That’s what we tell everyone else.

When will Bush’s lies end???

I read an article on Yahoo News today that ticked me off. It was an article about John Kerry’s reaction to Bush’s so-called press conference on Tuesday.

Here is what ticked me off:

“The president made clear what we all share, which is a sense that the United States of America is going to be resolute and tough and make certain that we accomplish our mission,” Kerry said.

Other nations share the U.S. goal of stability in Iraq and, if elected president, Kerry said he would use his powers of persuasion to convince them that their interests demand they share in the effort.

“Our soldiers are bearing the brunt of this operation,” Kerry said. “Our military is to some degree overextended. American soldiers are bearing the huge majority, the lion’s share of this.”

Republicans rejected the criticism, with Bush’s re-election campaign chairman Marc Racicot calling Kerry’s comments “a political attack that is very, very seriously undermining our efforts in Iraq and in the war on terror.”

In a conference call with reporters, Racicot said Kerry simply blames America for provoking the attacks in Iraq without offering a competing vision that addresses the war on terrorism. 

The full story here

First of all, Kerry’s criticism is not “undermining our efforts in Iraq.” The radical Muslims don’t care what Kerry says about Bush’s Iraq policy. All they know is the devil is in their house and they must die.

It is interesting to note that the current outbreak of violence has nothing to do with Saddam or his supporters. It is probably the first volley in a renewed power struggle among the different religious sects in Iraq. Each sect believes they should be the only power in Iraq.

The person who us actually undermining the US in Iraq is Ahmed Chalabi.

Ahmed Chalabi, the neocons’ choice to run Iraq, appears to have been responsible for the disastrous decision to move against Muqtada al-Sadr.

Why did they do it? It seemed a safe bet to the civilian echelon policymakers at the Department of Defense when they approved Coalition Provisional Authority administrator L. Paul Bremer’s fateful decision to close down the newspaper of Muqtada al-Sadr and to arrest an aide to the young firebrand Shiite cleric. Even after Shiite Iraq had erupted into fury over the moves on Saturday, April 3, top-level Pentagon policymakers were privately still convinced it was all a storm in a teacup.

Chalabi, longtime exile leader, has never had a power base within Iraq. He is a smooth operator, convicted of embezzling millions from the Petra Bank of Jordan — sentenced in absentia to 22 years of hard labor — but championed by the neoconservatives of Washington.

Just as Bremer will not make the slightest move without the approval of his Pentagon bosses, the Defense Department policymakers continue to rely on Chalabi alone for their political assessments on Iraq. In private conversation, as in public, they remain amazingly enthusiastic about Chalabi’s supposed political skills, and even genius, and proclaim repeatedly that he is the only man with the brilliance to hold Iraq together and make it work. Give Chalabi a free hand after June 30 and give him all the U.S. firepower he wants to crush his foes — this is their master plan; there is no other. 

Complete article here

Marc Racicot says that Kerry’s comments are “undermining our efforts in Iraq and in the war on terror.”

Iraq has always been, absent contrary proof, a tertiary part of the war on terrorism. In fact, the Bush administration has undermined their war on terrorism by invading Iraq before Bin Laden had been dealt with completely in Afghanistan.

Lastly Racicot makes the ridiculous statement: “Kerry simply blames America for provoking the attacks in Iraq without offering a competing vision that addresses the war on terrorism.”

Kerry isn’t simply or difficultly blaming America for provoking the attacks in Iraq. Bush is the one who ordered the invasion of Iraq. Iraq didn’t attack us first. Kerry is pointing out the issues with Bush’s Iraq policy.

As for Kerry not “offering a competing vision that addresses the war on terrorism,” I would like to know what Bush’s vision for addressing the war on terror that as Kerry has said doesn’t needlessly infringe on our civil rights as the Patriot Act does today.

President Bush did everything to get us a war in Iraq

President Bush and company explained to the American people that Saddam Hussein was an evildoer and we needed to strike a blow against terrorism when he ordered US forces to invade and occupy Iraq in March 2003.

We were told among other things that Saddam had a large cache of weapons of mass distruction just waiting to be used on America or American interests or sold to terrorists who would then use them on us. The administration even has tried to link Saddam with the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

I remember reading an article on the website where it quoted Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on 9/11 telling his staff he KNEW Saddam was beind the attacks and they should work on plans to invade Iraq to remove him from power.

Here is an excerpt from that article:

Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11

posted 9/4/2002

(CBS) CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq � even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.

“One guy is associate of Cole bomber,” the notes say, a reference to the October 2000 suicide boat attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, which had also been the work of bin Laden.

With the intelligence all pointing toward bin Laden, Rumsfeld ordered the military to begin working on strike plans. And at 2:40 p.m., the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted “best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H.” � meaning Saddam Hussein � “at same time. Not only UBL” � the initials used to identify Osama bin Laden.

Now, nearly one year later, there is still very little evidence Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. But if these notes are accurate, that didn’t matter to Rumsfeld. 


Little hay was made of this revelation. No one in the media investigated it further. At the time it was seen as being un-patriotic to question the Bush administration.

Then in June 2003, current Presidential canidate Wesley Clark, a former General, made a startling statement on “Meet the Press”. Here are the details:

Media Silent on Clark’s 9/11 Comments:
Gen. says White House pushed Saddam link without evidence

June 20, 2003

Sunday morning talk shows like ABC’s This Week or Fox News Sunday often make news for days afterward. Since prominent government officials dominate the guest lists of the programs, it is not unusual for the Monday editions of major newspapers to report on interviews done by the Sunday chat shows.

But the June 15 edition of NBC’s Meet the Press was unusual for the buzz that it didn’t generate. Former General Wesley Clark told anchor Tim Russert that Bush administration officials had engaged in a campaign to implicate Saddam Hussein in the September 11 attacks– starting that very day. Clark said that he’d been called on September 11 and urged to link Baghdad to the terror attacks, but declined to do so because of a lack of evidence.

Here is a transcript of the exchange:


CLARK: “There was a concerted effort during the fall of 2001, starting immediately after 9/11, to pin 9/11 and the terrorism problem on Saddam Hussein.”

RUSSERT: “By who? Who did that?”

CLARK: “Well, it came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over. I got a call on 9/11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, ‘You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein.’ I said, ‘But–I’m willing to say it, but what’s your evidence?’ And I never got any evidence.”


Clark’s assertion corroborates a little-noted CBS Evening News story that aired on September 4, 2002. As correspondent David Martin reported: “Barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, the secretary of defense was telling his aides to start thinking about striking Iraq, even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.” According to CBS, a Pentagon aide’s notes from that day quote Rumsfeld asking for the “best info fast” to “judge whether good enough to hit SH at the same time, not only UBL.” (The initials SH and UBL stand for Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.) The notes then quote Rumsfeld as demanding, ominously, that the administration’s response “go massive…sweep it all up, things related and not.”

Despite its implications, Martin’s report was greeted largely with silence when it aired. Now, nine months later, media are covering damaging revelations about the Bush administration’s intelligence on Iraq, yet still seem strangely reluctant to pursue stories suggesting that the flawed intelligence– and therefore the war– may have been a result of deliberate deception, rather than incompetence. The public deserves a fuller accounting of this story.


The media shrugged – again.

Then this week, in a 60 Minutes interview, former Treasury secretary Paul O’Neill added another corroboration to the story that the Bush administration had planned all along to take out Saddam and were looking for an excuse to do so.

And what happened at President Bush’s very first National Security Council meeting is one of O’Neill’s most startling revelations.

“From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” says O�Neill, who adds that going after Saddam was topic “A” 10 days after the inauguration – eight months before Sept. 11.

“From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime,� says Suskind. “Day one, these things were laid and sealed.”

As treasury secretary, O’Neill was a permanent member of the National Security Council. He says in the book he was surprised at the meeting that questions such as “Why Saddam?” and “Why now?” were never asked.

“It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this,'” says O�Neill. “For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap.”

And that came up at this first meeting, says O�Neill, who adds that the discussion of Iraq continued at the next National Security Council meeting two days later.

He got briefing materials under this cover sheet. “There are memos. One of them marked, secret, says, ‘Plan for post-Saddam Iraq,'” adds Suskind, who says that they discussed an occupation of Iraq in January and February of 2001. Based on his interviews with O’Neill and several other officials at the meetings, Suskind writes that the planning envisioned peacekeeping troops, war crimes tribunals, and even divvying up Iraq’s oil wealth.

He obtained one Pentagon document, dated March 5, 2001, and entitled “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield contracts,” which includes a map of potential areas for exploration.

“It talks about contractors around the world from, you know, 30-40 countries. And which ones have what intentions,” says Suskind. “On oil in Iraq.”

During the campaign, candidate Bush had criticized the Clinton-Gore Administration for being too interventionist: “If we don’t stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we’re going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I’m going to prevent that.”

“The thing that’s most surprising, I think, is how emphatically, from the very first, the administration had said ‘X’ during the campaign, but from the first day was often doing ‘Y,'” says Suskind. “Not just saying ‘Y,’ but actively moving toward the opposite of what they had said during the election.”


The reaction from the White House to conservative talk radio was shift and expected. O�Neill, they said, is prone to putting his foot in his mouth, he’s crazy, no one really liked him etc… The Treasury Department is going to investigate how the alleged secret documents used in the 60 Minutes interview and the book were made public. The inference is that O�Neill stole them.

Some conservative commentators have gone so far as to claim that Bush was only continuing what the previous Clinton administration was planning. “When you can’t deny something then blame it on Clinton” seems to be the mantra in the GOP.

The point is clear. The war on Iraq was fulfilling a political “to-do list” from day one of the administration and they mislead the American people and pissed off our allies to do it.

Jeffrey Record, a professor at the US War College, wrote in a report on the Iraq war that the invasion of Iraq [was] “an unnecessary war of choice” and a “detour”.

Record says that by lumping together a host of threats – from the destruction of the al-Qaeda network to stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction – the administration has set goals in the war which are unsustainable.

“The United States may be able to defeat al-Qaeda, but it cannot rid the world of terrorism, much less evil,” he says in the report.

Record adds: “[The war] against a deterred Iraq has created a new front in the Middle East for Islamic terrorism and diverted attention and resources away from the security of the American homeland against further assault by an undeterrable al-Qaeda.”


When is a lie a lie?

The Republicans wet themselves to impeach President Clinton for lying about sex yet they see nothing wrong about President Bush’s lies about Iraq. We need a new administration to get us away from these dangerous people running the country.