Mar 19

Iraq, 5 years on

5 years ago today, the Bush administration began the single largest foreign policy disaster – and probably largest single blunder – in American history. They lied to the people, the world, and the media. They broke laws, destroyed our image and worldwide power, and bankrupted our economy and military for generations to come. Oh, and they also directly killed more than 4,000 American troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

Though it has largely disappeared from the collective kewl kid narrative, many people looking at the situation rationally at the time were not only right about the administration’s lies and the ill-advised nature of the war, but they were also right about the effects. Much of the media and the enablers of this imperialist adventure would like to forget their role in making this happen and marginalizing those of us who were correct from the start. It is important to not let the narrative become one of “everyone believed Saddam had to go” or “it’s not important how we got there,” because neither statement is true.

Honor our servicepersons’ sacrifice and our country by remembering the past honestly. It’s the least we can do.

Sep 30

We are a Rogue Nation

I haven’t blogged in a long while for a confluence of reasons, primarily work-related. However, I’m also disheartened, sickened, and at a loss as to what we, the People, can do to reclaim our nation from the bloodthirsty authoritarian junta that has destroyed the America I know and love.

So far… I’ve got nothin’.

Absent large scale collective action we, the People, have lost any voice in the direction of our country. Even “our” side is absolutely worthless – the Democrats have done nothing but further the imperialist, disgusting, nation-destroying agenda of the Republican administration. They’ve backed down from every fight, they’ve condemned MoveOn.org, they’ve continued unrestricted funding for our adventure in Iraq all for no purpose. A huge majority in this country is on the side they are supposed to be representing, and they’ve abandoned us. Whether because of cowardice, cooption, or political calculation that the lefties aren’t going to vote GOP so they should take votes from the right (which isn’t going to happen). Let me rephrase, whehter because of cowardice, cooption, or stupidity is of no matter to me. The Democrats have failed we, the People, and we have no one left to turn to except each other. And we cannot collectivize – They own the government, They own the media, and They have the money.

It’s depressing and it makes me spitting mad.

Now, the latest from the megalomaniacal Cheney administration is ramping up to attack Iran. He’s wanted to do this for a long time (he’s so delusional, I would not be surprised if he was suffering from late-term syphillitic corruption), but the military brass was against it sufficiently to make it only a low-likelihood option, though real nonetheless. In the past couple weeks, things have changed: the Lieberman-Kyl amendment (to which Hilary fucking Clinton voted aye) is the equivalent of the Iraq war resolution on Iran passed last week. Then a Senate resolution designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization passed. And now, today, Sy Hersh reveals that the Navy brass (in particular) is on board, the strategy has changed from ‘invade’ to ‘surgical strikes’, and the PR campaign is ramping up.

This summer, the White House, pushed by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran, according to former officials and government consultants. The focus of the plans had been a broad bombing attack, with targets including Iran’s known and suspected nuclear facilities and other military and infrastructure sites. Now the emphasis is on “surgical” strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism.

Make no mistake, we attack Iran and we are fucked. Our troops in Iraq will be waging Khe Sanh on a nationwide scale, isolated, alone, and attacked in a fashion that is going to chew up our military. Dien Bien Phu will look like a logistical success compared to the meatgrinder our troops are going to be in. Plus, Iran has far more power globally than Iraq did. If we attack them unprovoked, expect them to bring the war here (I’m sure the irony will be lost, yet again, on the Caligulistas in charge). The attacks here will remove all vestiges of the Constitution to which we still cling and we will be living in an outright police state. Less safe and more warlike with every passing day.

I used to think we had about 50 years until the end of the American hegemony, maybe 70. The signs of our collapse were there from the time of Nixon, but it was a slow decline. I would like to thank the Cheney administration for acting as the catalyst that has reduced that number to approximately 0. Their foreign policy combined with their fiscal policy has already put us past the point of no return in terms of our dominance. We’re approximately a hairsbreadth away from cementing the timeline as “yesterday.”

There is no suffering sufficient for what the members of the Cheney administration deserve. There is no forgiveness for any of us either. I hope I meet Cheney in hell so I can pull him further down his impaling stake. It still would not be enough.

Jun 17

War is hell

Even for the KBR contractors

Samuel Walker saw combat in Iraq firsthand: He was splattered with human flesh and shrapnel in a dining hall when a suicide bomber blew himself up just a few feet away.

When Walker got back to the U.S., he brought some of the battlefield home with him. He heard phantom screams in broad daylight, smelled gunpowder that wasn’t there. A loud noise would send him into a defensive crouch. He’d been eating French fries in the mess hall at the time of the blast, and the sight of a McDonald’s restaurant now brought back violent memories.

Two doctors diagnosed Walker with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, directly related to his close encounters with violence in Iraq.

But Walker was not a combat soldier. He was a civilian recreation supervisor for KBR, the largest contractor in Iraq. And instead of getting the medical and counseling help he sought, Walker, a U.S. Army veteran, found himself caught in a morass of red tape and rejected insurance claims.

I post this for a few reasons including, inter alia, our country’s inability to treat mental illnesses as illnesses, the ridiculousness of our so-called “health-care system”, my interest in (and prediction that) the major systemic healthcare burden for our veterans (contactors included) is going to become increasingly psychology-focused rather than physicality-focused as field medical technology and other protective war tech preserves people’s bodies but leaves our minds as exposed as they’ve always been, and that the government has essentially been paying for Huguenots, but refuses to acknowledge them as such (no VA for you, buddy!)

That may be a record for longest run-on in the history of this blog. Probably.

May 23

Hey Democrats

Don’t want to be thought of as a bunch of pussies? Then stop acting like a bunch of pussies.

Media analysts are casting the Democrats’ decision to pass an Iraq spending bill without a pullout provision as a win for the White House. MSNBC’s Hardball, for example, said “after weeks of refusing to back down to the White House, today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did just that.” NBC Nightly News reported, “The Democrats will argue they took a tough stand here, but the reality is that facing a veto threat, they backed off.” USA Today describes the Democrats as “flinching,” the New York Times calls “the decision to back down” a “wrenching reversal for leading Democrats,” and the Washington Times titles its front-page story “Democrats Capitulate On War Funds.”

You were elected in 2006 to end the war. Over 2/3rds of the American populace wants us out and out ASAP. Bush’s support is under 30%, and this is what you do? You capitulate on a nonnegotiable item to a weak Caligula and a weaker congress.

The only against you right now are Caligula, his enablers, and the media. If you can’t stand up to the opposition party and the idiotsphere, then you don’t deserve to be in Congress.

Poorly played, Dems, poorly played. You now own this war just as much as the GOP. You fucking cowardly idiots.

Feb 17

The Insane Administration

They’ve been prepping to attack Iran for more than a year. We need to stop this insanity. Now.

The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium.

Some operations, apparently aimed in part at intimidating Iran, are already under way. American Naval tactical aircraft, operating from carriers in the Arabian Sea, have been flying simulated nuclear-weapons delivery missions—rapid ascending maneuvers known as “over the shoulder” bombing—since last summer, the former official said, within range of Iranian coastal radars.

I’m out of words on this one. Attacking Iran will be a disaster on so many levels that the wisdom in keeping it from happening should be self-evident.

Feb 11

Iran

Stop this insane, bloodthirsty authoritarian administration before they kill again.

Some view the spiraling attacks as a strand in a worrisome pattern. At least one former White House official contends that some Bush advisers secretly want an excuse to attack Iran. “They intend to be as provocative as possible and make the Iranians do something [America] would be forced to retaliate for,” says Hillary Mann, the administration’s former National Security Council director for Iran and Persian Gulf Affairs. U.S. officials insist they have no intention of provoking or otherwise starting a war with Iran, and they were also quick to deny any link to Sharafi’s kidnapping. But the fact remains that the longstanding war of words between Washington and Tehran is edging toward something more dangerous. A second Navy carrier group is steaming toward the Persian Gulf, and NEWSWEEK has learned that a third carrier will likely follow. Iran shot off a few missiles in those same tense waters last week, in a highly publicized test. With Americans and Iranians jousting on the chaotic battleground of Iraq, the chances of a small incident’s spiraling into a crisis are higher than they’ve been in years.

Yeah, we’re totally not attacking Iran. Totally. And we’re definitely not going to do a massive airstrike on ginned up excuses, using nuclear “bunker buster” bombs.

Feb 02

Second verse, same as the first

Where have we heard this before?

The Bush administration has postponed plans to offer public details of its charges of Iranian meddling inside Iraq amid internal divisions over the strength of the evidence, U.S. officials said.

Am I dreaming or does no one else in the media remember 2002? Jebus on a stick, we’re stuck in an endless loop of idiocy and evil perpetuated by the administration and abetted by the media and spineless Dems.

For the Dem examples, two of the announced 2008 presidential candidates – both of whom voted in favor of the Iraq resolution – apparently learned nothing from the worst foreign policy blunder in our nation’s history, the administration’s mendacity, or the 2006 election results. To whit: both Clinton and Edwards have come out and essentially said that war is a viable option with regards to Iran.

War is an option now.
War is an option now when every shred of evidence indicates that Iran is ten years or more away from being able to produce a nuclear weapon.
War is an option now despite what is going on in front of our very eyes in Iraq.

Here’s Clinton:

“U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons,” the Democrat told a crowd of Israel supporters. “In dealing with this threat … no option can be taken off the table.”

Here’s Edwards:

Iran must know that the world won’t back down. The recent UN resolution ordering Iran to halt the enrichment of uranium was not enough. We need meaningful political and economic sanctions. We have muddled along for far too long. To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep ALL options on the table, Let me reiterate – ALL options must remain on the table.

Make no mistake, we all know exactly what they mean by no option: a preventive strike on Iran by US forces. That’s the stated presidential philosophy, that’s what our options are: do nothing or attack.

Here’s my message to both of you: you’re not getting my support now, let alone my vote. Attacking Iran is a mistake of monumental proportions. In addition to the illegality of it. In addition to the inhumanity, immorality, and cowardice of an attack, it will result in the death of thousands of our troops in Iraq and in the Gulf and make us a pariah state on the scale of a late-80s South Africa or an anytime Israel.

If we let this happen, we have all failed, but none so much as those with a voice and the power to derail this train who instead add coal to the furnace.

Jan 31

Get on the phone. Now.

Before the attack on Iran becomes a fait accompli

The Air Force is preparing for an expanded role in Iraq that could include aggressive new tactics designed to deter Iranian assistance to Iraqi militants, senior Pentagon officials said.

The efforts could include more forceful patrols by Air Force and Navy fighter planes along the Iran-Iraq border to counter the smuggling of bomb supplies from Iran, a senior Pentagon official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing future military plans.

Such missions also could position the Air Force to strike suspected bomb suppliers inside Iraq to deter Iranian agents that U.S. officials say are assisting Iraqi militias, outside military experts said.

Note: this is in addition to making a Naval officer (with specialty in air strikes) head of CENTCOM and the current bullshit whispers about us killing Iranian agents who were mixed in with the Iraqi militias.

Look, they – the authoritarian nutbags in the administration – are going to attack Iran unless we do something about it.

So do something, already.

Jan 15

Say No to Attacking Iran

Watching and listening to the members of the Bush administration in their public speaking, it is increasingly clear that they are planning preemptive naval and air strikes on targets inside Iran.

They feel they can do this with no Congressional support.
They feel they can do this with no popular support.
They feel they can do this with impunity and at any time they so choose.

Because in their world view – now fully supported by their handpicked regulatory agency heads and their legal lackeys – that the president is accountable to no one in a time of war … and the president is the only one who gets to determine when we are in a state of war or what war is.

Welcome the Bush imperial presidency.

Evidence? We’ve already attacked an Iranian consulate in Iraq. We’ve arrested Iranian diplomats inside Iraq. Condi’s statements this week were full of prevarications when it came to intent with Iran and also threw in language obviously intended to create a fig leaf for causus belli. They administration is on record hoping for a Gulf of Tonkin incident (in Iraq there, but they discussed plans to fabricate an incident if no argument otherwise could be found), and they’ve been goading the Iranians for months. Years, if Sy Hersh is correct… and I think we know that he is.

And now these insane, bloodthirsty, chickenhawks need to slake their thirst in Iran.

Ignore for the moment that such a strike is unwise, illegal, and a violation of everything this country has ever stood for – I will make this plain: an attack on Iran will result in the deaths of thousands of US troops. Sadr runs Iraq, is tight with the Iranians, and has the ability to interdict our troops logistics. If we attack Iran, it is going to make Chosin Reservoir look like a walk in the park. We don’t have the airpower or naval capacity to fully resupply our troops throughout the country and our army will be forced to retreat to a few isolated bases in major ports. Not only will our army be in trouble, but Iran is going to make life for our navy pay and pay heavily. The Gulf is a tiny area, Iran has multitudes of very good, very fast anti ship missiles. Shipping as a whole will come to a halt, but if we don’t lose a good number of ships, I will be surprised (or it will be because they’re not actually in the Gulf and thus are not in full support of the ground). One carrier sinks and the entire endeavor just became a miserable failure.

Now is the time to stand up. Call your congresspersons and tell them to speak out publicly against attacking Iran.

I also think it timely for us to start the articles of impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors. One would think that the deaths of more than 100,000 people and the destruction of American goodwill and power worldwide ought to be enough to qualify. Then again, there’s no blowjob involved.

Stand up and say no to an insane, illegal, preemptive strike against Iran. Do it now. All we can do is call our representatives, but what they can do is make it a constitutional issue.

What say you, presumptive Dem ’08 nominees? Where’s Hilary? Obama? Edwards (note: he’s not in congress, of course)? More triangulation from the first two and the latter’s focusing on the McCain/Lieberman/Bush escalation AFAIK.

And if anyone needs a top-notch lawyer to draft up the articles of impeachment for you, I’m here for you.

Update: Edwards has come out strongly against escalation, so I’ll consider him anti-Iran as well. Obama is still triangulating (grr). General Clark (still my fav candidate) is also outspoken in opposition to the escalation and exceedingly concerned about Iran. Go Clark!

Jan 11

Attack Iran? You betcha!

I’m putting the over/under on “some time in the next 3 months… whenever that best weather month is.” From last night’s speech

Though President Bush’s national address Wednesday night was about Iraq, his most provocative comments focused on her neighbor, Iran.

Early in his speech Bush raised the matter of Iran, suggesting that if U.S. efforts to secure Iraq failed, “Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

Bush blamed both Syria and Iran in helping radical insurgents within Iraq.

“These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq,” he said.

He then singled out Iran, adding that she “is providing material support for attacks on American troops.”

Bush made an implied military threat against both nations: “We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

The President continued in this vein, suggesting a larger U.S. goal of stopping Iran’s nuclear program:

“We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence sharing — and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies.

So you’ve got a 30% approval president pursuing a 12% approval strategy of escalation pumping a sub-5% new attack on a new target that is not threatening us… tell me again how we’re living in a democracy instead of an authoritarian banana republic?

Jan 08

No Surge

Though We, the People, are essentially powerless to stop this insane escalation of an idiotic war as perpetuated by an unaccountable authoritarian/Caligula-liite, I cannot stand idly by as the AWOL preznit sends more of your sons and daughters to die in the sands of Iraq.

No Surge.

No McCain/Lieberman magic pony plan.

No Surge.

No Bush/Cheney oedipal dreams of imperial grandeur.

No more.

If you can call your congresscritters to register your opposition to this latest infernal idiocy (which, by the way, is also a precursor to the likely upcoming naval and air strikes on Iran – this is America, how?). You are not alone and maybe, just maybe, enough voices working together can stop this insanity.

Dec 29

Saddam Hussein hanged

It’s official

Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging shortly before 6 a.m. (10:00 p.m. EST) on Saturday, U.S.-backed Iraqi television station Al Hurra and Arabic satellite channel Arabiya said.

There’s nothing like a kangaroo court in an illegitimate and unjust legal system executing a former dictator in secret to really bring home my country’s support of the Rule of Law and security in the righteousness of our actions.

Imagine how much weaker we would have looked had we sent Saddam to the International Crime tribunal, presented actual evidence in an impartial court, and then acted on that courts judgment. I sure am glad we didn’t go that option. Non sureties are for wimps.

Nov 14

The Mengele Act

The passage of the Torture Act Military Commissions Act continues to be a shame on America’s history and a danger to our civil liberties daily. Take, for example, the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri.

In 2001, al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar, was in the United States legally, on a student visa. He was a computer science graduate student at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, where he had earned an undergraduate degree a decade earlier. In Peoria, he lived with his wife and five children.

In December, 2001 he was detained as a “material witness” to suspected acts of terrorism and ultimately charged with various terrorism-related offenses, mostly relating to false statements the FBI claimed he made as part of its 9/11 investigation. Al-Marri vehemently denied the charges, and after lengthy pre-trial proceedings, his trial on those charges was scheduled to begin on July 21, 2003.

But his trial never took place, because in June, 2003 — one month before the scheduled trial — President Bush declared him to be an “enemy combatant.” As a result, the Justice Department told the court it wanted to turn him over to the U.S. military, and thus asked the court to dismiss the criminal charges against him, and the court did so (the dismissal was “with prejudice,” meaning he can’t be tried ever again on those charges). Thus, right before his trial, the Bush administration simply removed Al-Marri from the jurisdiction of the judicial system — based solely on the unilateral order of the President — and thus prevented him from contesting the charges against him.

Instead, the administration immediately transferred al-Marri to a miltiary prison in South Carolina (where the administration brings its “enemy combatants” in order to ensure that the executive-power-friendly 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over all such cases). Al-Marri was given the “Padilla Treatment” — kept in solitary confinement, denied all contact with the outside world, including even his own attorneys, not charged with any crimes, and given no opportunity to prove his innocence. Instead, the Bush administration simply asserted the right to detain him indefinitely without so much as charging him with anything.

Last month, Congress endorsed this behavior and expressly vested the President with the power of indefinite, unreviewable detentions when it enacted the so-called Military Commissions Act of 2006.

If this doesn’t shock you into action or revolt your sense of justice and what it means to be American, then nothing will. As Greenwald notes, the US Department of Justice is now officially claiming that immigrants seized on our shores can be held indefinitely, with no recourse to any element of our judicial system. No habeas corpus, no open trials, no advocates for their cause, no fair trials.

I’m proud to be an American.

I have no idea what this country I’m currently residing in should be called.

Nov 12

Shameless

White House war pigs use props of the twin towers in a veteran’s day message to the troops:

After months of studied ambiguity, President Bush finally admitted that Iraq had “nothing” to do with the attack on the World Trade Center. The Defense Department, however, appears determined to perpetuate the myth.

Today, the administration released veterans day messages from troops in Iraq. These “taped messages from the U.S. Defense Department” featured a replica of the twin towers in the background.

Who exactly are they trying to fool? Whom do they think they are fooling? They might as well have hung a “Mission Accomplished” banner on the set as well.