More Wars?

GOPSeal Three weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, former U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld established an official military objective of not only removing the Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regime in Iran, as well as in Syria and four other countries in the Middle East, according to a document quoted extensively in then Undersecretary of Defence for Policy Douglas Feith’s recently published account of the Iraq war decisions.

Feith’s account further indicates that this aggressive aim of remaking the map of the Middle East by military force and the threat of force was supported explicitly by the country’s top military leaders.

Feith’s book, ‘War and Decision’, released last month, provides excerpts of the paper Rumsfeld sent to President George W. Bush on Sep. 30, 2001 calling for the administration to focus not on taking down Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network but on the aim of establishing ‘new regimes’ in a series of states by ‘aiding local peoples to rid themselves of terrorists and to free themselves of regimes that support terrorism.’

In quoting from that document, Feith deletes the names of all of the states to be targeted except Afghanistan, inserting the phrase ‘some other states’ in brackets. In a facsimile of a page from a related Pentagon ‘campaign plan’ document, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein regimes are listed as ‘state regimes’ against which ‘plans and operations’ might be mounted, but the names of four other states are blacked out ‘for security reasons’.

Gen. Wesley Clark, who commanded the NATO bombing campaign in the Kosovo War, recalls in his 2003 book ‘Winning Modern Wars’ being told by a friend in the Pentagon in November 2001 that the list of states that Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz wanted to take down included Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia.

Clark writes that the list also included Lebanon. Feith reveals that Rumsfeld’s paper called for getting ‘Syria out of Lebanon’ as a major goal of U.S. policy.

When this writer asked Feith after a recent public appearance which countries’ names were deleted from the documents, he cited security reasons for the deletion. But when he was asked which of the six regimes on the Clark list were included in the Rumsfeld paper, he replied, ‘All of them.’… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <IPS>

This is confirmation of a story I posted here in March, 2007. That story was the video of a statement by Gen. Clark, which I am reposting here:

McCain-redphoneNow we have confirmation from within the inner circle of the GOP Reich that Iraq was only part of a plan for world domination through military force. They made the US a rogue state, and all involved in their attempt to implement this plan should be tried as war criminals.

On the campaign trail, McBoomBoom has promised more wars. I submit to you that these are the wars.


All articles cross-posted from Politics Plus

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War Spending: Defying or Just Posturing?

gop-spin-club Defying President Bush, House Democrats are preparing to forge ahead with a war spending measure that would include extended unemployment assistance and new educational benefits for returning veterans.

After a meeting Monday evening of House Democratic leaders, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she hoped to bring a $178 billion measure to the floor this week. What could be a contentious debate on the matter is likely to be held on Thursday, aides said.

Ms. Pelosi, of California, did not disclose details of the proposed bill, which will be presented to rank-and-file Democrats at a closed party session on Tuesday. But Democratic officials, who did not want to be identified since the bill was still being put into final form, said the legislative package would include provisions requiring a significant withdrawal of troops from Iraq by December 2009 and measures that would force Iraq to share more costs of its reconstruction.

Democrats also intend to make veterans eligible for new educational assistance if they have served from three months to three years or more on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001. The aid would be equivalent to a four-year scholarship at a public university for those with three years or more service, with payments prorated for those with less time.

Mr. Bush has steadily insisted he would not approve any legislation that exceeds his spending request for the war, sets any withdrawal deadlines or adds domestic money he opposes like the unemployment benefits. And House Republicans, angry that the measure is not going through formal committee consideration, began on Monday to open procedural attacks on the House floor in protest, forcing extra votes on noncontroversial measures.

“The Democrat leaders of the House and Senate are attempting to jam a 200-plus-billion-dollar spending bill through the Congress with absolutely no oversight or scrutiny by a vast majority of members, senators or their constituents,” Representative Jerry Lewis of California, the senior Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said in a statement on Monday. “Never in my 30 years in Congress has there been such an abuse of the processes and rules of the House.”

Democrats said privately that they expected the provisions setting a withdrawal deadline and putting other conditions on the war money to be eliminated by the Senate before a final House vote later this spring… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Impeach Of course there is no way this bill can ever get through the automatic GOP filibuster in the Senate.  Nevertheless it’s still a good idea, because it gives GOP Senators a choice to actually do something for America or come down solidly against the unemployed and veterans in the height of election season.

Representative Jerry Lewis needs help for his comedy routine from his side-kick, Dean Martin.  Throughout the GOP dominated 109th, no bill made it to committee without having first been approved by a majority of the House Repuglicans.

Think how much better it would have been if the Democratic majority in the House had wasted time with impeachment hearings instead of with posturing!

No Evidence of Iranian Support for Militias

Bush-Iran Iraq said on Sunday it has no evidence that Iran was supplying militias engaged in fierce street fighting with security forces in Baghdad.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said there was no “hard evidence” of involvement by the neighbouring Shiite government of Iran in backing Shiite militiamen in the embattled country.

Asked about reports that weapons captured from Shiite fighters bore 2008 markings suggesting Iranian involvement, Dabbagh said: “We don’t have that kind of evidence… If there is hard evidence we will defend the country.”

Dabbagh said an Iraqi parliamentary delegation which visited Iran last week had useful discussions with authorities there and secured assurances of support and understanding of the crisis… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Yahoo News>

Bush, McBoomBoom and the GOP are fixing the intelligence around the policy, again.  They are trying to deceive the US public around the war.  Iran’s recent Nobel Laureate has a great take on this:

5Shirin Ebadi Shirin Ebadi wants Americans to do what they can to stop the Bush administration’s threats to bomb Iran as punishment for presumably making nuclear weapons.

“Nuclear weapons are not a daily concern of the people,” said Ebadi. “They want jobs; they want houses; they want health; they want more freedom.”

However, she predicted that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would whip up nationalistic support if Iran were forced into a face-off with the United States, just as it did when Saddam Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. The invasion resulted in an eight-year war between the two countries.

Iranians may criticize their government, but if there is a military attack on Iran, they will defend their own country,” she said. “A government that is in danger from the outside will take any chance to accelerate nationalism inside the country.”

The lawyer, writer, teacher and former judge, became the first Muslim woman and first Iranian to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Iran… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Common Dreams>

She makes an excellent point.  The more militant the US position on Iran, the less likelihood that more progressive Iranians can effect reforms within their country.  The McBoomBoom policy is McSame as the Bush policy: Bomb, bomb Iran.

The Rewards for Killing Our Troops

4KBR In March, House Oversight Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) announced that he was investigating the accidental electrocution of troops in Iraq and pressed Defense Secretary Robert Gates for uncensored details on at least a dozen deaths since 2003. Contractor KBR is at the center of the probe, with questions about whether it irresponsibly ignored wiring problems.

Today, The New York Times has more details on this malpractice, including the fact that senior KBR and Pentagon officials repeatedly ignored warnings by KBR electricians:

One electrician warned his KBR bosses in his 2005 letter of resignation that unsafe electrical work was “a disaster waiting to happen.” Another said he witnessed an American soldier in Afghanistan receiving a potentially lethal shock. A third provided e-mail messages and other documents showing that he had complained to KBR and the government that logs were created to make it appear that nonexistent electrical safety systems were properly functioning.

KBR itself told the Pentagon in early 2007 about unsafe electrical wiring at a base near the Baghdad airport, but no repairs were made. Less than a year later, a soldier was electrocuted in a shower there.

John McLain, the electrician who in 2007 told a visiting defense contracting agency official about his concerns over the logs, was fired shortly after the incident. Another employee “said his KBR bosses mocked him for raising safety issues.”

This sort of refusal to acknowledge and correct errors seems to be standard operating procedure within KBR, unfortunately. Former employee Jamie Leigh Jones revealed that after she was gang-raped by co-workers, not only did the company place her “under guard in a shipping container,” but warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she would lose her job. In an opposite situation, a KBR employee who was “busted by the military” for looting in Iraq was “given a promotion.”

Similarly, Bunnatine “Bunny” Greenhouse, who oversaw contracts for the Army Corps of Engineers, told the Senate in 2005, that KBR represented the “most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career.” Reflecting the Pentagon’s efforts to protect KBR, Greenhouse was demoted almost two months to the day after voicing that critique.

Despite all these irresponsible, unethical actions (as well as providing contaminated water to troops and evading millions in taxes), KBR recently announced that it had tripled its first quarter net profits and received new contracts worth up to $150 million for 10 years to provide assistance to the U.S. military overseas.

Inserted from <Think Progress>

There you have it.  If your company kills US troops through fraudulent contracting practices, you will reap the rewards of record profit and more no-bid contracts from the Bush/McBoomBoom/GOP Reich.  This is especially true is a good chunk of those profits end up in the pockets of ChickenHawk Cheney.

How do they get away with it?  Despite many requests for a DOJ investigation into KBR’s illegal activities, the DOJ has ignored all such requests.  This will not go on indefinitely.  With a Democrat in the White House and an honest AG, the investigations will proceed.  Under a statute from WWII, the federal government can sue them for treble damages.  Unfortunately, they have foreseen this.  As I explained on March 12, 2007,  Halliburton relocated their corporate HQ to Dubai to place themselves out of reach of US courts.  In addition, they spun-off KBR, so it is now a subsidiary.  They can raid the KBR for its assets and let it fail should the judgements pile up.

McCain: War for Oil

McCain-redphone Yesterday McBoomBoom had another accident and, in a move very rare for him, he told the truth. He admitted that the Iraq war was not about WMD, was not about links to Al Qaeda, and was not about freedom for the Iraqi people. Instead, it was about oil! Then, returning to his normal mode, McFlipFlop flip-flopped and claimed that he had intended to mean the first Iraq war. McConJob has a unique way of positioning himself on both sides of every issue. His explanation was quite easy to debunk, and that’s exactly what Keith Olbermann and Rachael Maddow did:

All articles cross-posted from Politics Plus

ChickenHawk 1, Whales 0

3whales Efforts to protect the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale from being killed by ships are being blocked by Vice President Dick Cheney according to leaked documents.

A behind the scenes struggle is raging between the White House and US government scientists who want to force ships to slow down near the calving grounds of the almost extinct right whale.

The right whale controversy is the latest example of the Bush Administration sidestepping the advice of its on scientists which are aimed at protecting endangered species or threats to the environment. On Monday, a judge had to order the administration to release its much-delayed decision aimed at protecting the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.

Only 350 of the whales remain in Atlantic waters off America’s eastern seaboard and they are considered one of the most endangered species on Earth. Government scientists warn that the loss of just one more pregnant female is enough to doom the species, which was almost hunted to extinction in the 19th century.

Every year around three right whales are either injured or killed in collisions with ocean-going vessels like containerized cargo ships even though they are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Right whales frequently wash up on shore bearing deep scars from being struck by ships propellers.

To reduce ship strikes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) decided that ships should restrict their speed to 10 knots or less near whale feeding and calving grounds during parts of the year.

cheney-chickenhawk But Mr Cheney’s office, which tends to operate in secrecy, sent letters repeatedly questioning whether the rule was needed according to leaked documents. Flatly contradicting the scientific research Mr Cheney’s staff argued, “that we have no evidence that lowering the speeds of ‘large ships’ will actually make a difference.”

A critique of the scientists analysis by the administration led to a strongly worded reply in which they said: “The basic facts remain that there is a direct relationship” between a vessel’s speed and the likelihood of death or serious injury to the whale, and “at vessel speeds at or below 10 knots, the probability of death/serious injury is greatly reduced.”

There was, the scientists wrote, “no basis to overturn our previous conclusion that imposing a speed limit on large vessels would be beneficial to whales.”

Congressman Henry Waxman who publicised the correspondence said it was “the latest instance of the White House ignoring scientists and other experts.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <The Independent>

There is only one endangered species we can afford to lose: the ChickenHawk!

The $3 Million Terrorist

2bombing A top insurgent leader in Somalia whom U.S. officials have accused of having ties to al-Qaeda was killed in a U.S. airstrike early Thursday, according to the Islamist group he led.

The attack in the town of Dusa Marreb in central Somalia leveled a house belonging to the reclusive leader, Aden Hashi Ayro, who was inside at the time with at least one of his top commanders, according to his followers.

A spokesman for U.S. Central Command confirmed that the United States had attacked “a known al-Qaeda operative and militia leader” in the vicinity of Dusa Marreb, about 300 miles northeast of Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

A U.S. military official said five Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched against the village from a U.S. naval vessel. The official would not confirm the type of vessel or its home base but said ships from the Navy’s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, “routinely operate in the Horn of Africa area.”

The group that Ayro headed issued a statement calling him a “martyr.”

“We are here informing the Enemy of God” that Ayro’s “trained and educated colleagues are currently in operation. They are committed to the continuation of the Holy War,” said Mukhtar Robow, a spokesman for al-Shabab, the military arm of the Islamic Courts movement that has gained ground recently against Somalia’s weak transitional government and the Ethiopian troops backing it.

The United States recently designated al-Shabab a terrorist organization.

Reports varied on the number of people killed. Abdi Warsame, a headmaster in the area, said he counted 16 bodies strewn around a crater where Ayro’s house used to be, on the western outskirts of town… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Washington Post>

Considering that one Tomahawk cruise missile costs US taxpayers about $600,000, we have paid $3 million to get one rather bush-league terrorist, and that doesn’t account for all the support cost of locating the terrorist and having a ship in position to take him out.

In addition, I have read estimated ranging from fifteen to thirty people killed in the blast, including women and children.  I bet their surviving relatives will be superb PR for the US.

We certainly could have accomplished this mission far less expensively and with far less collateral damage, assuming that the guy was actually a terrorist, and just someone the Bush/McConJob war machine does not like.  On that note, guess who else is on the terrorist watch list:

2mandela Nobel Peace Prize winner and international symbol of freedom Nelson Mandela is flagged on U.S. terrorist watch lists and needs special permission to visit the USA. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls the situation “embarrassing,” and some members of Congress vow to fix it.

The requirement applies to former South African leader Mandela and other members of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC), the once-banned anti-Apartheid organization. In the 1970s and ’80s, the ANC was officially designated a terrorist group by the country’s ruling white minority. Other countries, including the United States, followed suit… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <USA Today>

How many cruise missiles would Bush and McConJob like to use to take him out?