On George W Bush’s escalation of the Iraq war: criticism in the US Senate.
Police harassment of US pro peace demonstrators there: here.
Reactions in Britain: here.
Criticism of Bush’s plans by Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot.
On George W Bush’s escalation of the Iraq war: criticism in the US Senate.
Police harassment of US pro peace demonstrators there: here.
Reactions in Britain: here.
Criticism of Bush’s plans by Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot.
*Bush’s legacy: The president who cried wolf*
Posted by: “hapi22” firstname.lastname@example.org robinsegg
Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:47 pm (PST)
I think it is time to remove Bush from office for medical reasons … he
is clinically “disturbed.”.
Yeah …. yeah …. I know the Constitution does not provide for
removing a president from office for being insane, but maybe some decent
Republicans could do an intervention and coax him into retiring.
Well, I can dream, can’t I?
*Bush’s legacy: The president who cried wolf*
In a special comment, Keith Olbermann says Bush’s plan for Iraq is a
failure because it is dependent on the president’s credibility.
by Keith Olbermann
Anchor, ‘Countdown’ – MSNBC
Jan 11, 2007
Only this president, only in this time, only with this dangerous,
even messianic certitude, could answer a country demanding an exit
strategy from Iraq, by offering an entrance strategy for Iran.
Only this president could look out over a vista of 3,008 dead and 22,834
wounded in Iraq, and finally say, “Where mistakes have been made, the
responsibility rests with me” — only to follow that by proposing to
repeat the identical mistake … in Iran.
Only this president could extol the “thoughtful recommendations of the
Iraq Study Group,” and then take its most far-sighted recommendation —
“engage Syria and Iran” — and transform it into “threaten Syria and
Iran” — when al-Qaida would like nothing better than for us to threaten
Syria, and when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would like nothing
better than to be threatened by us.
This is diplomacy by skimming; it is internationalism by drawing
pictures of Superman in the margins of the text books; it is a
presidency of Cliff Notes.
And to Iran and Syria — and, yes, also to the insurgents in Iraq — we
must look like a country run by the equivalent of the drunken pest who
gets battered to the floor of the saloon by one punch, then staggers to
his feet, and shouts at the other guy’s friends, “Ok, which one of you
Mr. Bush, the question is no longer “what are you thinking?,” but rather
“are you thinking at all?”
“I have made it clear to the prime minister and Iraq’s other leaders
that America’s commitment is not open-ended,” you said last night.
And yet — without any authorization from the public, which spoke so
loudly and clearly to you in November’s elections — without any
consultation with a Congress (in which key members of your own party,
including Sens. Sam Brownback, Norm Coleman and Chuck Hagel, are fleeing
for higher ground) — without any awareness that you are doing exactly
the opposite of what Baker-Hamilton urged you to do — you seem to be
ready to make an open-ended commitment (on America’s behalf) to do
whatever you want, in Iran.
Our military, Mr. Bush, is already stretched so thin by this bogus
adventure in Iraq that even a majority of serving personnel are willing
to tell pollsters that they are dissatisfied with your prosecution of
It is so weary that many of the troops you have just consigned to Iraq
will be on their second tours or their third tours or their fourth tours
— and now you’re going to make them take on Iran and Syria as well?
Who is left to go and fight, sir?
Who are you going to send to “interrupt the flow of support from Iran
Laura and Barney?
The line is from the movie “Chinatown” and I quote it often: “Middle of
a drought,” the mortician chuckles, “and the water commissioner drowns.
Only in L.A.!”
Middle of a debate over the lives and deaths of another 21,500 of our
citizens in Iraq, and the president wants to saddle up against Iran and
Maybe that’s the point — to shift the attention away from just how
absurd and childish this latest war strategy is, (strategy, that is,
for the war already under way, and not the one on deck).
We are going to put 17,500 more troops into Baghdad and 4,000 more into
Anbar Province to give the Iraqi government “breathing space.”
In and of itself that is an awful and insulting term.
The lives of 21,500 more Americans endangered, to give “breathing space”
to a government that just turned the first and perhaps the most sober
act of any democracy — the capital punishment of an ousted dictator —
into a vengeance lynching so barbaric and so lacking in the solemnities
necessary for credible authority, that it might have offended the Ku
Klux Klan of the 19th century.
And what will our men and women in Iraq do?
The ones who will truly live — and die — during what Mr. Bush said
last night will be a “year ahead” that “will demand more patience,
sacrifice, and resolve”?
They will try to seal Sadr City and other parts of Baghdad where the
civil war is worst.
Mr. Bush did not mention that while our people are trying to do that,
the factions in the civil war will no longer have to focus on killing
each other, but rather they can focus anew on killing our people.
Because last night the president foolishly all but announced that we
will be sending these 21,500 poor souls, but no more after that, and if
the whole thing fizzles out, we’re going home.
The plan fails militarily.
The plan fails symbolically.
The plan fails politically.
Most importantly, perhaps, Mr. Bush, the plan fails because it still
depends on your credibility.
You speak of mistakes and of the responsibility “resting” with you.
But you do not admit to making those mistakes.
And you offer us nothing to justify this clenched fist toward Iran and
In fact, when you briefed news correspondents off-the-record before the
speech, they were told, once again, “if you knew what we knew … if you
saw what we saw … ”
“If you knew what we knew” was how we got into this morass in Iraq in
the first place.
The problem arose when it turned out that the question wasn’t whether we
knew what you knew, but whether you knew what you knew.
You, sir, have become the president who cried wolf.
All that you say about Iraq now could be gospel.
All that you say about Iran and Syria now could be prescient and
We no longer have a clue, sir.
We have heard too many stories.
Many of us are as inclined to believe you just shuffled the director of
national intelligence over to the State Department because he thought
you were wrong about Iran.
Many of us are as inclined to believe you just put a pilot in charge of
ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because he would be truly useful in
an air war next door in Iran.
Your assurances, sir, and your demands that we trust you, have lost all
shape and texture.
They are now merely fertilizer for conspiracy theories.
They are now fertilizer, indeed.
The pile has been built slowly and with seeming care.
I read this list last night, before the president’s speech, and it bears
repeating because its shape and texture are perceptible only in such a
Before Mr. Bush was elected, he said nation-building was wrong for
Now he says it is vital.
He said he would never put U.S. troops under foreign control.
Last night he promised to embed them in Iraqi units.
He told us about WMD.
He has told us the war is necessary:
Because Saddam was a material threat.
Because of 9/11.
Because of Osama Bin Laden. Al-Qaida. Terrorism in general.
To liberate Iraq. To spread freedom. To spread Democracy. To prevent
terrorism by gas price increases.
Because this was a guy who tried to kill his dad.
Because — 439 words in to the speech last night — he trotted out 9/11
In advocating and prosecuting this war he passed on a chance to get Abu
To get Muqtada Al-Sadr. To get Bin Laden.
He sent in fewer troops than the generals told him to. He ordered the
Iraqi army disbanded and the Iraqi government “de-Baathified.”
He short-changed Iraqi training. He neglected to plan for widespread
looting. He did not anticipate sectarian violence.
He sent in troops without life-saving equipment. He gave jobs to foreign
contractors, and not Iraqis. He staffed U.S. positions there, based on
partisanship, not professionalism.
He and his government told us: America had prevailed, mission
accomplished, the resistance was in its last throes.
He has insisted more troops were not necessary. He has now insisted more
troops are necessary.
He has insisted it’s up to the generals, and then removed some of the
generals who said more troops would not be necessary.
He has trumpeted the turning points:
The fall of Baghdad, the death of Uday and Qusay, the capture of Saddam.
A provisional government, a charter, a constitution, the trial of
Saddam. Elections, purple fingers, another government, the death of
He has assured us: We would be greeted as liberators — with flowers;
As they stood up, we would stand down. We would stay the course; we were
never about “stay the course.”
We would never have to go door-to-door in Baghdad. And, last night, that
to gain Iraqis’ trust, we would go door-to-door in Baghdad.
He told us the enemy was al-Qaida, foreign fighters, terrorists,
Baathists, and now Iran and Syria.
He told us the war would pay for itself. It would cost $1.7 billion …
$100 billion … $400 billion … half a trillion. Last night’s speech
alone cost another $6 billion.
And after all of that, now it is his credibility versus that of
generals, diplomats, allies, Democrats, Republicans, the Iraq Study
Group, past presidents, voters last November and the majority of the
Oh, and one more to add, tonight: Oceania has always been at war with
Mr. Bush, this is madness.
You have lost the military. You have lost the Congress to the Democrats.
You have lost most of the Iraqis. You have lost many of the Republicans.
You have lost our allies.
You are losing the credibility, not just of your presidency, but more
importantly of the office itself.
And most imperatively, you are guaranteeing that more American troops
will be losing their lives, and more families their loved ones. You are
This becomes your legacy, sir: How many of those you addressed last
night as your “fellow citizen” you just sent to their deaths.
And for what, Mr. Bush?
So the next president has to pull the survivors out of Iraq instead of
Read this at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16583889/
Hollywood Star: Bush, Cheney Out
Berlin, Jan 11 (Prensa Latina) Hollywood star Tim Robbins, winner of an Oscar for supporting actor in “Mystic River”, called on President Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney to resign.
# US Democrats Knock Iraq Escalation
The 48-year-old actor and director criticized the Iraq war in declarations to the Berlin media, during the presentation of “Catch a Fire”, a film centered on South Africa´s apartheid and in which he stars.
In relation to Bush and Cheney, Robbins asserted they lied regarding the war and are now called to respond for its consequences.
He compared the lies of the governing duet to the scandal over Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.
Why can a political trial be requested for a president lying about a sex story and not against another about information leading to war and the death of more than 100,000 people?, the pacifist artist wondered.
The US must withdraw from Iraq and compensate that population, he emphasized.
Counterpunch – Jan 11, 2007
> > http://www.counterpunch.org/hossein01112007.html
> > The Profits of Escalation:
> > Why the US is Not Leaving Iraq
> > By ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
> > The military-industrial-complex [would] cause military spending to be
> > driven not by national security needs but by a network of weapons
> > makers, lobbyists and elected officials. -Dwight D. Eisenhower
> > There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our
> > homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is
> > simply a racket. -General Smedley D. Butler
> > Neither the Iraq Study Group nor other establishment critics of the Iraq
> > war are calling for the withdrawal of US troops from that country. To the
> > extent that the Study Group or the new Congress purport to inject some
> > “realism” into the Iraq policy, such projected modifications do not seem
> > amount to more than changing the drivers of the US war machine without
> > changing its destination, or objectives: control of Iraq’s political and
> > economic policies.
> > In light of fact that by now almost all of the factions of the ruling
> > circles, including the White House and the neoconservative war-mongerers,
> > acknowledge the failure of the Iraq war, why, then, do they balk at the
> > idea of pulling the troops out of that country?
> > Perhaps the shortest path to a relatively satisfactory answer would be to
> > follow the money. The fact is that not everyone is losing in Iraq. Indeed,
> > while the Bush administration’s wars of choice have brought unnecessary
> > death, destruction, and disaster to millions, including many from the
> > Unites States, they have also brought fortunes and prosperity to war
> > profiteers. At the heart of the reluctance to withdraw from Iraq lies the
> > profiteers’ unwillingness to give up further fortunes and spoils of war.
> > Pentagon contractors constitute the overwhelming majority of these
> > profiteers. They include not only the giant manufacturing contractors such
> > as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing, but also a complex maze
> > over 100,000 service contractors and sub-contractors such as private army
> > or security corporations and “reconstruction” firms. These contractors
> > of both deconstruction and “reconstruction,” whose profits come mainly
> > the US treasury, have handsomely profited from the Bush administration’s
> > wars of choice.
> > A time-honored proverb maintains that wars abroad are often continuations
> > of wars at home. Accordingly, recent US wars abroad seem to be largely
> > reflections of domestic fights over national resources, or public finance:
> > opponents of social spending are using the escalating Pentagon budget (in
> > combination with drastic tax cuts for the wealthy) as a cynical and
> > roundabout way of redistributing national income in favor of the wealthy.
> > As this combination of increasing military spending and decreasing tax
> > liabilities of the wealthy creates wide gaps in the Federal budget, it
> > justifies the slashing of non-military public spending-a subtle and
> > insidious policy of reversing the New Deal reforms, a policy that,
> > incidentally, started under President Ronald Reagan.
> > Meanwhile, the American people are sidetracked into a debate over the grim
> > consequences of a “pre-mature” withdrawal of US troops from Iraq: further
> > deterioration of the raging civil war, the unraveling of the “fledgling
> > democracy,” the resultant serious blow to the power and prestige of the
> > United States, and the like.
> > Such concerns are secondary to the booming business of war profiteers and,
> > more generally, to the lure or the prospects of controlling Iraq’s
> > and economics. Powerful beneficiaries of war dividends, who are often
> > indistinguishable from the policy makers who pushed for the invasion of
> > Iraq, have been pocketing hundreds of billions of dollars by virtue of
> > More than anything else, it is the pursuit and the safeguarding of those
> > plentiful spoils of war that are keeping US troops in Iraq.
> > (Because the role of oil is discussed extensively by many other
> > and writers, I would focus here on the role of the Pentagon contractors,
> > both as a major driving force to the war on Iraq and a major obstacle in
> > the way of withdrawing from that country.)
> > The rise of the fortunes of the major Pentagon contractors can be
> > in part, by the growth of the Pentagon budget since President George W.
> > Bush arrived in the White House: it has grown by more than 50 percent,
> > nearly $300 billion in 2001 to almost $455 billion in 2007. (These figures
> > do not include the Homeland Security budget, which is $33 billion for the
> > 2007 fiscal year alone, and the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
> > which are fast approaching $400 billion.)
> > Large Pentagon contractors have been the main beneficiaries of this
> > windfall. For example, a 2004 study by The Center for Public Integrity
> > revealed that, for the 19982003 period, one percent of the biggest
> > contractors won 80 percent of all defense contracting dollars. The top ten
> > got 38 percent of all the money. Lockheed Martin topped the list at $94
> > billion, Boeing was second with $81 billion, Raytheon was third (just
> > $40 billion), followed by Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics with
> > $34 billion each.
> > Fantastic returns to these armaments conglomerates have been reflected in
> > the continuing jump in the value of their shares or stocks in the Wall
> > Street: “Shares of U.S. defense companies, which have nearly trebled since
> > the beginning of the occupation of Iraq, show no signs of slowing down….
> > All the defense companies-with very few exceptions-have been doing
> > extremely well with mostly double-digit earnings growth…. The feeling
> > that makers of ships, planes and weapons are just getting into their
> > has driven shares of leading Pentagon contractors Lockheed Martin Corp.,
> > Northrop Grumman Corp., and General Dynamics Corp. to all-time
> > Major beneficiaries of war dividends include not only the giant
> > manufacturing contractors such as Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin,
> > also a whole host of other war-induced service contractors that have
> > mushroomed around the Pentagon and the Homeland Security apparatus in
> > to cash in on the Pentagon’s spending bonanza.
> > A highly profitable and fast growing industry that has evolved out of the
> > Pentagon’s tendency to shower private contractors with tax-payers’ money
> > based on its increasing practice of the outsourcing of the many of the
> > traditional military services to private businesses. “In 1984, almost
> > two-thirds of [the Pentagon’s] contracting budget went for products rather
> > than services…. By fiscal year 2003, 56 percent of Defense Department
> > contracts paid for services rather than goods.”
> > What is more, these services are not limited to the relatively simple or
> > routine tasks and responsibilities such food and sanitation services or
> > building maintenance. More importantly, they include “contracts for
> > services that are highly sophisticated, strategic in nature, and closely
> > approaching core functions that for good reason the government used to do
> > on its own. The Pentagon has even hired contractors to advise it on hiring
> > contractors.”
> > Private security contracting, a lucrative and rapidly growing industry, is
> > a good example of the Pentagon’s policy of outsourcing. These contractors
> > operate on the periphery of U.S. foreign policy by training foreign
> > “security forces,” or by “fighting terrorism.” Often these private
> > corporations are formed by retired Special Forces personnel seeking to
> > market their military expertise to the Pentagon, the State Department, the
> > CIA, or foreign governments.
> > For example, MPRI, one of the largest and most active of these firms,
> > “has trained militaries throughout the world under contract to the
> > Pentagon,” was founded by former Army Chief of Staff Carl Vuono and seven
> > other retired generals. The fortunes of these military training
> > contractors, or modern-day mercenary companies, like those of the
> > manufacturers of military hardware, have skyrocketed by virtue of
> > heightened war and militarism under President George W. Bush. For example,
> > “The per share price of stocks in L3 Communications, which owns MPRI, has
> > more than doubled.”
> > As the Pentagon’s manufacturing contractors such as Lockheed Martin make
> > fortunes through the production of the means of death and destruction,
> > also create profit opportunities for service contractors such as
> > Halliburton that, like vultures, follow the plumes of the smoke of
> > deconstruction and set up shop for “reconstruction.”
> > For example, in the same month (October 2006) that the US forces lost a
> > record number of soldiers in Iraq, and the Iraqi citizens lost many more,
> > Halliburton announced that its third quarter revenue had risen by 19
> > percent to $5.8 billion. This prompted Dave Lesar, the company’s chairman,
> > president and CEO, to declare, “This was an exceptional quarter for
> > Halliburton.”
> > Jeff Tilley, an analyst who does research for Halliburton, likewise
> > out, “Iraq was better than expected…. Overall, there is nothing really
> > to question or be skeptical about. I think the results are very good.”
> > This led many critics to point out scornfully that when around the same
> > time Vice President Dick Cheney told Rush Limbaugh that “if you look at
> > overall situation [in Iraq] they’re doing remarkably well,” he must have
> > been talking about Halliburton.
> > The service and “rebuilding” contractors are frequently called
> > “reconstruction rackets” not only because they obtain generous and often
> > no-bid contracts from their policy-making accomplices, but also because
> > they habitually shirk on their contracts and skimp on what they promise to
> > do. For example, an investigative on-the-ground report from Iraq,
> > by the Institute for Southern Studies and titled “New Investigation
> > Reconstruction Racket,” showed that despite “billions of dollars spent,
> > pieces of Iraq’s infrastructure-power plants, telephone exchanges, and
> > sewage and sanitation systems-have either not been repaired, or have been
> > fixed so poorly that they don’t function.”
> > The report, carried out by Pratap Chatterjee and Herbert Docena and
> > published in the Institutes’ Publication Southern Exposure, further
> > revealed that the giant Pentagon contractor Bechtel “has been given tens
> > millions to repair Iraq’s schools. Yet many haven’t been touched, and
> > several schools that Bechtel claims to have repaired are in shambles. One
> > ‘repaired’ school was overflowing with unflushed sewage.”
> > The report also showed that out of a $2.2 billion “reconstruction”
> > with Halliburton, the company spent only 10 percent on “community
> > rest being spent on servicing U.S. troops and rebuilding oil pipelines.
> > Halliburton has also spent over $40 million in the unsuccessful search for
> > weapons of mass destruction.”
> > The spoils of war and devastation in Iraq have been so attractive that an
> > an extremely large number of war profiteers have set up shop in that
> > country in order to participate in the booty: “There are about 100,000
> > government contractors operating in Iraq, not counting subcontractors, a
> > total that is approaching the size of the U.S. military force there,
> > according to the military’s first census of the growing population of
> > civilians operating in the battlefield,” reported The Washington Post in
> > its 5 December 2006 issue.
> > The report, prepared by Renae Merle, further points out, “In addition to
> > about 140,000 U.S. troops, Iraq is now filled with a hodgepodge of
> > contractors. DynCorp International has about 1,500 employees in Iraq,
> > including about 700 helping train the police force. Blackwater USA has
> > than 1,000 employees in the country, most of them providing private
> > security…. MPRI, a unit of L-3 Communications, has about 500 employees
> > working on 12 contracts, including providing mentors to the Iraqi Defense
> > Ministry for strategic planning, budgeting and establishing its public
> > affairs office. Titan, another L-3 division, has 6,500 linguists in the
> > country.”
> > The fact that powerful beneficiaries of war dividends flourish in an
> > atmosphere of war and international convulsion should not come as a
> > surprise to anyone. What is surprising is that, in the context of the
> > recent US wars of choice, these beneficiaries have also acquired the power
> > of promoting wars, often by manufacturing “external threats to our
> > interest.” In other words, profit-driven beneficiaries of war have also
> > evolved as war makers, or contributors to war making.
> > The following is a sample of such unsavory businesspolitical
> > as reported by Walter F. Roche and Ken Silverstein in a 14 July 2004 Los
> > Angeles Times article, titled “Advocates of War Now Profit from Iraq’s
> > Reconstruction:”
> > o Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey is a prominent example of the
> > phenomenon, mixing his business interests with what he contends are the
> > country’s strategic interests.
> > o Neil Livingstone, a former Senate aide who has served as a Pentagon and
> > State Department advisor and issued repeated public calls for Hussein’s
> > overthrow. He heads a Washington-based firm, GlobalOptions, Inc. that
> > provides contacts and consulting services to companies doing business in
> > Iraq.
> > o Randy Scheunemann, a former Rumsfeld advisor who helped draft the Iraq
> > Liberation Act of 1998 authorizing $98 million in U.S. aid to Iraqi exile
> > groups. He was the founding president of the Committee for the Liberation
> > of Iraq. Now he’s helping former Soviet Bloc states win business there.
> > o Margaret Bartel, who managed federal money channeled to Chalabi’s exile
> > group, the Iraqi National Congress, including funds for its prewar
> > intelligence program on Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. She
> > now heads a Washington-area consulting firm helping would-be investors
> > Iraqi partners.
> > o K. Riva Levinson, a Washington lobbyist and public relations specialist
> > who received federal funds to drum up prewar support for the Iraqi
> > Congress. She has close ties to Bartel and now helps companies open doors
> > in Iraq, in part through her contacts with the Iraqi National Congress.
> > o Joe M. Allbaugh, who managed President Bush’s 2000 campaign for the
> > House and later headed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Edward
> > Rogers Jr., an aide to the first President Bush, recently helped set up
> > Bridge Strategies and Diligence, LLC to promote business in postwar
> > Iraq.
> > There are strong indications that these dubious relationships represent
> > more than simple cases of sporadic or unrelated instances of some
> > unscruplulous or rogue elements. Evidence shows that contracts for the
> > “reconstruction” of Iraq were drawn long before the invasion and
> > deconstruction of that country had started. In a fascinating report for
> > Nation magazine, titled “The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” Naomi Klein
> > describes such long-projected “rebuilding” schemes as follows:
> > “Last summer, in the lull of the August media doze, the Bush
> > Administration’s doctrine of preventive war took a major leap forward. On
> > August 5, 2004, the White House created the Office of the Coordinator for
> > Reconstruction and Stabilization, headed by former US Ambassador to
> > Carlos Pascual. Its mandate is to draw up elaborate ‘post-conflict’ plans
> > for up to twenty-five countries that are not, as of yet, in conflict.
> > According to Pascual, it will also be able to coordinate three full-scale
> > reconstruction operations in different countries ‘at the same time,’ each
> > lasting ‘five to seven years.'”
> > Here we get a glimpse of the real reasons or forces behind the Bush
> > administration’s preemptive wars. As Klein puts it, “a government devoted
> > to perpetual pre-emptive deconstruction now has a standing office of
> > perpetual pre-emptive reconstruction.” Klein also documents how (through
> > Pascual’s office) contractors drew “reconstruction” plans in close
> > collaboration with various government agencies and how, at times,
> > were actually pre-approved and paper work completed long before an actual
> > military strike:
> > “In close cooperation with the National Intelligence Council, Pascual’s
> > office keeps ‘high risk’ countries on a ‘watch list’ and assembles
> > rapid-response teams ready to engage in prewar planning and to ‘mobilize
> > and deploy quickly’ after a conflict has gone down. The teams are made up
> > of private companies, nongovernmental organizations and members of think
> > tanks-some, Pascual told an audience at the Center for Strategic and
> > International Studies in October, will have ‘pre-completed’ contracts to
> > rebuild countries that are not yet broken. Doing this paperwork in advance
> > could ‘cut off three to six months in your response time.'”
> > No business model or entrepreneurial paradigm can adequately capture the
> > nature of this kind of scheming and profiteering. Not even illicit
> > businesses based on rent-seeking, corruption or theft can sufficiently
> > describe the kind of nefarious business interests that lurk behind the
> > administration’s preemptive wars. Only a calculated imperial or colonial
> > kind of exploitation, albeit a new form of colonialism or imperialism, can
> > capture the essence of the war profiteering associated with the recent US
> > wars of aggression. As Shalmali Guttal, a Bangalore-based researcher put
> > it, “We used to have vulgar colonialism. Now we have sophisticated
> > colonialism, and they call it ‘reconstruction.'”
> > Classical colonial or imperial powers roamed on the periphery of the
> > capitalist center, “discovered” new territories, and drained them off of
> > their riches and resources. Today there are no new places in our planet to
> > be “discovered.” But there are many vulnerable sovereign countries whose
> > governments can be overthrown, their infrastructures smashed to the
> > and fortunes made as a result (of both destruction and “reconstruction).
> > And herein lies the genius of a parasitically efficient market mechanism,
> > as well as a major driving force behind the Bush administration’s
> > unprovoked unilateral wars of choice.
> > Not only does the new form of imperial or colonial aggression, driven
> > largely by the powerful interests that are vested in the armaments
> > industries and other war-based businesses, bring calamity to the
> > vanquished, but it is also detrimental and burdensome to the victor,
> > namely, the imperium and its citizens. Contrary to the external military
> > operations of past empires, which usually brought benefits not only to the
> > imperial ruling classes but also (through “trickle-down” effects) to their
> > citizens, U.S. military expeditions and operations of late are not
> > justifiable even on the grounds of national economic gains.
> > Indeed, escalating US military expansions and aggressions have become ever
> > more wasteful and cost-inefficient as they are hollowing out the public
> > treasury, undermining social spending, and accumulating national debt.
> > Viewed in this light, the new form of imperialism can perhaps be called
> > “parasitic” imperialism.
> > War profiteering is, of course, not new; it has always existed in the
> > course of the history of warfare. What makes war profiteering in the
> > context of the recent US wars of choice unique and extremely dangerous to
> > world peace and stability, however, is the fact that it has become a major
> > driving force behind war and militarism.
> > This is key to an understanding of why the US ruling elite is reluctant to
> > pull US troops out of Iraq. The reluctance or “difficulty” of leaving Iraq
> > stems not so much from pulling 140,000 troops out of that country as it is
> > from pulling out more than 100,000 contractors. As Josh Mitteldorf of the
> > University of Arizona recently put it, “There are a lot of contractors
> > making a fortune and we don’t want that money tap turned off, even though
> > it is borrowed money, which our children and grandchildren will have to
> > repay.”
> > It follows that US troops will not be withdrawn from Iraq as long as
> > antiwar voices are not raised beyond the premises and parameters of the
> > official narrative or justification of the war: terrorism, democracy,
> > war, stability, human rights, and the like. Antiwar forces need to
> > extricate themselves from the largely diversionary and constraining debate
> > over these secondary issues, and raise public consciousness of the
> > scandalous economic interests that drive the war.
> > It is crucially important that public attention is shifted away from the
> > confining official narrative of the war, parroted by the corporate media
> > and political pundits, to the economic crimes that have been committed
> > because of this war, both in Iraq and here in the United States. It is
> > to make a moral case for restoring Iraqi oil and other assets to the
> > Iraqis. It is also time to make a moral case against the war profiteers’
> > plundering of our treasury, or tax dollars. To paraphrase the late General
> > Smedley D. Butler, most wars could easily be ended-they might not even be
> > started-if profits are taken out of them.
> > NOTES:
> > 1. Renae Merle, “Census Counts 100,000 Contractors in Iraq,” Washington
> > Post (December 5, 2006).
> > 2. The Center for Public Integrity, “Report Finds $362 Billion in No-Bid
> > Contracts at the Pentagon” (September 29, 2004).
> > 3. Bill Rigby, “Defense stocks may jump higher with big profits,” Reuter
> > (April 12, 2006),
> > 4. The Center for Public Integrity, “Outsourcing the Pentagon” (September
> > 29, 2004).
> > 5. Esther Schrader, “Companies Capitalize on War on Terror,” Los Angeles
> > Times (14 April 2002)
> > 6. Steve Young, “What Is Bad for America Is Good for Halliburton… Just
> > Ask the Vice President,” OpEdNews.com (23 October 2006),
> > 7. “War Profiteering,” by Source Watch (a project of the Center for Media
> > Democracy).
> > 8. Renae Merle, “Census Counts 100,000 Contractors in Iraq,” Washington
> > Post (December 5, 2006),
> > 9. William D. Hartung, How Much Are You Making on the War, Daddy? (New
> > York: Nation Books, 2003); Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire (New
> > York: Metropolitan Books, 2004); Ismael Hossein-zadeh, The Political
> > Economy of U.S. Militarism (New York & London: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2006).
> > 10. “War Profiteering,” by Source Watch (a project of the Center for Media
> > & Democracy).
> > 11. Naomi Klein, “The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” The Nation (May 2,
> > 2005).
> > 12. As quoted in Klein, “The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”
> > 13. Josh Mitteldorf, “Why we’re not getting out of Iraq,” Op Ed News
> > (December 8, 2006),
> > 14. Smedley D. Butler, War Is a Racket (Los Angeles: Feral House, 1935
> > ).
> > [Ismael Hossein-zadeh is a professor of economics at Drake University, Des
> > Moines, Iowa. He is the author of the newly published book, The Political
> > Economy of U.S. Militarism His Web page is
> > http://www.cbpa.drake.edu/hossein-zadeh ]
*He’s in the Bunker Now*
Posted by: “hapi22” email@example.com robinsegg
Sat Jan 13, 2007 7:41 pm (PST)
This says it all.
*He’s in the Bunker Now*
by FRANK RICH
The New York Times
January 14, 2007
President Bush always had one asset he could fall back on: the
self-confidence of a born salesman. Like Harold Hill in “The Music Man,”
he knew how to roll out a new product, however deceptive or useless,
with conviction and stagecraft.
What the world saw on Wednesday night was a defeated Willy Loman who
looked as broken as his war. His flop sweat was palpable even if you
turned down the sound to deflect despair-inducing phrases like “Prime
Minister Maliki has pledged …” and “Secretary Rice will leave for the
Mr. Bush seemed to know his product was snake oil, and his White House
handlers did too. In the past, they made a fetish of situating their
star in telegenic settings, from aircraft carriers to Ellis Island. Or
they placed him against Orwellian backdrops shrieking “Plan for
But this time even the audio stuttered, as if in solidarity with
Baghdad’s continuing electricity blackout, and the Oval Office was
ditched, lest it summon up memories of all those past presidential
sightings of light at the end of the Iraqi tunnel. Mr. Bush was banished
to the White House library, where the backdrop was acres of books, to
signify the studiousness of his rethinking of the “way forward.”
“I’m not going to be rushed,” the president said a month ago when
talking about his many policy consultations. He wasn’t kidding. His
ostentatious deep thinking started after Election Day, once he realized
that firing Donald Rumsfeld wouldn’t be enough to co-opt the Iraq Study
Group. He was thinking so hard that he abandoned his initial plan to
announce a strategy before Christmas.
The war, however, refused to take a timeout for the holiday festivities
in Crawford. The American death toll in Iraq, which hovered around 2,840
on Election Day, was nearing 3,020 by Wednesday night.
And these additional lives were sacrificed to what end? All the reviews
and thinking and postponing produced a policy that, as a former top Bush
aide summed it up for The Daily News, is nothing more than “repackaged
stay-the-course dressed up to make it look more palatable.”
The repackaging was half-hearted as well. Not for nothing did the “way
forward,” a rubric the president used at least 27 times in December, end
up on the cutting-room floor. The tossing of new American troops into
Baghdad, a ploy that backfired in Operation Together Forward last year,
is too transparently the way backward.
“Victory” also received short shrift, downsized by the president to the
paltry goal of getting “closer to success.” The “benchmarks” he cited
were so vague that they’d be a disgrace to No Child Left Behind. And no
wonder: in November, Mr. Bush couldn’t even get our devoted ally, Prime
Minister Nuri al-Maliki, to show up for dinner at their summit in Amman,
let alone induce him to root out Shiite militias.
The most muscle the former Mr. Bring-‘Em-On could muster in Wednesday’s
speech was this: “If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its
promises, it will lose the support of the American people.” Since that
support vanished long ago, it’s hard to imagine an emptier threat or a
more naked confession of American impotence, all the more pathetic in a
speech rattling sabers against Syria and Iran.
Mr. Bush’s own support from the American people is not coming back. His
“new” Iraq policy is also in defiance of Iraqi public opinion , the
Joint Chiefs, the Baker-Hamilton grandees, and Mr. Maliki, who six weeks
ago asked for a lower American profile in Iraq.
Which leaves you wondering exactly who is still in the bunker with the
president besides the first lady and Barney.
It’s a very short list led by John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and
neo-conservative dead-enders like William Kristol and Frederick Kagan,
who congregate at The Weekly Standard and the American Enterprise
Institute, the Washington think tank.
The one notable new recruit is Rudy Giuliani, who likened taming Baghdad
to “reducing crime in New York” without noticing that even after the
escalation there will be fewer American troops patrolling Baghdad than
uniformed police officers in insurgency-free New York City.
Mr. Kagan, a military historian, was sent by the White House to sell its
policy to Senate Republicans. It was he, Mr. Kristol and the retired
Gen. Jack Keane who have most prominently pushed for this escalation and
who published studies and editorials credited with defining it.
Given that these unelected hawks are some of the same great thinkers who
promoted the Iraq fiasco in the first place, it is hard to imagine why
this White House continues to listen to them. Or maybe not that hard. In
a typical op-ed article, headlined “Stay the Course, Mr. President!,”
Mr. Kagan wrote in The Los Angeles Times in 2005: “Despite what you may
have read, the military situation in Iraq today is positive.”
Yet Mr. Bush doesn’t even have the courage of his own disastrous
convictions: he’s not properly executing the policy these guys sold him.
In The Washington Post on Dec. 27, Mr. Kagan and General Keane wrote
that escalation could only succeed “with a surge of at least 30,000
combat troops” — a figure that has also been cited by Mr. McCain. (Mr.
Kagan put the figure at 50,000 to 80,000 in a Weekly Standard article
three weeks earlier. Whatever.) By any of these neocons’ standards, the
Bush escalation of some 20,000 is too little, not to mention way too
The discrepancy between the policy that Mr. Bush nominally endorses and
the one he actually ordered up crystallizes the cynicism of this entire
If you really believe, as the president continues to put it, that Iraq
is the central front in “the decisive ideological struggle of our time,”
then you should be in favor of having many more troops than we’ve ever
had in Iraq. As T. X. Hammes, an insurgency expert and a former marine,
told USA Today, that doesn’t now mean a “dribble” (as he ridicules the
“surge”) but a total of 300,000 armed coalition forces over a minimum of
But that would mean asking Americans for sacrifice, not giving us tax
cuts. Mr. Bush has never asked for sacrifice and still doesn’t. If his
words sound like bargain-basement Churchill, his actions have been
The president’s resolutely undermanned war plan indicated from Day 1
that he knew in his heart of hearts that Iraq was not the central front
in the war against 9/11 jihadism he had claimed it to be, only the
reckless detour that it actually was. Yet the war’s cheerleaders, neocon
and otherwise, disingenuously blamed our low troop strength almost
exclusively on Mr. Rumsfeld.
Now that the defense secretary is gone, what are they to do? For
whatever reason, you did not hear Mr. Kagan, General Keane or Mr. McCain
speak out against Mr. Bush’s plan even though it’s insufficient by their
own reckoning — just a repackaged continuance of the same “Whac-A-Mole”
half-measures that Mr. McCain has long deplored.
Surely the senator knows that, as his loosey-goosey endorsement attests.
(On Friday, he called the Bush plan “the best chance of success” while
simultaneously going on record that “a small, short surge would be the
worst of all worlds.”)
The question now is how to minimize the damage before countless more
Americans and Iraqis are slaughtered to serve the president’s endgame of
passing his defeat on to the next president. The Democrats can have all
the hearings they want, but they are unlikely to take draconian action
(cutting off funding) that would make them, rather than Mr. Bush,
politically vulnerable to blame for losing Iraq.
I have long felt that it will be up to Mr. Bush’s own party to ring down
the curtain on his failed policy, and after the 2006 midterms, that is
more true than ever. The lame-duck president, having lost both houses of
Congress and at least one war (Afghanistan awaits), has nothing left to
lose. That is far from true of his party.
Even conservatives like Sam Brownback of Kansas and Norm Coleman of
Minnesota started backing away from Iraq last week. Mr. Brownback is
running for president in 2008, and Mr. Coleman faces a tough re-election
fight. But Republicans not in direct electoral jeopardy (George
Voinovich of Ohio, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska) are also starting to waver.
It’s another Vietnam-Watergate era flashback. It wasn’t Democrats or the
press that forced Richard Nixon’s abdication in 1974; it was dwindling
Republican support. Though he had vowed to fight his way through a
Senate trial, Nixon folded once he lost the patriarchal leader of his
party’s right wing.
That leader was Barry Goldwater, who had been one of Nixon’s most loyal
and aggressive defenders until he finally realized he’d been lied to
once too often.
If John McCain won’t play the role his Arizona predecessor once did, we
must hope that John Warner or some patriot like him will, for the good
of the country, answer the call of conscience.
A dangerous president must be saved from himself, so that the American
kids he’s about to hurl into the hell of Baghdad can be saved along with
At 11:21 AM 14/01/07 +0100, you wrote:
> > Counterpunch – Jan 11, 2007
>> >> http://www.counterpunch.org/hossein01112007.html
>> >> The Profits of Escalation:
>> >> Why the US is Not Leaving Iraq
>> >> By ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
I think this article is worth reading and has lots of interesting facts and figures. It is very good in exposing the filthy economic interests which benefit from the Iraq war (and U.S. military spending in general). It is a true indictment of capitalism.
However I believe the CONCLUSIONS reached in this article are very wrong! It argues that the reason that the US doesn’t just withdraw from Iraq, a war they are obviously losing, is because of capitalist CORRUPTION (not capitalism itself). The author implores the antiwar movement to switch course and ONLY talk about the corruption issue, because, according to him, that is the only reason that the war is being continued.
And there he is dead wrong. Economic interests, particularly oil, are indeed a major reason that the Iraq war was begun (as the author agrees). But in that respect, the war has failed: they are barely able to pump oil out of Iraq and that will never pay for the cost of their failed attempt. The reason that the war CONTINUES has a very different reason which the author denies:
>> >> Meanwhile, the American people are sidetracked into a debate over the grim
>> >> consequences of a “pre-mature” withdrawal of US troops from Iraq: further
>> >> deterioration of the raging civil war, the unraveling of the “fledgling
>> >> democracy,” the resultant serious blow to the power and prestige of the
>> >> United States,
But indeed, they cannot withdraw from Iraq because it WOULD be such a blow to the “power and prestige of the United States.” Or let’s call it by its proper name: an EMPIRE. An imperialist empire. It is only to save the empire that they will spend hundreds of billions of dollars and conduct a war that they already realize they can’t win. What they are afraid of is LOSING! What they are afraid of, is for the world to see that they can be defeated and that other nations, movements, and the world’s peoples see their weakness. That is worth much much more than any of the contracts mentioned in this article, even all put together. It is their entire economic SYSTEM which is threatened by a defeat in Iraq, and that is surely worth much more to them.
I believe that they now wish they could just slip out of Iraq without anyone noticing!:-) But of course they can’t! A defeat for them in Iraq would be like the humiliating defeat they suffered (and which they surely remember!) in Vietnam. That historic defeat was the prelude to victorious revolutions in Angola, Nicaragua, and Iran. The US was not in a position to defeat those revolutions largely because the US population would have revolted at the notion of entering another bloody conflict. They even had to end conscription and pardon draft resisters who had fled to Canada. The military became extremely unpopular among Americans and could not be deployed. The defeat in Vietnam marked a clear step in the decline of their empire.
Their clear defeat in Iraq would likewise be an even greater blow to their empire, at a time when social movements are growing against their interests globally and when competing economic blocks (Europe, China, …) are poised to reap the gains from their losses. Thus they must continue their occupation of Iraq in order to continue the level of world domination that they are accustomed to.
Now, the foundation of imperialism is economic in nature, so in the final analysis, yes, it is a war for profits. And as the article points out, the thousands of corporations who are benefiting from contracts in the Iraq war (paid by US taxpayers) certainly have an immediate reason for continuing the war. But that can be better described as “corruption”, albeit on a very large scale. The real “worth” of the war is much much greater than that of any of these corporate leaches. It is the empire. The total empire. That is what is at stake in Iraq.
And that is all the more reason for us to campaign for their defeat, for a huge blow to and eventual END of their imperialist empire and the capitalist system it is based on.
*Kagan knows diddley about Iraq*
Posted by: “hapi22” firstname.lastname@example.org robinsegg
Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:52 pm (PST)
What does Bush’s “surge” guru actually KNOW about Iraq?
As it turns out, not much.
~~ definition for “diddley”: a small worthless amount
BTW, if this war in Iraq is truly the most urgent struggle against evil
of this century — as Bush likes to claim — WHY is he sending ONLY
20,000 extra troops to wage this war? Why doesn’t he ramp up the draft
and send 500,000 troops to do the job right and “defeat the forces of
Is Bush courting DEFEAT in Iraq?
Does Bush WANT to LOSE this war?
Has Bush given up on “victory” in Iraq?
Is Bush a defeatist?
Is Bush willing to lose this most urgent war?
Why is Bush such a pantywaist?
*Kagan knows diddley about Iraq*
by Josh Marshall
Talking Points Memo
Jan. 14, 2007
TPM Reader PS chimes in on our man Fred Kagan …
– – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Just a note on Fred Kagan — the guy is not an expert on
insurgency, civil war, or stability ops. He has a Ph.D in
history, with a focus on the 19th century Russian military.
His major scholarly book is on Napoleon from 1801-5. From what
I can tell, he has no serious background studying the issues
that are at the core of his “surge” plan (his AEI bio page is
below). So I am completely baffled by the extent to which the
media has given him credibility as a “military expert”; one
imagines how the surge would have been received if Kagan was
accurately identified as “an expert on Napoleon and the early
19th century Russian army.” His CV reveals no publications in
refereed history or political science journals in the last
decade. Basically the intellectual architect of the surge is
an oped/Weekly Standard writer whose only substantive
expertise is on Napoleon. Great. . . .
– – – – – – – – – – – – – –
And it gets better.
BelgraviaDispatch notes that Kagan seems to have trimmed his necessary
number for the surge from 80,000 to 30,000 over the three and a half
weeks from early to late December. They’ve got him kowtowing so bad
you’d think the White House were a tenure committee.
And if he’s a Napoleon expert, what does he say about the
Read this WITH LINKS at:
Arab Times (Kuwait City) via Info Clearing House – Jan 14, 2007
> > http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article16169.htm
> > US military strike on Iran seen by April ’07
> > Sea-launched attack to hit oil, N-sites
> > By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
> > Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
> > KUWAIT CITY: Washington will launch a military strike on Iran before April
> > 2007, say sources. The attack will be launched from the sea and Patriot
> > missiles will guard all oil-producing countries in the region, they add.
> > Recent statements emanating from the United States indicate the Bush
> > administration’s new strategy for Iraq doesn’t include any proposal to
> > a compromise or negotiate with Syria or Iran. A reliable source said
> > President Bush recently held a meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney,
> > Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice and
> > other assistants in the White House where they discussed the plan to
> > Iran in minute detail.
> > According to the source, Vice President Dick Cheney highlighted the threat
> > posed by Iran to not only Saudi Arabia but the whole region. “Tehran is
> > playing politics. Iranian leaders are using their country’s religious
> > influence to support the aggressive regime’s ambition to expand,” the
> > source quoted Dick Cheney as saying. Indicating participants of the
> > agreed to impose restrictions on the ambitions of Iranian regime before
> > April 2007 without exposing other countries in the region to any danger,
> > the source said “they have chosen April as British Prime Minister Tony
> > Blair has said it will be the last month in office for him. The United
> > States has to take action against Iran and Syria before April 2007.”
> > Claiming the attack will be launched from the sea and not from any country
> > in the region, he said “the US and its allies will target the oil
> > installations and nuclear facilities of Iran ensuring there is no
> > environmental catastrophe or after effects.” “Already the US has started
> > sending its warships to the Gulf and the build-up will continue until
> > Washington has the required number by the end of this month,” the source
> > said. “US forces in Iraq and other countries in the region will be
> > protected against any Iranian missile attack by an advanced Patriot
> > system.”
> > He went on to say “although US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and
> > of State Dr Condoleezza Rice suggested postponing the attack, President
> > Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney insisted on attacking Tehran without
> > any negotiations based on the lesson they learnt in Iraq recently.” The
> > Bush administration believes attacking Iran will create a new power
> > in the region, calm down the situation in Iraq and pave the way for their
> > democratic project, which had to be suspended due to the interference of
> > Tehran and Damascus in Iraq, he continued. The attack on Iran will weaken
> > the Syrian regime, which will eventually fade away, the source said.
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