Terrorism On The Rise

April 30, 2007 at 2:28 pm | Posted in Afghanistan, American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq, violence, War | 13 Comments

Let me get this straight, Franklin Roosevelt’s America was attacked ruthlessly by the Japanese on December 7,1941. The very next day, Roosevelt declared war on Japan. (Germany soon declared war on the United States and the United States followed suit). Less than four years later, on August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered (Germany surrendered earlier), and we won that conflict.

Now, we’re doing battle against cave dwellers, and we’re in our SIXTH YEAR, and terrorism is on the rise? What the hell?

Terrorist attacks worldwide shot up by 25 percent between 2005 and last year, killing 40 percent more people as extremists used increasingly lethal means to carry out high-casualty hits, the State Department says.

In its annual global survey of terrorism to be released later Monday, the department says about 14,000 attacks took place in 2006, mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming more than 20,000 lives. That is 3,000 more attacks than in 2005 and 5,800 more deaths, it says.

In addition, the number of injuries from terrorist attacks rose by 54 percent between 2005 and 2006 with a doubling in the number wounded in Iraq over the period, according to the department’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2006.

Now, I gotta say, that should be one CLEAR example that our current strategies are complete and utter failures. We’re the most powerful nation on the planet and we’re letting a bunch of cave dwellers beat the crap out of us like this? I’m still befuddled why ANYONE thinks Bush has done a good job. Just look at the numbers. They tell you everything you need to know. He has no plan that brings about peace and an end to bloodshed. He is a failure, utter and complete.

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New Report Blasts Olmert Over Lebanon War

April 30, 2007 at 9:59 am | Posted in American politics, Hezbollah, Israel, Military, violence, War | 4 Comments

No surprise, but an internal Israeli report excoriates Ehud Olmert for his “severe failure in the lack of judgment, responsibility and caution” in the war over Lebanon last summer. Israel lost about 200 civilians and soldiers, while over 1000 Lebanese civilians died. Yet Israel failed to destroy Hezbollah, and failed to acquire the kidnapped soldiers. (In fact, Israel is now negotiating with Hezbollah on the release of those two soldiers—something they should have done in the first place).

One thing this report does not delve into, because it is an internal Israeli report, is just how the Bush administration prodded Olmert to attack Lebanon and Hezbollah. I mean, who here remembers Condoleezza Rice’s most infamous moment, the birth pangs comment:

“What we’re seeing here, in a sense, is the growing — the birth pangs of a new Middle East. And whatever we do, we have to be certain that we are pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old one. “

One has to wonder just how much pressure the Bush administration put on the Olmert administration to keep at it. I mean who remembers Bill Kristol, the king of the neo-con robbers stating:

Why is this Arab-Israeli war different from all other Arab-Israeli wars? Because it’s not an Arab-Israeli war. Most of Israel’s traditional Arab enemies have checked out of the current conflict. The governments of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia are, to say the least, indifferent to the fate of Hamas and Hezbollah. The Palestine Liberation Organization (Fatah) isn’t a player. The prime mover behind the terrorist groups who have started this war is a non-Arab state, Iran, which wasn’t involved in any of Israel’s previous wars.

What’s happening in the Middle East, then, isn’t just another chapter in the Arab-Israeli conflict. What’s happening is an Islamist-Israeli war. You might even say this is part of the Islamist war on the West — but is India part of the West? Better to say that what’s under attack is liberal democratic civilization, whose leading representative right now happens to be the United States.

Note how much he has to go to stretch the logic. He concludes by saying:

This is our war, too.

Unfortunately, Mr. Kristol was doing what he could to incite violence, because well, this was not our war. This wasn’t even supposed to be a war. This wasn’t the first time (nor will it be the last) that soldiers get kidnapped by Hezbollah to deal out an exchange. This has been happening since 1982. Was such a violent response warranted by the Israelis upon the Lebanese? Well, just look at the results. Hezbollah is still around and they still have the soldiers. Israel is now negotiating to get the soldiers back non-violently. Huh, peaceful methods actually work better than violence. How ’bout that.

Finally, why is someone like Bill Kristol still so trusted on the Middle East? I mean how many times must he get it wrong before he’s finally discredited enough?

Provo Businesses Blacklist BYU Students Who Protested Cheney

April 29, 2007 at 7:37 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, BYU, Cheney, freedom, Mormon, Religion | 12 Comments

I’m not surprised, but Provo businesses are blacklisting students that participated in a protest of Cheney, courtesy of Joe Vogel:

Now BYU Alternative Commencement has received an email from a local businesswoman named Denise Harman, who claims that all BYU students participating in activities against Dick Cheney are being tracked by local businesses. “Many businesses are noting the names involved,” she says.

Why are business tracking the names of soon to be graduating students? “You are being tagged as trouble makers and added to massive ‘Do Not Hire’ lists,” says Denise Harman, who hires hundreds of graduates every year.

She adds curtly, “Just thought you should know that activities have consequences.”

Indeed they do. How utterly childish. Shows you that residents of Provo have a stronger allegiance to one man than they do to democracy or even free speech. I wonder, if a day comes when those protesting rules against Mormonism get blacklisted what they will say…

Active Lieutenant Colonel Writes About Failure in Iraq

April 27, 2007 at 9:57 am | Posted in Afghanistan, American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq, Military, Rumsfeld, Vietnam, violence, War | 3 Comments

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling writes in the Armed Forces Journal about the failures of the generals in Iraq. He steers clear of attacking civilian political leaders (because well, it’s not his field or expertise). But he holds nothing back in stating quite accurately how terribly wrong the generals have been about the war in Iraq. He writes: Continue Reading Active Lieutenant Colonel Writes About Failure in Iraq…

Taliban Takes Over Afghan District

April 27, 2007 at 8:43 am | Posted in Afghanistan, violence, War | Leave a comment

Taliban forces killed the mayor and the police chief in one district and took it over. Meanwhile we’re babysitting a civil war in Iraq. More on that in my next post…….

See! The Surge is “Working”, er, except for all those darn car bombs!

April 26, 2007 at 7:09 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq, Military, violence, War, War on Terror | 6 Comments

Unbelievable…well maybe it is believable, but apparently the Bush administration excludes all the deaths from car bombs when they cite “progress” and a reduction in violence in Iraq. I guess car bombs that kill 150 human beings are so spectacular that they are hard to believe or fathom. Wow.

U.S. officials who say there has been a dramatic drop in sectarian violence in Iraq since President Bush began sending more American troops into Baghdad aren’t counting one of the main killers of Iraqi civilians.

Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn’t include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

President Bush explained why in a television interview on Tuesday. “If the standard of success is no car bombings or suicide bombings, we have just handed those who commit suicide bombings a huge victory,” he told TV interviewer Charlie Rose.

Others, however, say that not counting bombing victims skews the evidence of how well the Baghdad security plan is protecting the civilian population – one of the surge’s main goals.

“Since the administration keeps saying that failure is not an option, they are redefining success in a way that suits them,” said James Denselow, an Iraq specialist at London-based Chatham House, a foreign policy think tank.

I guess if you live in Bizarro World this would make sense, but really, what kind of message are you sending to Americans if you exclude the worst offender of violence from your reports? When one hundred and fifty people die in a car bomb, that is still one hundred and fifty less souls alive in Baghdad.

Bill Moyers’ “Buying the War” Documentary

April 25, 2007 at 10:14 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Media, War, War on Terror | 11 Comments

(UPDATED)

I just finished watching Bill Moyers’ “Buying the War” documentary.

In “Buying the War” Bill Moyers and producer Kathleen Hughes document the reporting of Walcott, Landay and Strobel, the Knight Ridder team that burrowed deep into the intelligence agencies to try and determine whether there was any evidence for the Bush Administration’s case for war. “Many of the things that were said about Iraq didn’t make sense,” says Walcott. “And that really prompts you to ask, ‘Wait a minute. Is this true? Does everyone agree that this is true? Does anyone think this is not true?'”

In the run-up to war, skepticism was a rarity among journalists inside the Beltway. Journalist Bob Simon of 60 Minutes, who was based in the Middle East, questioned the reporting he was seeing and reading. “I mean we knew things or suspected things that perhaps the Washington press corps could not suspect. For example, the absurdity of putting up a connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda,” he tells Moyers. “Saddam…was a total control freak. To introduce a wild card like Al Qaeda in any sense was just something he would not do. So I just didn’t believe it for an instant.” The program analyzes the stream of unchecked information from administration sources and Iraqi defectors to the mainstream print and broadcast press, which was then seized upon and amplified by an army of pundits. While almost all the claims would eventually prove to be false, the drumbeat of misinformation about WMDs went virtually unchallenged by the media. THE NEW YORK TIMES reported on Iraq’s “worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb,” but according to Landay, claims by the administration about the possibility of nuclear weapons were highly questionable. Yet, his story citing the “lack of hard evidence of Iraqi weapons” got little play. In fact, throughout the media landscape, stories challenging the official view were often pushed aside while the administration’s claims were given prominence. “From August 2002 until the war was launched in March of 2003 there were about 140 front page pieces in THE WASHINGTON POST making the administration’s case for war,” says Howard Kurtz, the POST’s media critic. “But there was only a handful of stories that ran on the front page that made the opposite case. Or, if not making the opposite case, raised questions.”

“Buying the War” examines the press coverage in the lead-up to the war as evidence of a paradigm shift in the role of journalists in democracy and asks, four years after the invasion, what’s changed? “More and more the media become, I think, common carriers of administration statements and critics of the administration,” says THE WASHINGTON POST’s Walter Pincus. “We’ve sort of given up being independent on our own.”

This was an excellent documentary. It wasn’t refined, spectacular, but just good hard journalism at work. ( Here is the transcript ) The most astounding part came right at the start. The documentary starts with Bush’s press conference two weeks before the war begins. You can hear Bush himself state it, “it’s a script.” The press conference was scripted just so. Bush would call on certain “journalists” who would lob softballs at him, questions such as “how does your faith help you in this moment?” and other such astoundingly absurd questions to ask two weeks before the war starts.

I remember well those awful dark days before the run up to the war. I kept asking myself, what is going on? How can this be? I remember Colin Powell stating in February 2001 about the sanctions in Iraq working. He said:

We had a good discussion, the Foreign Minister and I and the President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions — the fact that the sanctions exist — not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein’s ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq…

That one briefing that he gave (along with his comments about North Korea in March 2001, which Bush himself publicly rebuked Powell the day after) led me to believe that this Bush administration was not going to be forthcoming, and that I should not trust what they said.

This documentary shows quite well that most Americans had no clue, because well, the media did not give them a big enough clue, that the Bush administration was lying through their teeth. They were doing it so frequently, and they had the platform to do it in (the media) that dissenting views were stifled. Another masterful point in the documentary came when talking about Phil Donahue’s show on MSNBC. He was told by his higher-ups that if he were to have a Scott Ritter on the show, he must have a war proponent there with Mr. Ritter. However, if he were to have a Richard Perle on his show, he didn’t need to find a war dissenter to counter Mr. Perle. More importantly, he was to have two conservatives for every liberal on the show. Now, why did MSNBC feel the need to do this? Why because of none other than Fox News, their main competitor.

These last six years will be viewed as an embarrassment by all future generations of Americans. I hope we become more skeptical of anything that comes out of the mouths of our political and military leaders, and not trust the media to tell us the truth in the future, but I’m not holding my breath.

Finally, these are my comments to Mr. Moyers on his program this evening:

Thank you for your efforts. They did not go unnoticed. I remember reading many of your stories and wondering the very same thing.

Two important points I wish this documentary addressed.

1. In the documentary, Mr. Moyers talks about the UN Inspectors leaving Iraq in 1998. His wording seemed to reflect the “conventional wisdom” pressed hard by neo-conservatives that Saddam kicked the inspectors out, which was not the case at all. In fact, it was President Clinton who ordered them out after the Americans were discovered to be spying on Iraq. I wonder why this bit of information was not disclosed in this documentary. It shows that this failure on the part of the media was certainly around from even before 9/11.

2. Colin Powell stated in February 2001 in a press conference with the Egyptian foreign minister that sanctions in Iraq worked and that Saddam was not really a threat. His own words:

We had a good discussion, the Foreign Minister and I and the President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions — the fact that the sanctions exist — not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein’s ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq…

I was disappointed that this bit of information was also not present in the documentary. Ms. Rice also said something to the same effect in the summer of 2001 (all of course before the paradigm-shifting 9/11, as Donald Rumsfeld liked to point out often).

Otherwise, I appreciate greatly the efforts of Mr. Moyers and all those who participated with him in shedding more light on one of our darkest hours.

(Update)

Christy Hardin Smith writes at Firedoglake about her thoughts on the documentary:

Having done graduate work in security studies and had classes through the years with people who have actually looked at these issues for a living, I can honestly tell you that certainty of the evidence on something like this is a dead giveaway that someone is selling you a load of crap.

The White House Iraq Group did an excellent sales job. And the people that should have been the most skeptical fell for it hook, line, and sinker…because it was easier that way on their immediate personal connections, on their reputations, on their corporate bottom line. And on their immediate political aspirations, in the case of far too many elected representatives.

After watching the Moyers special last night, I was infuriated. This morning, sipping my first cup of coffee and trying to make some sense of it all, I’m still angry. So I’m going to watch it again later, with a pot of tea, and see if I can glean something beyond “the truth really, really hurts…all of us.”

Barry Yourgrau writes in the Huffington Post about the notable absence of a review on the New York Times of Moyers’ documentary.

Welcome to the post-David Halberstam NY Times. Where today they write up the rapper-Imus nexus and some “controversial” book about mothers who stay at home. And a PBS show about Roosevelt.

But nada about this country being conned into a war: a conjob in broad daylight, that is, with cameras running.

The con job continues right in front of our eyes, right in broad daylight.

Digby writes:

I guess it’s not so surprising that the NY Times didn’t bother to review this. It’s cowardly, however.

Those of us who have been following this story in depth from the beginning know most of this, of course. But I’m glad that Moyers has amassed the footage and put it all in one place so that people can see it again in its glory. It’s a big story and I’ll be interested to see how many of the most dizzying moments during that long national acid trip Moyers was able to capture…

A whole bunch of America sat there watching these sycophantic performances with our jaws agape, wondering if we had lost our minds. Bush was barely articulate, as usual, mouthing the worst kind of puerile platitudes (when he was coherent at all) while the press corps slavered over him as if he were Cicero. Bush, the clearly in-over-his-head man-child was molded into a hero and cheered by the media as he led this country into the dark, morass of an illegal war in the middle east. It was the most disorienting thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.

There are many similar memories of that bizarre period, which, looking back, I realize were a strange kind of book-end to the equally freakish Clinton impeachment — the earlier story marked by its triviality and the latter by its terrible seriousness. Yet the press behaved in both as if they were cheerleaders for the Republican line not skeptics or fact-finders (and certainly not truth-tellers) while half the American public and most of the world looked on in utter disbelief. It was a very bad time. And I wasn’t sure if we would ever be able to sort it all out. I’m still not.

Matt Taibbi wrote about the shady press conference way back in 2003:

The Bush press conference to me was like a mini-Alamo for American journalism, a final announcement that the press no longer performs anything akin to a real function. Particularly revolting was the spectacle of the cream of the national press corps submitting politely to the indignity of obviously pre-approved questions, with Bush not even bothering to conceal that the affair was scripted.

Abandoning the time-honored pretense of spontaneity, Bush chose the order of questioners not by scanning the room and picking out raised hands, but by looking down and reading from a predetermined list. Reporters, nonetheless, raised their hands in between questions–as though hoping to suddenly catch the president’s attention.

In other words, not only were reporters going out of their way to make sure their softballs were pre-approved, but they even went so far as to act on Bush’s behalf, raising their hands and jockeying in their seats in order to better give the appearance of a spontaneous news conference.

Even Bush couldn’t ignore the absurdity of it all. In a remarkable exchange that somehow managed to avoid being commented upon in news accounts the next day, Bush chided CNN political correspondent John King when the latter overacted his part, too enthusiastically waving his hand when it apparently was, according to the script, his turn anyway.

KING: “Mr. President.”

BUSH: “We’ll be there in a minute. King, John King. This is a scripted…”

A ripple of nervous laughter shot through the East Room. Moments later, the camera angle of the conference shifted to a side shot, revealing a ring of potted plants around the presidential podium. It would be hard to imagine an image that more perfectly describes American political journalism today: George Bush, surrounded by a row of potted plants, in turn surrounded by the White House press corps.

“This is scripted.” Indeed, Mr. President. Indeed.

(Update)

Digby writes about another incident of someone speaking out and losing her job because she spoke out against the media establishment and the way they drove the war. Highly recommended reading.

Perhaps someone with more stature than Banfield could have gotten away with that speech and maybe it might have even been taken seriously, who knows? But the object lesson could not have been missed by any of the ambitious up and comers in the news business. If a TV journalist publicly spoke the truth anywhere about war, the news, even their competitors — and Banfield spoke the truth in that speech — their career was dead in the water. Even the girl hero of 9/11 (maybe especially the girl hero of 9/11) could not get away with breaking the CW code of omerta and she had to pay.

She’s now a co-anchor on a Court TV show.

An Excellent Analysis of the Situation in the Middle East

April 25, 2007 at 9:38 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq, Military, War, War on Terror | 3 Comments

Wow, it sure is hard to find such clear and level-headed analysis of the current situation in the Middle East. Hussein Agha writes for the Guardian, showing what each nation in the Middle East sees in America’s occupation of Iraq, and how they exploit it for their own purposes. Clearly no nation in the Middle East wishes for America to leave, but not because the powder keg will explode, but rather, because each nation won’t be able to use the Americans for their own political gains anymore. Mr. Agha writes: Continue Reading An Excellent Analysis of the Situation in the Middle East…

“I Was Ordered Not To Tell Them”

April 24, 2007 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Afghanistan, American politics, Bush Administration, Military, War | Leave a comment

U.S. Army Specialist Bryan O’Neal testified today in Congress that he was ordered “not to tell them” meaning Pat Tillman’s brother or family that Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.

He said he was given the order by then-Lt. Col. Jeff Bailey, the battalion commander who oversaw Tillman’s platoon.

Pat Tillman’s brother Kevin was in a convoy behind his brother when the incident happened, but didn’t see it. O’Neal said Bailey told him specifically not to tell Kevin Tillman that the death was friendly fire rather than heroic engagement with the enemy.

“He basically just said, ‘Do not let Kevin know, he’s probably in a bad place knowing that his brother’s dead,'” O’Neal said. He added that Bailey made clear he would “get in trouble” if he told.

Kevin Tillman was not in the hearing room when O’Neal spoke.

In earlier testimony, Kevin Tillman accused the military of “intentional falsehoods” and “deliberate and careful misrepresentations” in portraying Pat Tillman’s death in
Afghanistan as the result of heroic engagement with the enemy instead of friendly fire.

“We believe this narrative was intended to deceive the family but more importantly the American public,” Kevin Tillman told a House Government Reform and Oversight Committee hearing. “Pat’s death was clearly the result of fratricide,” he said, contending that the military’s misstatements amounted to “fraud.”

“Revealing that Pat’s death was a fratricide would have been yet another political disaster in a month of political disasters … so the truth needed to be suppressed,” Tillman said.

It’s a good thing Democrats won in November 2006. Republicans certainly would not have held this kind of hearing. I wonder, the more we peel back this administration, just how many cockroaches will we find?

Gated Communities or Ghettos

April 23, 2007 at 9:11 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq, Military, War | 1 Comment

What’s in a name these days? The US military wanted to gate certain Sunni communities in an effort to create “security.” They call them “gated communities,” because Sunnis are so like retired Floridians and not say, Jews thrown in ghettos in Warsaw. But seriously, after reading this next paragraph, who doesn’t have a Schindler’s List moment?

In some sealed-off areas, troops armed with biometric scanning devices will compile a neighborhood census by recording residents’ fingerprints and eye patterns and will perhaps issue them special badges, military officials said. At least 10 Baghdad neighborhoods are slated to become or already are gated communities, said Brig. Gen. John F. Campbell, the deputy commander of American forces in Baghdad.

The Nazis had lists too, very detailed, very effective. They even had “special badges” for Jews, Gypsies, and gays. I don’t know what General Petraeus was thinking, but dude, talk about sending the WRONG message! Or maybe the Nazis were on to something. I mean, Jews in those ghettos were certainly no threat to Germans or Poles from behind those walls…

The Patriotism Police

April 23, 2007 at 1:32 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq, Media, War | 1 Comment

Over at the Carpetbagger Report we read about a new PBS special called “Buying the War” on the way the media ran things from 2001 to 2003. Yet another example of how our media was overrun by the White House and the Pentagon into accepting war with Iraq.

Walter Isaacson is pushed hard by Moyers and finally admits, “We didn’t question our sources enough.” But why? Isaacson notes there was “almost a patriotism police” after 9/11 and when the network showed civilian casualties it would get phone calls from advertisers and the administration and “big people in corporations were calling up and saying, ‘You’re being anti-American here.’”

Moyers then mentions that Isaacson had sent a memo to staff, leaked to the Washington Post, in which he declared, “It seems perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan” and ordered them to balance any such images with reminders of 9/11. Moyers also asserts that editors at the Panama City (Fla.) News-Herald received an order from above, “Do not use photos on Page 1A showing civilian casualties. Our sister paper has done so and received hundreds and hundreds of threatening emails.”

Moyers asked CBS’s Bob Simon, who had strong doubts about the evidence for war, if he pushed any of the top brass at CBS to “dig deeper,” and he replies, “No, in all honesty, with a thousand mea culpas….nope, I don’t think we followed up on this.”

Instead he covered the marketing of the war in a “softer” way, explaining to Moyers: “I think we all felt from the beginning that to deal with a subject as explosive as this, we should keep it, in a way, almost light — if that doesn’t seem ridiculous.”

It’s a war. It does seem ridiculous.

Phil Donahue recalls that he was told he could not feature war dissenters alone on his MSNBC talk show and always had to have “two conservatives for every liberal.” Moyers resurrects a leaked NBC memo about Donahue’s firing that claimed he “presents a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war. At the same time our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity.”

Moyers also throws some stats around: In the year before the invasion William Safire (who predicted a “quick war” with Iraqis cheering their liberators) wrote “a total of 27 opinion pieces fanning the sparks of war.” The Washington Post carried at least 140 front-page stories in that same period making the administration’s case for attack. In the six months leading to the invasion the Post would “editorialize in favor of the war at least 27 times.”

Of the 414 Iraq stories broadcast on NBC, ABC and CBS nightly news in the six months before the war, almost all could be traced back to sources solely in the White House, Pentagon or State Dept., Moyers tells Russert, who offers no coherent reply.

The program closes on a sad note, with Moyers pointing out that “so many of the advocates and apologists for the war are still flourishing in the media.” He then runs a pre-war clip of President Bush declaring, “We cannot wait for the final proof: the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” Then he explains: “The man who came up with it was Michael Gerson, President Bush’s top speechwriter.

“He has left the White House and has been hired by the Washington Post as a columnist.”

Granted, noting the media’s negligence in its pre-war coverage is hardly new, but Moyers’ report seems to have some unreported details. For example, I’d never heard about MSNBC instructing Phil Donahue to intentionally feature “two conservatives for every liberal.” I’d also not heard about CNN’s Isaacson backing down to the “big people in corporations” who didn’t want the network to broadcast news on civilian casualties.

Even with all this bombardment (no pun intended) on the airwaves for war WAR WAR! there were still enough reports out there to show the evidence was against Bush’s assertions.

So sad. The worst part, I don’t think Americans overall have yet learned the lesson well enough for this not to happen again. I fear it will happen again in the future. So sad.

Fanning the Flames of Sectarian Violence

April 21, 2007 at 12:43 pm | Posted in Bush Administration, Iraq, Military, violence, War | 2 Comments

The United States military is building a wall to enclose a particular Sunni section of Baghdad. Apparently they somehow think this will make Sunnis stop being mad at both the Americans and the Shi’ites. Really, how stupid are these generals in our military?

A senior Sunni politician has condemned a US military project to build a concrete wall around a Sunni enclave in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

US forces say the wall, which will separate Adhamiya from nearby Shia districts, aims to prevent sectarian violence between the two communities.

But Adnan al-Dulaimi, who heads the biggest Sunni bloc in parliament, says it will breed yet more strife.

Some Adhamiya residents have said the wall will make their district a prison.

Some Adhamiya residents said the wall would harden the capital’s already bitter sectarian divide.

“Erecting concrete walls between neighbourhoods is not a solution to the collapse in security and the rampant violence,” housewife Um Haider told the AFP news agency.

“If so, Baghdadis would find themselves in a maze of high walls overnight, ” she said.

“I resent the barrier. It will make Adhamiya a big prison,” another resident, Mustafa, said.

Other residents also expressed alarm and said they had not been consulted before construction began.

“This will make the whole district a prison. This is collective punishment on the residents of Adhamiya,” Ahmed al-Dulaimi told the Associated Press news agency.

“We are in our fourth year of occupation and we are seeing the number of blast walls increasing day after day,” he said.

US and Iraqi troops have long built cement barriers around key locations in Baghdad and other cities to prevent attacks, especially suicide car bombings.

But no-one claims that such barriers and walls are protection in themselves, correspondents say.

Yet more evidence that our military and political leaders have no idea what they are doing in Iraq. No wonder General Sheehan declined the offer to become the “war czar.”

Gunfire at NASA

April 20, 2007 at 3:39 pm | Posted in American politics, NASA, violence | Leave a comment

Breaking news. There is a gunman on the loose at NASA. Reports are that he has barricaded himself in the building. Swat teams are assembled. More TV drama. Hopefully this time, they won’t air the gunman’s diatribe. But don’t hold your breath.

The Politicization of the Department of Justice

April 20, 2007 at 3:18 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration | Leave a comment

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island (God bless Rhode Islanders for voting him in!), I think gets the best moment in yesterday’s grilling of the “loyal Bushie” Gonzales. Think Progress has the video and the transcript. Continue Reading The Politicization of the Department of Justice…

Quote of the Day – Jon Stewart

April 20, 2007 at 2:45 pm | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

Jon Stewart on Alberto Gonzales:

“Alberto Gonzales doesn’t know what happened. But he assures you what he doesn’t remember was handled properly.”

What Would the Founding Fathers Do? and Other Matters

April 19, 2007 at 7:58 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, Cho Seung-Hui, Congress, Democrats, George W Bush, Iran, Iraq, liberals, McCain, Middle East, Military, nationalism, Republicans, secret combinations, violence, Virginia Tech, War, War on Terror, World Events | 9 Comments

( Updated )

Many things in the news today that are noteworthy. The first is the foolish childish John McCain joking about bombing Iran. Continue Reading What Would the Founding Fathers Do? and Other Matters…

Deadly Violence in Iraq – The Surge is Failing

April 19, 2007 at 6:20 am | Posted in American politics, Iraq, violence, War | 7 Comments

Bombs ravaged Baghdad in five horrific explosions aimed mainly at Shiite crowds on Wednesday, killing at least 171 people in the deadliest day in the capital since the American-led security plan for the city took effect two months ago.

Looks like the Sunni insurgents are striking hard at Shi’ites. I wonder what the Shi’ites will do in response. They obviously cannot trust the Americans to protect them. Will they turn again to the death squads?

Give ’em Hell Harry!

April 18, 2007 at 7:52 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Democrats, George W Bush, Iraq, Military, War | 2 Comments

Senator Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with the President today, and from this report, it seems the petulant boy emperor was none too happy to hear such stark truth in his face! Continue Reading Give ’em Hell Harry!…

Cho Seung-Hui declared mentally ill in 2005

April 18, 2007 at 3:30 pm | Posted in Cho Seung-Hui, violence, Virginia Tech | 8 Comments

CNN is reporting right now that Cho Seung-Hui, the murderer at Virginia Tech, was declared mentally ill by a court order. They declared him an “imminent danger to others.”

As I’ve been saying, it looks like there is plenty more to come about this troubled young man.

And I’m still curious about his family. What can they offer about their kin?

On Violence in Iraq and on Cho Seung-Hui’s Virginia Tech Massacre

April 18, 2007 at 9:27 am | Posted in American politics, Cho Seung-Hui, Iraq, violence, Virginia Tech | 11 Comments

Andrew Sullivan writes:

Imagine that this kind of massacre happened every day. Imagine a police force that was far too small to even respond to most of them. Imagine this occurring repeatedly for years until the perpetrators and their accomplices became the de facto power-brokers throughout the land. Imagine the shootings also being accompanied by the brutal torture of victims. Imagine families never having finality on whether their own siblings or parents or children have been murdered or not.

This is Iraq today. Now think of the justified rage many feel at the VT campus police chief and university president for misjudgments. Now imagine them presiding over several more massacres in the same place. Ask yourself: why do we not feel as enraged by those responsible for security in Iraq? Are those victims not human beings too? Are they not children and mothers and fathers and sons? Are we not ultimately responsible for them, having destroyed the institutions of order in their country? Now go watch John Bolton tell the victims to go help themselves.

Amen.

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