Thursday, June 30, 2005
Flashback: June 28, 2005 or November 3, 1969. Bush or Nixon? We report, you decide.
Thank you. Please be seated. Good evening. I am pleased to visit Fort Bragg, home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces. It is an honor to speak before you tonight.
My greatest responsibility as president is to protect the American people, and that is your calling as well. I thank you for your service, your courage and your sacrifice. I thank your families, who support you in your vital work. The soldiers and families of Fort Bragg have contributed mightily to our efforts to secure our country and promote peace. America is grateful and so is your commander in chief.
Tonight I want to talk to you on a subject of deep concern to all Americans and to many people in all parts of the world the war in Vietnam. I believe that one of the reasons for the deep division about Vietnam is that many Americans have lost confidence in what their Government has told them about our policy. The American people cannot and should not be asked to support a policy which involves the overriding issues of war and peace unless they know the truth about that policy.
Tonight, therefore, I would like to answer some of the questions that I know are on the minds of many of you listening to me.
How and why did America get involved in Vietnam in the first place?
How has this administration changed the policy of the previous administration?
What has really happened in the negotiations in Paris and on the battle-front in Vietnam?
What choices do we have if we are to end the war?
What are the prospects for peace?
Now, let me begin by describing the situation I found when I was inaugurated on January 20.
The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror. The war reached our shores on September 11, 2001. The terrorists who attacked us and the terrorists we face murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent. Their aim is to remake the Middle East in their own grim image of tyranny and oppression by toppling governments, driving us out of the region and by exporting terror.
-The war had been going on for 4 years.
-31,000 Americans had been killed in action.
-The training program for the South Vietnamese was behind schedule.
-540,000 Americans were in Vietnam with no plans to reduce the number.
-No progress had been made at the negotiations in Paris and the United States had not put forth a comprehensive peace proposal.
-The war was causing deep division at home and criticism from many of our friends as well as our enemies abroad.
We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who exploded car bombs along a busy shopping street in Baghdad, including one outside a mosque. We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who sent a suicide bomber to a teaching hospital in Mosul. And we see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who behead civilian hostages and broadcast their atrocities for the world to see.
To achieve these aims, they have continued to kill in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali and elsewhere. In view of these circumstances there were some who urged that I end the war at once by ordering the immediate withdrawal of all American forces.
From a political standpoint this would have been a popular and easy course to follow. After all, we became involved in the war while my predecessor was in office. I could blame the defeat which would be the result of my action on him and come out as the peacemaker. Some put it to me quite bluntly: This was the only way to avoid allowing Johnson's war to become Nixon's war.
The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows they can force us to retreat. They are mistaken. After September 11, I made a commitment to the American people: This nation will not wait to be attacked again. We will defend our freedom. We will take the fight to the enemy.
But I had a greater obligation than to think only of the years of my administration and of the next election. I had to think of the effect of my decision on the next generation and on the future of peace and freedom in America and in the world.
Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington and Pennsylvania. There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home. The commander in charge of coalition operations in Iraq, who is also senior commander at this base, General John Vines, put it well the other day. He said, "We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us."
Let us all understand that the question before us is not whether some Americans are for peace and some Americans are against peace. The question at issue is not whether Johnson's war becomes Nixon's war.
Our mission in Iraq is clear. We are hunting down the terrorists. We are helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We are advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are removing a source of violence and instability and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren.
The great question is: How can we win America's peace?
Well, let us turn now to the fundamental issue. Why and how did the United States become involved in Vietnam in the first place?
Fifteen years ago North Vietnam, with the logistical support of Communist China and the Soviet Union, launched a campaign to impose a Communist government on South Vietnam by instigating and supporting a revolution.
In response to the request of the Government of South Vietnam, President Eisenhower sent economic aid and military equipment to assist the people of South Vietnam in their efforts to prevent a Communist takeover. Seven years ago, President Kennedy sent 16,000 military personnel to Vietnam as combat advisers. Four years ago, President Johnson sent American combat forces to South Vietnam.
The terrorists know that the outcome will leave them emboldened or defeated. So they are waging a campaign of murder and destruction. And there is no limit to the innocent lives they are willing to take.
Now, many believe that President Johnson's decision to send American combat forces to South Vietnam was wrong. Any many others I among them have been strongly critical of the way the war has been conducted.
But the question facing us today is: Now that we are in the war, what is the best way to end it?
In January I could only conclude that the precipitate withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam would be a disaster not only for South Vietnam but for the United States and for the cause of peace.
For the South Vietnamese, our precipitate withdrawal would inevitably allow the Communists to repeat the massacres which followed their takeover in the North 15 years before.
-They then murdered more than 50,000 people and hundreds of thousands more died in slave labor camps.
-We saw a prelude of what would happen in South Vietnam when the Communists entered the city of Hue last year. During their brief rule there, there was a bloody reign of terror in which 3,000 civilians were clubbed, shot to death, and buried in mass graves.
-With the sudden collapse of our support, these atrocities of Hue would become the nightmare of the entire nation and particularly for the million and a half Catholic refugees who fled to South Vietnam when the Communists took over in the North.
Some of the violence you see in Iraq is being carried out by ruthless killers who are converging on Iraq to fight the advance of peace and freedom. Our military reports that we have killed or captured hundreds of foreign fighters in Iraq who have come from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and others. They are making common cause with criminal elements, Iraqi insurgents and remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime who want to restore the old order. They fight because they know that the survival of their hateful ideology is at stake. They know that as freedom takes root in Iraq, it will inspire millions across the Middle East to claim their liberty as well. And when the Middle East grows in democracy, in prosperity and hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors, lose their recruits and lose their hopes for turning that region into a base for attacks on America and our allies around the world.
For the United States, this first defeat in our Nation's history would result in a collapse of confidence in American leadership, not only in Asia but through-out the world.
Three American Presidents have recognized the great stakes involved in Vietnam and understood what had to be done.
In the past year, the international community has stepped forward with vital assistance. Some 30 nations have troops in Iraq, and many others are contributing nonmilitary assistance. The United Nations is in Iraq to help Iraqis write a constitution and conduct their next elections. Thus far, some 40 countries and three international organizations have pledged about 34 billion dollars in assistance for Iraqi reconstruction. More than 80 countries and international organizations recently came together in Brussels to coordinate their efforts to help Iraqis provide for their security and rebuild their country. And next month, donor countries will meet in Jordan to support Iraqi reconstruction.
In 1963, President Kennedy, with his characteristic eloquence and clarity, said: "... we want to see a stable government there, carrying on a struggle to maintain its national independence.
Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: "This Third World War is raging" in Iraq. "The whole world is watching this war." He says it will end in "victory and glory or misery and humiliation."
"We believe strongly in that. We are not going to withdraw from that effort. In my opinion, for us to withdraw from that effort would mean a collapse not only of South Vietnam, but Southeast Asia. So we are going to stay there."
Our coalition is devoting considerable resources and manpower to this critical task. Thousands of coalition troops are involved in the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces. NATO is establishing a military academy near Baghdad to train the next generation of Iraqi military leaders, and 17 nations are contributing troops to the NATO training mission. Iraqi army and police are being trained by personnel from Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, Romania, Australia and the United Kingdom. Today dozens of nations are working toward a common objective: an Iraq that can defend itself, defeat its enemies and secure its freedom.
President Eisenhower and President Johnson expressed the same conclusion during their terms of office.
For the future of peace, precipitate withdrawal would thus be a disaster of immense magnitude.
-A nation cannot remain great if it betrays its allies and lets down its friends.
-Our defeat and humiliation in South Vietnam without question would promote recklessness in the councils of those great powers who have not yet abandoned their goals of world conquest.
-This would spark violence wherever our commitments help maintain the peace in the Middle East, in Berlin, eventually even in the Western Hemisphere.
These are savage acts of violence but they have not brought the terrorists any closer to achieving their strategic objectives. The terrorists, both foreign and Iraqi, failed to stop the transfer of sovereignty. They failed to break our coalition and force a mass withdrawal by our allies. They failed to incite an Iraqi civil war. They failed to prevent free elections. They failed to stop the formation of a democratic Iraqi government that represents all of Iraq's diverse population. And they failed to stop Iraqis from signing up in large numbers with the police forces and the army to defend their new democracy.
Ultimately, this would cost more lives. It would not bring peace; it would bring more war. For these reasons, I rejected the recommendation that I should end the war by immediately withdrawing all of our forces. I chose instead to change American policy on both the negotiating front and battlefront....
Some Americans ask me, if completing the mission is so important, why don't you send more troops? If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job. Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever, when we are in fact working for the day when Iraq can defend itself and we can leave. As we determine the right force level, our troops can know that I will continue to be guided by the advice that matters: the sober judgment of our military leaders.
We Americans are a do-it-yourself people. We are an impatient people. Instead of teaching someone else to do a job, we like to do it ourselves. And this trait has been carried over into our foreign policy.
As Iraqis make progress toward a free society, the effects are being felt beyond Iraq's borders. Before our coalition liberated Iraq, Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. Today the leader of Libya has given up his chemical and nuclear weapons programs. Across the broader Middle East, people are claiming their freedom. In the last few months, we have witnessed elections in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon. These elections are inspiring democratic reformers in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Our strategy to defend ourselves and spread freedom is working. The rise of freedom in this vital region will eliminate the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder and make our nation safer.
In Korea and again in Vietnam, the United States furnished most of the money, most of the arms, and most of the men to help the people of those countries defend their freedom against Communist aggression.
Before any American troops were committed to Vietnam, a leader of another Asian country expressed this opinion to me when I was traveling in Asia as a private citizen. He said: "When you are trying to assist another nation defend its freedom, U.S. policy should be to help them fight the war but not to fight the war for them." ... Well, in accordance with this wise counsel, I laid down in Guam three principles as guidelines for future American policy toward Asia:
-First, the United States will keep all of its treaty commitments.
-Second, we shall provide a shield if a nuclear power threatens the freedom of a nation allied with us or of a nation whose survival we consider vital to our security.
-Third, in cases involving other types of aggression, we shall furnish military and economic assistance when requested in accordance with our treaty commitments. But we shall look to the nation directly threatened to assume the primary responsibility of providing the manpower for its defense.
After I announced this policy, I found that the leaders of the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, and other nations which might be threatened by Communist aggression, welcomed this new direction in American foreign policy.
The progress in the past year has been significant and we have a clear path forward. To complete the mission, we will continue to hunt down the terrorists and insurgents. To complete the mission, we will prevent al-Qaida and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban — a safe haven from which they could launch attacks on America and our friends. And the best way to complete the mission is to help Iraqis build a free nation that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself.
The defense of freedom is everybody's business not just America's business. And it is particularly the responsibility of the people whose freedom is threatened. In the previous administration, we Americanized the war in Vietnam. In this administration, we are Vietnamizing the search for peace.
A little over a year ago, I spoke to the nation and described our coalition's goals in Iraq. I said that America's mission in Iraq is to defeat an enemy and give strength to a friend, a free, representative government that is an ally in the war on terror and a beacon of hope in a part of the world that is desperate for reform. I outlined the steps we would take to achieve this goal: We would hand authority over to a sovereign Iraqi government; we would help Iraqis hold free elections by January 2005; we would continue helping Iraqis rebuild their nation's infrastructure and economy; we would encourage more international support for Iraq's democratic transition; and we would enable Iraqis to take increasing responsibility for their own security and stability.
The policy of the previous administration not only resulted in our assuming the primary responsibility for fighting the war, but even more significantly did not adequately stress the goal of strengthening the South Vietnamese so that they could defend themselves when we left.
Finally, we have continued our efforts to equip and train Iraqi security forces. We have made gains in both the number and quality of those forces. Today Iraq has more than 160,000 security forces trained and equipped for a variety of missions. Iraqi forces have fought bravely helping to capture terrorists and insurgents in Najaf, Samarra, Fallujah and Mosul. And in the past month, Iraqi forces have led a major anti-terrorist campaign in Baghdad called Operation Lightning, which has led to the capture of hundreds of suspected insurgents. Like free people everywhere, Iraqis want to be defended by their own countrymen, and we are helping Iraqis assume those duties.
The Vietnamization plan was launched following Secretary Laird's visit to Vietnam in March. Under the plan, I ordered first a substantial increase in the training and equipment of South Vietnamese forces.
-After 5 years of Americans going into Vietnam, we are finally bringing men home. By December 15, over 60,000 men will have been withdrawn from South Vietnam including 20 percent of all of our combat forces.
-The South Vietnamese have continued to gain in strength. As a result they have been able to take over combat responsibilities from our American troops.
-In the past year, we have made significant progress: One year ago today, we restored sovereignty to the Iraqi people.
-In January 2005, more than 8 million Iraqi men and women voted in elections that were free and fair and took place on time.
-Two other significant developments have occurred since this administration took office.
-Enemy infiltration, infiltration which is essential if they are to launch a major attack, over the last 3 months is less than 20 percent of what it was over the same period last year.
-Most important United States casualties have declined during the last 2 months to the lowest point in 3 years.
We continued our efforts to help them rebuild their country. Rebuilding a country after three decades of tyranny is hard and rebuilding while a country is at war is even harder. Our progress has been uneven but progress is being made. We are improving roads and schools and health clinics and working to improve basic services like sanitation, electricity and water. Together with our allies, we will help the new Iraqi government deliver a better life for its citizens.
Let me now turn to our program for the future.
So our strategy going forward has both a military track and a political track.
As Iraqis grow confident that the democratic progress they are making is real and permanent, more will join the political process. And as Iraqis see that their military can protect them, more will step forward with vital intelligence to help defeat the enemies of a free Iraq. The combination of political and military reform will lay a solid foundation for a free and stable Iraq.
We have adopted a plan which we have worked out in cooperation with the South Vietnamese for the complete withdrawal of all U.S. combat ground forces, and their replacement by South Vietnamese forces on an orderly scheduled timetable. This withdrawal will be made from strength and not from weakness. As South Vietnamese forces become stronger, the rate of American withdrawal can become greater.
The principal task of our military is to find and defeat the terrorists and that is why we are on the offense. And as we pursue the terrorists, our military is helping to train Iraqi security forces so that they can defend their people and fight the enemy on their own. Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.
I have not and do not intend to announce the timetable for our program. And there are obvious reasons for this decision which I am sure you will understand. As I have indicated on several occasions, the rate of withdrawal will depend on developments on three fronts.
I recognize that Americans want our troops to come home as quickly as possible. So do I. Some contend that we should set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces. Let me explain why that would be a serious mistake. Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done. It would send the wrong signal to our troops, who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve. And it would send the wrong message to the enemy, who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out. We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed and not a day longer.
One of these is the progress which can be or might be made in the Paris talks. An announcement of a fixed timetable for our withdrawal would completely remove any incentive for the enemy to negotiate an agreement. They would simply wait until our forces had withdrawn and then move in.
We have made progress but we have a lot more work to do. Today Iraqi security forces are at different levels of readiness. Some are capable of taking on the terrorists and insurgents by themselves. A larger number can plan and execute anti-terrorist operations with coalition support. The rest are forming and not yet ready to participate fully in security operations. Our task is to make the Iraqi units fully capable and independent. We are building up Iraqi security forces as quickly as possible, so they can assume the lead in defeating the terrorists and insurgents.
The other two factors on which we will base our withdrawal decisions are the level of enemy activity and the progress of the training programs of the South Vietnamese forces. And I am glad to be able to report tonight progress on both of these fronts has been greater than we anticipated when we started the program in June for withdrawal. As a result, our timetable for withdrawal is more optimistic now than when we made our first estimates in June. Now, this clearly demonstrates why it is not wise to be frozen in on a fixed timetable.
The other critical element of our strategy is to help ensure that the hopes Iraqis expressed at the polls in January are translated into a secure democracy. The Iraqi people are emerging from decades of tyranny and oppression. Under the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Shia and Kurds were brutally oppressed and the vast majority of Sunni Arabs were also denied their basic rights, while senior regime officials enjoyed the privileges of unchecked power. The challenge facing Iraqis today is to put this past behind them and come together to build a new Iraq that includes all of its people.
We must retain the flexibility to base each withdrawal decision on the situation as it is at the time rather than on estimates that are no longer valid.
They are doing that by building the institutions of a free society, a society based on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and equal justice under law. The Iraqis have held free elections and established a transitional national assembly. The next step is to write a good constitution that enshrines these freedoms in permanent law. The assembly plans to expand its constitutional drafting committee to include more Sunni Arabs. Many Sunnis who opposed the January elections are now taking part in the democratic process, and that is essential to Iraq's future.
Along with this optimistic estimate, I must in all candor leave one note of caution.
If the level of enemy activity significantly increases we might have to adjust our timetable accordingly.
To further prepare Iraqi forces to fight the enemy on their own, we are taking three new steps:
First, we are partnering coalition units with Iraqi units. These coalition-Iraqi teams are conducting operations together in the field. These combined operations are giving Iraqis a chance to experience how the most professional armed forces in the world operate in combat.
Second, we are embedding coalition "transition teams" inside Iraqi units. These teams are made up of coalition officers and noncommissioned officers who live, work and fight together with their Iraqi comrades. Under U.S. command, they are providing battlefield advice and assistance to Iraqi forces during combat operations. Between battles, they are assisting the Iraqis with important skills such as urban combat and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance techniques.
Third, we are working with the Iraqi Ministries of Interior and Defense to improve their capabilities to coordinate anti-terrorist operations. We are helping them develop command and control structures. We are also providing them with civilian and military leadership training, so Iraq's new leaders can more effectively manage their forces in the fight against terror.
However, I want the record to be completely clear on one point. At the time of the bombing halt just a year ago, there was some confusion as to whether there was an understanding on the part of the enemy that if we stopped the bombing of North Vietnam they would stop the shelling of cities in South Vietnam. I want to be sure that there is no misunderstanding on the part of the enemy with regard to our withdrawal program.
We have noted the reduced level of infiltration, the reduction of our casualties, and are basing our withdrawal decisions partially on those factors.
If the level of infiltration or our casualties increase while we are trying to scale down the fighting, it will be the result of a conscious decision by the enemy.
The new Iraqi security forces are proving their courage every day. More than 2,000 members of the Iraqi security forces have given their lives in the line of duty. Thousands more have stepped forward and are now training to serve their nation. With each engagement, Iraqi soldiers grow more battle-hardened and their officers grow more experienced. We have learned that Iraqis are courageous and that they need additional skills. That is why a major part of our mission is to train them so they can do the fighting and our troops can come home.
Hanoi could make no greater mistake than to assume that an increase in violence will be to its advantage. If I conclude that increased enemy action jeopardizes our remaining forces in Vietnam, I shall not hesitate to take strong and effective measures to deal with that situation.
This is not a threat. This is a statement of policy, which, as Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces, I am making in meeting my responsibility for the protection of American fighting men wherever they may be.
My fellow Americans, I am sure you can recognize from what I have said that we really only have two choices open to us if we want to end this war. -I can order an immediate, precipitate withdrawal of all Americans from Vietnam without regard to the effects of that action.
-Or we can persist in our search for a just peace through a negotiated settlement if possible, or through continued implementation of our plan for Vietnamization if necessary a plan in which we will withdraw all our forces from Vietnam on a schedule in accordance with our program, as the South Vietnamese become strong enough to defend their own freedom.
We have more work to do, and there will be tough moments that test America's resolve. We are fighting against men with blind hatred and armed with lethal weapons who are capable of any atrocity. They wear no uniform; they respect no laws of warfare or morality. They take innocent lives to create chaos for the cameras. They are trying to shake our will in Iraq just as they tried to shake our will on September 11, 2001. They will fail. The terrorists do not understand America. The American people do not falter under threat and we will not allow our future to be determined by car bombers and assassins.
I have chosen this second course. It is not the easy way. It is the right way. It is a plan which will end the war and serve the cause of peace not just in Vietnam but in the Pacific and in the world.
In speaking of the consequences of a precipitate withdrawal, I mentioned that our allies would lose confidence in America.
Whatever our differences in the past, the world understands that success in Iraq is critical to the security of our nations. As German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said at the White House yesterday, "There can be no question a stable and democratic Iraq is in the vested interest of not just Germany, but also Europe."
Far more dangerous, we would lose confidence in ourselves. Oh, the immediate reaction would be a sense of relief that our men were coming home. But as we saw the consequences of what we had done, inevitable remorse and divisive recrimination would scar our spirit as a people.
America has done difficult work before. From our desperate fight for independence, to the darkest days of a Civil War, to the hard-fought battles against tyranny in the 20th century, there were many chances to lose our heart, our nerve or our way. But Americans have always held firm, because we have always believed in certain truths. We know that if evil is not confronted, it gains in strength and audacity and returns to strike us again.
We have faced other crises in our history and have become stronger by rejecting the easy way out and taking the right way in meeting our challenges. Our greatness as a nation has been our capacity to do what had to be done when we knew our course was right.
I recognize that some of my fellow citizens disagree with the plan for peace I have chosen. Honest and patriotic Americans have reached different conclusions as to how peace should be achieved.
In San Francisco a few weeks ago, I saw demonstrators carrying signs reading: "Lose in Vietnam, bring the boys home."
Well, one of the strengths of our free society is that any American has a right to reach that conclusion and to advocate that point of view. But as President of the United States, I would be untrue to my oath of office if I allowed the policy of this Nation to be dictated by the minority who hold that point of view and who try to impose it on the Nation by mounting demonstrations in the street.
For almost 200 years, the policy of this Nation has been made under our Constitution by those leaders in the Congress and the White House elected by all of the people. If a vocal minority, however fervent its cause, prevails over reason and the will of the majority, this Nation has no future as a free society.
America and our friends are in a conflict that demands much of us. It demands the courage of our fighting men and women, it demands the steadfastness of our allies and it demands the perseverance of our citizens. We accept these burdens because we know what is at stake. We fight today because Iraq now carries the hope of freedom in a vital region of the world, and the rise of democracy will be the ultimate triumph over radicalism and terror. And we fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand. So we will fight them there, we will fight them across the world and we will stay in the fight until the fight is won.
And now I would like to address a word, if I may, to the young people of this Nation who are particularly concerned, and I understand why they are concerned, about this war.
I respect your idealism. I share your concern for peace. I want peace as much as you do.
There are powerful personal reasons I want to end this war. This week I will have to sign 83 letters to mothers, fathers, wives, and loved ones of men who have given their lives for America in Vietnam. It is very little satisfaction to me that this is only one-third as many letters as I signed the first week in office. There is nothing I want more than to see the day come when I do not have to write any of those letters.
The work in Iraq is difficult and it is dangerous. Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed. Every picture is horrifying and the suffering is real. Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it, and it is vital to the future security of our country. And tonight I will explain the reasons why.
-I want to end the war to save the lives of those brave young men in Vietnam. -But I want to end it in a way which will increase the chance that their younger brothers and their sons will not have to fight in some future Vietnam someplace in the world.
-And I want to end the war for another reason. I want to end it so that the energy and dedication of you, our young people, now too often directed into bitter hatred against those responsible for the war, can be turned to the great challenges of peace, a better life for all Americans, a better life for all people on this earth.
I have chosen a plan for peace. I believe it will succeed. If it does succeed, what the critics say now won't matter. If it does not succeed, anything I say then won't matter.
I know it may not be fashionable to speak of patriotism or national destiny these days. But I feel it is appropriate to do so on this occasion. Two hundred years ago this Nation was weak and poor. But even then, America was the hope of millions in the world. Today we have become the strongest and richest nation in the world. And the wheel of destiny has turned so that any hope the world has for the survival of peace and freedom will be determined by whether the American people have the moral stamina and the courage to meet the challenge of free world leadership.
Let historians not record that when America was the most powerful nation in the world we passed on the other side of the road and allowed the last hopes for peace and freedom of millions of people to be suffocated by the forces of totalitarianism.
After September 11, 2001, I told the American people that the road ahead would be difficult and that we would prevail. Well, it has been difficult. And we are prevailing. Our enemies are brutal, but they are no match for the United States of America and they are no match for the men and women of the United States military.
And so tonight to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans, I ask for your support.
In this time of testing, our troops can know: The American people are behind you. Next week, our nation has an opportunity to make sure that support is felt by every soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman and Marine at every outpost across the world. This Fourth of July, I ask you to find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom by flying the flag, sending letters to our troops in the field or helping the military family down the street. The Department of Defense has set up a Web site, AmericaSupportsYou.mil. You can go there to learn about private efforts in your own community. At this time when we celebrate our freedom, let us stand with the men and women who defend us all.
I pledged in my campaign for the Presidency to end the war in a way that we could win the peace. I have initiated a plan of action which will enable me to keep that pledge.
The more support I can have from the American people, the sooner that pledge can be redeemed; for the more divided we are at home, the less likely the enemy is to negotiate at Paris.
We know that when the work is hard, the proper response is not retreat, it is courage. And we know that this great ideal of human freedom entrusted to us in a special way and that the ideal of liberty is worth defending.
Let us be united for peace. Let us also be united against defeat. Because let us understand: North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.
The lesson of this experience is clear: The terrorists can kill the innocent but they cannot stop the advance of freedom. The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like bin Laden. For the sake of our nation's security, this will not happen on my watch.
Fifty years ago, in this room and at this very desk, President Woodrow Wilson spoke words which caught the imagination of a war-weary world. He said: "This is the war to end war." His dream for peace after World War I was shattered on the hard realities of great power politics and Woodrow Wilson died a broken man.
Tonight I do not tell you that the war in Vietnam is the war to end wars. But I do say this: I have initiated a plan which will end this war in a way that will bring us closer to that great goal to which Woodrow Wilson and every American President in our history has been dedicated the goal of a just and lasting peace.
After a constitution is written, the Iraqi people will have a chance to vote on it. If approved, Iraqis will go to the polls again to elect a new government under their new, permanent constitution. By taking these critical steps and meeting their deadlines, Iraqis will bind their multiethnic society together in a democracy that respects the will of the majority and protects minority rights.
As President I hold the responsibility for choosing the best path to that goal and then leading the Nation along it.
To the soldiers in this hall, and our servicemen and women across the globe: I thank you for your courage under fire and your service to our nation. I thank our military families; the burden of war falls especially hard on you. In this war, we have lost good men and women who left our shores to defend freedom and did not live to make the journey home. I have met with families grieving the loss of loved ones who were taken from us too soon. I have been inspired by their strength in the face of such great loss. We pray for the families. And the best way to honor the lives that have been given in this struggle is to complete the mission.
I pledge to you tonight that I shall meet this responsibility with all of the strength and wisdom I can command in accordance with your hopes, mindful of your concerns, sustained by your prayers.
I thank those of you who have re-enlisted in an hour when your country needs you. And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces. We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our nation's uniform. When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom.
May God bless you all.
Thank you and goodnight.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
The New McCarthyism
Tuesday, June 28, 2005; Page A15
In the 1950s the right wing attacked liberals as being communists. In 2005 Karl Rove has attacked liberals as being therapists. Thus is born a kinder and gentler form of McCarthyism.
Named after the late Sen. Joe McCarthy, who never let the facts get in the way of his lust to charge liberals with sedition, McCarthyism has come to mean "guilt by association." What gave McCarthyism its power was the fact that the senator from Wisconsin did not invent the danger posed to the United States by Soviet communism. The Soviet Union was a real threat, and there were real communist spies working in America.
What made McCarthy and his allies so insidious was their eagerness to level the "soft on communism" charge against even staunchly anticommunist liberals. One of them was Secretary of State Dean Acheson, an architect of Harry Truman's tough policy of containing Soviet power. In the 1952 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon pounded Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson for earning a "PhD from Dean Acheson's College of Cowardly Communist Containment."
The McCarthyites' real enemies were not communists but the New Deal liberals who had dominated U.S. politics for 20 years. The McCarthy crowd was willing to divide the nation at a time of grave international peril if that's what it took to beat the liberals.
Rove's instantly famous speech last week to the New York State Conservative Party should be read in light of this history and not be written off as a cheap, one-time partisan attack. On the contrary, the address by Rove, President Bush's most important adviser, provides the outlines of a sophisticated strategy aimed at making liberals and Democrats all look soft on terrorism.
Here are the key passages: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban; in the wake of 9/11, liberals believed it was time to submit a petition. . . . Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said: 'We will defeat our enemies.' Liberals saw what happened to us and said: 'We must understand our enemies.' "
Liberals and Democrats were enraged by Rove because virtually every officeholding liberal and Democrat closed ranks behind President Bush on Sept. 11. They endorsed the use of force against the terrorists and, when the time came, strongly backed the war in Afghanistan.
But Rove knows how to play this game. The only evidence he adduces for his therapy charge is a petition in which the current executive director of MoveOn.org called for "moderation and restraint" in the wake of Sept. 11. Rove then slides smoothly from the attack on MoveOn to attacks on Michael Moore and Howard Dean. Finally, Rove tosses in an assault on Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) for his statement that an FBI report on the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, might remind Americans of the practices of Nazi and communist dictatorships.
In the ensuing controversy, Rove's defenders cleverly sought to pretend that there was nothing partisan about Rove's speech. "Karl didn't say 'the Democratic Party,' " insisted Ken Mehlman, the Republican national chairman. "He said 'liberals.' " It must have been purely accidental that one of the "liberals" mentioned was the Democratic national chairman and another was the Senate Democratic whip. It must also have been accidental that both of them, like most other liberals, supported the war in Afghanistan, not therapy. At the time, Durbin called the war "essential."
On Friday White House spokesman Scott McClellan narrowed the Rove attack even more. McClellan found it "puzzling" that Democrats were "coming to the defense of liberal organizations like MoveOn.org and people like Michael Moore," when in fact Democrats were coming to their own defense. McClellan also ignored what Mehlman had conceded the day before -- and what the text of Rove's remarks plainly shows: that Rove was attacking liberals generally, not just these two targets.
That's how guilt by association works. Make a charge and then -- once your attack is out there -- pretend that your words have been misinterpreted. Split your opponents. Put them on the defensive. Force them to say things like: "No, we're not soft on terrorism," or, "I'm not that kind of liberal." Once this happens, the attacker has already won.
Respectable opinion treats Rove's speech as just another partisan flap. It's much more. It's the reincarnation of a style of politics that turns political opponents into traitors or dupes who are soft on the nation's enemies. Welcome back to the '50s.
Iraq and the Bush Administration - In their own words. Can you say "Credibility Gap?"
Bush avoided the central question that had been raised in recent comments from Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: How long might it take to establish a sufficient level of stability to allow U.S. troops to leave Iraq? On May 30, Cheney suggested the insurgency was in its "last throes" and that the military challenge was about to ease. Then, over the weekend, Rumsfeld pierced expectations by stating that "insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years."
"If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period, the throes of a revolution," Cheney later clarified in an interview with CNN, June 2005.
The U.S. is currently spending 4 billion a month in Iraq.
The U.S. is currently spending 700 million a month in Afghanistan.
Gen. John Abizaid the top U.S. commander in the Persian Gulf, told the Congress: "I believe there are more foreign fighters coming into Iraq than there were six months ago." As to the overall strength of the insurgency, Abizaid said it was "about the same" as six months ago. June 2005.
Kenneth Adelman, a Reagan administration official who serves on a Pentagon advisory board, said in a Washington Post column in February 2003 that the war would be "a cakewalk."
Richard Perle, who chaired that board until last week, predicted in July 2002 that support for Saddam, even within the Iraqi military, would "collapse after the first whiff of gunpowder."
Feb. 7, 2003 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, to U.S. troops in Aviano, Italy: "It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."
March 4, 2003 Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a breakfast with reporters: "What you'd like to do is have it be a short, short conflict. . . . Iraq is much weaker than they were back in the '90s," when its forces were routed from Kuwait.
March 11, 2003 Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars: "The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator."
March 16, 2003 Vice President Cheney, on NBC's Meet the Press: "I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months." He predicted that regular Iraqi soldiers would not "put up such a struggle" and that even "significant elements of the Republican Guard . . . are likely to step aside."
September 2003 -- Having demanded full authority for overseeing the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, elbowing the State Department aside, Rumsfeld is being blamed by many in Congress and the military establishment for the problems facing the United States, which include mounting U.S. casualties and costs exceeding $1 billion a week.
"Every time Rumsfeld goes through one of these episodes, people think it's the end for him," said Loren B. Thompson, a defense analyst and consultant at the Lexington Institute with ties to the Pentagon and defense contractors. "But he always ends up looking vindicated. What we're really facing in Iraq is a mop-up operation, and as the mop-up continues and as we gradually sharpen our intelligence and train Iraqi security forces, Rumsfeld is going to look better and better. In the end, it will look like he understood the occupation of Iraq better than most of his critics did." September 2003
Retired Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, a former head of the U.S. Central Command who also served the Bush administration as Middle East envoy, sharply criticized the Pentagon's handling of postwar Iraq in a speech before the U.S. Naval Institute and the Marine Corps Association 10 days ago. He received an enthusiastic response from hundreds of military officers present. September 2003
Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-N.M.), an Air Force veteran who later served on the staff of the National Security Council in George H.W. Bush's administration, said that "over the last 10 days, I've seen the administration make the changes and commitments they need to make in order to be successful in the long term." September 2003.
The new National Security Archive collection, helps fill in gaps in the record, documenting U.S. partnership with Iraq in its 1980-88 war against Iran and the acquiescence of U.S. officials, including some current Bush Administration figures, in Iraqi abuses.
The documents show that during this period of renewed U.S. support for Saddam, he had invaded his neighbor (Iran), had long-range nuclear aspirations that would "probably" include "an eventual nuclear weapon capability," harbored known terrorists in Baghdad, abused the human rights of his citizens, and possessed and used chemical weapons on Iranians and his own people. The U.S. response was to renew ties, to provide intelligence and aid to ensure Iraq would not be defeated by Iran, and to send a high-level presidential envoy named Donald Rumsfeld to shake hands with Saddam (20 December 1983).
The declassified documents posted last week include the briefing materials and diplomatic reporting on two Rumsfeld trips to Baghdad, reports on Iraqi chemical weapons use concurrent with the Reagan administration's decision to support Iraq, and decision directives signed by President Reagan that reveal the specific U.S. priorities for the region: preserving access to oil, expanding U.S. ability to project military power in the region, and protecting local allies from internal and external threats.
A U.S. cable recording the December 20, 1983 conversation between Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein. Although Rumsfeld said during a September 21, 2002 CNN interview, "In that visit, I cautioned him about the use of chemical weapons, as a matter of fact, and discussed a host of other things," the recently released documents indicate there was no mention of chemical weapons.
The 1984 public U.S. condemnation of chemical weapons use in the Iran-Iraq war, which said, referring to the Ayatollah Khomeini's refusal to agree to end hostilities until Saddam Hussein was ejected from power, "The United States finds the present Iranian regime's intransigent refusal to deviate from its avowed objective of eliminating the legitimate government of neighboring Iraq to be inconsistent with the accepted norms of behavior among nations and the moral and religious basis which it claims."
Ari Fleischer Press Briefing April 10, 2003 “But make no mistake -- as I said earlier -- we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be found.”
Donald Rumsfeld ABC Interview March 30, 2003 “We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”
Pentagon Spokeswoman Victoria Clark Press Briefing March 22, 2003 “One of our top objectives is to find and destroy the WMD. There are a number of sites.”
Defense Policy Board member Kenneth Adelman Washington Post, p. A27 March 23, 2003 “I have no doubt we're going to find big stores of weapons of mass destruction.”
Gen. Tommy Franks press Conference March 22, 2003 “There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. And . . . as this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.”
28 April, 2003. Tony Blair: "There was a six-month campaign of concealment of those weapons ... Before people crow about the absence of weapons of mass destruction, I suggest they wait a little bit."
Ari Fleisher Press Briefing March 21, 2003 “Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes.”
George W. Bush Remarks to Reporters May 3, 2003 “We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so.”
George W. Bush Radio Address February 8, 2003 “We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.”
Colin Powell Remarks to UN Security Council February 5, 2003 “We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.”
Colin Powell Interview with Radio France International February 28, 2003 “If Iraq had disarmed itself, gotten rid of its weapons of mass destruction over the past 12 years, or over the last several months since (UN Resolution) 1441 was enacted, we would not be facing the crisis that we now have before us . . . But the suggestion that we are doing this because we want to go to every country in the Middle East and rearrange all of its pieces is not correct.”
George W. Bush Address to the Nation March 17, 2003 “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”
Ari Fleischer Press Briefing December 2, 2002 “If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world.”
Dick Cheney Speech to VFW National Convention August 26, 2002 “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”
Ari Fleischer Press Briefing January 9, 2003 “We know for a fact that there are weapons there.”
Colin Powell, February 2001: "[Saddam] 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."
Condoleeza Rice, July 2001: "We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt."
The Downing Street Memo, July 2002: There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.
Ministers were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.
The RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war ... By the end of August the raids had become a full air offensive.
They dropped precision-guided munitions on Saddam Hussein's major western air-defense facility, clearing the path for Special Forces helicopters that lay in wait in Jordan. Earlier attacks had been carried out against Iraqi command and control centers, radar detection systems, Revolutionary Guard units, communication centers and mobile air-defense systems. The Pentagon's goal was clear: Destroy Iraq's ability to resist. This was war. ... This was September 2002--a month before Congress had voted to give President Bush the authority he used to invade Iraq, two months before the United Nations brought the matter to a vote and more than six months before "shock and awe" officially began.
"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." -- George W Bush, May 24, 2005
Kentucky Republican Mafia - Some people are "made" others are not.
LISTS MENTION DONATIONS, BUMPER STICKERS
By John Cheves
HERALD-LEADER STAFF WRITER
FRANKFORT - Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration investigated some applicants for merit jobs to determine their political loyalty, then acted against Democrats, according to internal rec-ords filed in court Friday.
In one case, an applicant had Democratic bumper stickers, which was noted next to his name on a list of job seekers. In another, Fletcher aides dropped the recommended candidate for a job when they uncovered his donations to the campaigns of Democratic Gov. Paul Patton and Ben Chandler, the Democrat who lost to Fletcher in 2003.
"From the very beginning of this administration, they have used party loyalty and campaign donations as criteria for state employment, and unfortunately, this is simply more evidence," said Charles Wells, executive director of the Kentucky Association of State Employees.
Attorney General Greg Stumbo is investigating reports that the Fletcher administration makes decisions about whom to hire for merit jobs based on politics rather than qualifications, which would be illegal.
Fletcher, who has denied any wrongdoing by his administration, is the first Republican governor in more than 30 years, which brought out large numbers of Republicans to apply for positions.
So far, Stumbo has secured misdemeanor indictments against three Fletcher officials, charged with illegally firing Mike Duncan, deputy inspector general at the Transportation Cabinet, because he is a Demo-crat and backed Chandler.
One of those indicted officials -- Dan Druen, the cabinet's administrative services commissioner -- is a central figure in internal records Stumbo filed in court Friday.
The records, seized during Stumbo's earlier searches of state offices, mostly are lists of existing state employees and job seekers, as well as correspondence between Druen and other Fletcher aides.
Demands for employment
The aides wrote about facing Republican demands for employment and discussed purging 4,000 political jobs of Democratic "holdovers" from the Patton administration, which is legal. But they also raised the question of political loyalty when filling some of 32,000 merit jobs.
At the Highway Department, a Muhlenberg County applicant for superintendent -- who apparently did not get hired -- had "Dems stickers on trucks," according to a note under his name.
That document was a handwritten list of job applicants identifying those with Republican ties. At the top of the sheet was the name of Fletcher adviser J. Marshall Hughes, a Bowling Green lawyer and member of the Kentucky Republican Party Central Executive Committee. It was unclear whether he was the author or recipient of the list.
It also carried the name and fax number of Mark Honeycutt, the Personnel Cabinet's attorney.
Hughes and Honeycutt did not return telephone calls seeking comment about the note. Hughes appeared last week before the grand jury convened by Stumbo to investigate Fletcher's merit hiring.
In another case, Harold Witt was originally recommended for a promotion to highway superintendent in Montgomery County, based on merit qualifications, according to the records. But the mother of a competitor, Harold Faulkner, wrote an angry letter to Fletcher declaring that her family is Republican, and yet "we cannot get a job."
Gladys Faulkner's complaint was forwarded to Basil Turbyfill, the governor's executive director of personnel and efficiency, who passed it to Druen. Druen then checked Witt's campaign donations and found he gave $100 to Patton in 1999 and $1,000 to Chandler in 2003.
Druen attached a list of Witt's donations from the Web site of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance when he fired off a reply to Turbyfill.
"After vetting the situation, we find Mr. Witt supported Chandler and Patton while the Faulkner family clearly supported Gov. Fletcher," Druen wrote. "I returned the paperwork and asked Amos to re-interview Witt and Faulkner, and gave Faulkner a high recommendation." It is unclear from the record who Amos is.
Adviser's nephew got job
In the end, Witt and Faulkner both were passed over for the Montgomery County supervisor position in favor of another politically connected candidate -- the nephew of Fletcher's volunteer political adviser, Dave Disponett.
Transportation Cabinet spokesman Doug Hogan said he had not had the opportunity Friday to study the records filed by Stumbo. Speaking generally, Hogan said, "a few ideas shared in an e-mail exchange" should not be taken as official administration hiring policy.
But Jerry Lundergan, chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party, said a pattern of merit-system abuse clearly is emerging from Stumbo's investigation.
"There is a bunch of inexperienced advisers to the governor who have decided to run the merit system their way, not the right way, not the legal way," Lundergan said. "They have taken the protection out of the system so badly that they can punish people based on who has the wrong bumper stickers."
"They need to just admit what they've done, take responsibility for it, fix it so it doesn't happen again and move on with the business of state government," he said.
Monday, June 27, 2005
American Media: Welcome to the Corporate Republic of America.
Big Media Interlocks with Corporate America
by Peter Phillips
Mainstream media is the term often used to describe the collective group of big TV, radio and newspapers in the United States. Mainstream implies that the news being produced is for the benefit and enlightenment of the mainstream population-the majority of people living in the US. Mainstream media include a number of communication mediums that carry almost all the news and information on world affairs that most Americans receive. The word media is plural, implying a diversity of news sources.
However, mainstream media no longer produce news for the mainstream population-nor should we consider the media as plural. Instead it is more accurate to speak of big media in the US today as the corporate media and to use the term in the singular tense-as it refers to the singular monolithic top-down power structure of self-interested news giants.
A research team at Sonoma State University has recently finished conducting a network analysis of the boards of directors of the ten big media organizations in the US. The team determined that only 118 people comprise the membership on the boards of director of the ten big media giants. This is a small enough group to fit in a moderate size university classroom. These 118 individuals in turn sit on the corporate boards of 288 national and international corporations. In fact, eight out of ten big media giants share common memberships on boards of directors with each other. NBC and the Washington Post both have board members who sit on Coca Cola and J. P. Morgan, while the Tribune Company, The New York Times and Gannett all have members who share a seat on Pepsi. It is kind of like one big happy family of interlocks and shared interests. The following are but a few of the corporate board interlocks for the big ten media giants in the US:
* New York Times: Caryle Group, Eli Lilly, Ford, Johnson and Johnson, Hallmark, Lehman Brothers, Staples, Pepsi
* Washington Post: Lockheed Martin, Coca-Cola, Dun & Bradstreet, Gillette, G.E. Investments, J.P. Morgan, Moody's
* Knight-Ridder: Adobe Systems, Echelon, H&R Block, Kimberly-Clark, Starwood Hotels
* The Tribune (Chicago & LA Times): 3M, Allstate, Caterpillar, Conoco Phillips, Kraft, McDonalds, Pepsi, Quaker Oats, Shering Plough, Wells Fargo
* News Corp (Fox): British Airways, Rothschild Investments
* GE (NBC): Anheuser-Busch, Avon, Bechtel, Chevron/Texaco, Coca-Cola, Dell, GM, Home Depot, Kellogg, J.P. Morgan, Microsoft, Motorola, Procter & Gamble
* Disney (ABC): Boeing, Northwest Airlines, Clorox, Estee Lauder, FedEx, Gillette, Halliburton, Kmart, McKesson, Staples, Yahoo
* Viacom (CBS): American Express, Consolidated Edison, Oracle, Lafarge North America
* Gannett: AP, Lockheed-Martin, Continental Airlines, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, Target, Pepsi
* AOL-Time Warner (CNN): Citigroup, Estee Lauder, Colgate-Palmolive, Hilton
Can we trust the news editors at the Washington Post to be fair and objective regarding news stories about Lockheed-Martin defense contract over-runs? Or can we assuredly believe that ABC will conduct critical investigative reporting on Halliburton's sole-source contracts in Iraq? If we believe the corporate media give us the full un-censored truth about key issues inside the special interests of American capitalism, then we might feel that they are meeting the democratic needs of mainstream America. However if we believe - as increasingly more Americans do- that corporate media serves its own self-interests instead of those of the people, than we can no longer call it mainstream or refer to it as plural. Instead we need to say that corporate media is corporate America, and that we the mainstream people need to be looking at alternative independent sources for our news and information.
Peter Phillips is a professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and director of Project Censored a media research organization. www.projectcensored.org Sonoma State University students Bridget Thornton and Brit Walters conducted the research on the media interlocks.