Friday, April 21, 2006
Bush Using Nukes on Iran is "gravely irresponsible" according to American Physicists. I say Bush is acting just like Saddam, using WMD and Torture.
Prominent US Physicists Send Letter to President Bush
By Kim McDonald
Monday 17 April 2006
Thirteen of the nation's most prominent physicists have written a letter to President Bush, calling U.S. plans to reportedly use nuclear weapons against Iran "gravely irresponsible" and warning that such action would have "disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world."
The physicists include five Nobel laureates, a recipient of the National Medal of Science and three past presidents of the American Physical Society, the nation's preeminent professional society for physicists.
Their letter was prompted by recent articles in the Washington Post, New Yorker and other publications that one of the options being considered by Pentagon planners and the White House in a military confrontation with Iran includes the use of nuclear bunker busters against underground facilities. These reports were neither confirmed nor denied by White House and Pentagon officials.
The letter was initiated by Jorge Hirsch, a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego, who last fall put together a petition signed by more than 1,800 physicists that repudiated new U.S. nuclear weapons policies that include preemptive use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear adversaries . Hirsch has also published 15 articles in recent months documenting the dangers associated with a potential U.S. nuclear strike on Iran.
"We are members of the profession that brought nuclear weapons into existence, and we feel strongly that it is our professional duty to contribute our efforts to prevent their misuse," says Hirsch. "Physicists know best about the devastating effects of the weapons they created, and these eminent physicists speak for thousands of our colleagues."
"The fact that the existence of this plan has not been denied by the Administration should be a cause of great alarm, even if it is only one of several plans being considered," he adds. "The public should join these eminent scientists in demanding that the Administration publicly renounces such a misbegotten option against a non-nuclear country like Iran ."
The letter, which is available at http://physics.ucsd.edu/petition/physicistsletter.html, points out that "nuclear weapons are unique among weapons of mass destruction," and that nuclear weapons in today's arsenals have a total power of more than 200,000 times the explosive energy of the bomb that leveled Hiroshima, which caused the deaths of more than 100,000 people.
It notes that there are no sharp lines between small and large nuclear weapons, nor between nuclear weapons targeting facilities and those targeting armies or cities, and that the use by the United States of nuclear weapons after 60 years of non-use will make the use of nuclear weapons by others more likely.
"Once the U.S. uses a nuclear weapon again, it will heighten the probability that others will too," the physicists write. "In a world with many more nuclear nations and no longer a 'taboo' against the use of nuclear weapons, there will be a greatly enhanced risk that regional conflicts could expand into global nuclear war, with the potential to destroy our civilization."
The letter echoes the main objection of last fall's physicists' petition, stressing that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will be irreversibly damaged by the use or even the threat of use of nuclear weapons by a nuclear nation against a non-nuclear one, with disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world.
"It is gravely irresponsible for the U.S. as the greatest superpower to consider courses of action that could eventually lead to the widespread destruction of life on the planet. We urge the administration to announce publicly that it is taking the nuclear option off the table in the case of all non-nuclear adversaries, present or future, and we urge the American people to make their voices heard on this matter."
The 13 physicists who coauthored the letter are: Philip Anderson, professor of physics at Princeton University and Nobel Laureate in Physics; Michael Fisher, professor of physics at the Institute for Physical Science and Technology, University of Maryland and Wolf Laureate in Physics; David Gross, professor of theoretical physics and director of the Kavli Institute of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Nobel Laureate in Physics; Jorge Hirsch, professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego; Leo Kadanoff, professor of physics and mathematics at the University of Chicago and recipient of the National Medal of Science; Joel Lebowitz, professor of mathematics and physics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and Boltzmann Medalist; Anthony Leggett, professor of physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Nobel Laureate, Physics; Eugen Merzbacher, professor of physics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and former president, American Physical Society; Douglas Osheroff, professor of physics and applied physics, Stanford University and Nobel Laureate, Physics; Andrew Sessler, former director of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and former president, American Physical Society; George Trilling, professor of physics, University of California, Berkeley, and former president, American Physical Society; Frank Wilczek, professor of physics, MIT and Nobel Laureate, Physics; Edward Witten, professor of physics, Institute for Advanced Study and Fields Medalist.
The physicists are sending copies of their letter to their elected representatives, requesting that the issue be urgently addressed in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
"California Avocado Freestyle?" I think that means Rummy should go to Jail.
Rumsfeld Shouldn't Be Fired. He Should Be Indicted.
By Matthew Rothschild
Monday 17 April 2006
It's not Donald Rumsfeld's colossal arrogance or his glaring misjudgments we should be focusing on. It's his potential crimes.
The mainstream media in the U.S. is giving enormous attention to the retired generals who are demanding Donald Rumsfeld's resignation because of his autocratic style and his bungling in Iraq.
But the mainstream media is barely discussing Rumsfeld's alleged culpability in the abusive treatment of detainees, up to and including torture.
"The question at this point is not whether Secretary Rumsfeld should resign, it's whether he should be indicted," says Joanne Mariner of Human Rights Watch, who directs its terrorism and counterterrorism program.
She was reacting to a report from Salon.com (1) that Rumsfeld was personally involved in monitoring the interrogation at Guantanamo of the so-called 20th hijacker, Muhammad al-Qahtani.
For six weeks at the end of 2002 and the start of 2003, U.S. interrogators worked al-Qahtani over.
Among other things, they forced him to "stand naked in front of a female interrogator," and they forced him to "wear women's underwear and to perform 'dog tricks' on a leash," according to salon.com.
And Human Rights Watch says they deprived him of sleep, forced him into painful physical positions, and made him suffer "sexual and other physical humiliation." They also forced him to take an enema, and at one point they forced him to take water intravenously and then refused to allow him to use a latrine "so that he urinated on himself at least twice."
On top of that, they brought in a snarling dog.
All of these acts "were specifically intended to cause severe physical pain and suffering and severe mental pain and suffering," says Mariner of Human Rights Watch (2). "That's the legal definition of torture."
Much of al-Qahtani's interrogation occurred while a December 2, 2002, Rumsfeld directive was in effect. (He rescinded it, under pressure from the Navy, six weeks later.) That memo authorized sixteen controversial interrogation techniques, including the use of nudity, removal of religious items, sensory deprivation, blaring music, stress positions, and dogs.
Rumsfeld was "personally involved" in the interrogation, according to Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt, who investigated the incident and whose testimony is available at salon.com. Rumsfeld was in weekly contact with Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who was commander of Guantanamo, about the case.
According to Schmidt, Rumsfeld approved a "special interrogation plan" for al-Qahtani. Rumsfeld said "this is approved to be used in special circumstances which I will approve, and it's for Mister Khatani, number one." Schmidt said, "The Secretary of Defense is personally involved in the interrogation . . . and the Secretary of Defense is personally being briefed on this."
Schmidt's August 24, 2005, testimony to the Department of the Army Inspector General is revealing.
He mentions the "short shackling" of detainees, inappropriate strip searches, sexual humiliation, the use of cold temperatures in cells that threatened to cause hypothermia, and the use of snarling dogs in detainees' faces, including al-Qahtani's.
"Here's this guy manacled, chained down, dogs brought in, put [into] his face, told to growl, show teeth, and that kind of stuff," Schmidt testified. "If you had a camera and snapped that picture, you'd been back to Abu Ghraib."
Later in his testimony, in regards to the use of blaring music, Schmidt said, "There was no boundary, and there was no limit on all these little creative" techniques.
Schmidt's testimony also shows how President Bush himself contributed to the problem at Guantanamo.
Schmidt makes clear that Bush's order of February 7, 2002, to not grant Al Qaeda detainees the protections of the Geneva Conventions created confusion. Bush ordered the military to treat detainees "humanely," Schmidt said, but "there is no definition of what is 'humane treatment.' . . . There is humane treatment and nobody knows what that is, but there is a general fuzzy line."
This fuzzy line contributed to lax procedure, he said. "On the interrogations side, it was a little bit - and I don't want to say it is out of control, but it was California Avocado Freestyle kind of a thing." Later in his testimony, he said, "It was just a free for all."
Schmidt interviewed Rumsfeld twice. At one point, Schmidt asked him if he had approved techniques verbally prior to the December 2 order. "I had this discussion with the Secretary of Defense, and he wasn't happy, OK? And he could not remember - strike that about not being happy. He went around the table to all the people that he could recollect that were in the room for the period. And say did I approve that before I actually signed it? And they all went we don't remember."
Rumsfeld also tried to shrug off the consequences of his order.
"He was going, 'My God, you know, did I authorize putting a bra and underwear on this guy's head . . . and make him dance with another man?' "
Maj. Gen. Miller, who was later sent by Rumsfeld to "Gitmoize" Abu Ghraib, does not come off well in this testimony. Schmidt interviewed Miller twice. The first time, Miller said that he was on top of the al-Qahtani interrogation. "We are watching this. This is a very important thing. This is his most important thing he's doing," Miller said, according to Schmidt. "The special interrogation plan is proceeding. We are watching it meticulously."
But the second time Schmidt took testimony from Miller, the commander denied knowing about some of the specific techniques, like "gender coercion" or the use of "menstrual blood" on the detainees, or the use of snarling dogs.
Schmidt said Miller did not commit a criminal offense but failed to properly supervise or monitor the interrogation.
Schmidt also said the techniques on al-Qahtani were "abusive and degrading," but were not "inhumane," and "I absolutely ruled out torture."
Human Rights Watch disagrees. It says that Rumsfeld "could be criminally liable under federal or military criminal law for torture, assaults, and sexual abuse" for the treatment of al-Qahtani.
This is not the first time Human Rights Watch has asserted the need to indict the Secretary of Defense. In a report it released last year, "Getting Away with Torture? Command Responsibility for the U.S. Abuse of Detainees(1)," it urged the prosecution of Rumsfeld under the War Crimes Act of 1996 and the Anti-Torture Act of 1996. Under these statutes, it is illegal to commit a "grave breach" of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment," as well as torture and murder.
"Secretary Rumsfeld may bear legal liability for war crimes and torture by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo under the doctrine of 'command responsibility' - the legal principle that holds a superior responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates when he knew or should have known that they were being committed but fails to stop them," the report said.
But it also said "Rumsfeld could potentially bear direct criminal responsibility, as opposed to command responsibility." It cited his approval of "specific interrogation plans" for two high-value detainees in Guantanamo, one of whom was al-Qahtani.He's in jeopardy for one final reason.
"Secretary Rumsfeld has publicly admitted that . . . he ordered an Iraqi national held in Camp Cropper, a high security detention center in Iraq, to be kept off the prison's rolls and not presented to the International Committee of the Red Cross," the report noted. The Geneva Conventions require countries to grant the Red Cross access to all detainees.
Not listening to his generals may be the least of Donald Rumsfeld's worries.
Answering to a prosecutor may be a lot more serious.
Donald Rumsfeld, indicted?
That's what accountability would look like.
Bush's Folly could cost Americans 1 TRILLION. Heck of a Job there Bushie!
The One Certainty About Iraq: Spiraling Costs for Americans
By Keith Garvin
Thursday 20 April 2006
Poor planning, need for new equipment could push war costs to $1 trillion.
There are many uncertainties about the progress made by coalition forces and the future prospects for stability and democracy in Iraq, but there is at least one indisputable fact: The Bush administration vastly underestimated the costs of the Iraq war.
Not only in human lives, but in monetary terms as well, the costs of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq far exceed the administration's initial projection of a $50 billion tab. While the number of American casualties in Iraq has declined this year, the amount of money spent to fight the war and rebuild the country has spiralled upward.
The price is expected to almost double after lawmakers return to Capitol Hill next week when the Senate takes up a record $106.5 billion emergency spending bill that includes $72.4 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House passed a $92 billion version of the bill last month that included $68 billion in war funding. That comes on top of $50 billion already allocated for the war this fiscal year.
Poor Planning Could Push War Costs to $1 Trillion
ABC analyst Tony Cordesman, who also holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says the exorbitant costs come down to poor planning.
"When the administration submitted its original budget for the Iraq war, it didn't provide money for continuing the war this year or any other. We could end up spending up to $1 trillion in supplemental budgets for this war."
According to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the United States spent $48 billion for Iraq in 2003, $59 billion in 2004, and $81 billion in 2005. The center predicts the figure will balloon to $94 billion for 2006. That equates to a $1,205 bill for each of America's 78 million families, on top of taxes they already pay.
Bill Will Linger Long After Withdrawal
Analysts say the increases can be blamed on the rising cost of maintaining military equipment and developing new equipment. As the cost of military equipment escalates, the cost of the war escalates. In fact, developing state-of-the-art weapons to defeat insurgents and their roadside bombs will hit the wallets of American taxpayers for years to come.
"The Department of Defense has increased its investment in new equipment from $700 billion to $1.4 trillion in the coming years," Cordesman said.
Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker recently warned lawmakers that the cost of upkeep and replacement of military equipment would continue even after U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq. To fully reequip and upgrade the U.S. Army after the war ends will cost $36 billion over six years, and that figure assumes U.S. forces will start withdrawing from Iraq in July, and be completely out of the country by the end of 2008.
June 5th 1933 ----
THE WESTERN MAIL & SOUTH WALES NEWS, June 5th 1933
GERMANY UNDER THE RULE OF HITLER
DEATH BLOW TO DEMOCRACY
By GARETH JONES
REVOLUTION WHICH SPRANG FROM POVERTY
The Brown Shirts are now masters of Germany. Every day in Berlin they march through streets bedecked with red, black, and white Nazi flags to the sound of those military marches which are rousing young Germany to a passionate militant love of their Fatherland. Eager crowds line the streets for each parade and, stretching out their right hands, call with ecstatic enthusiasm, “Heil, Hitler!”
The leader of the National-Sosialists (to give the full name for Nazi), Adolf Hitler, who flies one day to inspect the fleet at Kiel and next day to speak, perhaps, at Munich, commands among millions of people a feeling which can only be described as that of religious worship.
I have for my leader;” said one leading Nazi to me, “a love which is as deep as my love for my country, and I have in him a faith than which no faith, even faith in religion, could be deeper. Hitler can never be wrong, and his orders I shall carry out to the death.”
Imbued with such devotion to Hitler, the Nazi Brown Shirts have, under his command, carried out a revolution which can be ranked with the Bolshevik and the Fascist Revolutions.
The German National Revolution, although possessing a far narrower economic and philosophical foundation than that brought about by Lenin, has certainly been more rapid than its Russian counterpart. The Brown Shirts in three months have been able to gain power and dig themselves well in without the ravages of a civil war and without the delay of several years, which elapsed in Italy before Mussolini took over full power. The lightning pace of the National-Socialist triumph makes the French Revolution appear almost like prolonged slow motion.DEATH-BLOW TO DEMOCRACY
What have the Brown Shirts done since Hitler became Chancellor on January 30?
They have dealt a deathblow to democracy in Germany, and have made Parliament into a despised relic of the past.
They have put one party, and one party only, into control, and that is the National-Socialist party, which has become as all-powerful as the Communists in Russia and the Fascists in Italy. The Nazis (pronounced Natsi-s) have put themselves into the position of leaders in the universities, in all committees, in factories, on boards of directors, in schools, in public offices. Most positions of trust are now held by members of the party.
They have started a ruthless campaign against the Jews, whom they have deprived of rights, whom they have persecuted both economically and morally, and whom they have treated as if they were “inferior men,” as they call them. Distinguished scholars and great men, whom we in Britain would be honoured to consider as our citizens, are not allowed to enrich German scholarship or law courts or hospitals.
They have abolished two powerful parties, the Social Democrats, who numbered about 8,000,000 voters and the Communists, who numbered almost 6,000,000, and have seized their funds, the private property of those parties.
They have imprisoned many tens of thousands of men and women for their political views, and hold them now captive in prisons and concentration camps.
They have swept away the liberty of the press, and they come down with a heavy hand upon any editor who dares criticise the leader or his policy.
They have created a secret police, which will make still more nebulous any freedom of expression which may remain.A DREAM COMES TRUE
In the space of a few weeks they have made the old Bavarian, the old Saxony, and all the various States which formed Germany a thing of the past, and the scattered, straggling Germany of yesterday has now become a centralised, unified nation. The dream of generations- namely, a united Germany, where men would not be Saxons or Bavarians or Wurttembergers, but real Germans has in a flash come true.
They have attempted a moral cleansing of life in the big towns and have courageously attacked social evils.
They have revealed and condemned much corruption in public life and have placed before public servants a high ideal of service for the nation’s sake and not for private gain.
They have re-organised education on lines of narrow nationalism and intolerance. They have had midnight bonfires of some of Germany’s most valuable Socialistic books.
Such have been the main lines of the national revolution. The Nazis’ actions combine a powerful idealism with a mediæval intolerance and unselfish devotion to an aim and a leader with a brutal disregard of justice and fairplay to the individual. Liberal-minded people have been shocked by the similarity which Nazi decrees have with former reactionary measures, and the treatment of the Jews has caused a revulsion of feeling which is shared by millions of Germans within the borders of Germany.CAUSE OF THE REVOLUTION
Why has Germany suddenly become so ruthless, so nationalistic, and so thorough in sweeping away the democratic Republic formed after her defeat in 1918?
The revolution is, firstly, the revolt of young Germany against years of unemployment, against the boredom of walking the streets without work, against a meagre unemployment benefit, which is, as one man put it, “enough to breathe on, but not enough to live on.” Young Germans learned to hate capitalism and to long for a new system where things would be different. A young worker who only received 4s. 6d. per week was not likely to be fond of the system under which existed, and he longed for any programme which offered hope. Most young workers streamed into the Communist camp, while the unemployed who had middle-class connections usually became Nazi storm troops.
Even when Germany enjoyed a period of sham prosperity on borrowed money, from 1925 to 1929, there were a steady million or two out of work, but when the cloud of depression broke over the world the figure sprang upwards with a speed which terrified politician and workman alike, and reached six millions. Many families had not enough bread, and the fathers and mothers blamed the system under which their children went hungry. Revolutionaries grew in number until most of Germany became revolutionary. At one time the future seemed like a race. Which would win-Bolshevism or Fascism?SAVINGS MELT AWAY
Not only the working class, but the middle class was impoverished. In 1923 the savings of the whole country melted away in a few months, when the mark became of infinitesimal value. In 1923 one could buy for a £, millions of marks and later even billions. I remember travelling in that year from Saxony to South Poland, a distance of 350 miles. For 1,750,000 marks, which was equivalent to 1s. 10½d., I obtained a first-class ticket, and I paid the equivalent of fivepence for a five course meal on the train. This inflation a meant the disappearance of the savings of millions of families, and the, ruin of the middle class has been the most fertile breeding ground of the national revolution.
On the surface in Germany the streets still look prosperous. Men and women look well dressed, for the Germans have a pride of appearance and a regard for cleanliness which fill one with admiration. But beneath a spotless suit of clothes and a white collar there is often abject poverty crying out for retribution.
This poverty is one of the forces which has made Hitler the dictator of Germany.
Bush Picks Brown Shirt for New White House Director of Policy.
New WH Policy Chief Was "Brooks Brothers" Rioter
By Justin Rood
Wednesday 19 April 2006
To the Burberry ramparts!
The man Bush tapped to fill Karl Rove's spot as his policy wizard is none other than Joel Kaplan, who took part in the infamous "Brooks Brothers riot" of 2000. That's when a bunch of Washington GOP operatives, posing as outraged Floridians, waved fists, chanted "Stop the fraud!" and pounded windows in an effort to intimidate officials engaged in the Florida recount effort.
In George Bush's Washington, there's no shame in staging a fake protest to undermine a democratic election, apparently: last year, the Washington Post's Al Kamen noted that "the "rioters" proudly note their participation on resumes and in interviews." Kaplan was even the one to cheekily dub the fracas the "Brooks Brothers Riot."
Editor's Note: A little more information on the "Riot"Miami-Dade vote recount demonstration was staged
On November 22nd a violent demonstration occurred in Miami in protest to a recount of the Miami-Dade ballots. This demonstration was initially reported as a spontaneous outburst by local Miami citizens, due to Republican insistence that is was such, and shown on local and national television. This demonstration lead to the ceasing of recounts of Miami ballots.
It turns out that the demonstration was an organized Republican demonstration of party loyalists who were called to Miami (with all expenses paid) and organized to incite violence and disrupt the recounts in Miami, a heavily Democratic county.
The New York Times reported the event as follows: "Further details are emerging about the riot Wednesday that preceded the Miami-Dade County election commission's decision to give up recounting the votes in the presidential election. As election workers sat counting votes, a mob screamed outside, pounded on furniture, tried to force its way into the building, surrounded a Democratic Party official, knocked two television cameramen to the ground, and kicked and punched several people, including a Democratic spokesman as he attempted to hold a news conference."
In fact the violence was actually incited by New York Representative John Sweeney, who was involved in the protest.
The following picture was published in the Washington Post:
This picture is a frame from the television broadcast of the event. The people in the picture have all been identified as Republican Party loyalists from outside of Miami.
1. Tom Pyle, policy analyst, office of House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).
2. Garry Malphrus, majority chief counsel and staff director, House Judiciary subcommittee on criminal justice.
3. Rory Cooper, political division staff member at the National Republican Congressional Committee.
4. Kevin Smith, former House Republican conference analyst and more recently of Voter.com.
5. Steven Brophy, former aide to Sen. Fred D. Thompson (R-Tenn.), now working at the consulting firm KPMG.
6. Matt Schlapp, former chief of staff for Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), now on the Bush campaign staff in Austin.
7. Roger Morse, aide to Rep. Van Hilleary (R-Tenn.).
8. Duane Gibson, aide to Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska) of the House Resources Committee.
9. Chuck Royal, legislative assistant to Rep. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
10. Layna McConkey, former legislative assistant to former Rep. Jim Ross Lightfoot (R-Iowa), now at Steelman Health Strategies.
In short, strings were pulled, and people were put on jets and flown to Miami in order to stage a fake local riot that used violence and intimidation to undermine the voting process with the intention of benefiting candidate George Bush.
For more on this see:
Thursday, April 20, 2006
by Stephen Gyllenhaal
As Iran's nuclear controversy heats up one thing seems abundantly clear. George Bush cannot be allowed to use nuclear weapons to solve the problem. There is no more pressing issue on this planet, not the civil war in Iraq, not the crises in our immigration laws that have brought so many brave souls into the streets, not the voting machines that are dangerously uncheckable, not the nightmarish rollbacks of environmental laws that skew our resources for the benefit of a few desperate corporations, not the tax laws that rape more of our hard working citizens every day, not the decimation of the constitution by the Patriot Act and the domestic spying scandal, not the fading rights of women and working people.
Nothing is more important than stopping the strategic use of nuclear weapons against Iran, because if we open this pandora's box again it will surely be used against us in due time. Never mind the ethical issues, never mind the legal issues or the spiritual and psychological issues, let's talk about saving our own skin. We are the only nation on earth who has so far slaughtered fellow human beings with atomic weapons. Last time we barely got away with it, remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? This time I don't believe it will be so easy, not that the balance of terror between the US and Russia was easy. But this time there is simply no way we will be able to guarantee our safetly after an attack on a sovereign duly elected Islamic nation. Thousands of Muslims the world over will surely feel it's their right, in fact their solemn duty, to destroy New York, and/or Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington with a similar weapon. We will from this day forward be a justifiably terrified nation. The Republic, already at risk because of our security fears, will cease to exist. We will have no choice but to become a military state.
Is this what George Bush and his people want? The end of democracy? Clearly they are not comfortable with the democracy in Iran. Most of us aren't. Most of us are no longer comfortable with what democracy has wrought here (George Bush's popularity rating being what it is), but does that give us the right to nuke him?
I don't believe George Bush is an evil man, or that even the people around him are evil (the "evil-doer" concept when applied to the complexity of a human being is hard for me to swallow.) I have watched them in office for the past six years and have come to realize they are nothing more than lost boys, frightened and therefore pugnacious, uninterested in sifting through conflicting, complex data because it makes decision making nearly impossible. It's pretty much impossible for all of us, none of us is handling the issues of our lives and our world very well and, frankly, I respect this administration for even trying. But in the end they have come at it like boys playing war, releasing their fears and frustrations at not being big enough by banging around and pretending with guns and posturing and dreaming of cowboy movies.
I don't know if President Bush really believes in the Apocalypse where the end of the world delivers the good souls to heaven and throws the evil ones into hell. I don't know if he believes, as it implies in scripture, that this Apocalypse will start with a fiery conflagration in the Middle East. I do know that there are millions of good people in America who believe it, good Christians who have supported George Bush with all their hearts, minds and pocketbooks, good people who have been brave and effective in ways that all the brilliant left-wing elite could only dream of.
But I also believe that these good-hearted decent Christians need to think twice before they participate in the nuclear slaughter of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of fellow human beings.
And the rest of us need to think twice too.
Whatever happened to turn the other cheek? Whatever happened to the deepest loving precepts of Christ? Isn't it possible that the book of Revelation is really about an internal Apocalypse? An Apocalypse of personal rebirth, a spiritual rebirth that brings us to the Divine? And isn't it Christ that said the Kingdom of God is within us? Aren't many of the most profound and powerful aspects of being human "within us?" And I have heard it said that in fact the real concept of Jihad is not an external war against evil, but an internal one. Shouldn't we first purge the evil within ourselves?
He who is without sin, cast the first stone.
But these are difficult concepts, adult concepts and there's a difference between a boy and a man. Between a girl and a woman. These are not concepts that children are supposed to understand, children are supposed to play, that's their work. And to play properly they must be supervised. By adults. And if children are not supervised they are lost. And it appears to me that both sides of this emerging nuclear conflict between the Middle East and the West are monumentally lost and childish, just as nearly all the leaders in the past who have blundered their nations into war have too often been proven by history to be deluded and infantile. Wars have slaughtered billions of innocent men, woman and children, ending so many lives, torturing and maiming so many more and leaving a population on this planet dazed, frightened and hopelessly frozen in the kind of childishness that believes that the end of the world will save us when in fact it's the end of being childish that will save us. Isn't that the kind of Apocalypse that the wise men of all religions and philosophies have been trying to talk about, an Apocalypse from childhood into adulthood?
Of course there are no easy answers to any of this. That's one of the terrifying realizations of adulthood, of wisdom. There will never be easy answers. Adult answers are not easy. But at this moment. At this particular moment there is one easy answer, an adult answer to some very lost, very frightened children: a very clear, very firm. No.
No, George Bush, you cannot use nuclear weapons against Iran. No. Absolutely not and if you won't listen, then we must pour into the streets by the millions. If you can't hear us, we who are sitting generals must be as brave as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. We must fight back, we must speak out, if necessary we must resign loudly. If you and your administration can't listen, we who are in Congress must stand up like the men and women we were elected to be. Real men and women. Like the men and woman who have stood up with wisdom down through history. And history will remember. And our moment in history is now. This moment. We must help George Bush and those around him understand that the answer to this very complicated grownup issue is a very simple, unequivocal --
Need Help Funding Your Nuclear Weapons Program? High Oil Prices Might Help. Thanks Again W, you dumb fuck.
Crude Oil Hits High Above $72, Then Eases
By ELIZABETH KUSTA, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 29 minutes ago
Oil prices briefly rose to a record high above $72 a barrel Thursday, then declined as traders locked in profits from recent rallies and Royal Dutch Shell said a key oil platform damaged by Hurricane Katrina would be producing at pre-Katrina levels by the end of June.
Oil prices settled at a record high for the third straight day on Wednesday after weekly government data showed a drop in U.S. gasoline stocks, raising worries that refiners don't have an adequate inventory cushion ahead of the peak summer season.
Traders also are anxious that U.S.-led efforts to stop Iran, OPEC's second-largest member, from pursuing a suspected nuclear weapons program could lead to a disruption in Persian Gulf oil supplies.
Oil futures contracts through November 2009 are now trading above $70 a barrel, indicating traders believe high prices could be here to stay.
Gasoline inventories typically decrease this time of the year as refiners shut plants to perform maintenance ahead of the summer driving season. But there is additional worry about summer gasoline supplies this year because of the prospect of tight supplies of ethanol, which is needed in increasing amounts as refiners phase out their use of methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE — an additive that helps gasoline burn more cleanly but which has been found to contaminate drinking water.
Light, sweet crude for May on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose as high as $72.49 a barrel in electronic trading in Asia, surpassing the previous record of $72.40 set during Wednesday's trading. The contract, which expires later Thursday, slipped back to $71.30, down 87 cents from Wednesday's record closing price of $72.17.
June crude, which will become the front-month contract on Friday, also slipped but remained above $73 a barrel, trading at $73.25 at midday on Nymex.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Thursday its Mars platform — the largest oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico damaged by Hurricane Katrina — would be producing at pre-Katrina levels by the end of June. Mars accounts for about 5 percent of total Gulf of Mexico production.
In its weekly report, the U.S. Energy Department said Wednesday that the nation's supply of gasoline shrank by a larger-than-expected 5.4 million barrels last week to 202.5 million barrels. The decline, the seventh in as many weeks, pushed gasoline stocks to 4.6 percent below year-ago levels, their lowest level since November.
Concerns about Iran continue to lift oil prices. Diplomats said Wednesday the United States may turn to the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency to exert more pressure on Iran out of frustration with Russian and Chinese opposition to firm Security Council action.
On Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said record crude oil prices were still below their "real value," though he stopped short of saying Iran would use its vast resource as a weapon.
On Thursday, Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, one of the world's top oil producers, said oil prices would reach $100 a barrel should concern over Iran's nuclear weapons capability lead the United States to invade that Middle Eastern nation.
Chavez told reporters in Brazil that the United States' "belicose statements and the American president's threats against Iran" were responsible for the high cost of oil and added "Iran is a country that is prepared for war."
"Hopefully there will be no war, for that would destabilize the Middle East even more and could bring oil production in Iran and other countries to a complete standstill," he said.
The U.S. Energy Department report also showed that crude oil stocks fell by 800,000 barrels last week to 345.2 million barrels, while distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, fell 2.8 million barrels.
Brent crude for June rose to a record high of $74.22 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange before retreating to $73.69 a barrel Thursday.
Gasoline futures declined 5.94 cents to $2.18 a gallon midday Thursday while heating oil prices fell 2.43 cents to $2.0380 a gallon. Natural gas prices fell more than 17 cents to $8.02 per 1,000 cubic feet, after the U.S. Department of Energy said natural gas storage rose to 1.761 trillion cubic feet, more than 60 percent above the five-year average.
Though oil futures retreated, U.S. pump prices continued to rise. The average price for a gallon of gasoline rose to $2.825 a gallon, up more than 2 cents from Wednesday and more than 60 cents from a year ago, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report.
One of America's leading historians assesses George W. Bush
George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.
From time to time, after hours, I kick back with my colleagues at Princeton to argue idly about which president really was the worst of them all. For years, these perennial debates have largely focused on the same handful of chief executives whom national polls of historians, from across the ideological and political spectrum, routinely cite as the bottom of the presidential barrel. Was the lousiest James Buchanan, who, confronted with Southern secession in 1860, dithered to a degree that, as his most recent biographer has said, probably amounted to disloyalty -- and who handed to his successor, Abraham Lincoln, a nation already torn asunder? Was it Lincoln's successor, Andrew Johnson, who actively sided with former Confederates and undermined Reconstruction? What about the amiably incompetent Warren G. Harding, whose administration was fabulously corrupt? Or, though he has his defenders, Herbert Hoover, who tried some reforms but remained imprisoned in his own outmoded individualist ethic and collapsed under the weight of the stock-market crash of 1929 and the Depression's onset? The younger historians always put in a word for Richard M. Nixon, the only American president forced to resign from office.
Now, though, George W. Bush is in serious contention for the title of worst ever. In early 2004, an informal survey of 415 historians conducted by the nonpartisan History News Network found that eighty-one percent considered the Bush administration a "failure." Among those who called Bush a success, many gave the president high marks only for his ability to mobilize public support and get Congress to go along with what one historian called the administration's "pursuit of disastrous policies." In fact, roughly one in ten of those who called Bush a success was being facetious, rating him only as the best president since Bill Clinton -- a category in which Bush is the only contestant.
The lopsided decision of historians should give everyone pause. Contrary to popular stereotypes, historians are generally a cautious bunch. We assess the past from widely divergent points of view and are deeply concerned about being viewed as fair and accurate by our colleagues. When we make historical judgments, we are acting not as voters or even pundits, but as scholars who must evaluate all the evidence, good, bad or indifferent. Separate surveys, conducted by those perceived as conservatives as well as liberals, show remarkable unanimity about who the best and worst presidents have been.
Historians do tend, as a group, to be far more liberal than the citizenry as a whole -- a fact the president's admirers have seized on to dismiss the poll results as transparently biased. One pro-Bush historian said the survey revealed more about "the current crop of history professors" than about Bush or about Bush's eventual standing. But if historians were simply motivated by a strong collective liberal bias, they might be expected to call Bush the worst president since his father, or Ronald Reagan, or Nixon. Instead, more than half of those polled -- and nearly three-fourths of those who gave Bush a negative rating -- reached back before Nixon to find a president they considered as miserable as Bush. The presidents most commonly linked with Bush included Hoover, Andrew Johnson and Buchanan. Twelve percent of the historians polled -- nearly as many as those who rated Bush a success -- flatly called Bush the worst president in American history. And these figures were gathered before the debacles over Hurricane Katrina, Bush's role in the Valerie Plame leak affair and the deterioration of the situation in Iraq. Were the historians polled today, that figure would certainly be higher.
Even worse for the president, the general public, having once given Bush the highest approval ratings ever recorded, now appears to be coming around to the dismal view held by most historians. To be sure, the president retains a considerable base of supporters who believe in and adore him, and who reject all criticism with a mixture of disbelief and fierce contempt -- about one-third of the electorate. (When the columnist Richard Reeves publicized the historians' poll last year and suggested it might have merit, he drew thousands of abusive replies that called him an idiot and that praised Bush as, in one writer's words, "a Christian who actually acts on his deeply held beliefs.") Yet the ranks of the true believers have thinned dramatically. A majority of voters in forty-three states now disapprove of Bush's handling of his job. Since the commencement of reliable polling in the 1940s, only one twice-elected president has seen his ratings fall as low as Bush's in his second term: Richard Nixon, during the months preceding his resignation in 1974. No two-term president since polling began has fallen from such a height of popularity as Bush's (in the neighborhood of ninety percent, during the patriotic upswell following the 2001 attacks) to such a low (now in the midthirties). No president, including Harry Truman (whose ratings sometimes dipped below Nixonian levels), has experienced such a virtually unrelieved decline as Bush has since his high point. Apart from sharp but temporary upticks that followed the commencement of the Iraq war and the capture of Saddam Hussein, and a recovery during the weeks just before and after his re-election, the Bush trend has been a profile in fairly steady disillusionment.
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How does any president's reputation sink so low? The reasons are best understood as the reverse of those that produce presidential greatness. In almost every survey of historians dating back to the 1940s, three presidents have emerged as supreme successes: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These were the men who guided the nation through what historians consider its greatest crises: the founding era after the ratification of the Constitution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression and Second World War. Presented with arduous, at times seemingly impossible circumstances, they rallied the nation, governed brilliantly and left the republic more secure than when they entered office.
Calamitous presidents, faced with enormous difficulties -- Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Hoover and now Bush -- have divided the nation, governed erratically and left the nation worse off. In each case, different factors contributed to the failure: disastrous domestic policies, foreign-policy blunders and military setbacks, executive misconduct, crises of credibility and public trust. Bush, however, is one of the rarities in presidential history: He has not only stumbled badly in every one of these key areas, he has also displayed a weakness common among the greatest presidential failures -- an unswerving adherence to a simplistic ideology that abjures deviation from dogma as heresy, thus preventing any pragmatic adjustment to changing realities. Repeatedly, Bush has undone himself, a failing revealed in each major area of presidential performance.
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THE CREDIBILITY GAP
No previous president appears to have squandered the public's trust more than Bush has. In the 1840s, President James Polk gained a reputation for deviousness over his alleged manufacturing of the war with Mexico and his supposedly covert pro-slavery views. Abraham Lincoln, then an Illinois congressman, virtually labeled Polk a liar when he called him, from the floor of the House, "a bewildered, confounded and miserably perplexed man" and denounced the war as "from beginning to end, the sheerest deception." But the swift American victory in the war, Polk's decision to stick by his pledge to serve only one term and his sudden death shortly after leaving office spared him the ignominy over slavery that befell his successors in the 1850s. With more than two years to go in Bush's second term and no swift victory in sight, Bush's reputation will probably have no such reprieve.
The problems besetting Bush are of a more modern kind than Polk's, suited to the television age -- a crisis both in confidence and credibility. In 1965, Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam travails gave birth to the phrase "credibility gap," meaning the distance between a president's professions and the public's perceptions of reality. It took more than two years for Johnson's disapproval rating in the Gallup Poll to reach fifty-two percent in March 1968 -- a figure Bush long ago surpassed, but that was sufficient to persuade the proud LBJ not to seek re-election. Yet recently, just short of three years after Bush buoyantly declared "mission accomplished" in Iraq, his disapproval ratings have been running considerably higher than Johnson's, at about sixty percent. More than half the country now considers Bush dishonest and untrustworthy, and a decisive plurality consider him less trustworthy than his predecessor, Bill Clinton -- a figure still attacked by conservative zealots as "Slick Willie."
Previous modern presidents, including Truman, Reagan and Clinton, managed to reverse plummeting ratings and regain the public's trust by shifting attention away from political and policy setbacks, and by overhauling the White House's inner circles. But Bush's publicly expressed view that he has made no major mistakes, coupled with what even the conservative commentator William F. Buckley Jr. calls his "high-flown pronouncements" about failed policies, seems to foreclose the first option. Upping the ante in the Middle East and bombing Iranian nuclear sites, a strategy reportedly favored by some in the White House, could distract the public and gain Bush immediate political capital in advance of the 2006 midterm elections -- but in the long term might severely worsen the already dire situation in Iraq, especially among Shiite Muslims linked to the Iranians. And given Bush's ardent attachment to loyal aides, no matter how discredited, a major personnel shake-up is improbable, short of indictments. Replacing Andrew Card with Joshua Bolten as chief of staff -- a move announced by the president in March in a tone that sounded more like defiance than contrition -- represents a rededication to current policies and personnel, not a serious change. (Card, an old Bush family retainer, was widely considered more moderate than most of the men around the president and had little involvement in policy-making.) The power of Vice President Dick Cheney, meanwhile, remains uncurbed. Were Cheney to announce he is stepping down due to health problems, normally a polite pretext for a political removal, one can be reasonably certain it would be because Cheney actually did have grave health problems.
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BUSH AT WAR
Until the twentieth century, American presidents managed foreign wars well -- including those presidents who prosecuted unpopular wars. James Madison had no support from Federalist New England at the outset of the War of 1812, and the discontent grew amid mounting military setbacks in 1813. But Federalist political overreaching, combined with a reversal of America's military fortunes and the negotiation of a peace with Britain, made Madison something of a hero again and ushered in a brief so-called Era of Good Feelings in which his Jeffersonian Republican Party coalition ruled virtually unopposed. The Mexican War under Polk was even more unpopular, but its quick and victorious conclusion redounded to Polk's favor -- much as the rapid American victory in the Spanish-American War helped William McKinley overcome anti-imperialist dissent.
The twentieth century was crueler to wartime presidents. After winning re-election in 1916 with the slogan "He Kept Us Out of War," Woodrow Wilson oversaw American entry into the First World War. Yet while the doughboys returned home triumphant, Wilson's idealistic and politically disastrous campaign for American entry into the League of Nations presaged a resurgence of the opposition Republican Party along with a redoubling of American isolationism that lasted until Pearl Harbor.
Bush has more in common with post-1945 Democratic presidents Truman and Johnson, who both became bogged down in overseas military conflicts with no end, let alone victory, in sight. But Bush has become bogged down in a singularly crippling way. On September 10th, 2001, he held among the lowest ratings of any modern president for that point in a first term. (Only Gerald Ford, his popularity reeling after his pardon of Nixon, had comparable numbers.) The attacks the following day transformed Bush's presidency, giving him an extraordinary opportunity to achieve greatness. Some of the early signs were encouraging. Bush's simple, unflinching eloquence and his quick toppling of the Taliban government in Afghanistan rallied the nation. Yet even then, Bush wasted his chance by quickly choosing partisanship over leadership.
No other president -- Lincoln in the Civil War, FDR in World War II, John F. Kennedy at critical moments of the Cold War -- faced with such a monumental set of military and political circumstances failed to embrace the opposing political party to help wage a truly national struggle. But Bush shut out and even demonized the Democrats. Top military advisers and even members of the president's own Cabinet who expressed any reservations or criticisms of his policies -- including retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill -- suffered either dismissal, smear attacks from the president's supporters or investigations into their alleged breaches of national security. The wise men who counseled Bush's father, including James Baker and Brent Scowcroft, found their entreaties brusquely ignored by his son. When asked if he ever sought advice from the elder Bush, the president responded, "There is a higher Father that I appeal to."
All the while, Bush and the most powerful figures in the administration, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, were planting the seeds for the crises to come by diverting the struggle against Al Qaeda toward an all-out effort to topple their pre-existing target, Saddam Hussein. In a deliberate political decision, the administration stampeded the Congress and a traumatized citizenry into the Iraq invasion on the basis of what has now been demonstrated to be tendentious and perhaps fabricated evidence of an imminent Iraqi threat to American security, one that the White House suggested included nuclear weapons. Instead of emphasizing any political, diplomatic or humanitarian aspects of a war on Iraq -- an appeal that would have sounded too "sensitive," as Cheney once sneered -- the administration built a "Bush Doctrine" of unprovoked, preventive warfare, based on speculative threats and embracing principles previously abjured by every previous generation of U.S. foreign policy-makers, even at the height of the Cold War. The president did so with premises founded, in the case of Iraq, on wishful thinking. He did so while proclaiming an expansive Wilsonian rhetoric of making the world safe for democracy -- yet discarding the multilateralism and systems of international law (including the Geneva Conventions) that emanated from Wilson's idealism. He did so while dismissing intelligence that an American invasion could spark a long and bloody civil war among Iraq's fierce religious and ethnic rivals, reports that have since proved true. And he did so after repeated warnings by military officials such as Gen. Eric Shinseki that pacifying postwar Iraq would require hundreds of thousands of American troops -- accurate estimates that Paul Wolfowitz and other Bush policy gurus ridiculed as "wildly off the mark."
When William F. Buckley, the man whom many credit as the founder of the modern conservative movement, writes categorically, as he did in February, that "one can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed," then something terrible has happened. Even as a brash young iconoclast, Buckley always took the long view. The Bush White House seems incapable of doing so, except insofar as a tiny trusted circle around the president constantly reassures him that he is a messianic liberator and profound freedom fighter, on a par with FDR and Lincoln, and that history will vindicate his every act and utterance.
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BUSH AT HOME
Bush came to office in 2001 pledging to govern as a "compassionate conservative," more moderate on domestic policy than the dominant right wing of his party. The pledge proved hollow, as Bush tacked immediately to the hard right. Previous presidents and their parties have suffered when their actions have belied their campaign promises. Lyndon Johnson is the most conspicuous recent example, having declared in his 1964 run against the hawkish Republican Barry Goldwater that "we are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves." But no president has surpassed Bush in departing so thoroughly from his original campaign persona.
The heart of Bush's domestic policy has turned out to be nothing more than a series of massively regressive tax cuts -- a return, with a vengeance, to the discredited Reagan-era supply-side faith that Bush's father once ridiculed as "voodoo economics." Bush crowed in triumph in February 2004, "We cut taxes, which basically meant people had more money in their pocket." The claim is bogus for the majority of Americans, as are claims that tax cuts have led to impressive new private investment and job growth. While wiping out the solid Clinton-era federal surplus and raising federal deficits to staggering record levels, Bush's tax policies have necessitated hikes in federal fees, state and local taxes, and co-payment charges to needy veterans and families who rely on Medicaid, along with cuts in loan programs to small businesses and college students, and in a wide range of state services. The lion's share of benefits from the tax cuts has gone to the very richest Americans, while new business investment has increased at a historically sluggish rate since the peak of the last business cycle five years ago. Private-sector job growth since 2001 has been anemic compared to the Bush administration's original forecasts and is chiefly attributable not to the tax cuts but to increased federal spending, especially on defense. Real wages for middle-income Americans have been dropping since the end of 2003: Last year, on average, nominal wages grew by only 2.4 percent, a meager gain that was completely erased by an average inflation rate of 3.4 percent.
The monster deficits, caused by increased federal spending combined with the reduction of revenue resulting from the tax cuts, have also placed Bush's administration in a historic class of its own with respect to government borrowing. According to the Treasury Department, the forty-two presidents who held office between 1789 and 2000 borrowed a combined total of $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions. But between 2001 and 2005 alone, the Bush White House borrowed $1.05 trillion, more than all of the previous presidencies combined. Having inherited the largest federal surplus in American history in 2001, he has turned it into the largest deficit ever -- with an even higher deficit, $423 billion, forecast for fiscal year 2006. Yet Bush -- sounding much like Herbert Hoover in 1930 predicting that "prosperity is just around the corner" -- insists that he will cut federal deficits in half by 2009, and that the best way to guarantee this would be to make permanent his tax cuts, which helped cause the deficit in the first place!
The rest of what remains of Bush's skimpy domestic agenda is either failed or failing -- a record unmatched since the presidency of Herbert Hoover. The No Child Left Behind educational-reform act has proved so unwieldy, draconian and poorly funded that several states -- including Utah, one of Bush's last remaining political strongholds -- have fought to opt out of it entirely. White House proposals for immigration reform and a guest-worker program have succeeded mainly in dividing pro-business Republicans (who want more low-wage immigrant workers) from paleo-conservatives fearful that hordes of Spanish-speaking newcomers will destroy American culture. The paleos' call for tougher anti-immigrant laws -- a return to the punitive spirit of exclusion that led to the notorious Immigration Act of 1924 that shut the door to immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe -- has in turn deeply alienated Hispanic voters from the Republican Party, badly undermining the GOP's hopes of using them to build a permanent national electoral majority. The recent pro-immigrant demonstrations, which drew millions of marchers nationwide, indicate how costly the Republican divide may prove.
The one noncorporate constituency to which Bush has consistently deferred is the Christian right, both in his selections for the federal bench and in his implications that he bases his policies on premillennialist, prophetic Christian doctrine. Previous presidents have regularly invoked the Almighty. McKinley is supposed to have fallen to his knees, seeking divine guidance about whether to take control of the Philippines in 1898, although the story may be apocryphal. But no president before Bush has allowed the press to disclose, through a close friend, his startling belief that he was ordained by God to lead the country. The White House's sectarian positions -- over stem-cell research, the teaching of pseudoscientific "intelligent design," global population control, the Terri Schiavo spectacle and more -- have led some to conclude that Bush has promoted the transformation of the GOP into what former Republican strategist Kevin Phillips calls "the first religious party in U.S. history."
Bush's faith-based conception of his mission, which stands above and beyond reasoned inquiry, jibes well with his administration's pro-business dogma on global warming and other urgent environmental issues. While forcing federally funded agencies to remove from their Web sites scientific information about reproductive health and the effectiveness of condoms in combating HIV/AIDS, and while peremptorily overruling staff scientists at the Food and Drug Administration on making emergency contraception available over the counter, Bush officials have censored and suppressed research findings they don't like by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Agriculture. Far from being the conservative he said he was, Bush has blazed a radical new path as the first American president in history who is outwardly hostile to science -- dedicated, as a distinguished, bipartisan panel of educators and scientists (including forty-nine Nobel laureates) has declared, to "the distortion of scientific knowledge for partisan political ends."
The Bush White House's indifference to domestic problems and science alike culminated in the catastrophic responses to Hurricane Katrina. Scientists had long warned that global warming was intensifying hurricanes, but Bush ignored them -- much as he and his administration sloughed off warnings from the director of the National Hurricane Center before Katrina hit. Reorganized under the Department of Homeland Security, the once efficient Federal Emergency Management Agency turned out, under Bush, to have become a nest of cronyism and incompetence. During the months immediately after the storm, Bush traveled to New Orleans eight times to promise massive rebuilding aid from the federal government. On March 30th, however, Bush's Gulf Coast recovery coordinator admitted that it could take as long as twenty-five years for the city to recover.
Karl Rove has sometimes likened Bush to the imposing, no-nonsense President Andrew Jackson. Yet Jackson took measures to prevent those he called "the rich and powerful" from bending "the acts of government to their selfish purposes." Jackson also gained eternal renown by saving New Orleans from British invasion against terrible odds. Generations of Americans sang of Jackson's famous victory. In 1959, Johnny Horton's version of "The Battle of New Orleans" won the Grammy for best country & western performance. If anyone sings about George W. Bush and New Orleans, it will be a blues number.
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Virtually every presidential administration dating back to George Washington's has faced charges of misconduct and threats of impeachment against the president or his civil officers. The alleged offenses have usually involved matters of personal misbehavior and corruption, notably the payoff scandals that plagued Cabinet officials who served presidents Harding and Ulysses S. Grant. But the charges have also included alleged usurpation of power by the president and serious criminal conduct that threatens constitutional government and the rule of law -- most notoriously, the charges that led to the impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, and to Richard Nixon's resignation.
Historians remain divided over the actual grievousness of many of these allegations and crimes. Scholars reasonably describe the graft and corruption around the Grant administration, for example, as gargantuan, including a kickback scandal that led to the resignation of Grant's secretary of war under the shadow of impeachment. Yet the scandals produced no indictments of Cabinet secretaries and only one of a White House aide, who was acquitted. By contrast, the most scandal-ridden administration in the modern era, apart from Nixon's, was Ronald Reagan's, now widely remembered through a haze of nostalgia as a paragon of virtue. A total of twenty-nine Reagan officials, including White House national security adviser Robert McFarlane and deputy chief of staff Michael Deaver, were convicted on charges stemming from the Iran-Contra affair, illegal lobbying and a looting scandal inside the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Three Cabinet officers -- HUD Secretary Samuel Pierce, Attorney General Edwin Meese and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger -- left their posts under clouds of scandal. In contrast, not a single official in the Clinton administration was even indicted over his or her White House duties, despite repeated high-profile investigations and a successful, highly partisan impeachment drive.
The full report, of course, has yet to come on the Bush administration. Because Bush, unlike Reagan or Clinton, enjoys a fiercely partisan and loyal majority in Congress, his administration has been spared scrutiny. Yet that mighty advantage has not prevented the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on charges stemming from an alleged major security breach in the Valerie Plame matter. (The last White House official of comparable standing to be indicted while still in office was Grant's personal secretary, in 1875.) It has not headed off the unprecedented scandal involving Larry Franklin, a high-ranking Defense Department official, who has pleaded guilty to divulging classified information to a foreign power while working at the Pentagon -- a crime against national security. It has not forestalled the arrest and indictment of Bush's top federal procurement official, David Safavian, and the continuing investigations into Safavian's intrigues with the disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, recently sentenced to nearly six years in prison -- investigations in which some prominent Republicans, including former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed (and current GOP aspirant for lieutenant governor of Georgia) have already been implicated, and could well produce the largest congressional corruption scandal in American history. It has not dispelled the cloud of possible indictment that hangs over others of Bush's closest advisers.
History may ultimately hold Bush in the greatest contempt for expanding the powers of the presidency beyond the limits laid down by the U.S. Constitution. There has always been a tension over the constitutional roles of the three branches of the federal government. The Framers intended as much, as part of the system of checks and balances they expected would minimize tyranny. When Andrew Jackson took drastic measures against the nation's banking system, the Whig Senate censured him for conduct "dangerous to the liberties of the people." During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln's emergency decisions to suspend habeas corpus while Congress was out of session in 1861 and 1862 has led some Americans, to this day, to regard him as a despot. Richard Nixon's conduct of the war in Southeast Asia and his covert domestic-surveillance programs prompted Congress to pass new statutes regulating executive power.
By contrast, the Bush administration -- in seeking to restore what Cheney, a Nixon administration veteran, has called "the legitimate authority of the presidency" -- threatens to overturn the Framers' healthy tension in favor of presidential absolutism. Armed with legal findings by his attorney general (and personal lawyer) Alberto Gonzales, the Bush White House has declared that the president's powers as commander in chief in wartime are limitless. No previous wartime president has come close to making so grandiose a claim. More specifically, this administration has asserted that the president is perfectly free to violate federal laws on such matters as domestic surveillance and the torture of detainees. When Congress has passed legislation to limit those assertions, Bush has resorted to issuing constitutionally dubious "signing statements," which declare, by fiat, how he will interpret and execute the law in question, even when that interpretation flagrantly violates the will of Congress. Earlier presidents, including Jackson, raised hackles by offering their own view of the Constitution in order to justify vetoing congressional acts. Bush doesn't bother with that: He signs the legislation (eliminating any risk that Congress will overturn a veto), and then governs how he pleases -- using the signing statements as if they were line-item vetoes. In those instances when Bush's violations of federal law have come to light, as over domestic surveillance, the White House has devised a novel solution: Stonewall any investigation into the violations and bid a compliant Congress simply to rewrite the laws.
Bush's alarmingly aberrant take on the Constitution is ironic. One need go back in the record less than a decade to find prominent Republicans railing against far more minor presidential legal infractions as precursors to all-out totalitarianism. "I will have no part in the creation of a constitutional double-standard to benefit the president," Sen. Bill Frist declared of Bill Clinton's efforts to conceal an illicit sexual liaison. "No man is above the law, and no man is below the law -- that's the principle that we all hold very dear in this country," Rep. Tom DeLay asserted. "The rule of law protects you and it protects me from the midnight fire on our roof or the 3 a.m. knock on our door," warned Rep. Henry Hyde, one of Clinton's chief accusers. In the face of Bush's more definitive dismissal of federal law, the silence from these quarters is deafening.
The president's defenders stoutly contend that war-time conditions fully justify Bush's actions. And as Lincoln showed during the Civil War, there may be times of military emergency where the executive believes it imperative to take immediate, highly irregular, even unconstitutional steps. "I felt that measures, otherwise unconstitutional, might become lawful," Lincoln wrote in 1864, "by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the Constitution, through the preservation of the nation." Bush seems to think that, since 9/11, he has been placed, by the grace of God, in the same kind of situation Lincoln faced. But Lincoln, under pressure of daily combat on American soil against fellow Americans, did not operate in secret, as Bush has. He did not claim, as Bush has, that his emergency actions were wholly regular and constitutional as well as necessary; Lincoln sought and received Congressional authorization for his suspension of habeas corpus in 1863. Nor did Lincoln act under the amorphous cover of a "war on terror" -- a war against a tactic, not a specific nation or political entity, which could last as long as any president deems the tactic a threat to national security. Lincoln's exceptional measures were intended to survive only as long as the Confederacy was in rebellion. Bush's could be extended indefinitely, as the president sees fit, permanently endangering rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution to the citizenry.
* * * *
Much as Bush still enjoys support from those who believe he can do no wrong, he now suffers opposition from liberals who believe he can do no right. Many of these liberals are in the awkward position of having supported Bush in the past, while offering little coherent as an alternative to Bush's policies now. Yet it is difficult to see how this will benefit Bush's reputation in history.
The president came to office calling himself "a uniter, not a divider" and promising to soften the acrimonious tone in Washington. He has had two enormous opportunities to fulfill those pledges: first, in the noisy aftermath of his controversial election in 2000, and, even more, after the attacks of September 11th, when the nation pulled behind him as it has supported no other president in living memory. Yet under both sets of historically unprecedented circumstances, Bush has chosen to act in ways that have left the country less united and more divided, less conciliatory and more acrimonious -- much like James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson and Herbert Hoover before him. And, like those three predecessors, Bush has done so in the service of a rigid ideology that permits no deviation and refuses to adjust to changing realities. Buchanan failed the test of Southern secession, Johnson failed in the face of Reconstruction, and Hoover failed in the face of the Great Depression. Bush has failed to confront his own failures in both domestic and international affairs, above all in his ill-conceived responses to radical Islamic terrorism. Having confused steely resolve with what Ralph Waldo Emerson called "a foolish consistency . . . adored by little statesmen," Bush has become entangled in tragedies of his own making, compounding those visited upon the country by outside forces.
No historian can responsibly predict the future with absolute certainty. There are too many imponderables still to come in the two and a half years left in Bush's presidency to know exactly how it will look in 2009, let alone in 2059. There have been presidents -- Harry Truman was one -- who have left office in seeming disgrace, only to rebound in the estimates of later scholars. But so far the facts are not shaping up propitiously for George W. Bush. He still does his best to deny it. Having waved away the lessons of history in the making of his decisions, the present-minded Bush doesn't seem to be concerned about his place in history. "History. We won't know," he told the journalist Bob Woodward in 2003. "We'll all be dead."
Another president once explained that the judgments of history cannot be defied or dismissed, even by a president. "Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history," said Abraham Lincoln. "We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation."
Bennett World Fantasy Theatre:
Terrorist 1: Hey-lo??
Terrorist 2: Hey, it's me! I thought we'd talk about our next bombing target against the American pigdogs!
Terrorist 1: Great! I have the secret plans right here.
Terrorist 2: So...what are we going to blow up today?
Terrorist 1: I thought we would... [Click] Hey, did you hear that?
Terrorist 2: I think so.
Terrorist 1: Do you think the Americans are monitoring our calls?
Terrorist 2: Ha ha, no! You're crazy! Wouldn't we have read about such a surveillance program in a major American newspaper? We are perfectly safe on this landline. Now, about our secret attack...
[Ding Dong!] [Ding Dong!]
Terrorist 1: Hang on, someone's at the door.
Terrorist 2: Someone's at my door, too! Aeiiiiiii!!! American pigdog Michael Chertoff!! How did you know of our location?
Michael Chertoff [in white hat, chaps and spurs; pokes finger in terrorist's chest]: Because, you terrorist scum, we have a little thing called the NSA. We've been monitoring your phone lines for days. It's a...a little secret of ours. And now, I think you and your terrorist friend on the other end `o the line are gonna spend the rest of your days in...
Terrorist 1: Don't say it...!
Chertoff: The POKEY. Book `im, Danno.
Terrorist 2: Damn you, George Bush and your secret eavesdropping program that we knew nothing about until just now! Damn you!!
Join us next time for another episode of...Bennett World Fantasy Theatre!
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
by Mark Morford
It's just like playing blackjack in Vegas.
Invariably, sitting right next to you is some guy, eyes shifty and body twitchy and making weird sounds with his mouth and smelling vaguely of sawdust and horse manure and dead dreams, with a huge pile of chips he is quickly turning into a very small pile of chips.
He is suffering. He is playing terribly, grumbling, sneering at the dealer, talking to the cards like they were his personal slutty harem, complaining to his very angry God who is apparently no longer coming through for him. He is getting desperate. He is sweating, glancing around, wondering where all his drunken fraternity friends scurried off to.
Soon he is down to his last chips. He makes one final stab, but his final bet tanks. He is out, the pile is gone.
He then does what every miserable, lunkheaded gambler does at this point: In a fit of alcoholic rage and demonic encouragement, he says, "Screw it" -- and digs into his pocket, pulls out his last remaining crumpled $1,000 bill and slaps it down on the table in one big final gesture meant to turn his fortunes around all at once, damn the wife at home and forget a decent meal and forget every ironclad rule of gambling because damn it the gods owe him and he's long overdue for a change in fortune. Yes. Right. Sure he is.
Sure enough, the lug loses his big Hail Mary bet. He is broke. He cannot believe it. He curses the table, curses the whore cards, swears at the dealer for not treating him better, slams the rest of his drink and his face contorts and his hands shake and he stumbles off into the night, railing against his lousy luck, the gods, all of humanity. Same ol' situation, happening all over Vegas. And, of course, Washington, D.C.
Now, here he is, sitting right next to all the other countries at the Big Table, representing America, it's little Dubya Bush, stewing in his own juices, his poll numbers hovering right near Nixon levels, mumbling to himself, smelling vaguely of sawdust and horse manure and dead Social Security overhaul plans.
He is pockmarked by scandal, buffeted by storms of disapproval and infighting and nascent impeachment. He authorized the leak of classified security information merely to smear an Iraq war critic, he lied about WMD and lied about Saddam and lied about making the United States safer and lied about, well, just about everything, on top of launching the worst and most violent and most expensive, unwinnable war since Vietnam.
His pile of betting capital is down to a tiny lump, nothing like back when he had the table rigged and all the pit bosses worked for him and the pile was as big as a roomful of Texas cow pies. But now, fortune is frowning. In fact, fortune is white-hot furious at being so viciously molested, spit upon, raped lo these many years. The truth is coming out: Bush has now lost far, far more bets than he ever won.
What's to be done? Why, do what any grumbling, furious, confused, underqualified alcoholic gambler does: reach down deep and say, "To hell with the nation and to hell with the odds and to hell with the rest of the planet," and pull out one more desperate, crumpled war from deep in your pants, slap it on the table and hear the world moan.
But this time, try to make it serious. Do not rule out the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Do not rule out another massive air strike, ground troops, special forces, a strategy so intense it makes Iraq look like a jog in the park. Think of yourself as creating a masterful legacy, going down in history as the guy who "saved" the world from Iran's nukes while protecting American oil interests. Yes? Can you smell the oily sanctimony in the air? Is God speaking to you again, telling you to damn the torpedoes and kill more Muslims? You are the chosen one, after all.
Sound far-fetched? Don't think even Bush could be capable of using nukes to slap Iran? Perish the thought. All reports from underground White House sources -- most notably by way of Sy Hersh's horrifying report in a recent New Yorker -- indicate that Dubya and his remaining team of war-happy flying monkeys have been secretly laying out plans to attack Iran for months, possibly including the use of tactical nuclear weapons to get at those deep Iranian bunkers, all because Iran just celebrated its entrance into the world's "nuclear club" by finally enriching some uranium for the first time. Cookies all around!
No matter that most analysts say that Iran is far from being a true threat, that a nuclear Iran is at least a good decade away, if not longer. No matter that 10 years is a good long time to work on ways to force Iran out of the game -- via negotiation, diplomacy, sanctions -- without unleashing another river of never-ending violence.
With Bush in power, there is no waiting. There is no thought of avoiding another hideous war at all costs. To the Bush hawks, diplomacy is a failed joke. Negotiation is for intellectuals and tofu pacifists. In the Dubya worldview, the planet is a roiling cauldron of nasty threats, crammed with terrorists and hateful Muslims and foreign demons suddenly growling on our doorstep when, curiously, they really weren't there before he stumbled into power. Amazing how that works.
It is now seven months before what could be a radically influential congressional election, a vote that could very well give power back to the Democrats, who will (with any luck) waste no time launching a number of long-overdue investigations into Bush's failed war and the various scandals and lies and fiscal abuses that led us all here.
For Dubya, now is the time. One last, desperate gamble. Slam that last drink, scrunch up your face, screw the rules and let the bombs fly. What, you don't think he could do it? Don't think a nuclear attack on Iran is possible? You haven't looked into the tiny, ink-black eyes of Dick Cheney lately. You haven't seen Rumsfeld's arrogant sneer, seen Bush looking confused and lost, wondering where all his "capital" went, desperately hunting for a legacy and finding only irresponsibility and self-righteousness and death.
But hell, as we already know, that's good enough for him.
Mark Morford's column appears Wednesdays and Fridays in Datebook and sfgate.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Nice Rant from Comments at Huff Post
My turn to be the decider!
I've taught U.S. History for 21 years and this clown puts Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan, and Warren G. Harding to shame. At least they had the wisdom to do NOTHING (other than humiliate themselves).
Bush has, alone or with help, undone the goodwill generated by our victory in World War II, the Marshall Plan, the Peace Corps, and the end of communism;, and, in the process, he's gleefully undermined American ecumenism, 2/3 of the Bill of Rights, journalism's check on the government, Congress's check on the executive, the principle of an independent judiciary, anything remotely resembling a progressive income tax, Progressivism itself, a good chunk of the New Deal, and has done more to savage our self-confidence than the Vietnam War ever did.
He's a perfect storm: insipid, evil, messianistic, incurious, and imperially smug. This man lives in Lincoln's home, keeps a bust of Churchill in the Oval Office, all the while demonstrating leadership skills reminsicient of Pee-Wee Herman.
He would be that laughable had he not left so many dead innocents in his wake--heroic young American servicemen and women, Iraqi civilians melted by white phosphorus, bloated corpses in the Ninth Ward, "detainees" wrapped in plastic framed by leering interrogators giving the thumbs-up.
I am 54 years old and the mess he's made will remain far beyond my lifetime. I do have faith that we will have the courage to reclaim, if not our greatness, then at least our nation's decency. One example: I just finished teaching my kids about the "Chocolate Flier"--do you remember? He's the American pilot who dropped Hershey bars, each carefully tied in its own parachute, when he flew his cargo plane into Templehof during the Berlin Airlift.
That's so anti-Bush.
I'm sorry I've been so restrained.
- bogtrotters, 04.19.2006
Bill Bennett: Pulitzer prize winners should be jailed
Bennett: "How do we know it damaged us? Well, it revealed the existence of the surveillance program - so people are going to stop making calls - since they are now aware of this - they're going to adjust their behavior - Are they punished, are they in shame, are they embarrassed, are they arrested? No, they win pulitzer prizes - they win pulitzer prizes - I don't think what they did was worthy of an award - I think what they did was worthy of jail, and I think this investigation needs to go forward..."
So much for freedom of the press.
Bill, why don't you stick to killing black babies?
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Tue Apr 18, 2006 at 04:00:48 PM PDT
We all know Satayana's Famous warning about those who forget their history; but I wonder what special damnation waits for those who sell it off to the first megacorporation that cuts a check?
Thanks to a secret, no-bid deal cut in the beginning of this year, the complete terms of which they refuse to release, The Smithsonian, "the Nation's Attic", has become Showtime's Candy Store instead.
As part of a near-exclusive deal with Showtime Networks, the Smithsonian Institution is restricting filmmakers' access to its scientists and archives...., Now most filmmakers will not have in-depth use of Smithsonian materials unless they are creating work for the Smithsonian/Showtime unit.
Which means effectively that $800 million a year in taxpayer funds we spend on the venerable institution has just become another form of corporate welfare:
To understand what an utter outrage this deal is you must first understand the incredible depth and breadth of the institution and its archives.
First, the Smithsonian is not a single museum but 15 separate museums covering almost every imaginable subject from the Famous Air and Space museum to the National Zoo to the newly opened American Indian Museum. And even that only scratches the surface of what the Institution really is. The institute's archives hold millions of historical documents, and photographs, miles of film ( 8 million feet in the anthropology archive alone), and thousands of hours of recordings that are unique and able to be found nowhere else in the world. And all of it, every last treasure, was just made off-limits without permission from the Smithsonian's corporate partner Showtime.
Or to quote noted firebrand Documentarian Ken Burns:
"History's just been made for sale to an inside deal," said Ken Burns, the Emmy-winning producer of the documentaries "Baseball" and "The Civil War."
Or to put it even more bluntly:
I was horrified that the Smithsonian would even contemplate a deal that would give a for-profit broadcaster the right of first refusal," said Nina Gilden Seavey, an Emmy-winning filmmaker and director of the Documentary Center at George Washington University. "It is a fire sale of the nation's history."
It is important to understand the contract term "right of first refusal" and what it effectively does to anyone wishing access to the Smithsonian. . Effectively it means that from now on anybody who wants to do ANYTHING about the Smithsonian, its collections, or even staff has to offer to sell Showtime the finished product:
Jeanny Kim, the vice president for media services at Smithsonian Business Ventures, said the filmmakers who were doing "more than an incidental treatment" of a subject mainly from Smithsonian materials or wishing to focus on a Smithsonian curator or scientist would first have to offer the idea to Smithsonian/Showtime. Otherwise, the archives could not be used
Not only is this an outrageous enrichment of a private company at public expense, but it is literally allowing a corporation to spin our history as it sees fit. According to the deal, to get access to the Archives, Filmmakers MUST sell their final products to Showtime if Showtime wishes to purchase them. However there are no control on what Showtime does once the film is in their possession, whether or if they ever air it, and what edits they may chose to make before doing so. They are now free to spin pieces of the historical record anyway they find convenient and no one can effectively rebut them. It almost goes without saying that this is an unbelievably dangerous idea.
Worse yet, Showtime is a only a tiny part of the Communications Giant Viacom. Viacom's other holdings include: CBS, dozens of Local TV and Radio Stations , 20 different cable channels (including MTV and all its demon-spawn), Simon and Schuster publishers, King World Distributors, etc. and it would be utterly naïve to believe that they have no plans for leveraging their access to the Smithsonian's collections for corporate synergy purposes. Those things they find helpful or profitable can be promoted and those they find unhelpful can be suppressed (for example inconvenient historical records that contradict a Blockbuster Biopic made by Paramount, might never see the light of Day if Viacom decided releasing them would hurt the Box office gross)
We have fought hard to save other National treasures like ANWAR, and staked out the principle that sacrificing our natural heritage for short term corporate profits was a bad idea.
That principle has Never been more imperiled than by this back room, still-secret deal that effectively turns over millions or unique and irreplaceable historical records, knowledge and artifacts to a giant entertainment company. If you stood Up for ANWAR it's time to stand again and not let a giant Mega-corporation take sole ownership of your History.
Attacking Iran - A Canadian's Perspective
full post at Firedoglake
by Ian Welsch
First: bombing a country is a declaration of war and Iran will react to it as such. To meaningfully damage the Iranian nuclear effort will require massive bombing. This isn’t one pinpoint attack. Oil will soar to $150 a barrel or so, your economy will crater, so will everyone else’s, your allies will abandon you and you will be all by yourselves. And people won’t blame the Iranians, they will blame you.
Second: Proponents of bombing Iran spend a lot of time talking about how Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. Iran doesn’t sponsor terror against the US, at least not recently. You do this, that’ll change. You do this, you will come to see 9/11 as the good ol’ days when you only lost a couple thousand people, because not only is Iran a State sponsor of terrorism – they are very very good at it and there is every reason to believe they have cells in the US. And we haven’t even talked about the fact that even if most Americans don’t know it, most foreigners are well aware that the US is, itself, a huge state sponsor of terrorism.
Third: A lot of this is being driven by the fact that Iran does sponsor terrorism against Israel and that Iranian nukes will threaten Israel (note that they will not threaten the US directly.) Israel is the nation which spies most on the US. They are not your friend, whatever you may think. Of course, given the power of the Israeli lobby, and the specter of being called an anti-semite, no one is willing to say this. Let the Israelis deal with their own damn problems, it’s their bed, let them lie in it.
Fourth: Bush brought this on America by invading Iraq. The lesson of Iraq is this: if you have nukes you won’t get invaded. If you don’t, the US will (compare and contrast: North Korea/Iraq). Iran is acting entirley rationally.
Fifth: I think Canada should have nukes, because I know you invaded Iraq based on lies. I don’t want Iran to have nukes, but if I were the mullahs I’d be doing the exact same thing. The Mullahs aren’t nuts – they’re acting in self preservation. I know why they’re doing what they’re doing and it is perfectly 100% rational
Sixth: I have to tell you, that from a foreigner’s point of view, and this is true even in your closest allies (the majority of Britains, for example) you are a rogue nation. You invade people based on lies. You have no credibility on Iran. You are the boy who cried Wolf. You don’t obey the Geneva conventions. You have secret prisons. You torture people, including the citizens of your allies. You have abolished habeas corpus for classes of people. You kidnap foreigners and secretly ship them off to be tortured. You have endorsed Bush’s war crimes – crimes for which Americans hung Nazis who had been in no way involved the with the Holocaust. You could produce pictures of nukes and missiles and half the world wouldn’t believe you. Even if we did believe you, we don’t care enough to endorse going to war with Iran.. There are only two nations in the world who constantly talk about how they’re willing to nuke people without even being attacked first: The North Koreans - and the UNITED STATES.
You gave up the ability to stop countries like Iran from getting nukes when you invaded a country like Iraq which had no nukes and no real possibility of getting them. That was your wad, and you blew it. You chose to be weak. At this point, for you to stop Iran would involve you in a war you cannot win – or at least no victory worth having. You can’t occupy Iran, so are you going to really glass Tehran or the entire country? Do you know what the world reaction would be? Do you know what would happen to the dollar? Are you out of your minds?
Why is this even being discussed? And why is it that I can’t simply dismiss it as diplomatic posturing? When did the US step through the looking glass? When did insanity become reasonable?
Update: To help us take action on Iran, please scroll down to read this entry about our Roots Project. Thanks! — Pachacutec