Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Vice President Cheney

“I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators.…” (Cheney, Meet the Press, 3/16/03)

I think that the people of Iraq would welcome the U.S. force as liberators; they would not see us as oppressors, by any means.” (Cheney, CNN American Morning, 9/9/02)

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz

“The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator. (Wolfowitz, Remarks to VFW conference, 3/11/03)

Secretary of State Colin Powell

I hope we would be seen as liberators. I think that might well be the case. ” (Powell, Meet the Press, 2/9/03)

December 14, 2008

A surprise visit by US President George Bush to Iraq has been overshadowed by an incident in which two shoes were thrown at him during a news conference.

An Iraqi journalist was wrestled to the floor by security guards after he called Mr Bush “a dog” and threw his footwear, just missing the president.

The soles of shoes are considered the ultimate insult in Arab culture.


Ben Franklin, 2007

8.5 feet wide by 10.5 feet tall in three horizontal panels

Depicts 125,000 one-hundred dollar bills ($12.5 million), the amount our government spends every hour on the war in Iraq.

Thanks MoveOn.org –

A young soldier displays a tattoo reading “Walk Peacefully on Heavens Streets, You’ve Done You’re Time in Hell.”  Baghdad, Iraq – July, 2007.

© Zoriah/www.zoriah.com

© Zoriah/www.zoriah.com

White House Projects Record Deficit for 2009

(We colored portions below for emphasis.)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The White House on Monday predicted a record deficit of $490 billion for the 2009 budget year, a senior government official told CNN.

The deficit would amount to roughly 3.5 percent of the nation’s $14 trillion economy.

The official pointed to a faltering economy and the bipartisan $170 billion stimulus package that passed earlier this year for the record deficit.

The fiscal year begins October 1, 2008.

The federal deficit is the difference between what the government spends and what it takes in from taxes and other revenue sources. The government must borrow money to make up the difference.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official is not authorized to speak publicly ahead of an official briefing later Monday by Office of Management and Budget Director Jim Nussle.

President Bush inherited a budget surplus of $128 billion when he took office in 2001 but has since posted a budget deficit every year.

The Bush administration has spent heavily on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and faces a large budget shortfall in tax revenue because of Bush’s tax cuts and a souring economy.

But the senior administration official says the budgetary problems stem from what is believed to be inadequate defense, intelligence and homeland security resources that were handed down from President Bill Clinton.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in March projected the deficit for the 2008 fiscal year, which ends September 30, would be $396 billion. It predicted the 2009 deficit to be $342 billion, if the president’s proposals were adopted.

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War is terrorism with a bigger budget.

It appears we’re not the only ones.

Thursday, June 19th 2008, 1:37 PM

WASHINGTON – Wherever the nation should be headed, this isn’t it.

The number of Americans who believe the country is moving in the wrong direction has risen sharply, to nearly eight in ten, amid soaring food and gas prices, falling home values and unending war. Just 17 percent say the country is going in the right direction, according to an AP-Ipsos poll.

The right-direction number is the lowest ever recorded by the survey, which began in 2003. When other surveys are taken into account, the general level of pessimism is the worst in almost 30 years.

And it’s getting worse. The 17 percent positive reading was down from 24 percent just since April.

Those who said the country was on the wrong track totaled 76 percent of the people contacted in the survey, which was taken from June 12-16. That’s up from 71 percent in April and 66 percent near the end of 2007.

Six in ten of those who chose wrong track blamed the struggling economy, with gasoline prices hovering above $4 a primary reason. “Poor leadership” accounted for 23 percent, while 20 percent said the war in Iraq.

Robert Ovitt, 57, of Derby, Vt., who describes himself as a political independent, was among those who selected “wrong track.”

“It scares me, the way things are going now,” said Ovitt, who is facing retirement in the next five years from his job as a correctional officer.

“Ten years ago, we had a Democratic president, Clinton,” and the worst that happened was his affairs, Ovitt said. Back then, gas prices, interest rates, unemployment and the federal budget deficit were low, he said. “Now that we have a Republican, everything is sky high. … I mean I don’t know how we’re going to survive.”

Shirley J. Bailey, 70, of Las Vegas, is already retired. The former Los Angeles dentist, who worked as a precinct captain for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, said, “People are struggling to live and educate their children.” Married with four children and 11 grandchildren, Bailey said, “Just look around us. In my entire lifetime, I never paid $4.23 for a gallon of gas. The foreclosures are among the highest here in Las Vegas.”

President Bush’s approval rating was 29 percent in the poll, near his all-time low of 28 percent in April, while 67 percent said they disapproved of the way he was handling his job.

Congress, under Democratic control since January 2007, drew even lower approval ratings: 23 percent approved, 72 percent disapproved, roughly the same levels as in the April survey.

Asked about their party affiliation, 37 percent identified themselves as Democrats, 23 percent said they were Republicans and 23 percent said independents. That breakdown underscores the importance of independents in the presidential contest as both Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama court their support.

Software consultant April Dolan, 40, of Scottsdale, Ariz., is a Republican who believes the country is heading in the right direction. “I’m optimistic in general, and I do believe that the economic situation will probably get better in the next 12 to 18 months. I believe it’s going to turn around, it’s just going to take some time,” she said. “Not that everything I think is great. I mean, the oil prices are a nightmare.”

She said she has two sons, one already in college and the other due to enter next year. She said she supports Bush and “I don’t blame him for the state of the economy.”

Many others appear to, however.

Asked about Bush’s handling of the economy, 72 percent said they disapproved, 48 percent strongly so; 24 percent said they approved, 7 percent strongly.

The survey reinforces the notion that consumers are particularly gloomy — possibly more than economic statistics justify. Despite record energy costs, slumping stock prices and the housing and credit crunch, reports show the economy to be still growing, if slowly. Inflation and interest rates remain at relatively tame levels. And the unemployment rate is lower than it was during the past two recessions, in 1990 and 2001.

Still, “For the average American, everything’s going wrong. I think there’s a lot of reasons for households to be pessimistic. I think things have gotten tougher for most,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com.

The survey results also parallel the drop in a consumer confidence index to the lowest level since June 1980, when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and consumers were being battered by a recession and soaring gasoline prices.

Among the findings of the AP-Ipsos survey:

—Men were more likely than women to think that the U.S. is headed in the right direction — 20 percent to 14 percent.

—Just one in 10 Americans with household incomes below $25,000 feel the country is headed the right way compared with 21 percent of those with household incomes of $50,000 to $75,000.

—One-quarter of Republicans (including those who said they were leaning Republican) believe the country is headed in the right direction, compared with 11 percent of Democrats (including those leaning Democratic).

—People with lower incomes were more likely to frame the economic situation as their own “cost of living,” while wealthier people listed the economy more abstractly — a sign that those hurting the most personalize the issue a bit more.

People in the AP-Ipsos survey were asked: “Generally speaking, would you say things in this country are heading in the right direction, or are they off on the wrong track?” The survey entailed interviews with 1,000 adults, 785 of them registered voters. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for all respondents, 3.5 percent for registered voters.

From The New York Daily News

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former terrorist suspects detained by the United States were tortured, according to medical examinations detailed in a report released Wednesday by a human rights group.

The Massachusetts-based Physicians for Human Rights reached that conclusion after two-day clinical evaluations of 11 former detainees, who had been held at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan.

The detainees were never charged with crimes.

“We found clear physical and psychological evidence of torture and abuse, often causing lasting suffering,” said Dr. Allen Keller, a medical evaluator for the study.

In a 121-page report, the doctors’ group said that it uncovered medical evidence of torture, including beatings, electric shock, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, sodomy and scores of other abuses.

The report is prefaced by retired U.S. Major Gen. Antonio Taguba, who led the Army’s investigation into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in 2003.

“There is no longer any doubt that the current administration committed war crimes,” Taguba says. “The only question is whether those who ordered torture will be held to account.”

Over the years, reports of abuses at Abu Ghraib and allegations of torture at Guantanamo prompted the Bush administration to deny that the U.S. military tortures detainees.

Since only 11 detainees were examined “the findings of this assessment cannot be generalized to the treatment of all detainees in U.S. custody,” the report says.

However, the incidents documented are consistent with findings of other investigations into government treatment, “making it reasonable to conclude that these detainees were not the only ones abused, but are representative of a much larger number of detainees subjected to torture and ill treatment while in U.S. custody.”

Four of the men evaluated were arrested in or taken to Afghanistan between late 2001 and early 2003 and later were sent to Guantanamo Bay, where they were held for an average of three years before being released without charge, the report says. The other seven were detained in Iraq in 2003 and released within a year, the report says.

All the subjects told examiners that they were subjected to multiple forms of torture or ill treatment that “often occurred in combination over a long period of time,” the report says.

While the report presents synopses of the detainees’ backgrounds based on interviews with them, the authors did not have access to the detainees’ medical histories. Therefore, there’s no way to know whether any of the inmates may have had medical or mental problems before being detained.

Among the ex-detainees was an Iraqi in his mid-40s, identified only as Laith, whom U.S. soldiers took into custody in October 2003 and who was released from Abu Ghraib in June 2004. According to the report, Laith was subjected to sleep deprivation, electric shocks and threats of sexual abuse to himself and his family.

“They took off even my underwear. They asked me to do some movements that make me look in a very bad way so they can take photographs. … They were trying to make me look like an animal,” Laith told examiners, according to the report.

According to the report, Laith said the most “painful” experiences involved threats to his family: “And they asked me, ‘Have you ever heard voices of women in this prison?’ I answered, ‘Yes.’ They were saying, ‘Then you will hear your mothers and sisters when we are raping them.’ ”

The examiners concluded in the report that “Laith appears to have suffered severe and lasting physical and psychological injuries as a result of his arrest and incarceration at Abu Ghraib prison.”

Another detainee, Youssef, was detained by U.S. soldiers nearly seven years ago when he tried to enter Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan without a passport, the report says. He initially was held in an Afghan prison, where he describes “being stripped naked, being intimidated by dogs, being hooded and being thrown against the wall on repeated occasions,” the report says.

A few months later, he was taken to the Guantanamo Bay facility, where he was subjected to interrogators who would enter his cell and force him to lie on the floor with his hands tied behind his back to his feet, the report says.

Youssef said the interrogators wanted him to confess of involvement with the Taliban, the report says.

Based on its investigation, the report calls on the U.S. government to issue a formal apology to detainees subject to torture and ill treatment by the military since fall 2001 in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.

The rights group also demands that the Bush administration:

• “Repudiate all forms of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”;

• Establish an independent commission to investigate and report publicly the circumstances of detention and interrogation at U.S.-run prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay;

• Hold individuals involved in torturing detainees accountable through criminal and civil processes; and

• Monitor thoroughly the conditions at U.S.-run prisons all over the world.