Archive for the ‘Troop Withdrawal’ Category
Remember: They Are Liars
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Columnist
Tuesday 08 April 2008
No one is such a liar as the indignant man.
– Friedrich Nietzsche
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, along with a slew of administration underlings and a revolving-door cavalcade of brass hats from the Pentagon, have been making claims regarding Iraq for many years now.
They claimed Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, “enough to kill several million people,” according to a page on the White House web site titled Disarm Saddam Hussein.
They claimed Iraq was in possession of 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin.
They claimed Iraq was in possession of 500 tons, which equals 1,000,000 pounds, of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.
They claimed Iraq was in possession of nearly 30,000 munitions capable of delivering these agents.
They claimed Iraq was in possession of several mobile biological weapons labs.
They claimed Iraq was operating an “advanced” nuclear weapons program.
They claimed Iraq had been seeking “significant quantities” of uranium from Africa for use in this “advanced” nuclear weapons program.
They claimed Iraq attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes “suitable for nuclear weapons.”
They claimed America needed to invade, overthrow and occupy Iraq in order to remove this menace from our world. “It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country,” went the White House line, “to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.”
“Simply stated,” said Dick Cheney in August of 2002, “there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”
“Right now,” said George W. Bush in September of 2002, “Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of nuclear weapons.”
“We know for a fact,” said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer in January of 2003, “that there are weapons there.”
“We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction,” said Colin Powell in February of 2003, “is determined to make more.”
“We know where they are,” said Donald Rumsfeld in March of 2003. “They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad, and east, south, west and north somewhat.”
“The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about,” said Paul Wolfowitz in March of 2003. “Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator.”
“No one ever said that we knew precisely where all of these agents were,” said Condoleezza Rice in June of 2003, “where they were stored.”
“I have absolute confidence that there are weapons of mass destruction inside this country,” said Gen. Tommy Franks in April of 2003. “Whether we will turn out, at the end of the day, to find them in one of the 2,000 or 3,000 sites we already know about or whether contact with one of these officials who we may come in contact with will tell us, ‘Oh, well, there’s actually another site,’ and we’ll find it there, I’m not sure.”
“Before the war,” said Gen. Michael Hagee in May of 2003, “there’s no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical. I expected them to be found. I still expect them to be found.”
“Given time,” said Gen. Richard Myers in May of 2003, “given the number of prisoners now that we’re interrogating, I’m confident that we’re going to find weapons of mass destruction.”
“Do I think we’re going to find something? Yeah, I kind of do,” said Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton in May of 2003, “because I think there’s a lot of information out there.”
Gen. David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, is about to give testimony before the Senate regarding the current state of affairs in that battle-savaged country. He is a political general, one of many America has seen and heard over the last five years, one who would leap nude from the Capitol dome before telling the real truth about matters in Iraq … or who would speak using words fed to him by liars, and thus be wrong.
Remember: they lie. They all lie, from the top man down to the bottom. If their lips are moving, a lie is unfolding. If they say water is wet, get into the shower to make sure.
End of file.
President George W. Bush is deeply saddened by the 4,000 U.S. troops who died in Iraq and assumes responsibility for the decision to begin the war, the White House reported on Monday.
The president said he mourned all the lives that were lost in the Iraq battles and sent his sympathy to all the families affected by these losses.
“It’s a sober moment, and one that all of us can focus on in terms of the number of 4,000,” White House Dana Perino said, referring to the explosion in Baghdad on Sunday, which killed four more U.S. soldiers, raising the death toll to a new tragic number.
“The president feels each and every one of the deaths very strongly and he grieves for their families,” Perino said, according to Reuters. “He obviously is grieved by the moment but he mourns the loss of every single life.”
The number of 4,000 deaths came a few days after President Bush had declared in a speech, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, that the United States was on the way to victory and that he had no intention of withdrawing any of the troops from Iraq.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino informed, though, that president Bush might reconsider his decision by Friday. He might continue withdrawing troops after an initial drawdown from 158,000 to 140,000 troops is completed in July.
“The president has said the hardest thing a commander in chief will do is send young men and women into combat, and he’s grieved for every lost American life, from the very first several years ago to those lost today,” Perino said, according to the Associated Press.
The U.S. death toll reached 1000 in September 2004, 18 months after the invasion started. Then it climbed to 2,000 in October 2005 and to 3,000 in December 2006. It has reached 4,000 on Sunday, after a roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers and wounded another in Baghdad. The bomb exploded near the soldiers’ vehicle, while they were patrolling in southern Baghdad around 10 p.m.
Please take the time to watch these videos – it’s what’s necessary for all of this to change.
We have stated before that we are no happier with the Democrats than we are with the Republicans and Mr. Bush. We are glad to see we are in such good company – Helen Thomas is one of our heroes!
WASHINGTON — President Bush has no better friends than the spineless Democratic congressional leadership and the party’s leading presidential candidates when it comes to his failing Iraq policy.
Those Democrats seem to have forgotten that the American people want U.S. troops out of Iraq, especially since Bush still cannot give a credible reason for attacking Iraq after nearly five years of war.
Last week at a debate in Hanover, N.H., the leading Democratic presidential candidates sang from the same songbook: Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York, and Barack Obama of Illinois and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards refused to promise to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by 2013, at the end of the first term of their hypothetical presidencies. Can you believe it?
When the question was put to Clinton, she reverted to her usual cautious equivocation, saying: “It is very difficult to know what we’re going to be inheriting.”
Obama dodged, too: “I think it would be irresponsible” to say what he would do as president.
Edwards, on whom hopes were riding to show some independence, replied to the question: “I cannot make that commitment.”
They have left the voters little choice with those answers.
Some supporters were outraged at the obfuscation by the Democratic front-runners.
On the other hand, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., are more definitive in their calls for quick troop withdrawals.
But Biden wants to break up Iraq into three provinces along religious and ethnic lines. In other words, Balkanize Iraq.
To have major Democratic backing to stay the course in Iraq added up to good news for Bush.
Now comes a surprising Clinton fan.
President Bush told Bill Sammon — Washington Examiner correspondent and author of a new book titled “The Evangelical President” — that Clinton will beat Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination because she is a “formidable candidate” and better known.
Sammon says Bush revealed that he has been sending messages to Clinton to urge her to “maintain some political wiggle room in your campaign rhetoric about Iraq.”
The author said Bush contends that whoever inherits the White House will be faced with a potential vacuum in Iraq and “will begin to understand the need to continue to support the young democracy.”
Bush ought to know about campaign rhetoric. Remember how he ridiculed “nation building” in the 2000 presidential campaign? Now he claims he is trying to spread democracy throughout the Middle East.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is another Democratic leader who has empowered Bush’s war.
Pelosi removed a provision from the most recent war-funding bill that would have required Bush to seek the permission of Congress before launching any attack on Iran. Her spokesman gave the lame excuse that she didn’t like the wording of the provision. More likely, she bowed to political pressure.
Is it any wonder the Democrats are faring lower than the president in a Washington Post ABC approval poll? Bush came in at 33 percent and Congress at 29 percent.
Members of Congress seem to have forgotten their constitutional prerogative to declare war; World War II was the last time Congress formally declared war.
Presidents have found other ways to make end runs around the law, mainly by obtaining congressional authorization “to do whatever is necessary” in a crisis involving use of the military. That’s the way we got into the Vietnam and Iraq wars.
So what are the leading Democratic White House hopefuls offering? It seems nothing but more war. So where do the voters go who are sick of the Iraqi debacle?
Helen Thomas is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2007 Hearst Newspapers. On Nov. 3 Thomas will be the guest speaker at the ACLU of Washington’s Bill of Rights Celebration Dinner; for details, contact aclu-wa.org.
A new poll indicates that a vast majority of the Americans are doubtful about the US administration’s ability to solve Iraq’s crisis.
According to New York Times/CBS News poll, 95 percent of US citizens mistrust the way the Bush administration handles the Iraq war.
Only 5 percent of the respondent said they could still trust Bush’s policy on the controversial war in Iraq.
The poll also reflects that 71 percent of the Americans believe officials must be flexible to reach a compromise on the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
The poll shows approximately two third of the Americans believe that the US must reduce the number of its troops in Iraq or completely withdraw them from the country.
Sixty-four percent said they support a plan by the Democrats to set a timetable for the troops’ pullout by 2008.
The Senate agreed on Thursday to increase the federal debt limit by $850 billion — from $8.965 trillion to $9.815 trillion — and then proceeded to approve a stop-gap spending bill that gives the Bush White House at least $9 billion in new funding for its war in Iraq.
Additionally, the administration has been given emergency authority to tap further into a $70 billion “bridge fund” to provide new infusions of money for the occupation while the Congress works on appropriations bills for the Department of Defense and other agencies.
Translation: Under the guise of a stop-gap spending bill that is simply supposed to keep the government running until a long-delayed appropriations process is completed — probably in November — the Congress has just approved a massive increase in war funding.
The move was backed by every senator who cast a vote, save one.
Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, the maverick Democrat who has led the fight to end the war and bring U.S. troops home from Iraq, was on the losing end of the 94-1 vote. (The five senators who did not vote, all presidential candidates who are more involved in campaigning than governing, were Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden and Republicans John McCain and Sam Brownback.)
Said Feingold, “I am disappointed that we are about to begin the 2008 fiscal year without having enacted any of the appropriations bills for that year. I am even more disappointed that we voted on a continuing resolution that provides tens of billions of dollars to continue the misguided war in Iraq but does not include any language to bring that war to a close. We need to keep the federal government operating and make sure our brave troops get all the equipment and supplies they need, but we should not be giving the President a blank check to continue a war that is hurting our national security.”
In the House, the continuing resolution passed by a vote of 404 to 14, with 14 other members not voting.
The “no” votes in the House, all cast by anti-war members, came from one Republican, Ron Paul of Texas, and 13 Democrats: Oregon’s Earl Blumenauer, Missouri’s William Clay, Minnesota’s Keith Ellison, California’s Bob Filner, Massachusetts’ Barney Frank, New York’s Maurice Hinchey, Ohio’s Dennis Kucinich, Washington’s Jim McDermott, New Jersey’s Donald Payne, California’s Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson and Lynn Woolsey.
That means that, of the 2008 presidential candidates, only Republican Paul and Democrat Kucinich voted against giving the Bush administration a dramatic — if not particularly well publicized — infusion of new money for the war.
“Each year this war is getting more and more costly — both in the amount of money spent and in the number of lives lost. Now this Congress is providing more funds so the administration can continue down a path of destruction and chaos,” said Kucinich, who noted the essential role of House and Senate Democratic leaders, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in passing the continuing resolution. “The Democratic leadership in Congress needs to take a stand against this President and say they will not give him any more money. That is the only way to end this war and bring our troops home.”
From The Nation
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has consistently led the way in telling the story of what’s really going on in Iraq and Iran. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke to him about America’s Hitler, Bush’s Vietnam, and how the US press failed the First Amendment.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was just in New York (more…) for the United Nations General Assembly. Once again, he said that he is only interested in civilian nuclear power instead of atomic weapons. How much does the West really know about the nuclear program in Iran?
Seymour Hersh: A lot. And it’s been underestimated how much the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) knows. If you follow what (IAEA head Mohamed) ElBaradei (more…) and the various reports have been saying, the Iranians have claimed to be enriching uranium to higher than a 4 percent purity, which is the amount you need to run a peaceful nuclear reactor. But the IAEA’s best guess is that they are at 3.67 percent or something. The Iranians are not even doing what they claim to be doing. The IAEA has been saying all along that they’ve been making progress but basically, Iran is nowhere. Of course the US and Israel are going to say you have to look at the worst case scenario, but there isn’t enough evidence to justify a bombing raid.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is this just another case of exaggerating the danger in preparation for an invasion like we saw in 2002 and 2003 prior to the Iraq War?
Hersh: We have this wonderful capacity in America to Hitlerize people. We had Hitler, and since Hitler we’ve had about 20 of them. Khrushchev and Mao and of course Stalin, and for a little while Gadhafi was our Hitler. And now we have this guy Ahmadinejad. The reality is, he’s not nearly as powerful inside the country as we like to think he is. The Revolutionary Guards have direct control over the missile program and if there is a weapons program, they would be the ones running it. Not Ahmadinejad.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Where does this feeling of urgency that the US has with Iran come from?
Hersh: Pressure from the White House. That’s just their game.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What interest does the White House have in moving us to the brink with Tehran?
Hersh: You have to ask yourself what interest we had 40 years ago for going to war in Vietnam. You’d think that in this country with so many smart people, that we can’t possibly do the same dumb thing again. I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everything is tabula rasa. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Even after Iraq? Aren’t there strategic reasons for getting so deeply involved in the Middle East?
Hersh: Oh no. We’re going to build democracy. The real thing in the mind of this president is he wants to reshape the Middle East and make it a model. He absolutely believes it. I always thought Henry Kissinger was a disaster because he lies like most people breathe and you can’t have that in public life. But if it were Kissinger this time around, I’d actually be relieved because I’d know that the madness would be tied to some oil deal. But in this case, what you see is what you get. This guy believes he’s doing God’s work.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: So what are the options in Iraq?
Hersh: There are two very clear options: Option A) Get everybody out by midnight tonight. Option B) Get everybody out by midnight tomorrow. The fuel that keeps the war going is us.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: A lot of people have been saying that the US presence there is a big part of the problem. Is anyone in the White House listening?
Hersh: No. The president is still talking about the “Surge” (eds. The “Surge” refers to President Bush’s commitment of 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in the spring of 2007 in an attempt to improve security in the country.) as if it’s going to unite the country. But the Surge was a con game of putting additional troops in there. We’ve basically Balkanized the place, building walls and walling off Sunnis from Shiites. And in Anbar Province, where there has been success, all of the Shiites are gone. They’ve simply split.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is that why there has been a drop in violence there?
Hersh: I think that’s a much better reason than the fact that there are a couple more soldiers on the ground.
SPIEGEL ONLINE:So what are the lessons of the Surge (more…)?
Hersh: The Surge means basically that, in some way, the president has accepted ethnic cleansing, whether he’s talking about it or not. When he first announced the Surge in January, he described it as a way to bring the parties together. He’s not saying that any more. I think he now understands that ethnic cleansing is what is going to happen. You’re going to have a Kurdistan. You’re going to have a Sunni area that we’re going to have to support forever. And you’re going to have the Shiites in the South.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: So the US is over four years into a war that is likely going to end in a disaster. How valid are the comparisons with Vietnam?
Hersh: The validity is that the US is fighting a guerrilla war and doesn’t know the culture. But the difference is that at a certain point, because of Congressional and public opposition, the Vietnam War was no longer tenable. But these guys now don’t care. They see it but they don’t care.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: If the Iraq war does end up as a defeat for the US, will it leave as deep a wound as the Vietnam War did?
Hersh: Much worse. Vietnam was a tactical mistake. This is strategic. How do you repair damages with whole cultures? On the home front, though, we’ll rationalize it away. Don’t worry about that. Again, there’s no learning curve. No learning curve at all. We’ll be ready to fight another stupid war in another two decades.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Of course, preventing that is partially the job of the media. Have reporters been doing a better job recently than they did in the run-up to the Iraq War?
Hersh: Oh yeah. They’ve done a better job since. But back then, they blew it. When you have a guy like Bush who’s going to move the infamous Doomsday Clock forward, and he’s going to put everybody in jeopardy and he’s secretive and he doesn’t tell Congress anything and he’s inured to what we write. In such a case, we (journalists) become more important. The First Amendment failed and the American press failed the Constitution. We were jingoistic. And that was a terrible failing. I’m asked the question all the time: What happened to my old paper, the New York Times? And I now say, they stink. They missed it. They missed the biggest story of the time and they’re going to have to live with it.
Interview conducted by Charles Hawley and David Gordon Smith