Category Archives: Iraq War

>This Day In War

>Twenty years ago today:

On August 2, 1990, Iraqi troops led by dictator Saddam Hussein invaded the oil-producing nation of Kuwait. Like Noriega in Panama, Hussein had been a US ally for nearly a decade. From 1980 to 1988, he had killed about 150,000 Iranians, in addition to at least 13,000 of his own citizens. Despite complaints from international human rights group, however, the Reagan and Bush administrations had treated Hussein as a valuable ally in the US confrontation with Iran. As late as July 25 – a week before the invasion of Kuwait – US Ambassador April Glaspie commiserated with Hussein over a “cheap and unjust” profile by ABC’s Diane Sawyer, and wished for an “appearance in the media, even for five minutes,” by Hussein that “would help explain Iraq to the American people.”

Ah yes, good times:

Hey whatever happened to Rumsfeld, anyway?

Not long after, America was at war with Iraq — our first great, glorious war against Saddam Hussein. Let’s rewind the tape and recall how Saddam was repositioned from BFF to Evildoer in the mind of the American public in just a few short months:

In fact, the most emotionally moving testimony on October 10 came from a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, known only by her first name of Nayirah. According to the Caucus, Nayirah’s full name was being kept confidential to prevent Iraqi reprisals against her family in occupied Kuwait. Sobbing, she described what she had seen with her own eyes in a hospital in Kuwait City. Her written testimony was passed out in a media kit prepared by Citizens for a Free Kuwait. “I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital,” Nayirah said. “While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where . . . babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.”

Three months passed between Nayirah’s testimony and the start of the war. During those months, the story of babies torn from their incubators was repeated over and over again. President Bush told the story. It was recited as fact in Congressional testimony, on TV and radio talk shows, and at the UN Security Council. “Of all the accusations made against the dictator,” MacArthur observed, “none had more impact on American public opinion than the one about Iraqi soldiers removing 312 babies from their incubators and leaving them to die on the cold hospital floors of Kuwait City.”

At the Human Rights Caucus, however, Hill & Knowlton and Congressman Lantos had failed to reveal that Nayirah was a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family. Her father, in fact, was Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Ambassador to the US, who sat listening in the hearing room during her testimony. The Caucus also failed to reveal that H&K vice-president Lauri Fitz-Pegado had coached Nayirah in what even the Kuwaitis’ own investigators later confirmed was false testimony.

Hill & Knowlton is one of America’s oldest PR firms, responsible for countering scientific claims about tobacco’s adverse health effects and other corporate propaganda. In 1990 they represented the government of Kuwait (for more, see the “Citizens for a Free Kuwait” hoax.
)

That’s pretty incredible client service for a PR firm: getting America to go to war for your client! I mean, how awesome is that?

And for arranging false testimony before Congress the PR firm of Hill & Knowlton received … sanctions? A fine? A slap on the wrist? How about some government PR contracts? Ding ding ding! Thank you for playing!

Meanwhile, Lauri Fitz-Pegado served as one of the Obama campaign’s foreign policy experts, though thankfully not for the Middle East. She is now a lobbyist for the Livingston Group. Her latest coup–pardon the pun:

In 2008, Fitz-Pegado was part of Livingston’s team for the non-profit Council for a Democratic Iran, which paid the firm $300,000 in the third quarter of 2008 alone.

If America goes to war with Iran I think we all know who we have to thank.

I think it’s important to remember that this shit has been going on for decades. Who’s pulling your strings, America? Why do you keep letting them?

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Filed under George Bush Sr., Iraq War, media manipulation

>Fiscal Phonies Revealed

>Just repeating what I said yesterday, but when House “Blue Dog” Dems and Republicans approve billions for war on the Chinese credit card, you know damn well that talk about the budget deficit is just propaganda and empty rhetoric:

In the House vote, 148 Democrats and 160 Republicans backed the war spending, but 102 Democrats joined 12 Republicans in opposing the measure. Last year, 32 Democrats opposed a similar midyear spending bill. Among those voting against the bill on Tuesday was Representative David R. Obey, a Wisconsin Democrat and the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the panel responsible for the measure.

Some of the Democratic opposition stemmed from the decision by party leaders to strip from the bill money that had been included in the original House version to help address the weak economy at home, including funds to help preserve teachers’ jobs. But some of those voting against it said they were influenced by the leaked documents, which highlight the American military’s struggles in Afghanistan and support claims that elements of Pakistan’s intelligence service were helping the Taliban.

And count me among the few voices saying it was right to strip funds for teachers and other projects from this bill. Dammit, liberals, are you really trying to tell me that you think it’s okay to hold education and our economic recovery hostage to war spending? Are you kidding me? The argument that we need to fund the war so we can fund teacher pay is the worst sort of immoral bullshit policy debate anyone ever cooked up. No, no, no. You do not “sweeten” war spending. That is appalling.

Here’s how they voted. Big shocker that phony local fiscal hawks like Zach Wamp, Marsha Blackburn, Jim Cooper and the rest voted Yes to spend $59 billion on wars while our schools crumble, our infrastructure is in disarray, unemployment remains widespread, state budgets are strapped, etc. etc. I mean, these are the same frauds who said we couldn’t afford an extension of unemployment benefits during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression? Give me a break. You guys are worse than frauds: you’re heartless and immoral. You’ll pay for war but not food or education? You’ve lost any credibility where issues like the supposed “deficit crisis” are concerned. You just approved $59 billion that wasn’t “budget neutral” to be pissed away in a sandhole on the other side of the world. And for what?

Am I the only one remembering when the healthcare bill had to be “budget neutral”? Why do wars never have to be “budget netural”? We’re knocking on the door of 10 years in Afghanistan, people. A decade of war, costing us how many billions of dollars? Is it a trillion? This is, indeed, how empires fall. Study your history, people.

Of Tennessee’s delegation, only Memphis Democrat Steve Cohen and Knoxville Republican John Duncan Jr. voted no on this farce. The rest of you guys, every last one of you, are frauds.

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Filed under Afghanistan War, budget, deficit, Iraq War

>Everybody Loves Us, Nobody Hates Us

>As Bill Maher pointed out Friday night, nothing displays the hypocrisy of the Tea Party movement more than their disconnect on defense spending. I think this is as much about ego as anything else. Most conservatives seem to feel like Merka is so crucial to global stability that without us, the planet would stop in its orbit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting our importance to global stability and all, but I think for a lot of conservatives such feelings are rooted in fantasies going back to World War II: you know, the whole “we bailed your asses out” thing. We love to think that the world loves us–nay, owes us–don’t we?

It’s sorta like how Florida’s Teanuts rallied to keep the government’s hands off their NASA jobs. I love the idea of NASA and space exploration, but let’s remember that for much of Baby Boom America, it was our space program which brought us a collective ego boost back when we were battling the Russkies for global domination bragging rights. A lot of these folks don’t care about science or space, they care that we have these gazillion-billion dollar phallic symbols telling the world to suck on this.

So little wonder news like this rarely gets prominent play in the U.S. media:

Mass rally in Japan against US base on Okinawa

Nearly 100,000 people have attended a rally in Japan’s southern island of Okinawa demanding that a US military base be moved off the island.

Under a 2006 agreement with the US, the US Marines’ Futenma base was to be moved from the centre to the coast.

But demonstrators want Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to stick to an election pledge to remove it completely.

The row over the base has undermined relations between his centre-left Government and the US.

[…]

Japanese have long been resentful of the massive US base on the island, which is home to most of the 47,000 American troops based in Japan.

I’m sorry but why is it necessary for us to have 47,000 troops in Japan? Anyway, the Japanese government wants to move the base to the island of Tokunoshima, a place we don’t want to go. And they apparently don’t want us there, either. From April 19:

Tokunoshima residents rally against hosting Futenma

By ERIC JOHNSTON

At least 11,000 people gathered Sunday on Tokunoshima to protest a plan to move U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Okinawa to the island.

The rally, which had been planned for weeks and was expected to draw about 10,000 people, took place only a few days after it was reported that the U.S. had rejected Tokunoshima Island as a Futenma relocation site.

U.S. officials say moving Futenma’s air operations to Tokunoshima, which is hundreds of kilometers away, would make it impossible to effectively conduct joint air, land and sea training with other marine units in Okinawa.

It’s important for Americans to remember that we are not beloved around the world, much as we wish it were true. So many were puzzled by the 9/11 attacks, and “why do they hate us” became a national mourning cry. We heard that tired Bush line about being hated “for our freedoms,” which is asinine, simplistic, even jingoistic.

We are not hated for our freedoms. We are hated for our power, for our dominance, for the way we muscle our way around the world. Japan was once our foe, now our ally, but even here 100,000 citizens have rallied to get our troops off their soil. And our news media, if they cover the event at all, will relegate the story to the small print and back pages. It certainly won’t dominate our national conversation, where we talk about Tea Parties and Sarah Palin’s e-mail and the White House’s Wall Street reform plan.

Why do we have 47,000 troops in Iraq Japan? Because we won a war 65 years ago.

I am reminded of this excellent column by author Mohsin Hamid from 2007. Do read the whole thing, but I wanted to call attention to this part:

Americans need to educate themselves, from elementary school onward, about what their country has done abroad. And they need to play a more active role in ensuring that what the United States does abroad is not merely in keeping with a foreign policy elite’s sense of realpolitik but also with the American public’s own sense of American values.

Right now we have troops in Afghanistan, still mopping up “the final campaign of the Cold War” which Americans only know about thanks to a Hollywood movie starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

In Baghdad we have built an embassy-slash-military-base the size of Vatican City. In 65 years, will we still be in Afghanistan? Will we still be in Iraq? Will Americans wonder why we have thousands of troops in these foreign lands, will the Iraqis be rallying in the streets in numbers as high as 100,000 to get us to leave?

Or will the American empire have crumbled under its own weight by then?

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Filed under Afghanistan War, Iraq War, U.S. military

>Inquiring Minds

>We DFH’s are jealous of the Brits for a lot of things: their socialized medicine, their costume dramas like “Young Voctoria,” their Iraq Inquiry.

Yes, Great Britian is investigating how it got lured into a war of choice in Iraq, examining such things as non-existent WMD’s, rumored 2002 deals with President Bush, and who knew what, when.

Apparently American sensibilities are far too delicate for such an inquiry; neither the Bush nor Obama administrations are interested in looking under that rock. Nothing to see here, just move along.

I think the need for an official inquiry into the justification for our war of choice were well expressed by Reg Keys, father of a British soldier killed in Iraq:

Reg Keys said the point of the entire process is to ensure that both the country, and its politicians learn a lesson.

“A British prime minister must never again be allowed to take us to war based on falsehoods and deceit in such a shambolic and catastrophic way,” said Keys.

American politicians aren’t interested in learning any lessons, though. I suspect a lot of the information such an inquiry would generate here would be severely damaging to both parties, so they’d just as soon we anti-war folks put such silly thoughts out of our pretty little heads. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have never been publicly held to account for their war. It’s starting to look like they never will.

But I don’t understand why the media hasn’t jumped on board the calls for such an inquiry. Think of it, guys: all of the weeks of drama this would generate, a month’s worth of Meet The Press panels featuring America’s favorite torture mom, Liz Cheney–possibly even a chance for Judith Miller to reclaim a few rays of limelight. It would be the ultimate prime time drama.

Unless they think it would be too inconvenient for their own credibility.

But I still think the country needs a reckoning over Iraq. I don’t get why that’s yet another thing our cousins across the Atlantic get that Americans can only dream about.

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Filed under Iraq War

>Pocket Book Politics

>Back when I was kid I remember seeing this poster everywhere:


The poster I remember was different, though. It was rainbow colored (but then, wasn’t everything when we were kids?) and the font looked like handwriting. In other words, it was a little more hippy-dippy, but the message was the same:

”It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.”

I have been thinking about this poster a lot lately, what with all the talk about escalating the war in Afghanistan and calls by some Democrats for a war tax. So imagine my surprise when I heard Bill Frist fearmonger about the healthcare bill thusly:

Frist expects the bill will bring a lot more uninsured Tennesseans into TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program. He says TennCare’s roles could swell by 30 percent over the next decade. The extra money for that will have to come from somewhere, and Frist says one likely cut is education.

“And it’s going to fall back in the laps of the governors – Governor Bredesen, but even more importantly the next governor, who is going to have to cut education, who is going to have to cut the police force, in order to pay for these increased expenses.”

Really? You know, I don’t remember Frist or any of his Bush Administration cronies–or, for that matter, any of the tea baggers–worrying about expenses when they crammed the Iraq War down our throats with their lies and deceptions about mushroom clouds and yellow cake uranium.

Nor do I remember any sudden jones for “fiscal responsibility” when we decided to go after the Taliban in Afghanistan. It’s fair to say one reason our government is in its current fiscal mess is due to trillion-dollar wars that were never put on the books but simply passed on to the next generation, while this generation helped themselves to some tax cuts.

Someone decided to throw a little par-tay and have the grandkids pay for it. Sorry kids, no healthcare for you! We’re spending your inheritance on war instead. Take it up with Bill Frist, he’s one of the former Senate leaders who thought this idea was just peachy.

Now, I’m going to dispute the whole “there will be cuts in education to pay for healthcare” premise anyway, since education is one of those things for which there are federal grants (including Recovery Funds), though I imagine as soon as the Recovery money stops Frist and his cohorts will shout “See! Told ya so!”

Anyway, the idea that we must choose between educating our kids and keeping them healthy is just so much bullshit. How about both? Why do we have to choose? Only a Republican would think it’s one or the other.

Again I ask: how come there is always money for war, never money for things like education and healthcare? One of the things that kills me about our discourse is how the media always couches the debate on healthcare and education as a fiscal argument. They bought the Republican talking point hook, line and sinker.

Our media asks, Can we afford this? I reply: My God, can we afford not to? But on issues of war, “can we afford this” is rarely asked. It’s, ohmygawdwe’reallgonnadie. News flash: people are already dying from lack of healthcare in this country. Crazy, ain’t it?

Does Bill Frist know how many kids in Tennessee don’t have health insurance? According to FamiliesUSA, it’s one out of every 13 kids (or was–before the economic downturn. It could be worse now). What good is education if kids are too sick to get to school?

How often do we hear war spending presented in fiscal terms like this? Rarely. Yet an additional 40,000 troops in Afghanistan is estimated to cost $40 billion a year. That’s in addition to what we are already spending on the war.

Another $40 billion. That’s $40 billion on top of the hundreds and hundreds of billions we’ve already spent there. We’ve already sank more money into blowing up two countries than we needed to fund healthcare reform and education.

Why is it when it comes to things like healthcare we quibble about the pennies and go to great lengths to make sure a bill is “budget neutral.” Why don’t our wars have to be “budget neutral”?

Why is a war of choice always viewed as a necessity, but necessities like healthcare and education are luxuries?

I’m tired of people like Bill Frist telling us we need to choose between educating our kids and keeping them healthy. That’s just wrong. We just need to shift our priorities.

It will be a great day when the country realizes we can’t afford these little, decades-long military adventures any more. Sorry but we’ve got kids to educate, and a populace to keep healthy, and senior citizens to care for. We have levees to shore up and an energy grid to repair.

If you want your little war, go have a bake sale.

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Filed under Afghanistan War, Bill Frist, budget, healthcare, Iraq War

>That Touch of Merde

>Our $700 million military base “embassy” in Baghdad still has a few problems, and we don’t just mean a leaky roof:

But according to a report issued last week by the State Department’s inspector general, the complex is a monument to shoddy work and incompetent oversight. Walls and walkways are cracking, sewage gas flows back into residences, wiring is substandard, fire protection systems are faulty and other safety provisions are not up to contract specifications.

The report says that construction “was significantly deficient in multiple areas” and may not meet safety codes. It called on the State Department to seek $132 million in damages from the main construction company, First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting, which received $470 million for work on the embassy.

[…]

The 57-page report details problems with water, wiring, design, automation, sewage, walls, ceilings, power generators, emergency safe areas and structural reinforcement to protect the embassy from earthquakes. It says that First Kuwaiti charged for $33 million worth of design services that were either incomplete or undocumented. Executives at First Kuwaiti did not respond to a request for comment.

Awkward! If First Kuwaiti GT&C doesn’t ring a bell, let me dig into the memory hole for you:

First Kuwaiti, as well as other Middle Eastern companies under U.S. contracts in Iraq, has been accused repeatedly of pressuring its workers to take jobs in war-torn Iraq against their wishes . Once there, those workers are said to have often endured pay of just dollars a day, lousy food, bad medical care, crammed housing and 12-hour work days, seven days a week. Some who have witnessed such brutal conditions liken it to modern-day slavery.

First Kuwaiti’s general manager, Wadih al-Absi, calls such accusations lies. But the accusations come from workers in Nepal, the Philippines, former Halliburton supervisors and even those well acquainted with the company’s upper management. None of these people know each other, but they have the same complaints of poor treatment and labor trafficking.

[…]

The contract for the U.S. embassy “was political,” said one competitor. Why political? Because Kuwait was the only country bordering Iraq that was willing to allow the staging of land troops for the 2003 invasion, whisper other disgruntled contractors. The State Department intervened before on behalf of other Kuwaiti firms. After the invasion, the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, Richard Jones, pressured Halliburton to buy overpriced fuel from the unknown Kuwaiti firm Altanmia Commercial Marketing Company, according to official documents. That fuel, intended for domestic use in Iraq, resulted in ongoing disputes about overcharges of possibly several hundred million dollars. Jones then returned to Washington to serve as the senior adviser and coordinator for Iraq at the State Department. He was in that position when First Kuwaiti was awarded the embassy contract.

I wrote about First Kuwaiti GT&C here, when the Bush Administration waived a law requiring open and competitive bidding to award the embassy contract to the firm. This is after it rejected a North Carolina firm, of course.

I wrote about it again when a criminal investigation into labor trafficking began.

It’s that touch of merde, Baghdad style. We basically gave the contract to a Kuwaiti firm in exchange for them letting us use their country to stage our war. And then they rip us off and use foreign slave labor to build our embassy. There’s so much irony swirling around this story I can’t stand it.

If there’s a more perfect metaphor for our entire Iraq misadventure I’d love to see it.

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Filed under Baghdad Embassy, First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting Co., Iraq War

>Why Does The Republican Party Hate America?

>The Bush Administration-crafted Iraqi Constitution called for single-payer healthcare:

Article 31 reads:

“First: Every citizen has the right to health care. The State shall maintain public health and provide the means of prevention and treatment by building different types of hospitals and health institutions.

“Second: Individuals and entities have the right to build hospitals, clinics, or private health care centers under the supervision of the State, and this shall be regulated by law.”

There are other health care guarantees, including special provisions for children, the elderly, and the handicapped elsewhere in the 43-page document.

Under force of arms, President Bush imposed his particular idea of democracy on a people not asking for it – perhaps a noble undertaking in one context and a criminal violation of international law in another. Bush’s followers are proud of the Iraqi Constitution, a model for the world, they told us.

So, according to the American political right-wing, government-guaranteed health care is good for Iraqis, but not good for us. Not good for you. They decry even a limited public option for you, but gleefully imposed upon the Iraqis what they label here as “socialism,” with much Democratic Party member support.

Writer Mark Dorlester calls this Republican hypocrisy. More importantly, I see it as an admission by those involved in crafting the Iraq Constitution that they agree with the principle of single-payer healthcare. They see it as good for citizens, good for building a stable democracy, right for a government to be involved in providing healthcare for its citizenry. They didn’t see it as inherently evil or damaging to a developing democracy’s government or economy.

But they don’t think it’s right for us. Right for Iraq, but not for us.

Why would that be? That would be a question to ask. If it’s not going to turn into Fascism, Socialism, economy-destroying evil in a democracy as sensitive as Iraq’s, why would it do so here?

Dorlester also points to the $864 billion we’ve spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The total is more than (or, in the worst case, equal to) the funding required to guarantee minimally decent health care here.

In other words, the most senior members of the Republican establishment – and some Democrats like Max Baucus (D-MT) – have gladly spent more taxpayer funds to ensure health care as a Constitutional right in Iraq than they are willing to spend to give you any level of guaranteed coverage.

[…]

It would seem that U. S. citizens might find out if their Representative and/or Senators have supported or voted to fund the war in Iraq. If so, do they support health care as a civil right for you?

If the answers to those questions are “yes” and “no,” respectively, you might consider less hypocritical representation.

Interesting thought.

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Filed under healthcare, Iraq War

>How Times Change

>It’s very, very interesting to me what things spark outrage in our country today. And it’s curious which of these outrages are considered news stories by the national media, which of these stories develop into full-blown cable news hissy fits, and which ones bring out the torch-and-pitchfork crowds.

It wasn’t too long ago that the Pentagon banned photos of flag-draped coffins returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, back in 2004 the Republican-controlled Senate defeated a Democratic bill which would have allowed the Pentagon to show pictures of flag-draped coffins. From the memory hole:

Some Republicans, including Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, complained that Democrats were trying to score election-year points with the effort. Mr. Grassley noted that the policy had been in place since the first Bush administration, in 1991. ”This policy has been in place for 13 years,” he said. ”Nobody has raised a complaint about it until now.”

In April 2004, military contractor Tami Silico and her husband were fired from Maytag Aircraft after taking pictures of flag-draped coffins on their way home from Kuwait. I always wondered how that picture came to the media’s attention. Simple: it was given directly to the Seattle Times by Tami and her friend Amy Katz (I urge everyone to read Poynter’s piece on the entire photo affair).

Liberals were accused of exploiting dead soldiers for political gain, our patriotism and support of the troops was questioned, and it was a full-tilt hissy fit.

I have to wonder: if that photo had been sent to the Associated Press, would it have been published?

It should be noted that under the Obama Administration, the Pentagon has reversed that policy, provided the families of the fallen agree (Michelle Malkin called the change “selective transparency”.)

Here’s another one: It was only a few years ago that conservatives were in full hissy-fit mode over Ted Koppel’s “The Fallen” episode of Nightline, in which Koppel read the names of all U.S. soliders killed in the line of duty in Iraq. There was mass hysteria from the right; even Sinclair Broadcasting refused to air it.

Does anyone remember that? It really wasn’t all that long ago.

So I’m just curious why no one seems to care that this week the Associated Press published a photo of a dying U.S. Marine in Afghanistan.

Over the objections of the soldier’s family.

If pictures of flag-draped coffins and reading the names of war dead while showing their pictures in full-dress uniform was so objectionable when Bush was president, why isn’t a picture of a bloodied and dying Marine sparking outrage in right-wing circles now that Obama is president?

Who decides these things? Is there some Office of National Outrage, some Right Wing Hissy Fit Board where they decide which story will become the prevailing narrative of the day and which will not?

This past week we were in full torch-and-pitchfork mode over President Obama’s speech to schoolkids, which struck me as wholly manufactured and really quite silly. The Associated Press, which never went out of its way to show readers the human cost of war when Bush was president, seemed to jump at the opportunity to display a rather gruesome photo of an actual dying soldier, over the family’s objections:

“We understand Mr. Bernard’s anguish. We believe this image is part of the history of this war. The story and photos are in themselves a respectful treatment and recognition of sacrifice,” said AP senior managing editor John Daniszewski.

I’m curious where all of these photos were when we were being given rah-rah, yellow-ribbon-magnet, support-the-troops pep talks when Bush was president.

And I’m curious where all of the right wing outrage is about this particular image, when images far more benign were enough to spark protests, blackouts, boycotts, and firings.

It’s all very curious to me.

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Filed under Iraq War, media, right wing

>Ooops! Our Bad!

>Did any major media outlets pull themselves away from feasting on the Michael Jackson/Mark Sanford corpses long enough to mention this?

The documents also confirm previous reports that Saddam falsely allowed the world to believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction – the main U.S. rationale behind the war – because he feared revealing his weakness to Iran, the hostile neighbor he considered a bigger threat than the U.S.

Whoopsie daisy! Turns out we didn’t need to wage that war after all. Gosh I hate it when that happens! Oh well! Sorry for all the dead civilians and dead soldiers and, you know, trillions of dollars in debt!

You know, the public record is full to overflowing with Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, John Bolton and the rest of the neocons telling us why it was imperative we take out the threat that was Saddam Hussein. None of these assclowns have ever been held accountable for this disaster; instead, they are still getting columns in national newspapers and quoted as “experts” on cable news.

So, in honor of July Fourth, I ask the mainstream media to say: no more.

Please, for the good of the nation, for the love of all that is holy, let these people slink quietly away from the public stage and back into their holes. Unless, of course, you’re covering their trials.

Every single one of them lacks any shred of credibility. Therefore, any media outlet that quotes them, publishes their columns, or puts them on the air lacks credibility, too. This is an undeniable fact, and frankly I’m sick of the national media acting as if nothing happened. As if the corrupt neocon cabal didn’t lead us into a costly, immoral war that killed thousands of Americans and over a hundred thousand Iraqis. Move along, nothing to see here.

I don’t ever want to see another column by any one of these idiots in any newspaper. And yes that means you, Washington Post, not exactly a bastion of credibility yourself these days: no more op-eds from John Bolton telling us we need to attack Iran or ZOMG we’re all gonna dieeee!! Clearly he’s a crackpot. Please quit giving him ink. It’s like trotting the crazy uncle out to the town square so everyone can laugh and point. It’s really not a very nice thing to do.

No more Dick Cheney on the TV, please. Again, another psychodoodle crackpot, who profited handsomely from the war he forced on the country that was completely unnecessary. He should not be regarded as an expert in anything save unspeakable evil. Time was, we put people like that in jail. Nowadays it’s all, “bygones!”

Wolf Blitzer and the rest of you idiots at CNN, when will you learn that Paul Wolfowitz is not a credible source? I don’t see you calling up people like Cindy Sheehan and asking her opinion on the situation in Iran. Why would you ask Wolfowitz? He has been wrong about everything! Why are voices for war so much more compelling to you than voices for peace? You are as complicit in the war machine as the neocon shills.

Is this some massive mainstream media CYA-ing in an effort to cover for the way they helped march America into an unnecessary war? You think we don’t notice these things?

And yet you have the nerve to wonder why your circulation is faltering, your ratings are dropping, your listenership is down. You think the internet is the problem? Er, no. Not even close.

It is absolutely inconceivable to me that the architects of the Iraq war will never have their accountability moment. It’s like everyone hopes we can just move on. Well, no. That just won’t work. We can’t pretend this didn’t happen. It is immoral to pretend it didn’t happen. America needs her accountability moment. America needs reconciliation, and this will not happen without confession. If, as the right wingers always tell us, we are a “Christian nation” then we should confess our sins.

Something for you tea baggers to think about.

God bless America? Not until we first ask God to forgive America.

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Filed under Iraq War, media, rants

Monday Is Mission Accomplished Day

Not that fake Misison Accomplished Day either, the one where President Bush strutted around an aircraft carrier. No, Monday is the day ExxonMobil, Chevron and the rest have been waiting for:

BAGHDAD — When Iraq puts development rights to some of its largest oil fields up for auction to foreign companies on Monday, the bidding will be a watershed moment, representing the first chance for petroleum giants like ExxonMobil to tap into the resources of a country they were kicked out of almost 40 years ago.

[…]

The oil companies are also somewhat disgruntled, being forced to compete for 20-year service contracts and not the more lucrative production sharing agreements they would prefer. Such agreements would allow them to share directly in the profits from oil production, rather than getting fixed fees.

In other words, they wanted something akin to the deal the Americans wrote for them exactly one year ago:

In their role as advisers to the Iraqi Oil Ministry, American government lawyers and private-sector consultants provided template contracts and detailed suggestions on drafting the contracts, advisers and a senior State Department official said.

That deal was withdrawn as it stoked outrage not only among Americans but in Iraq as well. As I wrote at the time, it was a little fishy that the contracts were awarded to the very same companies Saddam Hussein had kicked out of the country when he took power in the 1970s. You can’t really talk about “the central front in the war on terror” and “breeding Democracy in the Middle East” and all that other hogwash when you’re literally writing the contracts restoring foreign oil companies to their former status before the dictator you just deposed took power. At the time, the New York Times called it

a twist of corporate history for some of the world’s largest companies, [that] all four oil majors that had lost their concessions in Iraq are now back.

Oh, liberal media! You are adorable! A mere twist of corporate history, the turn of the karmic wheel. Just luck!

Sheesh.

Anyway, as Bill Maher said at last night’s Ryman show, “if you’re going to invade a country for oil, at least get some damn oil!” So, Mission Accomplished.

That said, I do not want to hear any more whining from conservatives about the recently-passed American Clean Energy and Security Act (aka, “cap-and-trade” or the Climate Bill) as being a job crushing, tax-increasing boondoggle.

Don’t you even start with me about this being a “carbon tax” — what do you think the Iraq War has been? The one that cost $700 billion in direct costs, is estimated to cost $1 trillion before all’s said and done, has killed thousands of Americans, wounded thousands more, destroyed our credibility on the world stage, and divided the country, all to maintain the status quo of an oil-based economy. How long will we be paying that bill, do you think?

Congressmen Jim Cooper and Bart Gordon get my thanks for voting to pass the climate bill, though other so-called “Democrats” in Tennessee didn’t have the courage (yes, Lincoln Davis and John Tanner, I’m looking at you. For shame!)

Lamar Alexander voted for the Iraq War, the bloodiest carbon tax this country has ever enacted. Bob Corker has indicated he at least understands the issues of climate change but he’s trying to prove his conservative bonafides, so I don’t hold out much hope for him supporting a bill that has generated ire from the tea-bag crowd. But he’s been known to surprise me.

All of which means to say: when we’re talking about energy policy, let’s not forget what the Iraq War was about.

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Filed under Big Oil, climate change, Iraq War