Sunday, May 28, 2006

What's Democracy Got to Do With it?


We do not forget the sacrifice of those who came before and it is on Memorial Day that we honor their sacrifice for our American republic’s democracy.

When coalition forces arrived in Iraq, the Iraqi people were given assurances, and told about ‘this democracy’, by the Coalition Provisional Authority.

They were told; democracy, as it is commonly understood, is about more than free and fair elections. It requires "independent courts, equality before the law, and constitutional limits on the powers of government. It establishes independent institutions to control and punish corruption and abuse of power." No one in a democracy "may be arrested, imprisoned, or exiled arbitrarily. No one may be denied freedom without a fair and public hearing by an impartial court.1

We honor these fallen, which believed a principled democratic society guided by the United States Constitution, was possible. We honor their faith that America would continue beyond them in freedom and liberty, for generations yet to come.

1.Passages from the explanations given to Iraqis of the requisites of democratic government by Larry Diamond (Senior Fellow-Hoover Institute), when an advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in early 2004, as recounted by Larry Diamond in Squandered Victory, pp 106, 111.


Free Iraq (An anti-American site-that doesn't mean we cannot learn anything from it)

PN: Why did you say we are we invading Iraq?

WM: We are invading Iraq because it is in violation of security council resolution 1441. A country cannot be allowed to violate security council resolutions.

PN: But I thought many of our allies, including Israel, were in violation of more security council resolutions than Iraq.

WM: It's not just about UN resolutions. The main point is that Iraq could have weapons of mass destruction, and the first sign of a smoking gun could well be a mushroom cloud over NY.

PN: Mushroom cloud? But I thought the weapons inspectors said Iraq had no nuclear weapons.

WM: Yes, but biological and chemical weapons are the issue.

PN: But I thought Iraq did not have any long range missiles for attacking us or our allies with such weapons.

WM: The risk is not Iraq directly attacking us, but rather terrorists networks that Iraq could sell the weapons to.

PN: But couldn't virtually any country sell chemical or biological materials? We sold quite a bit to Iraq in the eighties ourselves, didn't we?

WM: That's ancient history. Look, Saddam Hussein is an evil man that has an undeniable track record of repressing his own people since the early eighties. He gasses his enemies. Everyone agrees that he is a power-hungry lunatic murderer.

PN: We sold chemical and biological materials to a power-hungry lunatic murderer?

WM: The issue is not what we sold, but rather what Saddam did. He is the one that launched a pre-emptive first strike on Kuwait.

PN: A pre-emptive first strike does sound bad. But didn't our ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, know about and green-light the invasion of Kuwait?

WM: Let's deal with the present, shall we? As of today, Iraq could sell its biological and chemical weapons to Al Qaida. Osama Bin Laden himself released an audio tape calling on Iraqis to suicide-attack us, proving a partnership between the two.

PN: Osama Bin Laden? Wasn't the point of invading Afghanistan to kill him?

WM: Actually, it's not 100% certain that it's really Osama Bin Laden on the tapes. But the lesson from the tape is the same: there could easily be a partnership between Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein unless we act.

PN: Is this the same audio tape where Osama Bin Laden labels Saddam a secular infidel?

WM: You're missing the point by just focusing on the tape. Powell presented a strong case against Iraq.

PN: He did?

WM: Yes, he showed satellite pictures of an Al Qaida poison factory in Iraq.

PN: But didn't that turn out to be a harmless shack in the part of Iraq controlled by the Kurdish opposition?

WM: And a British intelligence report...

PN: Didn't that turn out to be copied from an out-of-date graduate student paper?

WM: And reports of mobile weapons labs...

PN: Weren't those just artistic renderings?

WM: And reports of Iraqis scuttling and hiding evidence from inspectors...

PN: Wasn't that evidence contradicted by the chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix?

WM: Yes, but there is plenty of other hard evidence that cannot be revealed because it would compromise our security.

PN: So there is no publicly available evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

WM: The inspectors are not detectives; it's not their JOB to find evidence. You're missing the point.

PN: So what is the point?

WM: The main point is that we are invading Iraq because resolution 1441 threatened "severe consequences." If we do not act, the security council will become an irrelevant debating society.

PN: So the main point is to uphold the rulings of the security council?

WM: Absolutely. ...unless it rules against us.

PN: And what if it does rule against us?

WM: In that case, we must lead a coalition of the willing to invade Iraq.

PN: Coalition of the willing? Who's that?

WM: Britain, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, and Italy, for starters.

PN: I thought Turkey refused to help us unless we gave them tens of billions of dollars

WM: Nevertheless, they may now be willing.

PN: I thought public opinion in all those countries was against war.

WM: Current public opinion is irrelevant. The majority expresses its will by electing leaders to make decisions.

PN: So it's the decisions of leaders elected by the majority that is important?

WM: Yes.

PN: But George Bush wasn't elected by voters. He was selected by the U.S. Supreme C...-

WM: I mean, we must support the decisions of our leaders, however they were elected, because they are acting in our best interest. This is about being a patriot. That's the bottom line.

PN: So if we do not support the decisions of the president, we are not patriotic?

WM: I never said that.

PN: So what are you saying? Why are we invading Iraq?

WM: As I said, because there is a chance that they have weapons of mass destruction that threaten us and our allies.

PN: But the inspectors have not been able to find any such weapons.

WM: Iraq is obviously hiding them.

PN: You know this? How?

WM: Because we know they had the weapons ten years ago, and they are still unaccounted for.

PN: The weapons we sold them, you mean?

WM: Precisely.

PN: But I thought those biological and chemical weapons would degrade to an unusable state over ten years.

WM: But there is a chance that some have not degraded.

PN: So as long as there is even a small chance that such weapons exist, we must invade?

WM: Exactly.

PN: But North Korea actually has large amounts of usable chemical, biological, AND nuclear weapons, AND long range missiles that can reach the west coast AND it has expelled nuclear weapons inspectors, AND threatened to turn America into a sea of fire.

WM: That's a diplomatic issue.

PN: So why are we invading Iraq instead of using diplomacy?

WM: Aren't you listening? We are invading Iraq because we cannot allow the inspections to drag on indefinitely. Iraq has been delaying, deceiving, and denying for over ten years, and inspections cost us tens of millions.

PN: But I thought war would cost us tens of billions.

WM: Yes, but this is not about money. This is about security.

PN: But wouldn't a pre-emptive war against Iraq ignite radical Muslim sentiments against us, and decrease our security?

WM: Possibly, but we must not allow the terrorists to change the way we live. Once we do that, the terrorists have already won.

PN: So what is the purpose of the Department of Homeland Security, color-coded terror alerts, and the Patriot Act? Don't these change the way we live?

WM: I thought you had questions about Iraq.

PN: I do. Why are we invading Iraq?

WM: For the last time, we are invading Iraq because the world has called on Saddam Hussein to disarm, and he has failed to do so. He must now face the consequences.

PN: So, likewise, if the world called on us to do something, such as find a peaceful solution, we would have an obligation to listen?

WM: By "world", I meant the United Nations.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the United Nations?

WM: By "United Nations" I meant the Security Council.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the Security Council?

WM: I meant the majority of the Security Council.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the majority of the Security Council?

WM: Well... there could be an unreasonable veto.

PN: In which case?

WM: In which case, we have an obligation to ignore the veto.

PN: And if the majority of the Security Council does not support us at all?

WM: Then we have an obligation to ignore the Security Council.

PN: That makes no sense (**)

WM: If you love Iraq so much, you should move there. Or maybe France, with the all the other cheese-eating surrender monkeys. It's time to boycott their wine and cheese, no doubt about that.

PN: I give up.

Hot Links

Capital Hill Blue Childish squabble between Congress & Justice Department led to Presidential action

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his deputy, Paul McNulty, were said to be ready to quit if the Justice Department was asked to return the Jefferson documents, the senior administration official said on condition of anonymity. The resignation of FBI Director Robert Mueller also was implied, the official said.

During contentious conversations between the Department of Justice and the House, top law enforcement officials indicated that they'd rather quit than return documents FBI agents, armed with a warrant, seized in an overnight search of Jefferson's office, the administration official said.

Until last Saturday night, no such warrant had ever been used to search a lawmaker's office in the 219-year history of Congress. FBI agents carted away records in their pursuit of evidence that Jefferson accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for helping set up business deals in Africa.

Gonzo quit? Not a chance-he'd fire the rest of them first...every one of them. Do it Gonzo, Prissy wants to watch what happens next...

RAI News The story of Operation Vigilante Resolve and is called 'Fallujah - the hidden massacre' -a documentary from RAI News 24, Italy

PBS Flashback 4/09/04 Bill Moyers Interviews Kevin Phillips

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Keep fighting. I think there are signs that it's turning now. To me one of the most important milestones will be if people, and I include the media here, have the courage to document and put on the front page what they won't really touch now, which is ...

BILL MOYERS: Which is?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: All the examples of the Bush family's role in the rise of Enron. Here, we're running around, we're blaming these accountants, these tricksters that were in Enron, but George W. and George H.W., his father, were very much involved in the whole rise of Enron's influence and power in this country. But you ... you don't see that. People in the press have a lot of trouble touching these issues right where the rubber hits the road.

BILL MOYERS: Well, when you've got anchors making eight, nine, ten million dollars a year, when you've got a handful of huge media corporations owning over half of the outlets in this country, do you expect much populism from those people?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: No. And that's the fundamental problem. How do you get dynasties to talk about other dynasties? I think it's a real difficulty. Unfortunately, that means that some of us have to start talking about stuff we'd rather not do all the time because if you don't make a lot of friends by doing it ... it's tough, but a dynasty is a dynasty is a dynasty and these problems are there, and this incredible amount of money is ... is just staring this country's historical role in the face

Australia Herald Sun Iran accepts nuclear cap

IRAN is willing to accept a cap on its uranium enrichment capability to ensure fuel produced is not used to develop nuclear weapons, its ambassador to the UN said yesterday.

Ambassador Javad Zarif said the cap should be below the enrichment level of 10, ensuring it would be suitable for reactors.

"Iran is prepared to put in place other measures to ensure fuel produced is not re-enriched and used for nuclear (weapons) purposes," he said.

Now what will the Dubya's excuse be to invade another cooperating country?

USA Today Murtha: Fallout from killing of Iraqi civilians will exceed prison scandal

"Who covered it up, why did they cover it up, why did they wait so long?" Murtha said on This Week on ABC. "We don't know how far it goes. It goes right up the chain of command."

A bomb rocked a military convoy on Nov. 19, killing a Marine. Marines then shot and killed unarmed civilians in a taxi at the scene and went into two homes and shot other people, according to Murtha, who has been briefed by officials.

Marines then shot and killed unarmed civilians in a taxi at the scene and went into two homes and shot other people, he said.

Murtha said high-level reports he received indicated that no one fired upon the Marines or that there was any military action against the U.S. forces after the initial explosion. Yet the deaths were not seriously investigated until March because an early probe was stifled within days of the incident, he said.

Keep looking up the food chain for the CYA crew...probably the same CYA crew that "assisted" with the Pat Tillman incident.

Media Transparency Neoconning the Media

At least until Francis Fukuyama completes his plans to replace The National Interest with a new Neocon foreign policy journal, to be called, "The American Interest," the neocons will have to make do with the following media and governmental institutions: * Commentary * The Weekly Standard * Most of National Review * Half The New Republic * City Journal * The New Criterion * The Washington Times * Insight * The New York Post * The New York Sun * The editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal * 60 or so percent of the Washington Post op-ed page * A twice-a-week appearance on the New York Times op-ed page * All of Fox News * Much of MSNBC * A bit of CNN * More and more of PBS * The American Enterprise Institute * The Heritage Foundation * The Hoover Institution * The Project for the New American Century * The US National Security Council * The Department of Defense * Parts of the World Bank and the UN Ambassador's office * A healthy chunk of the State Department * The Vice-President's office * And an unknown percentage of what is politely referred to as "the president's mind."

Wired Bloggers Win, Apple Loses

A California appeals court has smacked down Apple's legal assault on bloggers and their sources, finding that the company's efforts to subpoena e-mail received by the publishers of Apple Insider and runs contrary to federal law, California's reporter's shield law, and the state Constitution.

The Sixth District Court of Appeals on Friday roundly rejected (.pdf) Apple's argument that the bloggers weren't acting as journalists when they posted internal document about future Apple products. "We decline the implicit invitation to embroil ourselves in questions of what constitutes 'legitimate journalis(m).' The shield law is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news, and that is what petitioners did here," the court wrote.

"Beyond casting aspersions on the legitimacy of petitioners’ enterprise, Apple offers no cogent reason to conclude that they fall outside the shield law’s protection."

The Age Too much secrecy on Afghanistan, says expert

"We're getting lots of complaints about this. The defence public affairs organisation isn't handling this well and to an extent the political direction they're getting isn't good."

Mr James said there was no operational security reason to maintain such secrecy about overseas deployments. "I had 25 years in military intelligence and I can tell you that operational secrecy can be taken too far.

"There's absolutely no reason why general accounts of what they're doing, in far more detail on some of their contacts, can't be given. There's really no military reason," Mr James told Channel Ten's Meet the Press program.

"As a number of the fathers and mothers of people deployed in Afghanistan … have pointed out to me, it's a bit silly when they can read things on the Centcom (US Central Command) website that tell them about contacts the Australians have been having, or they have to follow the New China Newsagency to learn what our own forces are doing …

CNN-Dubya, always picking from bad to worse... Bush pal Donald Evans may succeed Snow

Evans traveled with Bush on his trip to West Point, New York, Saturday to address graduates at the U.S. Military Academy.

A source with ties to the White House speculated that Evans' chances of being picked were particularly high if Snow decided to resign within the next several days.

But if Snow delays quitting to allow the White House to complete a fuller search for a replacement, chances rise for another frequently mentioned contender, U.S. Ambassador to India David Mulford.

Evans, 60, is a former Texas oilman like Bush and has long had a tight relationship with the president. He chaired Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, expanding a role he played when Bush successfully ran for governor of Texas in 1994 and 1998.

Notice when Bush made the West Point speech, graduates facial expressions were not shown. Hmm, wonder why...

Common Dreams The Hardest Word by Scott Ritter

Both politicians were playing to their respective electorates, Blair in an effort to forestall his inevitable departure from government, Bush trying against hope to prevent a democratic landslide in the mid-term elections upcoming in November. But they both forgot that, to paraphrase an old military saying, "the enemy has a vote, too." And the Iraqi insurgency votes on a daily basis, its ballots counted in the bodies of those killed because of the violence brought on Iraq thanks to the decision by Bush and Blair to invade.

That decision, based upon lies and deceit, and done in pursuit of pure power (either in the form of global hegemony, per Bush, or a pathetic effort to ride Bush's coattails in the name of maintaining a "special relationship", for Blair), underscores the reality that when it comes to Iraq, both are resting on a policy that is as corrupt as one can possibly imagine.

Void of any genuine reflection as to what actually went wrong, and lacking in any reality-based process which seeks to formulate a sound way out of Iraq, these two politicians are simply continuing the self-delusional process of blundering down a path in Iraq that can only lead to more death and destruction.

Perhaps the advisors of Bush and Blair thought they were going to put a human face on two leaders who had been so vilified over the Iraq debacle. If so they failed. The joint press conference was little more than a pathetic show where two failed politicians voiced their continued support of failed policies, which had gotten their respective nations embroiled in a failed war. To quote Blair: "What more can I say? Probably not wise to say anything more at all."

BBC Bush invokes resolve of Cold War

"The war began on my watch but it's going to end on your watch," he said.

In a wide-ranging speech, Mr Bush talked of his aim of spreading peace through the Middle East, saying repression there was creating conditions for global terrorism.

"We will complete the mission" --George W Bush

"We're still in the early stages of this struggle for freedom and, like those first years of the Cold War, we've seen setbacks and challenges and days that have tested America's resolve, yet we've also seen days of victory and hope," he said.

Prissy bets security was extra-tight for that visit...

Wa Po From Public Life to Private Business

During his legislative career, Cohen stood for "purity of the political process," according to the Almanac of American Politics. He made his name as a young Republican voting to impeach President Richard Nixon over Watergate, and, he said in an interview, passed up lucrative options to stay in public life. He sponsored lobbying reforms.

Now, his firm promotes itself by touting its connections.

"We Specialize in Access, Insight and Intelligence into the Defense Industry, DoD and Government programs," the Web site for a Cohen investment advisory service said until recently. The Web site said the Cohen Group's "Competitive Advantage" included

"Senior level relationships throughout industry and government." One day Cohen is appearing at a Lockheed Martin Corp. event in India, smoothing the way for a fighter-jet sale; another, he's attending a charity ball at the request of a company that wants him at its table because, an executive at the company says, "You are judged by the friends you keep."

Moscow Times. Graft:"It's what's for dinner"... Ustinov Warns of New Cases

The country's top prosecutor warned of possible new corruption investigations as he steps up a fight against graft demanded by President Vladimir Putin.

"The fight against corruption in Russia remains urgent," Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov said Thursday in remarks broadcast by Rossia. "Don't be surprised if in the near future you see new, major cases opened."

Harper's “Fairy Tales”

A number of current and former intelligence officials have told me that the administration's war on internal dissent has crippled the CIA's ability to provide realistic assessments from Iraq. “The system of reporting is shut down,” said one person familiar with the situation. “You can't write anything honest, only fairy tales.”

The New York Times and others have reported that in 2003, the CIA station chief in Baghdad authored several special field reports that offered extremely negative assessments of the situation on the ground in Iraq—assessments that later proved to be accurate. The field reports, known as “Aardwolfs,” were angrily rejected by the White House. Their author—who I'm told was a highly regarded agency veteran named Gerry Meyer—was soon pushed out of the CIA, in part because his reporting angered the See No Evil crowd within the Bush administration. “He was a good guy,” one recently retired CIA official said of Meyer, “well-wired in Baghdad, and he wrote a good report. But any time this administration gets bad news, they say the critics are assholes and defeatists, and off we go down the same path with more pressure on the accelerator.

Quotes of the Day

[I]n such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners.--French writer and philosopher Albert Camus (1913-1960)born in Algeria

There never was a good war or a bad peace.-- Ben Franklin

In peace the sons bury their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons.--Croesus,last king of Lydia, of the Mermnad dynasty, (560-546 BC)

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations. --David Friedman,children's entertainer

I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a method of settling international disputes.--General Douglas MacArthur

Unconditional war can no longer lead to unconditional victory. It can no longer serve to settle disputes. It can no longer be of concern to great powers alone. For a nuclear disaster, spread by winds and waters and fear, could well engulf the great and the small, the rich and the poor, the committed and the uncommitted alike. Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.--John F. Kennedy