Tag: Iraq War

Stopping the war – is it a priority?

Cross-posted at Daily Kos
Hello out there! I don’t usually diary because as working mother of young children I am quite busy. But I really want ask this – is stopping the war a priority? I know there is a lot of compelling news today, but hope you will give this subject a moment of your attention. There are protests in 11 cities this Saturday and, on behalf of everyone who is planning to attend, I want to tell you – WE NEED YOU THERE!

My sign for this protest reads  – “Stop the war – for their children, and for ours” and I believe this.  We have to stop this war for our children.  We are draining the treasury, we are turning the world against us, we are causing pain and destruction – in their names – and they will pay for it.  I shudder to think the kind of world they will grow up in. 

Perhaps you will say that our energy is better spent combating global climate change – I say that protesting the war will help in this fight too.  Not only by showing our politicians that we Democrats are no shrinking violets, but because going to a protest will make you an activist – one who is willing to go outside their comfort zone for what they believe in, and this carries over into other areas. 

We complain and complain about our representatives continuing to fund the war.  Are they spineless? We ask.  What about all the alleged abuses and countless innocents living and dying in squalor?  What about our soldiers PTSD who are abandoned when they return? Is our government evil?  We ask.  Do they have spines? We ask.

The truth is – we could ask each of these questions about ourselves.  What are we willing to do to stop the war?  We expect our representatives to stand up for us, but we will not even stand up for ourselves. 

Do you think protesting is futile?  Well, if it does no good it is because you are not there.  That’s right!  If you went, the protest would be a success!  Because if you are going, that means that someone like you, somewhere else has seen the light and has decided to go.  If everyone who is against the war marched, we could not be ignored any longer.

I am sorry for the negativity – I know a lot of you out there are going or have damn good reasons not to.  I am discouraged because the entire group of mothers that I organized to march backed out.  They are all against the war, but marching was not a priority.  They are my friends, and I want to understand, but I don’t.

BTW – Bush and Cheney might be ignoring us, but do you think our own candidates are?  Perhaps Clinton/Obama/Edwards/et al. are watching to find out what kind of supporters they’ve got.  We need to let them know that we mean business – that we will not sit around and be fed on chocolate cream puffs while the world is burning down around us. 

It is true that as one person we are each but a drop in the bucket.  In these situations we cannot be more than that – and  that bothers some people.  But I say that this is pure ego and that to get things done sometimes we must move swarm-like with a crowd.  If you want to express your own opinions loud and clear – go out and buy a piece of cardboard and write your thoughts in large, bold letters.  You will be most satisfied when a like minded person gives you the “thumbs up” (or a counterprotestor gives you a different sort of gesture).  And then march.

Please join us this Saturday at noon. For more information see http://www.oct27.org

Is Bush trying to surreptitiously fund an attack on Iran?

We all know that Bush wants $196,000,000,000 more for his Iraq and Afghanistan disasters, but something curious was tucked into the funding request. According to ABC News:

The item: $88 million to modify B-2 stealth bombers so they can carry a newly developed 30,000-pound bomb called the massive ordnance penetrator, or, in military-speak, the MOP.

The MOP is the the military’s largest conventional bomb, a super “bunker-buster” capable of destroying hardened targets deep underground. The one-line explanation for the request said it is in response to “an urgent operational need from theater commanders.”

ABC called CENTCOM to ask about it. CENTCOM said they’d look into it and call back. They haven’t yet.

Congressional Quarterly adds:

In interviews Tuesday, military experts said the new weapon was not designed for the kind of counterinsurgency campaign being conducted by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. They said the MOP could prove useful against other targets, notably underground Iranian facilities that are said to be producing nuclear weapons materials.

“A weapon like this is designed to deal with extremely hard and buried targets such as you would find in Iran or North Korea,” said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the conservative military think tank the Lexington Institute, who is also a consultant for some defense contractors.

“Clearly, in the case of North Korea, the likelihood of military action is receding as the Pyongyang government becomes more tractable,” said Thompson, referring to recent progress in diplomatic efforts to persuade North Korea to dismantle its nuclear programs.

How about Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility?

“You’d use it on Natanz,” said John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org. “And you’d use it on a stealth bomber because you want it to be a surprise. And you put in an emergency funding request because you want to bomb quickly.”

Blackwater may soon be patrolling our own borders!

In case you thought all the recent bad news about Blackwater might be curtailing the market for private military contractors, two new reports suggest otherwise. Given the Bush Administration’s obsessive efforts to privatize our entire government, it should come as no surprise that Blackwater may be, in fact, as have so many Bush cronies, failing upward. What they have done to Iraq, they may soon have the opportunity to do on our own border.

First, the New York Times reports that the privatization of security in Iraq has been acknowledged to be a mess and a disaster. This according to an internal State Department report, and an audit by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

A State Department review of its own security practices in Iraq assails the department for poor coordination, communication, oversight and accountability involving armed security companies like Blackwater USA, according to people who have been briefed on the report. In addition to Blackwater, the State Department’s two other security contractors in Iraq are DynCorp International and Triple Canopy.

At the same time, a government audit expected to be released Tuesday says that records documenting the work of DynCorp, the State Department’s largest contractor, are in such disarray that the department cannot say “specifically what it received” for most of the $1.2 billion it has paid the company since 2004 to train the police officers in Iraq.

The review was ordered last month by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and did not include the recent massacre of seventeen Iraqi civilians by Blackwater “guards.” The FBI gets to investigate that one.

But in presenting its recommendations to Ms. Rice in a 45-minute briefing on Monday, the four-member panel found serious fault with virtually every aspect of the department’s security practices, especially in and around Baghdad, where Blackwater has responsibility.

Not much new, in that. Virtually every aspect of everything the Bush Administration has done in Iraq has been found to be at serious fault. If the words “serious fault” can somehow encapsulate mass murder, torture, and a humanitarian crisis that has created more than 4,000,000 refugees.

The report also urged the department to work with the Pentagon to develop a strict set of rules on how to deal with the families of Iraqi civilians who are killed or wounded by armed contractors, and to improve coordination between American contractors and security guards employed by agencies, like various Iraqi ministries.

Strict rules would be nice for a lot of things, in Iraq, but this borders on the surreal. Strict rules for dealing with the families of civilians who are killed and wounded?

“Oops. Sorry. Have some money, and we’ll try not to kill anyone else. Today.”

How about some strict rules in pursuance of the goal of not killing or wounding civilians? 

A funny thing happened on the way to war with Iran…

As Seymour Hersh has reported, the Bush Administration has made a deliberate calculation to change the rationale for its warmongering against Iran. They realized that the lie about Iran’s nascent nuclear weapons program wasn’t selling, so they decided to recalibrate and relaunch with a new marketing campaign claiming Iran is a major cause of the violence in Iraq. Of course, there wouldn’t be much violence in Iraq, had Bush not launched an invason, but we’re talking about catapulting propaganda, not reality.

So, the first Iran War rollout wasn’t working, and the Administration decided on another one; because it’s not the facts that matter, it’s the selling of war. So, Iran suddenly became a dangerous influence in Iraq. And some-time general, and full-time political hack, David Petraeus was recently in England, trying to sell the same story– although the Brits aren’t buying it. Apparently, neither are the people who would actually know something about it: the Iraqis.

The New York Times is reporting:

Iraq has agreed to award $1.1 billion in contracts to Iranian and Chinese companies to build a pair of enormous power plants, the Iraqi electricity minister said Tuesday. Word of the project prompted serious concerns among American military officials, who fear that Iranian commercial investments can mask military activities at a time of heightened tension with Iran.

Or maybe those American officials are actually worried that it’s going to be hard to sell a war based on Iranian meddling in Iraq when Iraq itself is inviting Iranian businesses into Iraq to build power plants.

The Iraqi electricity minister, Karim Wahid, said that the Iranian project would be built in Sadr City, a Shiite enclave in Baghdad that is controlled by followers of the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr. He added that Iran had also agreed to provide cheap electricity from its own grid to southern Iraq, and to build a large power plant essentially free of charge in an area between the two southern Shiite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf.

So, Iran’s going to actually help solve Iraq’s electricity problem. Something at which we’ve not been doing such a good job.

The Chinese will be paid about $940,000,000 for their plant, and the Iranians about $150,000,000 for theirs. Don’t ask where the money’s coming from. The article doesn’t say whether it’s out of the funds we’re giving Iraq, but it would be interesting to trace it. Because we are giving them a lot. And these are expensive projects. So, it does actually seem plausible that our tax dollars will be going to Iran, to help them rebuild Iraq.

And there’s this:

It is time to free Iraq

The Iraq war was sold as vital to the national security interests of the United States and to liberate the Iraqi people from oppression.  Everyone on the planet now knows that Iraq posed no threat to anyone in our country and lacked the means to protect itself from foreign invasion.  Whether our intelligence gathering was worthless or our politicians were dishonest is beyond the point.  We cannot resurrect all the Iraqis that have died because of our arrogance and aggression.  But what of the lofty goal to free the Iraqi people?  The last time I checked, occupation by foreign forces and inability to control your own territory does not qualify as freedom.  The time has come for the people of Iraq to declare their independence from America and every other foreign entity operating with impunity within its borders.

Another “Phony Soldier”

Ricardo Sanchez:

In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top American commander called the Bush administration’s handling of the war incompetent and warned that the United States was “living a nightmare with no end in sight.” In one of his first major public speeches since leaving the Army in late 2006, retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez blamed the administration for a “catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan” and denounced the current “surge” strategy as a “desperate” move that will not achieve long-term stability.

. . .  “There was been a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders,” he said, adding later in his remarks that civilian officials have been “derelict in their duties” and guilty of a “lust for power.”

Cue Rush. We got another Jesse Macbeth on our hands.

Millions of Iraqi Refugees Have Nowhere To Go

Thanks to the Bush Administration, Iraq is officially hell. Not only have some 655,000 to 1,000,000 Iraqis been killed by Bush’s war, but millions more have been forced to flee their homes. Now, the majority of Iraq’s provinces have decided to cut off their means of escape.

As reported in today’s Guardian:

According to aid officials, 10 out of 18 of Iraq’s governorates are denying entry to civilians trying to escape the fighting or denying them aid once they have arrived, or both. An 11th, Babylon, also tried to shut out displaced families in recent months but was persuaded by the central government in Baghdad to relent for the time being.

Even in their own country, the desperate Iraqis are being told they are not wanted.


With the imposition of visa restrictions by Jordan and Syria, hitherto the main destination for Iraqi refugees, those seeking safety from Iraq’s ceaseless bloodshed have virtually run out of options.

“There are more and more makeshift camps in abysmal conditions, with terrible sanitation and water supply, very little or no healthcare, and no schools,” Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the UN high commissioner for refugees, said yesterday.

The article says about 4,500,000 Iraqis- a sixth of the population- have been forced to flee their homes, since Bush started the war. Last year, the British granted exactly 30 of 745 Iraqi asylum requests. Last year, we accepted an astonishing 535 Iraqi refugees. Yes, we’ve made their world hell, but don’t expect us to accept any responsibility for it. That would be to admit that something’s wrong, over there. Which Bush will never do.

It’s BUSH who is soft on terror and national security!

I don’t know whether or not the new FISA bill will be a sell-out, a capitulation, or a clever strategy, but I do know what bothers me most about it- the framing of its selling. More important than any particular instance, or possible instance, of Democratic weakness is the rationalization for the weakness. It’s not just about Democrats being weak in confronting Bush as a means of proving that they are not weak, it’s that Bush himself is the weakness!

As noted by BarbinMD, the New York Times reported this:

If it had stalled, that would have left Democratic lawmakers, long anxious about appearing weak on national security issues, facing an August spent fending off charges from Republicans that they had left Americans exposed to threats.

And, in a different article, this:

As the debate over the N.S.A.’s wiretapping powers begins anew this week, the emerging legislation reflects the political reality confronting the Democrats. While they are willing to oppose the White House on the conduct of the war in Iraq, they remain nervous that they will be labeled as soft on terrorism if they insist on strict curbs on intelligence gathering.

And this is what infuriates me, because it’s not about weakness, it’s about stupidity. The Democrats need to stop playing political defense on national security issues and start simply referring to the facts. Because the facts prove that it is Bush who is soft on national security, so opposing Bush is not weakness, it is strength.

The correct Democratic response to any such charge should begin with another story in today’s news. As diaried by redhaze, as reported by the Washington Post:

The Day that David did Betrayus

Not what I thought was going to pour from my fingertips yesterday but you know how those freaky muses are.  Besides, Sun Tsu never met a weakening of his enemies defenses he didn’t like.

Feels like such an odd diary to write since I don’t even want anybody I know to be involved in the Iraq War.  I don’t get a choice though in the matter and we have thrown in the towel on getting out any time in the near future so please allow me to focus constructively on something that can be done and affects all those on the ground in Iraq.

Hersh: Cheney Wants Iran War, But No Order’s Been Given

The new Seymour Hersh article in the New Yorker has both good news and bad news, on the Bush Administration’s warmongering against Iran.

The good news?

I was repeatedly cautioned, in interviews, that the President has yet to issue the “execute order” that would be required for a military operation inside Iran, and such an order may never be issued.

Furthermore, understanding that the American public isn’t buying his demonizing of Iran, Bush has realized that he can’t sell an all-out war. He also seems to understand that Iran really is at least five years from having nuclear weapons capabilities, so there is no imminent threat.

The bad news?

Bush realizes that Iran is the big winner of his Iraq disaster. So, he has to do something. As an average adolescent would, Bush seems to have decided that the best way to reverse the victory he handed Iran, by invading Iraq, is to bomb them.

(T)here has been a significant increase in the tempo of attack planning. In mid-August, senior officials told reporters that the Administration intended to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization. And two former senior officials of the C.I.A. told me that, by late summer, the agency had increased the size and the authority of the Iranian Operations Group.

Three points:

Seymour Hersh: Bush “has accepted ethnic cleansing”

Spiegel Online has a powerful and terrifying interview with legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the man who won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking the story of the My Lai massacre and cover-up, and more recently broke the story about the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison. The interview covers a lot of ground, so let’s just look at some key parts, and then you must go read it!

On Iran:

(I)t’s been underestimated how much the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) knows. If you follow what (IAEA head Mohamed) ElBaradei 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.

As Hersh explains- and I love this phrasing:

We have this wonderful capacity in America to Hitlerize people. We had Hitler, and since Hitler we’ve had about 20 of them.

Yes- Godwin is a staple of American political life. Hersh points to Kruschev, Mao, Stalin, and Gadhafi, and now Ahmadinejad. Of course, we’re now on friendly terms with the apparent ex-Hitler, Gadhafi- if a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, Bush need not worry, because he appears to have no mind at all. 

Hersh also points out that Ahmadinejad is not actually in control, in Iran, so whatever rhetorical blather he blithers is not necessarily related to actual Iranian policies.

And then, there are these comforting words, about the real intent, behind Bush’s warmongering:

Iraq Moratorium Action – Berkeley, CA


Posted for the Iraq Moratorium  (and Alma)

Load more