Sunday, April 30, 2006

Giving aid and comfort

Would you be surprised to learn that the Bush administration had a known terrorist in their sights for over a year but didn't take action? You shouldn't be.

From The Age:
The United States deliberately passed up repeated opportunities to kill the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, before the March 2003 US-led invasion of that country.

The claim, by former US spy Mike Scheuer, was made in an interview to be shown on ABC TV's Four Corners tonight....

Mr. Scheuer was a CIA agent for 22 years - six of them as head of the agency's Osama bin Laden unit - until he resigned in 2004.

He told Four Corners that during 2002, the Bush Administration received detailed intelligence about Zarqawi's training camp in Iraqi Kurdistan

A startling revelation to be sure. So why didn't Bush order Zarqawi taken out? Because doing so would remove one of the rationales for the predetermined war in Iraq.
"Mr Bush had Zarqawi in his sights almost every day for a year before the invasion of Iraq and he didn't shoot because they were wining and dining the French in an effort to get them to assist us in the invasion of Iraq," he told Four Corners

"Almost every day we sent a package to the White House that had overhead imagery of the house he was staying in. It was a terrorist training camp . . . experimenting with ricin and anthrax . . . any collateral damage there would have been terrorists."

During the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, Zarqawi's presence in the north of the country was used by US officials to link Saddam Hussein to terrorism.

Keep this in mind the next time you hear the rhetoric about how criticism of the President or the war is "giving aid and comfort to the enemy".

Update: Mahablog has more on this story.

Bush: What laws?

From the Boston Globe:
President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Update: Glenn has an excellent post about how the media is finally beginning to report on Bush's lawlessness. Cenk Uygur talks about their herculean task of trying to find out just how many laws Bush is actually in violation of.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Delaying the truth

Senator Pat Roberts is at it again. In what seems like a flashback to early 2004, Roberts latest attempt to delay the truth from being revealed about pre-war intelligence abuse involves splitting the Phase II inquiry in two. This would leave the most politically controversial parts to come out later (just shy of never).

Will we ever learn the truth? Not, it seems, with Pat Roberts in charge of the expedition we won't.

Makes you wonder what Roberts is so afraid of the American people learning about the Bush administration that we don't already know. Perhaps he is worried about intelligence such as this coming to light.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Coming Spin

A few weeks ago, the Republican National Committee ran a Spanish language ad that purported to claim that Democrats had quote "voted to treat millions of hardworking immigrants as felons". This was blatantly false because it was a Republican senator who proposed the provision that would felonize illegal immigrants and it was Republicans who voted for it. Democrats actually voted against the provision.

Be prepared for the coming spin. I have a feeling that this will be the topic of the next misleading attack ads aimed at the Democrats.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Opening The Files: 4/24/06

The beating of the Drum(heller)

Some intriguing (though by now well believed) revelations came to light on Sunday's 60 Minutes. Tyler Drumheller, a retired CIA officer in charge of covert operations in the months before the Iraq war, claims that the Bush administration ignored intel that showed that Saddam did not possess WMDs. Among other things, Drumheller says that "The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy, to justify the policy." BradBlog has the full segment here.

"Intelligence to fit into the policy". Now why does that sound so familar?

Jane wonders if the country is catching on and when the Swiftboating of Drumheller will begin.

Josh talked to Drumheller personally to find out why his remarks didn't seem to make it into those reports by the commissions set up to investigate pre-war intelligence failures. He even did a follow-up to clarify who Drumheller spoke to from those commissions.

Hilzoy has five points to make about what these revelations tell us about the Bush administration.

Don't blame me, I'm just the messenger

President Bush explained to a business group in Irvine, CA. what his foreign policy decisions are based on: The Almighty.

Crooks & Liars has video of "The Televangelist".

Joe had it right when he said Bush gets more frightening by the day.

TruthDig says that statements like these lend credence to Kevin Philips warning of an "American Theocracy".

Going down, down, down...

This week saw Bush's approval rating sink to an all new low of 32%.

John (via Joe) suggests an idea should Bush break the 30% barrier: pop the cork on some bubbly!

Billmon relates Bush's numbers with prices at the pump and warnings for the potential of an Isaac Asimov tale turned reality.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Only in Bush's America

Can someone be charged with a felony for exercising their First Amendment rights.

From the Washington Post:
The protester who disrupted a White House ceremony for Chinese President Hu Jintao remained defiant yesterday, even after prosecutors charged her with a federal crime punishable by up to six months in jail.

'It's not a crime but an act of civil disobedience,' Wenyi Wang declared after she emerged from a hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington,...

It is obvious that the Bush administration wants to make an example of Ms. Wang. This is evident by the fact that the law that she is being charged with violating has been on the books since the Ford administration but from what I have read, has never been used. Either the Bushies want to convey the message that this is what we do to people who dare to disagree with the government or those of our allies or this is an attempt at saving face with the Chinese. Most likely both.

In either case, we should all remember the name Wenyi Wang. Her plight will come to be seen as but one of the many precursors signaling an end to our freedoms in the country. Freedoms which President Bush speaks so highly of, but also freedoms we find ourselves having fewer and fewer of each day.

Update: At least the Washington Post's editorial board gets it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Teaching Democracy to the Chinese

Bush calls for freedom of speech in China, woman arrested for demonstrating it here.

Don't forget to wipe your feet on my new doormat.

Reasons for Iran Strike

Here is short list of reasons why I think Bush will bomb Iran.

3. Gotta have some excuse for why you have to take out a second mortgage to fill up at the pumps. It's not Big Oil's fault, it's those crazy Iranians!

2. The GOP needs something else to run on besides "If you vote Democrat, they'll impeach the President". I don't think they need to be giving the electorate any ideas.

1. Dick told him it was okay.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

About those wild speculations...

I guess they aren't as 'wild' as we were lead to believe.

From the Rose Garden press conference yesterday:
Question: Sir, when you talk about Iran, and you talk about how you have diplomatic efforts, you also say all options are on the table. Does that include the possibility of a nuclear strike? Is that something your administration will plan for?

President Bush: All options are on the table.

Let us all hope that our Decider-in-Chief, who claims to "listen to all voices", will actually listen to voices like these.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Opening The Files: 4/16/06

War, What is it good for?

The drumbeat towards war with Iran keeps getting awfully louder. More recent events give me this nagging feeling we will soon be seeing Shock & Awe II over the skies of Tehran.

First there was the news that Iran had successfully enriched uranium. Then came yet more threats against Israel by Iranian President Ahmadinejad. Now comes word that Iran has suicide battalions ready to retaliate should the US bomb their nuclear facilities.

The war-mongering hasn't been limited solely to the Iranian side either. Even though the Bush administration dismisses talk of plans to deploy tactical nukes against Iran as 'wild speculation', they stop short of denying that there aren't any plans of attacking Iran. Plus, in a move which harkens back to the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, a similar group was created for dealing with Iran last month. And although the IAEA has yet to produce evidence of a parallel weapons program and analysts say Iran is years away from becoming a nuclear power, that didn't stop the claim that they could build a bomb in just 16 days from being put forth.

But there have been a few bits of bad news for the Bushies. A recent poll shows that while Americans are worried about Iran's nuclear ambitions, with 48% backing military action should Iran continue on its current path, 54% don't trust President Bush's judgment on whether or not we should go to war. Ouch. We've also been told by the British that we'd be going it alone should we decide to attack. I guess Tony decided he had enough of that 'Bush's poodle' moniker. (Update: Maybe not)

To me, the most damaging revelation was that the Pentagon may in fact be outsourcing our special ops details inside Iran to a known terrorist group. It definitely seems rather odd given our supposed "we do not negotiate with terrorists" stance.

So what is war good for? Why keeping the GOP in control of Congress of course!

For anyone who thinks "But he wouldn't do that", Paul Krugman and
Thom Hartmann beg to differ. Spengler calls it Bush's "October Surprise".

Juan Cole talks about enrichment rhetoric and Iran's newest line of timepieces.

Tristero points out how all this trouble with Iran is apparently Bill Clinton's fault and shows us the two-step process for making tactical nuclear weapons. Who knew it was so easy!

John calls that "16 days" bit for what it is: BS. He also weighs in on what the Democrat's message should be on Iran. Steve wonders if the Dems will pull another "ostrich" routine.

Swopa, guest blogging at FDL, has a couple of simple to understand graphics that may explain why the Iranians might think having WMD isn't such a bad idea.


Friday, April 14, 2006

Gunnin' for Rummy

A great deal of media attention has been focused on the growing number of retired generals calling for Donald Rumsfeld's ouster. Of course the Bush administration, always loathe to ever admit making mistakes or misjudgments on the subject of their pet project in Iraq, rebuffs such advice.

I don't think it was a coincidence that calls for Rumsfeld to step down have intensified since the New Yorker reported that the Bush administration is gearing up for possibly military action in Iran. This is one reason why the issue of his retention as Secretary of Defense is of paramount importance now. Do we really want the same clown who gave us the flawed doctrine for war in Iraq to be the same one in charge of a possible Iranian sequel?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

We're almost done with that CYA report, Mr. President

From RawStory:
The Senate Intelligence Committee's inquiry into whether the U.S. intelligence community "cooked" pre-war Iraq intelligence now appears likely to be concluded soon, and a spokesman for the Committee's chairman says he's ready to get onto more "pressing matters" like Iran....

"Let's finish this report, so we can get onto pressing matters on Iran," [Sen. Pat Roberts' spokeswoman Sarah] Little said. "At some point we have to stop looking in the rear-view mirror and look forward. At some point we have to apply the lessons we learned on Iraq."

Yup, it's never too early to get started on the next cover-up.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Zarqawi: Rumors of my importance have been greatly exaggerated

From the Washington Post:
The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks...

For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.

As I said before, with the Bushies it's all about the terror.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Kids: Don't bother calling 911...

...they won't help you.

Hearing stuff like this really pisses me off. Please tell me what is the point of teaching children to call 911 for help if when they do, their pleas go unanswered?

Woman dies after son calls 911; dispatchers think it's a prank
An investigation is underway in Detroit after a six-year-old boy called 911 to get help for his mom, and the operator acted as if it were a joke.

Detroit NBC Affiliate WDIV reports that six-year-old Robert Turner called 911 on February 20. He thought his mother, 46-year-old Sherrill Turner, had passed out. She was later found dead.

911 tapes detail the call, where the boy tells a female operator that his mom had passed out. The operator demands to speak to an adult before sending police.

The boy eventually hung up and called back a short time later. This time, the same operator warns the boy that he could get in trouble for making a prank call to 911. The boy said police didn't arrive until three hours later and found his mother dead.

The boy is living with family members, who are now pursuing a lawsuit.

Officials said the 911 operator will be disciplined, but because of her years of service she will not be fired.

Police continue to investigate.

This story pisses me off on so many levels, not the least of which is the fact that the dispatcher is not going to be fired. I don't care how many years of service that bitch has. She failed to help poor Robert when he needed help and because of her actions, he gets to grow up without a mother. Some service.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Opening The Files: 4/09/06

Iran Is The Plan, Man

Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker yesterday that the Bush administration is gearing up for an attack on Iran, possibly even employing tactical nukes.

John at AMERICAblog feels if we nuke Iran we should kiss a lot of things good-bye. I would have to add Democracy and our way of life as we know them to the list of things John feels we should bid adieu.

Atrios points out the only good thing about the prospect of bombing Iran: he gets to recycle some of his old song.

Digby wonders how this administration thinks it still has the political latitude to do this. Then again, this administration thrives on "pushing the envelope beyond the point anyone would have imagined". Unfortunately, I have a feeling that the current envelope being pushed will undoubtedly be stamped "Return To Sender".

Ron Fullwood over at OpEdNews thinks this isn't so much about Iran's nukes but our own. It's simple supply and demand really. Have a demand, supply an excuse.

Steve Soto at Left Coaster notices how Bush seems compelled to 'save' Iran. Salvation through devastation seems to be a prevailing theme in the Bush White House.

Mahablog gives us a Top Ten of reasons why Seymour's article should scare us. Only ten?


Saturday, April 08, 2006

In whom we trust

Well the big story yesterday was the revelation that President Bush authorized I. Lewis Libby (via Cheney) to leak classified portions of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. There has been quite a buzz in the blogosphere regarding this. As Digby notes, this revelation also calls into question the credibility of the Bush administration's 'trust us' argument for their warrantless surveillance program.
The illegal NSA wiretapping program depends upon the nation placing their trust in this same president not to use this warrantless writetapping for political purposes. The fact that he authorized leaking of sensitive classified information for political purposes proves that we should not do this....

A reporter needs to ask the following question:

If the president was willing to authorize leaking of national security information to reporters for political purposes, why should we believe he won't authorize warrantless wiretaps on Americans for political purposes?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

That's a matter of interpretation

From the fellows that brought you the colored coded Homeland Security Advisory System, here are a few hilarious interpretations of some of the more ambiguous graphics from the Homeland Security website. Enjoy.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Are Those Drums I Hear?

A confluence of items has given me the impression that pretty soon the US will be starting a war with Iran. Now there are many items that I could cover that illustrate how war is nigh, but I chose to cover the three I think best illustrate my theory.

First there is the rhetoric we are hearing from the Bush administration that is eerily similar to what we heard in the run up to the Iraq war. Condi Rice calls Iran the 'central bank' of terror. VP Cheney warns of 'meaningful consequences' and all options being left on the table. Bush asserts our commitment to protect Israel.

Then you have the reaffirmation of the National Security Strategy that singles out Iran as the 'greatest challenge'. It also restates our right to pre-emption "even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack." It would be nice if someone explained to me the logic of this definition of pre-emption, because it really just looks like an excuse to attack first. How this can not be seen as aggressive warfare is beyond me.

And now that Iran has been given 30 days to show it is not seeking nuclear weapons, I feel that the Bush administration will see that deadline as a mandate to start the bombing campaign (aka 'meaningful consequences'). But does anyone else find it interesting that Iran finds itself in the same position that Saddam was in trying to prove a negative? How can you show you don't have anything when you don't have the anything to prove you don't have it? (that is not to say Iran doesn't have anything, I am just pointing out the absurdity of trying to prove a negative). Iran could allow full inspections and disclose everything they have (as we now know Saddam did), and the US could still say they are hiding something.

Though I doubt that is of any concern to our war happy leaders. I also doubt they are seriously considering the consequences of military action against Iran. Not only do we have 130,000 troops in Iraq that they could put a real hurting on but experts predict that Iran could resort to terrorism as a means of retaliation. A regional conflict is also not out of the question either. Be prepared for $100 a barrel crude oil for the foreseeable future as well.

But for this administration of war-mongers, the band just plays on. At least the drum section anyway.

Update: Georgia10 has a simple but excellent post comparing the then and now statements of members of the Bush administration.