Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Bad News...

By Michael Rivero

Today a C-130 Hercules crashed in Iraq. According to witnesses, the wreckage was spread out over a wide area. Anyone familiar with aircraft accidents will confirm that this indicates that the aircraft came apart high in the air, not on impact with the ground.

A week ago, a helicopter crashed in Iraq, killing 31 people. Officially blamed on the weather, reports from the crash site indicate the wreckage covered 2 square kilometers. Again, this strongly suggests that the helicopter came apart high in the air. The Baghdad meteorological office confirms that the weather was clear with only moderate winds and no sandstorms at the time of the crash.

The bad news is that the Iraqi people have gained the ability to shoot down our aircraft. The US, having lost control of the use of the roads in Iraq, resorted (as they did in Vietnam) to trying to run the war from the air. The folly of that approach was demonstrated in Afghanistan when the Mujahideen learned how to kill the helicopters the Russians relied on. And now it is happening again.

That's the bad news. There is more bad news.

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Both the United Nations' inspections under Scott Ritter and the subsequent United States search under Charles Duelfer confirmed that Saddam Hussein was actually in compliance with United Nations' demands to destroy the weapons he had possessed prior to Desert Storm. The remains of the destroyed weapons were documented. They did not go anywhere. They didn't exist. The inspectors found rotted and corroded remains dating back to the Iran/Iraq war. When inspectors visited the remains of Iraq's reactor that had been bombed by Israel, instead of a revived weapons program they found the building being used to grow mushrooms. Common sense tells you that if Saddam really had weapons of mass destruction, he would have used them to halt the US invasion. That is, after all, what weapons of mass destruction exist for. Common sense will also tell you that if the US really HAD thought Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, they likely would not have invaded in the first place.

Iraq has not been supporting "Al Qaeda". The CIA has concluded that not only is there no evidence to support such a claim, but that Saddam and Al Qaeda were actually enemies . Al Qaeda's avowed purpose is theocratic rule, and Saddam's government was a secular one. Had Saddam actually armed Al Qaeda, he would have found himself as their first target. > Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. Nobody has found any evidence to support that claim.

According to people who have been jailed by both Saddam and the US, the US torturers are much, MUCH worse.

The United States has killed more civilians in Iraq than died in 9-11.

And while we are at it, Iran actually gassed the Kurds, according to a study by the US Army War College.

That is the truth. Deal with it.

Bush continues to insist that the war in Iraq was justified, even as every single justification for that war has fallen into dust. Personally, I would like to see him talk to the families of those kids killed in that helicopter crash and convince them that this war was worth all the pain they are going through; that it was the right thing to do to send our kids over to Iraq, minus the armor needed for conventional wars (let alone what should have been given the kids if the US really thought they were facing an enemy armed with weapons of mass destruction). I don't know, maybe Bush will grin sheepishly and say the war was about the oil all along. I can't say that makes any sense either. The US is getting about $150 million in oil out of Iraq every month, for which it spends over $5 billion a month. Plus the dead kids, of course. Maybe Philip Zelikow, one of the official 9-11 Commissioners, was correct when he stated in a speech that Iraq was invaded for Israel.

But here is the really bad news.

Rather than admit that the invasion of Iraq is a "Charlie Foxtrot", Bush and his pro-war advisers will continue to pour your money and your children into Iraq, because they have to stay in Iraq in order to move on to the invasion of Iran. And the justifications for invading Iran are, well, the same ones they used for Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, support for terror, yadda yadda yadda... The nation will slide more firmly into unpayable debt at the rate of $5 billion a month, to fight a war whose real purpose is being hidden from the American people whose money and children are being spent so profligately. Bush can't even keep the smirk off of his face any more. He knows he is lying. He knows you know he is lying. And he knows there isn't anything you will do about it. Most people don't have the courage to stand up to a corrupt war machine until after it is their own child lying in that box, and of course by then it is way too late.

The people the US invaded are getting better at killing our kids, who were sent off to invade Iraq for, well, we don't really know, do we? They are angry, and rightly so. The people of Iraq know they did not do any of the things Bush claimed they did to justify the war. Our troops know it too. Our kids KNOW they are the villains, and they have to fight that awareness while they fight the Iraqi people, the climate, and the lack of supplies. The war cannot be won because all the stated goals have been exposed as deceptions. And your kids are stuck there, dying, not because they can win, but because they are just "placeholders", holding open the door to the invasion of Iran.

That's the bad news. Kinda sucks, doesn't it?

Friday, January 21, 2005

Four More Years

(Stolen from Matthew Good's blog, which seems to be gone. I guess he got tired of the crap.)

Big kudos to everyone who made it to DC yesterday for the protest. A friend of mine went and seemed bummed about the entire thing. He said there were cops everywhere, demonstrations were limited to a few sections (some with long waits to get in; probably done on purpose) and there were some folks clearly out to just cause trouble/get negative press. I wish I was able to make the trip. Not being able to get time off work pretty much put an end to my plans. C-Span 2 had decent coverage of some demonstrations and speeches, then cut away to show the monkeys in Congress doing something when "the ride" started. ABC had announcers start talking over jeers in the crowd, which was interesting. Some folks even think networks messed with the sound to drown out protesters during W's speech.

What was with all the devil horn hand signals?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Can You Imagine?: Hussein Was Right & Bush Was Wrong

Harry Browne penned the following a few days ago:

You may remember that in 2002, the year before the Iraq War began, the United Nations Security Council ordered Iraq to produce a report detailing all of its biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons — past and present. Iraqi officials complied and produced an 11,800-page report on Iraq's weapons programs. The report described all the chemical and biological weapons the country once had — where they came from and what was done with them — as well as what had happened to Iraq's nuclear weapons program.

Although the report was prepared for the United Nations, U.S. officials intercepted the report, edited out 8,000 pages (over two thirds) of it, and delivered its Reader's Digest version of the report to the UN.

A German reporter managed to obtain a copy of the original report from Iraq, and then compared it with the truncated copy the U.S. gave to the UN. He found that the missing parts covered the Iraqis' acquisition of chemical and biological weapons from the U.S., the delivery of non-fissionable materials for a nuclear bomb by the U.S. to the Iraqis, and the training of Iraqi nuclear scientists at U.S. nuclear facilities in Los Alamos, Sandia, and Berkeley.

The basic points made in the report were:

  • Iraq once had chemical and biological weapons.

  • Some of those weapons were destroyed at the end of the Gulf War; the rest were destroyed under the supervision of the UN weapons inspectors.

  • Iraq once had a program to develop nuclear weapons.

  • Some of the nuclear weapons facilities were destroyed at the end of the Gulf War; the rest were destroyed under the supervision of the UN weapons inspectors.

UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said the conclusions stated in the report were basically true — that Iraq no longer had dangerous weapons.

Colin Powell dismissed the report, calling it a "catalogue of recycled information and flagrant omissions." Of course, as we now know, the information was recycled because it happened to be true, and the omissions were flagrant because U.S. officials had done the omitting.

Hussein said he would like to bring the UN weapons inspectors back to Iraq. (They had left for safety reasons in 1998 when President Clinton resumed air strikes against Iraq.) President Bush called Hussein's offer a "cynical ploy" and managed to nip any such idea in the bud.

Hussein also invited the U.S. Congress to send representatives, accompanied by experts, to inspect any facilities in Iraq that they wanted. President Bush said this changed nothing, and he managed to derail the sending of a Congressional delegation.

Over and over, George Bush told us that Saddam Hussein was lying, that he was dragging his feet, that Iraq had dangerous weapons, that Hussein was a threat to the whole world,

Now here we are, over two years later. What have we learned?

The Bush administration is trying to sugar-coat the above conclusions by saying that the recently concluded weapons hunt by Charles Duelfer and the CIA's Iraq Survey Group (ISG) discovered an "intent" by Hussein to renew his WMD programs if the U.S. would only stay out of Iraq. However, Duelfer has provided absolutely no hard evidence of such an "intent." Once again we're getting firm assertions backed up by nothing.

Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter has summed it all up very well:

One of the tragic ironies of the decision to invade Iraq is that the Iraqi WMD declaration required by security council resolution 1441, submitted by Iraq in December 2002, and summarily rejected by Bush and Blair as repackaged falsehoods, now stands as the most accurate compilation of data yet assembled regarding Iraq’s WMD programs (more so than even Duelfer’s ISG report, which contains much unsubstantiated speculation). Saddam Hussein has yet to be contradicted on a single point of substantive fact. Iraq had disarmed; no one wanted to accept that conclusion.

In other words, the Butcher of Baghdad was correct; the President of the United States of America was wrong. The Butcher of Baghdad will be put on trial for "war crimes." The President of the United States of America was reelected to "lead" the country for four more years.

It's a sorry state of affairs in America when you can trust the words of Saddam Hussein more than those of your own President.

Sorry indeed. And to think, they're using much of the same script for an invasion of Iran that seems to be set for 2005. If you haven't noticed, these people claiming to be our saviors are really no better than real terrorists. History will judge them accordingly.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Search for Banned Arms In Iraq Ended Last Month

Washington Post, January 12, 2005
Page A01

The hunt for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq has come to an end nearly two years after President Bush ordered U.S. troops to disarm Saddam Hussein. The top CIA weapons hunter is home, and analysts are back at Langley.

In interviews, officials who served with the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) said the violence in Iraq, coupled with a lack of new information, led them to fold up the effort shortly before Christmas.

Intelligence officials said there is little left for the ISG to investigate because Duelfer’s last report answered as many outstanding questions as possible. The ISG has interviewed every person it could find connected to programs that ended more than 10 years ago, and every suspected site within Iraq has been fully searched, or stripped bare by insurgents and thieves, according to several people involved in the weapons hunt.

Congress allotted hundreds of millions of dollars for the weapons hunt, and there has been no public accounting of the money. A spokesman for the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency said the entire budget and the expenditures would remain classified.

Interesting that this is being admitted widely on mainstream news now from the horse's mouth. I wonder what those folks from those polls that actually thought weapons were found a long time ago are thinking this week. After all, this isn't "them damn lying liberals" (or whatever excuse they used to ignore it before) telling them; it's basically the assclown himself. On 20/20 tonight, no less, saying (with that creepy grin) that everything was "absolutly" worth it despite nothing being found. Yeah, worth it to who? Maybe their buddies that are making a killing (literally) off all the weapons sales and everything else. It certainly wasn't worth it to the people who died over there, the soldiers that have come back in body bags or with limbs missing. Certainly not our economy, which is getting more fucked more each day with all the 5 billion a month (!!!!) being poured into this. I'm sure some people will come up with new excuses to justify it though, despite all this.

Anyway, to commemorate this occasion, read some of the administration’s comments on WMD’s from 2002-2003. After all, this was their main reason (no matter how they try to spin it now) for invading Iraq in the first place.

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction

Dick Cheney
Speech to VFW National Convention, Aug. 26, 2002

Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.

George W. Bush
Speech to U.N. General Assembly, Sept. 12, 2002

If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world.

Ari Fleischer
Press Briefing, Dec. 2, 2002

We know for a fact that there are weapons there.

Ari Fleischer
Press Briefing, Jan. 9, 2003

Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.

George W. Bush
State of the Union Address, Jan. 28, 2003

We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.

Colin Powell
Remarks to U.N. Security Council, Feb. 5, 2003

We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons – the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.

George W. Bush
Radio Address, Feb. 8, 2003

So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad?… I think our judgment has to be clearly not.

Colin Powell
Remarks to U.N. Security Council, March 7, 2003

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.

George W. Bush
Address to the Nation, March 17, 2003

Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly… all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes.

Ari Fleisher
Press Briefing, March 21, 2003

There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. And… as this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.

Gen. Tommy Franks
Press Conference, March 22, 2003

I have no doubt we’re going to find big stores of weapons of mass destruction.

Defense Policy Board member Kenneth Adelman
The Washington Post, Page A27, March 23, 2003

One of our top objectives is to find and destroy the WMD. There are a number of sites.

Pentagon Spokeswoman Victoria Clark
Press Briefing, March 22, 2003

We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.

Donald Rumsfeld
ABC Interview, March 30, 2003

Obviously the administration intends to publicize all the weapons of mass destruction U.S. forces find – and there will be plenty.

Neo-con scholar Robert Kagan
The Washington Post op-ed, Apr. 9, 2003

I think you have always heard, and you continue to hear from officials, a measure of high confidence that, indeed, the weapons of mass destruction will be found.

Ari Fleischer
Press Briefing, Apr. 10, 2003

We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them.

George W. Bush
NBC Interview, Apr. 24, 2003

There are people who in large measure have information that we need… so that we can track down the weapons of mass destruction in that country.

Donald Rumsfeld
Press Briefing, Apr. 25, 2003

We’ll find them. It’ll be a matter of time to do so.

George W. Bush
Remarks to Reporters, May 3, 2003

I’m absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there and the evidence will be forthcoming. We’re just getting it just now.

Colin Powell
Remarks to Reporters, May 4, 2003

We never believed that we’d just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country.

Donald Rumsfeld
Fox News Interview, May 4, 2003

I’m not surprised if we begin to uncover the weapons program of Saddam Hussein – because he had a weapons program.

George W. Bush
Remarks to Reporters, May 6, 2003

U.S. officials never expected that “we were going to open garages and find” weapons of mass destruction.

Condoleeza Rice
Reuters Interview, May 12, 2003

I just don’t know whether it was all destroyed years ago – I mean, there’s no question that there were chemical weapons years ago – whether they were destroyed right before the war, (or) whether they’re still hidden.

Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, Commander 101st Airborne
Press Briefing, May 13, 2003

Before the war, there’s no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical. I expected them to be found. I still expect them to be found.

Gen. Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps
Interview with Reporters, May 21, 2003

Given time, given the number of prisoners now that we’re interrogating, I’m confident that we’re going to find weapons of mass destruction.

Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
NBC Today Show interview, May 26, 2003

They may have had time to destroy them, and I don’t know the answer.

Donald Rumsfeld
Remarks to Council on Foreign Relations, May 27, 2003

For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.

Paul Wolfowitz
Vanity Fair interview, May 28, 2003

It was a surprise to me then – it remains a surprise to me now – that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal sites. Believe me, it’s not for lack of trying. We’ve been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they’re simply not there.

Lt. Gen. James Conway, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force
Press Interview, May 30, 2003

Quotes from