Wednesday, May 30, 2007


One possible reason that Rumsfeld and Gonzales supported torture

Donald Rumsfeld's and Alberto Gonzales' efforts to justify torture during interrogations of prisoners in Iraq is a little bit more understandable today.

CNN reports that many interrogators don't speak the same language as their prisoners.

That's a frustrating situation. The only way you can get information in a situation like that is to suggest something, and get the prisoner to agree with it. And torture is the best way to get someone to agree with something when they have no idea whether it's true or not.

One thing we can depend on is that our interrogators are not gay. The US military has dimissed hundreds of Arabic-speakers because they failed the "don't ask, don't tell" standards. The Bush administration is very clear about its priorities when it comes to winning the war on terrorism: the war on sexual differences is more important.

If the Iraq war had been fought effectively, no one would be noticing that the Bush administration gave false reasons for going into Iraq. When the waging of war is both dishonest AND ineffective, then people start to lose confidence in their leaders.

I found the following on the Empire Burlesque blog (

The Shores of Tripoli: Torture in the Service of Arms and Oil
Written by Chris Floyd
Thursday, 31 May 2007
The new Michael Isikoff story in Newsweek about the macabre torture of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi confirms, once again, one of the underlying truths about George W. Bush's gulag: He does not have people tortured in order to extract information from them; he has them tortured in order to manufacture false information which can be used to advance his agenda of aggressive war and domestic tyranny. This has long been plain, but the Isikoff story, based on reporting he did with David Corn, drives it home most vividly:

Libi, who ran one of Al Qaeda's biggest training camps, was the principal source for former secretary of State Colin Powell's claim to the U.N. Security Council that Saddam Hussein's regime had helped train Al Qaeda in chemical and biological weapons. But as first reported by Newsweek three years ago, Libi later recanted his story about Iraqi weapons training, forcing the CIA to withdraw all its reporting based on his assertions...


Cindy Sheehan loses faith in Democrats

Cindy Sheehan has lost faith in American democracy, now that Democrats have caved in to George Bush regarding a timetable for pulling out of Iraq.

Cindy's efforts for the past few years have been a demonstration of faith in the American people and political system. Cindy can claim a large degree of success since the American people have come to agree with her that the US should never have gone into Iraq.

But our political system is controlled by loyalty to individuals rather than to the American people. Alberto Gonzales' firing of eight Republican or Independent US attorneys is a perfect example of loyalty to a man (Bush) supplanting loyalty to America. Gonzales was safe until the Congress changed hands. Listening to Gonzales now, one gets the impression that he didn't realize that his first loyalty was supposed to be to the American people.

Our government won't function as a true democracy until we take money out of the election process. But while America struggles to return to its former glory, I'm sure Gonzales will be doing fine. He'll be offered plenty of jobs. What corporation wouldn't love to have a lawyer/lobbyist as loyal as Gonzales?

Cindy Sheehan now has two lost dreams to grieve for: a happy life for her son, and a functioning democracy for her country.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Biden outraged at lack of support for marines

It's not just wounded troops who aren't getting enough support at Walter Reed and other military hospitals. Troops in Iraq are still under-protected by the Bush administration. The story below appeared on Delaware Online.

Outraged Biden questions Marine Corps request

By NICOLE GAUDIANO, News Journal Washington Bureau
Thursday, May 24, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Joe Biden reacted sharply Wednesday to the possibility that the Marine Corps delayed its response to an urgent request from field commanders in Iraq for mine resistant vehicles, calling it a "national scandal."

Biden said he was told field commanders made their first request in May 2006 for 185 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, V-shape vehicles that can reduce casualties from roadside bombs by two-thirds.

But a Marine Corps document that surfaced recently showed Marines made a "priority 1 urgent" request for 1,169 vehicles -- not 185 -- Feb. 17, 2005, a request the Corps says was handled appropriately. The "universal need statement" said there was an immediate need for "an MRAP vehicle capability" and that without them, "personnel loss rates are likely to continue at their current rates."


Bi-partisan support for Iraq federalism

I was heartened by the following article about dividing Iraq into three states or provinces that would govern themselves regarding religion and crime-fighting, while a federal government would be in charge of dividing up oil money and other issues involving the entire country.

Biden, GOP's Brownback join to push Iraq federalism
By NICOLE GAUDIANO, News Journal Washington Bureau

Posted Sunday, May 13, 2007
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, who has spent the past year talking about his plan for federalism in Iraq, is working with Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas to put the weight of legislation behind it.

Staff members have spent the past two weeks drafting legislation for the approval of the two, who are both presidential candidates.

The basic language would say that it should be United States policy to help achieve a workable federal system in Iraq and to take steps necessary along with Iraqis and other countries to make federalism workable, according to an aide.

"Senator Brownback and I have talked briefly about this and are working to put words to paper," said Biden, D-Del. "But we're both in agreement that the current strategy in Iraq isn't working, and that federalism is Iraq's best possible future."

A Brownback spokesman could not be reached for comment, but Brownback has previously endorsed the idea of federalism. In a March 27 news release, he said an Iraq with several regions, with Baghdad as a federal capital, represents the best chance for stability.

Biden's plan would give different religious and ethnic groups control of issues that affect their daily lives in three distinct regions of the country and establish a weak central government in charge of borders, the army and foreign policy.

Tony Blinken, staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Biden chairs, said he wasn't sure whether the legislation would be more binding than a "sense of the Senate" or whether either lawmaker would be making any concessions.

While Biden's voting record is considered moderate to liberal, Brownback is conservative, particularly on social issues. Biden advocates a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and Brownback has opposed such a plan.

Republican lawmakers have shown increasing dissatisfaction in recent weeks with the situation in Iraq. A contingent of moderate Republicans, including Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware, met with President Bush on Tuesday to discuss the war's direction.

Contact Nicole Gaudiano at

Friday, May 04, 2007


Bush VA administrators failed to care for vets

The Bush administration handed out bonuses of almost $4 million to VA officials who may have deliberately misled taxpayers “with questionable methods used to justify Bush administration cuts to health care amid the burgeoning Iraq war,” writes Hope Yen of the Associated Press.

A VA spokesman claims the VA was rewarding professionals. How professional is it to run an organization into the ground? Returned veterans were being cheated out of disability payments due to senseless rules, traumatized men were committing suicide because they couldn’t get mental health care, and the sick and maimed were living among cockroaches.

The VA was “rewarding bureaucrats for failure,” said Paul Rieckhoff of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

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