CONTENTS: WAR PROGRESS, SHELL GAME- who is SADDAM?, REBUILDING
EYERAK, RENO IS NOT JUST NV, HART's WAR,
RI NIGHTCLUB HORROR
As we plunge into the most reckless, unjustified, and immoral war since the Philippines and commit a blunder that may echo down through the decades; let's say it clearly, without shading or pretense, without genuflection or fig leaf: our President is a liar. A serial, repetitive, egregious liar. A man who lies not only in the service of his single minded crass policies, but who does so automatically- as a reflex. Mr. Bush isn’t just the most dishonest President I’ve seen in 4 decades of watching them, he’s the most consistently dishonest politician I’ve ever seen.
These lies have been aided and abetted by the press and the woeful ignorance of the public. For a year, they painted squeaky clean boy scout Al Gore as a liar, trumpeting minor transgressions into major perfidy, manufacturing “evidence”, while George the Second’s blatant hypocrisies, contradictions, and stupidity were whitewashed. He was congenial; he had nicknames; he was available. Al Gore’s reluctance to cozy up to the press wasn’t seen in light of his exposure to the 6 year Clinton witchhunt and the radioactive right-wing hatreds that fueled it. No, mild-mannered dryly witty Al was cold. Despite wall to wall coverage of the 2000 election, the fact that Gore won by 540,000 votes was never presented as a moral claim to victory (never presented at all- the number never went above 330,000) and 3 incredible outrages of Florida vote theft simply weren’t reported- the public was tired of the story. After the flaying experience of losing when he won, Gore tossed it in- I don’t blame him- the game was fixed. And now, in a stunning violation of broadcasting ethics and flex of propaganda muscle, Clear Channel, the huge radio network that owns over 1200 stations in 50 states (many right wing talk), is holding 20,000 person rallies to support Bush's war in many cities.
Bush pledged to bring us together- he appointed the dregs of the right-wing barrel: Ted Olson, John Poindexter, Elliot Abrams, Otto Reich. He pledged to rule from the middle, but he’s appointed a chain of unqualified extremists to the federal bench who might well overturn abortion rights and crush constitutional rights. Even after the debacle of Trent Lott’s racist pandering, Bush showed his true feelings by trying to abolish affirmative action. After another proposed tax giveaway to the rich: $165 billion, 45% to the top 1 %, Ari Fleischer suggested that hospital emergency rooms didn’t really have to treat the poor. This was rescinded 2 weeks later when even Repubs went ballistic. Bush claimed he would protect the environment; he’s abolished auto mileage and smokestack emission standards that were 32 years in the making- through 6 Presidents. Under cover of the horrendous deficits that Bush has created, he plans to shred the social safety net: partially privatizing Social Security, starving Medicare, and winnowing welfare.
Again and again GB2 has tried to tie Saddam with Osama: Saddam supports him, he gives Al Qaida refuge, he’s about to finish a nuclear bomb. All lies. OBL hates Saddam, he is an unbeliever who’s annihilated Moslem leaders along with any others who could lift a finger in opposition. Worse, he’s done it in the heart of the Islamic world, at the very cradle of civilization. OBL would boil him in oil, if given his druthers. Trumped up evidence, repackaged long past its freshness date, till it stinks with the corruption of this regime. Saddam had aluminum tubes for nuclear fabrication: not really; Iraq was buying uranium from Niger: the papers were forged. ("Fine," said Colin.); prohibited missiles: not if loaded with a warhead (they destroyed the short range missiles anyway); dangerous drones: actually ramshackle junk (though this might be an Iraqi scam). The truth is- Bush planned to invade Iraq, to outdo and avenge his father, to kill a persistent irritant, to guarantee a stable source of oil, to cow the world… before he became President. All rationales, all reasons, all explanations, are window dressing on a clumsy thuggish foreign policy, one opposed by 98% of the world (not all their leaders, who can be bought and bullied). If Saddam was stripped naked and staked to the ground in the western Iraq desert, it wouldn’t be enough to stop Bush’s Wanton War. Two life long state department officials, and 2 British MP's have resigned in protest over Iraq policy.
presents from America
The result of all this untruth is that 42% of our people think Saddam was involved in planning 9-11, 55% think he’s in league with Al Qaida,(and 55% think an Iraq invasion won't increase terrorism-uh huh). They believe this because the President told them so. Of course, only 13% of 18-24 year olds could identify Iraq on a map. Of some 1000 satellite phone calls that OBL made, not one went to Iraq, but our media has let this gem sink in the sands of Mr. Bush’s propaganda. Is there any doubt that our troops will find (concocted or not-we will never know) evidence of WMD's, and is there any doubt that our fully militarized "embedded" press corp will dutifully report what it is fed? The truth is 30-40% of our nation has been soaking up raw propaganda in the right-wing exhortations of Rush, Reagan, Ollie, O'Reilly, Fox News, and other hate radio schlockmeisters for over a decade- they believe anything- as long as it has a clear villain. To rally support for his policies, Mr. Bush has twice gone to military bases: Fort Hood and Mayport Naval Air Station. The contemptibility of this can’t be overstated: these are kids-18,19,20 years old; these are the cream of American youth whose job it is the President’s to protect! This is like a pimp gleaning support and approval from the runaway girls at the bus station. And even on an aircraft carrier, where troops might be expected to be more worldly, only 30% could name the Secretary of State, according to the captain. Their job is to fight, and kill, and maybe die for their country- many want to trade their practice video games of death for the real ones, till they see the result. Being wounded or killed isn’t the only threat; one can be wounded by killing. The President does his best Clint Eastwood squinty-eyed rasp and dumbass macho clichés and gets great prime-time images. But the act is getting tired. At a delayed Gary Hart lecture at liberal Brown U. March 18, people were allowed to just speak their mind for 40 minutes: surprisingly more than half were pro-war or "be considerate of Bush", but they had a sad plaintive tone. They'd been fed poison for some time, and some part of them realized it- but they pleaded to be convinced otherwise.
To service his Oedipal obsession, Bush has corrupted the overrated but cinematically perfect Colin Powell, to sally forth and dispense the imperial truths to the heathens of the Security Council. When they balked at the massive arrogance, phantom evidence, and enormous risks of his plans, he tried again to bribe them (don’t forget, the first vote in Oct probably cost $50 billion in aid, loan guarantees, military booty). Then we bugged them. This time around, Turkey alone would get $26 billion and the right to annihilate Kurds (though even they aren’t getting rolled)- add it all up and it’s probably $100 bil in bribes, + $50 bil from last Oct. + $80 bil for a new war + $150 bil for a 3-5 year occupation and reconstruction: that’s $380 bil on top of the $320 bil deficit- now we’re talking $700 billion deficit and a massive military boot on the neck of the sputtering economy. But, our peerless reformed drunk CIC wants more tax cuts; “quiero más y más” like the promo song says for the NBC show (drug) Kingpin. To feed the maw of the corporate mavens who funded, nurtured, and created this tinpot turkey, till he was the de facto winner a year before any primary. This is the type of thing that Presidents should be impeached over.
But the monetary costs can be bourn; the other costs are far more crushing- shattering the Atlantic Pact and NATO, the most successful military-moral alliance in history; ignoring and deriding the recalcitrant UN (set up to prevent rash unjustified military actions); denigrating and disparagingFrance and Germany- the heart of Europe to scavenge for allies among the poor ex-Soviet satellites. Our new bulwark of freedom is Bulgaria? Everything Bush says he will prevent by invasion, he will actually cause. Stop use of WMD’s? Saddam is a fan of Hitler, who gladly sacrificed 300,000 Berliners against the furious tide of the Red Army, which lost 1 million in the Battle of Berlin. Saddam will use everything he has. End terrorism? An invasion will so inflame the 1.2 billion Muslims, that 1-2 million new terrorists will be generated, who will plague us for another decade or two. And they won't be the homeless losers of Al Qaida (Richard Reed could have brought down a $150 million plane, but he forgot a 40 cent Bic lighter); they'll be middle class, doctors, professionals, some $50-100 million Saudi sheik- all off the radar. Eventually they will get their hands on a nuke and woe is us. Idiot Osama was fueled by outrage over the mere basing of US troops in Saudi Arabia, what rage will a conquest and 5 year occupation of Iraq create? Cooperation by Islamic states against Al Qaida, against whom such strides were being taken, will evaporate. Even snubbed, ignored, and humiliated European states may cool the hunt. Create democracy in Iraq? Really? That’s got a long successful history in Arabia and N. Africa- and how fawning must it be- Bush hasn’t appreciated the democratic world’s opinion on his nation-building notions. Create peace in the Middle East? When Israel has momma bear right next door, think they will be more inclined to negotiate fairly with the Palestinians? Security Council in danger of irrelevance? That’s exactly what Bush would cause by an unauthorized invasion.
Saddam is a monster, and I have no problem with his assassination. I do have a problem with killing 100,000 already devastated people and trashing the Iraqi infrastructure yet again. I have a problem with blithe assurance of the armchair warriors of the Bush administration that we can subdue and colonize a harsh Moslem country and sit astride its oil throat without consequence. I have a problem with the world’s most powerful military crushing a country whose people now make $3 a month (before the Gulf War it was $22,000/yr) and who haven't killed a single American for a decade. I have a problem with the amazing lie that we have to do this now, while looney-tune Kim Jong Il punches out nukes like doughnuts, nukes he has to sell to feed his starving country. Gee, I wonder who'll pay the most? I’ve supported almost every overt intervention my country has done (except Grenada)- I think we have a historic opportunity to overthrow the murderous mullahs of Iran who sent hundreds of thousands of children into machine guns, executed hundreds of thousands more, and killed 400-800 Americans- by applying slow military pressure and inviting the long-oppressed Iranian populace to rise up. I used to think Rumsfeld and Cheney were military geniuses: now I think they’re vicious pit-bulls. Great to maul a mugger, but they must be kept on a short strong chain and yanked back constantly. Bush has set them loose to ravage the neighborhood. And soon they might kill a child.
But the yahoo nation in America is rising up it’s beer-soaked Rush-addled yell. Alterman and another liberal columnist have had to write I oppose the war and all it stands for, but when the troops land, I will support them “because I am a patriot.” This comes from hate mail and death threats, not conviction. And MSNBC canceling its most popular program: Donahue, and replacing him with conservative clowns because ‘we all must speak with one voice’. I love the French, who are doing the job that our craven Congress failed to- they may be squirrelly and self-serving (and they financially benefit from Iraqi oil), but they’re the most freedom-loving people in the world. They eat well, sleep well, and ___ well. Every year or so they get furious about something and come to Paris to riot for a day- they burn some cars and go home… and the government lets them. C’est la vie. Contrast this to America, where the largest protest rallies in human history must be kept out of view of the White House or the UN, participants must negotiate Christo-length barricades, and NYC cops beat and bully peaceful protesters, as if the right of assembly was a joke. Contrary to popular opinion, Americans are mostly liked or loved around the world- not just because of our wealth and cultural dominance, but because of our moral principles, an asset that Mr. Bush is about to squander. From Russian mobsters to Bedouin tribesmen, people would usually rather hang out with us, than prey on us. The loss of our moral capital, the righteousness of our beliefs, in the eyes of the world, could be the most costly and long-lasting result of our President’s wanton war.
But let’s run this out- an invasion will create so much hatred that American tourists, the softest targets, will be attacked and killed around the world. We won’t leave home much any more. Sooner or later the pool of new (or old) terrorists, forming new cells independent of Al Qaida (whom we were beating!) will succeed with a nuke or bioweapon and kill 30 or 50 or 200 thousand Americans. Then what???? I’ll tell you, with this President: Martial law. Suspension of the Bill of Rights. Round-ups of Muslims + enemies of the state. Detention camps. Silencing of administration critics. Oh, we won’t stand for that, you say? No, we will demand it. Such totalitarian steps worry Stephen Flynn, the author of the Hart-Rudman Report on America’s continuing vulnerability, and perhaps America’s foremost expert on homeland security. (After a major attack,) “If you think John Ashcroft’s going to sit down with the American Civil Liberties Association, you’re living in La La land.” To somewhat quote FDR, The only thing we have to (really) fear.... is ourselves. And crazy Kim, will, as the war starts, commit provocative acts- by the time it ends, he will be frantic with paranoia that he is next on the Bush hit parade. This freak is not somebody we want to make frantic with fear.
The Communists' favorite tactic was to provoke a massive overreaction in their foe and use the resulting popular outrage and uprising for their own twisted purposes. Somewhere in a cave or dingy basement, a gaunt yellow tall sickly man is softly chuckling to himself: “I don’t have to do anything… they will do it to themselves.”
NOTE: In an incredible story, the NY Times claims America helped set up the Baath Party by orchestrating a 1963 coup.
3-23 The ambush in Nasiriyah will make all troops more suspicious and hostile towards surrendering Iraqis- which might make them less likely to surrender. I was shocked, which shows how much we expect war to be painless- how dare you attack us?, is the sentiment from Americanos who forget we are invading, blasting, and killing people who haven't attacked us. And the capture and imprisonment of our troops makes our flouting of the Geneva Convention by endless and appealless imprisonment of alleged terrorists in Guantanamo very relevant. As always said by wiser voices than exist in the Bush regime; these International laws of warfare protect us, since we are involved in alot of wars. I find it creepy that our TV won't show us our soldiers. The grenade attack by Asan Akbar (glory?), a black converted Muslim, will make it very fun for Arab or Muslim US troops- of which there are many, like intelligence officers & translators. It also shows that, at 1/5th of the world, the world of Islam is pervasive, and its rage will cost us in numerous unforeseen ways. The poor Brits in a Tornado shot down by a Patriot missile probably suffered from dopes setting the missile battery to full auto; that is shoot down anything its radar decides is a threat- of course the Patriot was originally an anti-aircraft missile. Pilots on aircraft carriers were terrified of the Phalanx anti-cruise-missile chain guns for the same reason- they sometimes couldn't distinguish between friend and foe and engaged in 1 second- so much that they were very rarely turned on. Cruise missiles present such a low profile (so usually unseen) that unless the Phalanx was on full auto- it was usually worthless. If anything would enrage the anti-war Brits, it's America shooting down their pilots. Helicopters have been crashing at an alarming rate- because of the tremendous blinding sandstorms and the damage they cause all components, and the alarming tendency of choppers to fly way too close to each other. Choppers are very complicated compared to a plane, the blades themselves flutter fast enough to change their pitch in 1/4 of a revolution to tilt the craft one direction or another, then flip back another 1/2 turn later. When the engines fail, there isn't a wing to support the craft- the blades can be autorotated in neutral and used as a wing- but it's an incredibly difficult operation that isn't practiced - if one does it perfectly one can land it without damage, but mostly it's a controlled crash (I've flown one at an airshow). With low-level flight, there are only a few seconds to react to any engine problems before the ground says hello. Reports of discovery of a "chemical weapons factory" are premature, say American commanders, which is what they say when the political weasels are trying to foist a fast one. I have no doubt they can and will find evidence of something- the problem is that we can't trust anything this administration says- unless immediately backed up by UN inspectors: the Bushmen will lie to justify this war.
Notice how dissent was ruthlessly squelched at the Oscars- I think Moore's booing was prearanged by organizers. Dennis Miller has tried to resusitate his flagging career by becoming a Bush-licking pro-war simp; and Bruce Willis has simply done too many combat action movies- after a while these idiots really believe that they are supperheros.
3-20 I think these battles will go fast- they’ve so demoralized the Iraqis with psychological manipulation that there may be very little real fighting. If the Turks had allowed a northern front, the inevitability of defeat would have been psychologically crushing to the Iraqis. If they repeat “Saddam is dead” enough, he will have to show himself, and ah, be killed. Then again people who are so poor that they have to sell some of their $3/month food for other things are likely to be so exhausted that anything else will be a relief, and these poor slobs have been fighting one war or another for 23 years (except for 1988-90). The Ukrainians and Lithuanians welcomed the Nazis: what could be worse than Uncle Joe, so instead of being killed for owning a cow, they were killed for being Jewish or Slavic. Not that I mean to make any such comparison with our troops. Their strategy is to liberate anti-Saddam Shiite areas, where the people will party in the streets, and beam that around- the propaganda campaign is now to redeem America in the world's eyes. If it is over in a week with negligible casualties (which I think likely- as little as under 5000 Iraq casualties), Bush’s popularity will go up to 80’s and 90’s, but the damage to the world order; the hatred, resentment, and fear of America will remain across much of the world. As we delight at the fireworks of bombs spewing death and destruction, we must remember- America has never been bombed- never. We are a young and often shallow people. No, these bloody wogs just won’t appreciate what we did for them. And when the retaliation comes in a year or so… people won’t even blame Bush. Be afraid.
SHELL GAME: If Saddam were killed, it would be a brilliant accomplishment that would end this invasion in a few days. They are relying on statements of a mistress, but they lie for a living, and if Saddam has ten doubles, why wouldn't he have them sleeping with mistresses to muddy the water?
REBUILDING EYERAK: In a symbolic but ignorant act, we are blasting every gov. bldg. and palace of Saddam's regime- these would be instrumental in reconstituting and restoring Iraqis sense of identity. Apparently only American companies are going to be let in on the vast rebuilding of Iraq, shutting out international aid agencies, UN, and Europeans, because it’s important that America be seen as the liberator and Big Daddy builder. Cheney’s Haliburton + Repub Bechtel are due to get fat contracts- though if they’re really serious about rebuilding, that’s a good sign. Well, we've got to punish those wimpy Germans and Frenchies somehow.
JANET RENO: The great androgyn lectured on Monday night about her worries over Ashcroft/Bush's threats to the Constitution- imprisoning people in secret without legal recourse, ignoring the Geneva convention in an attempt to wring every drop of info from them, indefinate detentions- though she hedged when assigning blaim. After a half hour, a screen dropped to show Bush's war day speech. I finally asked her about why she allowed Ken Starr to investigate Cinton's sex life. "I had no choice." What do you mean? "It seemed laws had been broken." Oh, come on. It had nothing to do with them threatening you with impeachment? "No, I had no choice." By this time her Parkinsons was acting up so much she was seriously twitching (yeah, I know, we shouldn't be cruel). I just walked away and completely forgot my other questions on the war. I can't forgive that she allowed the disgraceful trash impeachment investigation by a sworn partisan hack of the other party who committed so many crimes (releasing grand jury testimony, imprisoning Monica without lawyer, suborning perjury by dirtbag criminal liars: David Hale and Jim McDougal) that he should have been jailed. Read Joe Conason's The Hunting of the President, about how everyone ignored that the hate Clinton movement was based on fervent vicious racists in Arkansas, who fed lies and trash to major paper reporters for years without a speck of illumination on their sleazy past. It is such an indictment of NYT, WashPost and Newsweek (a huge Repub law firm wrote a 1000 page investigation of Whitewater in '96, concluding that the Clintons had done nothing, but no reporter ever even mentioned it in the 10,000 more references to the Whitewater "scandal"). For exposing the massive shabbiness of the fourth estate, Conason has been in exile- not printed nationally, not seen on talk shows.
HART's WAR: Gary Hart also spoke as Bush's War kicked off- 16 years after the Donna Rice scandal drove him out of politics. That was likely a Repub setup from the beginning- Donna baby is now a right wing anti-porn activist and her roommate, who sold the pictures of the "illicit" couple to the Nat. Inquirer for $100,000, worked for the Repub. Nat. Committee. He was a movie-star handsome Senator who'd been separated from his wife for a year periods and roomed with Woodward in a DC bachelor pad- of course he was going to be sleeping with somebody. But he was a dumbbell who denied it and dared the press to follow him when he was accused. He would have beat Bush I in 1988, but they destroyed him; 4-13 years later they tried to do the same to Clinton with alot more ammunition. He still is brilliant- I've never seen anyone answer questions as clearly, honestly, and concisely- it's a tragedy that this talented guy was sentenced to the political gulag for 15 years for something that would have won him millions more votes in most of Europe.
Now he just finished the second installment of the HART RUDMAN report on national security, the prescient report that predicted a major terrorist attack on the US, in Jan 2001. Bush ignored it. A year after 9-11, an enormously blue-ribbon panel said we'd done very little to protect America. 19 million shipping containers come into US a year; and they only search about 200,000. Be very afraid, especially if you live in a major port city.
VISION OF HELL: The RI nightclub fire was an Edgar Allen Poe story come to life: a horror almost too extreme to even deal with. Hammerschlag was on scene from early hours and does an extensive report. http://hammernews.com/nightclub.htm