Monday, July 16, 2007

An Administration on the Wrong Track...Again

Wonder how far off we may be? The latest from Tom Engelhardt is a frightful reminder.

Wrong again.

Great piece with links galore at Truthdig. Ever wonder how we got here? Well, Norm Soloman's latest book-turned film War Made Easy is a great introduction. My, how the presidents and pundits are spinning us to death...

See the preview here.

Then spread the word. It's something anyone can do.

Or, you can open up a can of history and smell the freedumb.

Seems hyperbolic, but, it's worth a thought or two while we treadmill into doomsday at the behest of the deceivers.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bush, Iraq, and the Vision Thing...

Vision Thing

In a recent piece from Think Progress, "The Ever Changing Definition of ‘Mission’ In Iraq," we are reminded of just how unfocused the Bush administration has been on its Iraq policy. Flip flop. The mission is x. No, y. No, wait, z! We know what we are doing! Stay the coure...I mean stay the many different courses as they shift along! Mission Accomplished! No Vision Thing to see here. Poppy knew best! These aren't the excuses for the war you are looking for. Move along...See the links above and the Think Progress piece reprinted below. You almost have to read it over and over to believe it. Good luck.

For more flagrant flip flopping and failures, see the April 9, 2007 post on this blog. Now to the most recent episode of the Tragic Kingdom, where his majesty has taken yet another Emperor's Clothing Optional day in the public, it's not funny, but humor helps ease the pain.

In June 2005, ThinkProgress noted the Bush was constantly revising the definition of our “mission” in Iraq.

Reporting on his escalation strategy this week, President Bush claimed “satisfactory” progress in many areas of the “new mission” in Iraq. Bush has changed the definition of our “mission” in Iraq so many times, he has made it impossible for the American public, U.S. forces, and the Iraqi population to have any confidence that the mission will be ever completed.


Bush: “Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament.” [3/6/03]


Bush: “Our cause is just, the security of the nations we serve and the peace of the world. And our mission is clear, to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.” [3/22/03]

Bush: “Our forces have been given a clear mission: to end a regime that threatened its neighbors and the world with weapons of mass destruction and to free a people that had suffered far too long.” [4/14/03]


Bush: “On Thursday, I visited the USS Abraham Lincoln, now headed home after the longest carrier deployment in recent history. I delivered good news to the men and women who fought in the cause of freedom: Their mission is complete, and major combat operations in Iraq have ended.” [5/3/03]


Bush: “The United States and our allies will complete our mission in Iraq.” [7/30/03]


Bush: “That has been our mission all along, to develop the conditions such that a free Iraq will emerge, run by the Iraqi citizens.” [11/4/03]

Bush: “We will see that Iraq is free and self-governing and democratic. We will accomplish our mission.” [5/4/04]


Bush: “And our mission is clear there, as well, and that is to train the Iraqis so they can do the fighting; make sure they can stand up to defend their freedoms, which they want to do.” [6/2/05]

Bush: “We’re making progress toward the goal, which is, on the one hand, a political process moving forward in Iraq, and on the other hand, the Iraqis capable of defending themselves. And we will — we will complete this mission for the sake of world peace.” [6/20/05]


Bush: “We will stay as long as necessary to complete the mission. … Advancing the ideal of democracy and self-government is the mission that created our nation — and now it is the calling of a new generation of Americans.” [11/30/05]


Bush: “In the coming days, there will be considerable reflection on the removal of Saddam Hussein from power and our remaining mission in Iraq…By helping the Iraqi people build a free and representative government, we will deny the terrorists a safe haven to plan attacks against America.” [3/11/06]

Bush: “We will finish the mission. By defeating the terrorists in Iraq, we will bring greater security to our own country. And when victory is achieved, our troops will return home with the honor they have earned.” [3/18/06]


Bush: “In fact, we have a new strategy with a new mission: helping secure the population, especially in Baghdad. Our plan puts Iraqis in the lead.” [1/13/07]

Bush: “[I]t’s the combination of providing security in neighborhoods through these joint security stations, and training that is the current mission we’re going through, with a heavy emphasis on security in Baghdad.” [4/10/07]


Bush: “It’s a new mission. And David Petraeus is in Iraq carrying it out. Its goal is to help the Iraqis make progress toward reconciliation — to build a free nation that respects the rights of its people, upholds the rule of law, and is an ally against the extremists in this war.” [6/28/07]

(Posted by Jordan Grossman)

The Fib Factory churns on.

And now...

Yes, and now? Now what? Bush wants to "to build a free nation that respects the rights of its people, upholds the rule of law, and is an ally against the extremists in this war." Maybe he should trying applying those principles right here at home. He can start by resigning immediately and taking his obsequious, corporatist lackeys with him. Then America can begin to pick up the pieces (Iraq, too) and begin to make some sense again.

It's not too late to let the system work. We could always use Bastille Day as an example. Or, we could, as stated, use the system rather than have it use us. Impeachment, rather than being off the table as Democrats have stated, should be the centerpiece of the table. We should all commence chowing down.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Thoughts for July 4th...

Once Upon America

What is Patriotism?

Liberties Lost

What should we be celebrating and thinking about for American Independence Day? Cheap beer, fizzy sugar water, bad food, and illegal explosives? Scooter Libby's get our of jail free card for the Fourth? Or, maybe some other things, like taking back from corporatists and tyrants the reigns of government as our founders suggested? We as a nation should declare our own independence from the wreckless overlords of the ruling class and landed gentry of our day and reclaim the spirit of liberty for all people. Here are some ideas on patriotism, nationalism, and the importance of dissent and free speech in a democratic society:

"If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it."

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.”

“There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

"Patriotism ... is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit."

"The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair."

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."

"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel."

Remember, democracy is not a spectator sport!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Reminders for July 4th

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” Mark Twain

What are we celebrating on July 4th? And what should we be thinking about...a major historian speaks out.

Put Away the Flags
By Howard Zinn

On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

Is not nationalism — that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder — one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

These ways of thinking — cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on — have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours — huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction — what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.

Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.

That self-deception started early.

When the first English settlers moved into Indian land in Massachusetts Bay and were resisted, the violence escalated into war with the Pequot Indians. The killing of Indians was seen as approved by God, the taking of land as commanded by the Bible. The Puritans cited one of the Psalms, which says: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession.”

When the English set fire to a Pequot village and massacred men, women and children, the Puritan theologian Cotton Mather said: “It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day.”

On the eve of the Mexican War, an American journalist declared it our “Manifest Destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence.” After the invasion of Mexico began, The New York Herald announced: “We believe it is a part of our destiny to civilize that beautiful country.”

It was always supposedly for benign purposes that our country went to

We invaded Cuba in 1898 to liberate the Cubans, and went to war in the Philippines shortly after, as President McKinley put it, “to civilize and Christianize” the Filipino people.

As our armies were committing massacres in the Philippines (at least 600,000 Filipinos died in a few years of conflict), Elihu Root, our secretary of war, was saying: “The American soldier is different from all other soldiers of all other countries since the war began. He is the advance guard of liberty and justice, of law and order, and of peace and happiness.”

We see in Iraq that our soldiers are not different. They have, perhaps against their better nature, killed thousands of Iraq civilians. And some soldiers have shown themselves capable of brutality, of torture.

Yet they are victims, too, of our government’s lies.

How many times have we heard President Bush tell the troops that if they die, if they return without arms or legs, or blinded, it is for “liberty,” for “democracy”?

One of the effects of nationalist thinking is a loss of a sense of proportion. The killing of 2,300 people at Pearl Harbor becomes the justification for killing 240,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The killing of 3,000 people on Sept. 11 becomes the justification for killing tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And nationalism is given a special virulence when it is said to be blessed by Providence. Today we have a president, invading two countries in four years, who announced on the campaign trail in 2004 that God speaks through him.

We need to refute the idea that our nation is different from, morally superior to, the other imperial powers of world history.

We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation.

Howard Zinn, a World War II bombardier, is the author of the best-selling “A People’s History of the United States” (Perennial Classics, 2003, latest edition). This piece was distributed by the Progressive Media Project.