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This is What Democracy Looks Like
Friday-Sunday, January 12-14, 2007
Death is No Strategy
"To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible,"
-President Bush, in response to critics of his war in Iraq
It's funny how we don't call this war "the war WITH Iraq". I don't remember if we ever did. It's been called a struggle to oust a madman; a fight to bring Democracy to the middle east; and a struggle to fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here. We've been told that Saddam Hussein has Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD's) including chemical and biological weapons. Take a look at the following (courtesy of Representative Jan Schakowsky (DEMOCRAT-IL):
"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”
-Vice President Dick Cheney
“We believe Saddam has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”
“There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more…Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough agent to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets.”
-Secretary of State Colin Powell
“Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.”
To "oppose everything" when it comes to what this president and his "advisors" advise us we ought to be doing isn't only responsible, it's prudent and necessary. And when the 110th congress comes up with their own "advice" to The President, he ought to be responsible himself and listen. After all, when listening to Bush's "21,500 more troops surge" speech, you'd think that these 21,500 more US children were the missing answers to all that is missing to winning this "war". It isn't.
The truth is that The President must have felt as if he had to do something, and sending additional targets was easier and more expedient than saying "It's time to come home.
"We have a new strategy with a new mission: Helping secure the population, especially in Baghdad. Our plan puts Iraqis in the lead."
"Strategy: A careful plan or method"
-The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Bush's twenty minutes on TV the other night told us that he wants to add more troops to the situation in Iraq. 21,500 more troops won't work and we all know it. Last year, at this same time, we had approximately 160,000 American troops in Iraq and many more "Coalition of the Willing" troops there as well. This year, before Bush's "surge" happens (if it happens, although it seems likely). there are 132,000 troops in Iraq. 21,500 more won't even get us up to last year's total and things are much, much worse on the ground there today than they were last year at this time.
We not only can't control Baghdad, but we can't even seem to secure the "Green Zone" either. The Anbar Province, an area northwest of Baghdad and a Sunni Insurgents' enclave, is in our enemy's hands (assuming we even know who are enemy is). And other "safe" areas seem to be "less safe" now than ever before.
I'd like to know something else. Why did president Bush hold a meeting at Camp David Friday night only for Congressional GOP leaders? Don't you think that if The President really wanted to work with the leaders of our 110th congress that he would have invited Democrats instead? maybe he would have gotten a couple of ideas rather than the same old "yes Sir," and "Whatever you say, Mr. President". Sometimes you have to seek out the advice and counsel of the opposition party in order to get a few new ideas, especially when that opposition party is the new majority party in both houses of congress.
The Democratic majority has been in office for all of six days now (four working days). They have already done more in that time than the Republicans had done in all of these past Bush years.
"Before moving forward with this escalation, we owe it to these troops, to their families, and to all Americans to ask the tough questions and demand honest answers about this policy,"
-Rep. Tim Walz (DEMOCRAT-MN)
Yes, Rep. Walz - it's called oversight and it's been sorely missing since January 20, 2001.
"Is there a clear strategy that the commanders on the ground believe will succeed?" Walz said. "What are the benchmarks for success, and how long does the president believe it will take to achieve them? Is this a policy that will contribute to the America's security in the larger war on terror, or distract from it?"
There is no clear strategy. There is no plan other than "Stay the Course". There is no sacrifice, other than the lives of our troops and the dollars taken from our American middle class and given to war profiteers and others in Bush's "Base" of "haves and Have-Mores". 21,500 more troops are just more "numbers" that don't matter much, if at all, to the Bushies. Any and all new deaths that occur in the upcoming days, weeks months and years will be in vain, and they will be the blood on the hands of President Bush every bit as much as the insurgents that are fighting.
Death is no plan, but it's all President Bush has to offer.
Making The Bush Dictatorship
Is it a diversion ploy? Is it just another Bush administration Weapon of Mass Distraction (the other WMD)? What is this Bushie aversion to following the law that keeps them doing stupid, illegal activities in the name of national security?
Maybe these NeoCons simply don't trust the judicial branch of the government to do their jobs. It's possible, I guess. But does anyone think that this is the real reason President Bush and company don't follow the laws they are sworn to uphold? Remember, the Presidential oath taken on by each and every president, including George W. Bush states specifically that he swears to protect the Constitution of The United States. Not big, global corporations; not their "Base" of "Haves and Have-Mores", and not even the people of The United States of American.
"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
-The Presidential oath of Office
No where does the US Constitution state that The President will interpret the Bill of Rights or any ensuing laws or amendments as he sees fit. That is the job of the judiciary.
Judges are the check which keeps lawmakers in line with the written word and spirit of what our founding fathers had in mind. It isn't, and has never been open for the interpretation of the executive or congressional branches of government. It's the reason why so many of our justices are appointed for life rather than have to run for election and subsequent re-elections. It keeps them (or is meant to keep them) party and politically neutral.
So when President Bush or Vice President Cheney state that the White House doesn't need permission from the judiciary to look into our private mail or our medical records or our banking and credit records, they are stating that the US Constitution doesn't matter and they are admitting to breaking the law.
Similarly, when these White House law breakers bypass the FISA courts to listen in on our private conversations, they are also breaking the law. And finally, when The President includes a "signing statement" stating that the law he is about to sign doesn't apply to him, he is, likewise, breaking the law.
According the Cheney, the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA are getting involved (like they already aren't involved) into looking at our banking records, in the name of national security. Cheney's explanation for the Defense Department's snooping is, at the very least, intriguing:
"The Defense Department gets involved because we've got hundreds of bases inside the United States that are potential terrorist targets,"
Using that logic, the whole of the US and its citizenry would be subject to searches and seizures; our telephones could have permanent taps; and any record, including medical, are up for grabs. Or as Benjamin Franklin, our nation's first patriot stated:
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
"The Department of Defense has legitimate authority in this area. This is an authority that goes back three or four decades. It was reaffirmed in the Patriot Act. It's perfectly legitimate activity. There's nothing wrong with it or illegal. It doesn't violate people's civil rights."
The Bush administration has been attempting to get rid of judicial review almost from the first day they took over. having a majority in both house of congress these past few years allowed the Bushies the ability to maneuver around congressional oversight, this making the House and the Senate just another arm of the Executive branch. They have been, and are still attempting to do the same with the judiciary by appointing jurists so far from the center, where most Americans live, that they would also be just an extension of the White House.
Similarly, the White house is attempting to make tour armed forces a national policing agent by giving them the power to look into the lives of ordinary American citizens. By his own words, Cheney is also attempting to get around the law which prevents the army from policing our nation. By giving the Pentagon the right to police the citizenry he is extending the reach of the White House to yet another arm of government. Make no mistake about it, everything that this administration does has the goal of expanding its power to the point of creating a US Presidential dictatorship.
"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."
And we're getting closer to that with each and every move this administration makes.
It has come to a point where our new 110th congress will have to look at the Bush administration as a whole, and President Bush, along with Vice President Cheney, as targets for real investigations. And if it gets worse (an it's going to get worse), they're going to have to make the hard decision about impeachment.
Declare Victory and Leave
We saw that Saddam didn’t have any Weapons of Mass Destruction, that there were no ties between Saddam and Bin Laden, and no ties, back in 2002, between Al Qaeda and Iraq.
Everybody believes that we invaded Iraq to bring Saddam to justice. And we brought down his government. He has been deposed, arrested, tried, convicted, and punished. We could announce that this was the real reason for the war. And, despite the collateral damage – close to 3,000 American Dead, 30,000 American wounded, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead and $320 Billion spent; we accomplished the goal.
Our presence in Iraq is like gasoline on a fire. We should leave. Despite the sectarian violence, pulling back would allow things to cool down. If we redeploy our forces away from the battlefield but keep them in the region, in Iraqi Kurdistan, in Turkey, and on aircraft carriers in the Gulf, then our allies will not panic, our non-allies will have to moderate their tone, fewer Americans will be killed and wounded, and we won’t be spending $2 billion per week. And the Iraqis will have to sort things out for themselves.
We should declare ‘Peace with Honor,’ announce that we are leaving then sit down at the conference table, with the Sunnis, the Shiites, the Kurds. All hell will break loose: There’ll be peace.
In response to, "More violence has broken out in Somalia with al-Qaeda taking the lead against the war lords who are the better of the two evils running the nation (go figure that out)," David W. writes:
I can understand just barely how the Taliban was the lesser evil in Afghanistan seeing as the other choice at the time were the various "war lords" who were in fact little more than bandits, rapists, and killers.
I can see how a populace would submit to the Spanish Inquisition when the alternative would be rabsacking Vikings.
But I know so little about the real deal in Darfur...
Incidentally, Marvel Comics has a title called, Squadron Supreme: Hyperion vs. Nighthawk - who's author is determined to talk about the crisis in Darfur. There's most likely a comic specialty store near you, look it up and see what you think about the guy's efforts.
In response to, "...the Central African Republic (CAF)", David W. writes:
Not to be trivial Noah, but you mean "CAR".
Yes I did. -NG
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