Thursday, August 31, 2006


Vice President Dick Cheney sure is devoted, if somewhat deluded. He has no doubt that it has been the offensive actions of President Bush that has saved the US from being hit again by terrorist attacks, after September 11, 2001.

As far as Cheney is concerned, the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive strikes against potential future enemies has already paid dividends of peace and security in the homeland.

But then, Cheney was damn sure that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was a key figure of responsibility for the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. So....

As harsh as it is, I've always preferred the unproven legend that after September 11, 2001, Bush made contact with key Saudis, Pakistanis, Iranians, etc, and laid down the new law :

"If the US gets hit again by any Islamists, any terror attack whatsoever, Mecca gets nuked. You get me? Mecca gets nuked. Regardless of who is responsible for the attacks and damn the consequences."

It sounds like something out of a bad terrorist-thriller from the 1970s, and maybe it is.

Anyway, here's the story on Cheney Thinks Bush Has Saved The US From Being Attacked Again :
Speaking at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention here as the fifth anniversary of the attacks approached, Cheney said that terrorists had mounted successful attacks on targets overseas, including Madrid; London; and Jakarta, Indonesia — but not in the United States.

"No one can guarantee that we won't be struck again. But to have come this far without another attack is no accident," Cheney said, crediting "sound" decisions by President Bush and vigilance by U.S. agencies and the military.

Cheney's claim of credit for the absence of attacks, a frequent theme in his recent speeches, contrasts sharply with criticism by Democrats and others who charge the administration has left the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorism by focusing on the war in Iraq.

In his address, Cheney said that Iraq was a key part of the administration's anti-terrorism effort and that pulling out would be a mistake.

"A precipitous withdrawal from Iraq would be a victory for the terrorists, an invitation to further violence against free nations, and a ruinous blow to the future security of the United States," he said. "We have only two options in Iraq — victory or defeat."
Go here for the full story, and quotes from Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the same issues.

The CSMonitor has a round up of think pieces on whether or not the Bush Doctrine of June, 2002 , has failed to bring peace and order to the world, following the turmoil of post-September 11 and the beginning of the War On Iraq.

Go here for the CSMonitor round up.

Here's an interesting piece from the San Francisco Chronicle on the same subject :

Analysts across the political spectrum say the Bush Doctrine -- preventive war, choking the roots of terrorism by planting democracy, and brandishing power to force others into line -- has failed. Bush's lofty goals, shared even by his critics, have been set back, perhaps decades, by the Iraq occupation.

Yet for all the criticism, neither the Democratic Party nor the foreign policy elite has devised an alternative for the post-Sept. 11 world, leaving U.S. foreign policy adrift.

No one has an endgame for Iraq. No one offers any magic bullets against stateless terrorists undeterred by conventional military power, or the dangerous regimes in Iran and North Korea that many believe to be bent on nuclear arms. The United States now faces a set of bad options -- or, at best, a deeply chastened view of the limits of American power.

By many measures, the United States is weaker and its enemies stronger than before the 2003 Iraq invasion, the experts say.

The United States may find it hard, if not impossible, the analysts say, to again try in the near future to topple a hostile regime. Its military is stretched, its moral standing diminished. Even democracy itself is tarnished, often equated now with car bombs and chaos, rather than peace and prosperity.

Here's the key points from the original Bush Doctrine, of June, 2002, delivered as a graduation speech to the West Point Academy :

"This war will take many turns we cannot predict. Our nation's cause has always been larger than our nation's defense. We fight, as we always fight, for a just peace -- a peace that favors human liberty. We will defend the peace against threats from terrorists and tyrants. We will preserve the peace by building good relations among the great powers. And we will extend the peace by encouraging free and open societies on every continent.

"America has no empire to extend or utopia to establish. We wish for others only what we wish for ourselves -- safety from violence, the rewards of liberty, and the hope for a better life.

"For much of the last century, America's defense relied on the Cold War doctrines of deterrence and containment. In some cases, those strategies still apply. But new threats also require new thinking. Deterrence -- the promise of massive retaliation against nations -- means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend. Containment is not possible when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction can deliver those weapons on missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies.

"Homeland defense and missile defense are part of stronger security, and they're essential priorities for America. Yet the war on terror will not be won on the defensive. We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge. In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act.

"The work ahead is difficult. The choices we will face are complex. We must uncover terror cells in 60 or more countries, using every tool of finance, intelligence and law enforcement. Along with our friends and allies, we must oppose proliferation and confront regimes that sponsor terror, as each case requires. Some nations need military training to fight terror, and we'll provide it. Other nations oppose terror, but tolerate the hatred that leads to terror -- and that must change. We will send diplomats where they are needed, and we will send you, our soldiers, where you're needed.

"All nations that decide for aggression and terror will pay a price. We will not leave the safety of America and the peace of the planet at the mercy of a few mad terrorists and tyrants. We will lift this dark threat from our country and from the world.

"Because the war on terror will require resolve and patience, it will also require firm moral purpose. In this way our struggle is similar to the Cold War. Now, as then, our enemies are totalitarians, holding a creed of power with no place for human dignity. Now, as then, they seek to impose a joyless conformity, to control every life and all of life.

"Some worry that it is somehow undiplomatic or impolite to speak the language of right and wrong. I disagree. Different circumstances require different methods, but not different moralities.

"We are in a conflict between good and evil, and America will call evil by its name. By confronting evil and lawless regimes, we do not create a problem, we reveal a problem. And we will lead the world in opposing it.

"The 20th century ended with a single surviving model of human progress, based on non-negotiable demands of human dignity, the rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect for women and private property and free speech and equal justice and religious tolerance. America cannot impose this vision -- yet we can support and reward governments that make the right choices for their own people. In our development aid, in our diplomatic efforts, in our international broadcasting, and in our educational assistance, the United States will promote moderation and tolerance and human rights. And we will defend the peace that makes all progress possible.

"A truly strong nation will permit legal avenues of dissent for all groups that pursue their aspirations without violence. An advancing nation will pursue economic reform, to unleash the great entrepreneurial energy of its people. A thriving nation will respect the rights of women, because no society can prosper while denying opportunity to half its citizens. Mothers and fathers and children across the Islamic world, and all the world, share the same fears and aspirations. In poverty, they struggle. In tyranny, they suffer. And as we saw in Afghanistan, in liberation they celebrate.

"America has a greater objective than controlling threats and containing resentment. We will work for a just and peaceful world beyond the war on terror."

Read the whole June 1 speech to the West Point Academy here.

From Raw Story :

Two attorneys representing claimants in a lawsuit over wiretapping by the National Security Agency claim that they have sent subpoenas to the White House today...

Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer, who say they represent hundreds of plaintiffs in lawsuits against Verizon, AT&T, and the US Government, will announnce today that they are serving both the Bush administration and Verizon with subpoenas.

...the subpoenaes, directed to President George Bush, the Office of Legal Counsel, the Department of Justice, and the Chief Legal Counsel for Verizon, have already been sent, and should reach their targets tomorrow.

The subpoenas come on the heels of two federal court decisions that were seen as blows to the Bush Administration warrantless spying program.


The mid-term elections are now only weeks away in the US, and President Bush is out stumping for his fellow Republican senators. Here he delivers a speech at a fund-raising dinner for Tennesee Republican senator hopeful Bob Corker.

During the speech, Bush returned to talking about American citizens as "souls" not "people".

He dropped the use of the world "terrorist" to describe the militias and insurgencies of Iraq.

He ramped up what is bound to quickly become the foundation stone of the Republican campaign to hold onto its Senate majority - The War On Terror as a War On New Fascism - and then Bush ranted incoherently about God and converting the entire world.

So, nothing too unusual for Bush.

Here's a selection of key curious, bizarre, weird and downright ugly quotes from the speech (in italics), with our added commentary :

"We face an enemy that has an ideology; they believe things....they think the opposite of the way we think."

"The enemy we face doesn't believe in dissent. They don't believe in the freedom to worship. They got a narrow view of freedom. But this enemy is particularly lethal because they're willing to use whatever tactic is necessary to achieve their objective."

"...the natural tendency for our country would be to hope that the lessons of September the 11th would be faded memory. "

The lessons may or may not be "faded memory", but a recent poll claimed that more than 30% of Americans can't even remember what year September 11th occured.

"The United States of America must understand that freedom is universal, that there is an Almighty, and the great gift of that Almighty to each man and woman in this world is the desire to be free."

"You know, amazing things have happened in Iraq, when you think about it. Oh, I know the news is full with terrible suiciders, and it shakes our will."

"(In Iraq) There are Saddamists, al Qaeda, extremists, militia -- all attempting to stop the advance of democracy. "

But no terrorists? The key new word is "extremists".

"If we leave (Iraq) before the job is done, it will shred the credibility of the United States of

Unlike the whole WMD thing, which only splashed a few specks of mud on the credibility of President Bush and the the US.

"If we leave before the job is done, it will have meant incredibly brave souls will have given their lives for nothing."

Given their lives for NOTHING? Nice. That should make the families of 2600+ dead Americans feel real good. Even if the US left Iraq today, all those dead soldiers would not have given their lives for NOTHING. Saddam is gone, Iraqis had free elections. But Bush won't allow them to even take credit for those achievements. It's all or nothing.

The US went into Iraq to disarm Saddam. Then the war became about deposing Saddam and finding WMDs. Then it became about free elections.

Now Saddam is gone, there are no WMDs and free elections have been held, the US still can't leave Iraq until "the job is done." But like the Australian prime Minister Howard and British PM Blair, Bush can't clearly spell out what "the job" actually is, or how it will be achieved. This vagueness, of course, is essential to keeping the War On Iraq going for as long as possible.

"Here's what we know: We know that when a soul has more of his own money to spend, save, or invest, the economy grows. "

70% of the American economy is now based on what Americans spend on consumer goods, not what they produce. Which is fine, for a while. But Americans, on average, now spend more than they actually earn, and they're using the equity of homes they haven't paid off (brought with mortgages when interest rates were barely 1%) to go on the biggest spending spree in US history.

The more Americans spend, the more shit they buy, the more the economy grows, the more Bush can say, "Hey, look, our economy is still growing." But someone has to pay. A lot of someones. And they're going to start paying real soon. Interests rates in the US, and Australia, are rising, and the value of homes across both countries is plunging.

"You see, the real challenge facing this country is to make sure we're the economic leader of the world. I'm not interested in being second place."

The US will be lucky to be in fifth place by the end of the Bush Co. reign. Russia and China are now already far more cash and asset rich than the US.

"...America's souls are saved one person at a time."

"America can change one heart and one soul and one conscience at a time. Government should not fear faith..."

That's downright creepy.

According to Bush, the government should not fear faith, but the people should fear a government that sees no need to amplify the seperation between church and state.

Go here for the full Bush speech.

Hurricane Katrina is now regarded as the worst natural disaster in US history.

One year on, most of the city's poor suburbs lie rotting. It's not a huge city, it's not even a large city by American standards. And yet, thousands of destroyed homes, tens of thousands of tons of rubbish and wreckage have still not been cleared away, and more than 80% of the money set aside for rebuilding has still not been allocated to those people who need it the most.

Bush gave a speech on Tuesday, in New Orleans, where he basically said "The check's in the mail...."

A selection of incoherent Bush babble from his current visit to the disaster zones :

"...I'm amazed by the opportunity, I'm amazed by the hope that I feel down here. Anyway, thought you would be interested."

" can't have hope unless there's a reason to be hopeful..."

"...this storm was so big it requires all aspects of American life to help the people. "

"...momentum will be gathered. Houses will begat jobs, jobs will begat houses. "

"People say, how can we rebuild with debris? Now it's gone."

The debris isn't gone, but Bush was carefully framed in most of his media appearances so no rubble was shown behind him.

The above quotes from this Bush press conference.

"To make sure that we keep our promises and to make sure this good area recovers, we have got to give assurance to the citizens that if there is another natural disaster, we'll respond in better fashion."

How could Bush Co's response been any worse than it was?

"A more hopeful New Orleans means we got to get rid of the broken furniture and old refrigerators, and get rid of the wreckage. You can't rebuild until you remove the rubble."

"The debris is getting cleaned."

There's still plenty of debris in New Orleans, but hey, at least it's "clean debris".


President Bush lost one of the most famous cities in the world one year ago this week. Infamously, he later claimed he was not aware of just how bad the devastation was, or just how horribly the people of New Orleans were suffering. Nobody told him. He wasn't watching the news.

Bush was too busy giving speeches, celebrating friends' birthdays and....playing guitar.

Two days after Hurricane Katrina smashed its way through three states, killing more than a thousand people, and plunging millions of Americans into a reality devoid of electricity, food, fresh water and organised federal government help, Bush found time to hang out with a country music star.

This will be long remembered as a key image of the Bush presidency. Millions of Americans were desperate for help and their president was too busy having a good time to even know what was going on.