Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Don't Believe Bush's Sudden Awakening On Global Warming

Oil Barons To Be Replaced By Grain Barons

13% Of Americans Have Never Heard Of Global Warming

Global warming prophet and full-blown evangelical, George Monbiot, takes President Bush to task for his suspiciously sudden embrace of the realities of drastic climate change and global warming.

From 'Comment Is Free' :

....Bush's avowed conversion to the cause of cutting emissions is illusory. He is simply drumming up new business for his chums. In his state of the union address last week, he spoke of "the serious challenge of global climate change" and announced that he was raising the government's mandatory target for alternative transport fuels fivefold. This is wonderful news for the grain barons of the red states, who will grow the maize and rapeseed that will be turned into biofuel. It's a catastrophe for everyone else.

An analysis published last year by the Sarasin Bank found that until a new generation of vegetable fuels, made from straw or wood, is developed, "the present limit for the environmentally and socially responsible use of biofuels [is] roughly 5% of current petrol and diesel consumption in the EU and US".

Bush now proposes to raise the proportion to 24% by 2017. Already, though the rich world has replaced just a fraction of 1% of its transport fuels, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation reports that using crops to feed cars has raised world food prices, with serious consequences for the poor. Biofuels fall into the same category as atmospheric smoke and mirrors - a means of avoiding difficult decisions.

But at least, or so we are told, the argument over whether or not manmade climate change is happening is now over.

On Friday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change publishes the first installment of its vast report, which collates the findings of the world's climate scientists. Though conservative in its assumptions, it shows that if you persist in believing that there is no cause for concern, you must have buried your head till only your toes are showing.

If even Bush now grudgingly acknowledges that there's a problem, surely we've seen the last of the cranks and charlatans who had managed to grab so much attention with their claims that global warming wasn't happening?

...with Bush's defection, the band of quacks making (claims that global warming isn't a scientific reality) is diminishing fast.

Now the oil and coal companies that support such people have changed their target.

Instead of trying to persuade us that man-made global warming is a myth, they are seeking to divert us into doing everything except the one thing that has to happen: reducing our consumption of fuel.

It is another species of denial.

George Bush's purpose - to insulate these companies from the need to cut production - is unchanged. He has simply found a new way of framing the argument

Go Here To Read The Fully Monbiot Column

And here's the Bush quotes from the 2007 State Of The Union speech that Monbiot was referring to :

For too long our nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists -- who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments, and raise the price of oil, and do great harm to our economy.

It's in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply -- the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power, by even greater use of clean coal technology, solar and wind energy, and clean, safe nuclear power.

We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol -- using everything from wood chips to grasses, to agricultural wastes.

Let us build on the work we've done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years. When we do that we will have cut our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.

To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- and that is nearly five times the current target. At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks -- and conserve up to 8.5 billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017.

Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil...

America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. And these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.

An interesting story here, detailing the awareness of global warming issues in the United States compared to the rest of the world :
Thirteen percent of Americans have never heard of global warming even though their country is the world's top source of greenhouse gases, a 46-country survey showed on Monday.

People in Latin America were most worried while U.S. citizens were least concerned with just 42 percent rating global warming "very serious."

The United States emits about a quarter of all greenhouse gases, the biggest emitter ahead of China, Russia and India.

Thirteen percent of U.S. citizens said they had never heard or read anything about global warming, the survey said.

A U.N. report due on Friday is set to say it is at least 90 percent probable that human activities are the main cause of warming in the past 50 years.

People in China and Brazil were most convinced of the link to human activities and Americans least convinced.

State Of The Union Already Forgotten

But Bush Gave Clear Warnings Of The Wider Middle East War To Come

It's just over a week since President Bush delivered his 2007 State Of The Union address, and it has sunk without a trace. Unlike previous SOTU speeches, this one has already fallen away from the media's attention and polls indicate it provided absolutely none of the predicted 'bounce' in positive numbers that SOTU speeches usually do.

While the domestic issues are no doubt important for Americans, it is the 'War on Terror' and the 'War On Iraq' that will thoroughly determine Bush's impact on history, and determine his legacy.

The speech itself won few plaudits. It certainly wasn't hailed as visionary, outside of the usual media suspects scattered across the globe. The language ticked with Biblical phrasing and softball-to-hardcore doom warnings.

It is important to remember that Bush uses his speeches to reach who he regards as his true believers, primarily evangelicals in the United States, and those who still believe Bush was right to say, in the days after September 11, "this crusade...is going to take a while."

With the right phrasing, and use of terms like 'The Holy Land' in reference to disputed territories of Palestine and Israel, Bush knows he is speaking the language they understand, and telling them the war he promised - "this crusade" - is still moving forward.

But Bush is also aware that his SOTU speeches reach a worldwide audience, far larger than any president before him. For example, in Australia, the speech was carried live on ABC TV, the national broadcaster.

By declaring that the 'War On Iraq' is set to spill out across the rest of the Middle East, Bush let it be known that not only is he thinking about how to deal with a conflict involving Iran and Syria and Israel and Sunni-Arab states, he has already prepared for it, and is waiting for it to break out.

A wider Middle East war is not something he fears, it is something he expects to occur. And he talks of it like is simply unavoidable, as though the only choice now is to fight the wide war, by more use of the pre-emptive attacks doctrine.

For the record, here are the key WoT and WoI quotes from the State Of The Union :

"We enter the year 2007 with large endeavors underway, and others that are ours to begin...

* * * * * * * * *

With the distance of time, we find ourselves debating the causes of conflict and the course we have followed. Such debates are essential when a great democracy faces great questions. Yet one question has surely been settled: that to win the war on terror we must take the fight to the enemy. (Applause.)

From the start, America and our allies have protected our people by staying on the offense. The enemy knows that the days of comfortable sanctuary, easy movement, steady financing, and free flowing communications are long over. For the terrorists, life since 9/11 has never been the same.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

In the mind of the terrorist, this war began well before September the 11th, and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled. And these past five years have given us a much clearer view of the nature of this enemy.

Al Qaeda and its followers are Sunni extremists, possessed by hatred and commanded by a harsh and narrow ideology. Take almost any principle of civilization, and their goal is the opposite. They preach with threats, instruct with bullets and bombs, and promise paradise for the murder of the innocent.

Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions. They want to overthrow moderate governments, and establish safe havens from which to plan and carry out new attacks on our country.

By killing and terrorizing Americans, they want to force our country to retreat from the world and abandon the cause of liberty. They would then be free to impose their will and spread their totalitarian ideology.

Listen to this warning from the late terrorist Zarqawi: "We will sacrifice our blood and bodies to put an end to your dreams, and what is coming is even worse."

Osama bin Laden declared: "Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us."

These men are not given to idle words, and they are just one camp in the Islamist radical movement.

In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah -- a group second only to al Qaeda in the American lives it has taken.

The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat. Whatever slogans they chant, when they slaughter the innocent they have the same wicked purposes. They want to kill Americans, kill democracy in the Middle East, and gain the weapons to kill on an even more horrific scale.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This war is more than a clash of arms -- it is a decisive ideological struggle, and the security of our nation is in the balance. To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred, and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and to come and kill us. What every terrorist fears most is human freedom

-- societies where men and women make their own choices, answer to their own conscience, and live by their hopes instead of their resentments. Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies -- and most will choose a better way when they're given a chance. So we advance our own security interests by helping moderates and reformers and brave voices for democracy. The great question of our day is whether America will help men and women in the Middle East to build free societies and share in the rights of all humanity. And I say, for the sake of our own security, we must. (Applause.)

In the last two years, we've seen the desire for liberty in the broader Middle East -- and we have been sobered by the enemy's fierce reaction.

In 2005, the world watched as the citizens of Lebanon raised the banner of the Cedar Revolution, they drove out the Syrian occupiers and chose new leaders in free elections.

In 2005, the people of Afghanistan defied the terrorists and elected a democratic legislature. And in 2005, the Iraqi people held three national elections, choosing a transitional government, adopting the most progressive, democratic constitution in the Arab world, and then electing a government under that constitution.

Despite endless threats from the killers in their midst, nearly 12 million Iraqi citizens came out to vote in a show of hope and solidarity that we should never forget.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics, and in 2006 they struck back.

In Lebanon, assassins took the life of Pierre Gemayel, a prominent participant in the Cedar Revolution.

Hezbollah terrorists, with support from Syria and Iran, sowed conflict in the region and are seeking to undermine Lebanon's legitimately elected government.

In Afghanistan, Taliban and al Qaeda fighters tried to regain power by regrouping and engaging Afghan and NATO forces.

In Iraq, al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists blew up one of the most sacred places in Shia Islam -- the Golden Mosque of Samarra. This atrocity, directed at a Muslim house of prayer, was designed to provoke retaliation from Iraqi Shia -- and it succeeded. Radical Shia elements, some of whom receive support from Iran, formed death squads. The result was a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues to this day.

This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we're in. Every one of us wishes this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk.

Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. Let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory.

We're carrying out a new strategy in Iraq -- a plan that demands more from Iraq's elected government, and gives our forces in Iraq the reinforcements they need to complete their mission. Our goal is a democratic Iraq that upholds the rule of law, respects the rights of its people, provides them security, and is an ally in the war on terror.

In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So we're deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq.

The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighborhoods, and serve as advisers embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces will help secure the city by chasing down the terrorists, insurgents, and the roaming death squads.

And in Anbar Province, where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them, we're sending an additional 4,000 United States Marines, with orders to find the terrorists and clear them out. (Applause.) We didn't drive al Qaeda out of their safe haven in Afghanistan only to let them set up a new safe haven in a free Iraq.

The people of Iraq want to live in peace, and now it's time for their government to act. Iraq's leaders know that our commitment is not open-ended. They have promised to deploy more of their own troops to secure Baghdad -- and they must do so. They pledged that they will confront violent radicals of any faction or political party -- and they need to follow through, and lift needless restrictions on Iraqi and coalition forces, so these troops can achieve their mission of bringing security to all of the people of Baghdad.

Iraq's leaders have committed themselves to a series of benchmarks -- to achieve reconciliation, to share oil revenues among all of Iraq's citizens, to put the wealth of Iraq into the rebuilding of Iraq, to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's civic life, to hold local elections, and to take responsibility for security in every Iraqi province. But for all of this to happen, Baghdad must be secure. And our plan will help the Iraqi government take back its capital and make good on its commitments.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides.

We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country -- and in time, the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.

For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective.

Chaos is the greatest ally -- their greatest ally in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm America.

Ladies and gentlemen, nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East, to succeed in Iraq and to spare the American people from this danger.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The United Nations has imposed sanctions on Iran, and made it clear that the world will not allow the regime in Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons.

With the other members of the Quartet -- the U.N., the European Union, and Russia -- we're pursuing diplomacy to help bring peace to the Holy Land, and pursuing the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security.

In Afghanistan, NATO has taken the lead in turning back the Taliban and al Qaeda offensive -- the first time the Alliance has deployed forces outside the North Atlantic area. Together with our partners in China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, we're pursuing intensive diplomacy to achieve a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bush Now Faces An All Too Real Republican Revolt

From the UK Guardian's Comment Is Free (excerpts) :

Sidney Blumenthal
When the hopelessly prodigal son mounts the podium to deliver his sixth State of the Union address, seated behind him will be the parents he never had: the good mother, caring yet demanding responsibility, and the bad father, granting license for misadventure. As he evades and rebuffs the speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, President Bush clings to the vice-president, Dick Cheney, as his permissive authority figure.

...Bush has decided that public opinion is no longer a factor that concerns him. Every other president coping with the hazards of war, from Lincoln to Nixon, strained to manage public support. At a similar stage in the Nixon presidency, Nixon was drunk, speaking to the portraits on the White House walls, and forcing Henry Kissinger to pray with him on his knees.

With the public hardening and broadening its opposition to his policy, Bush has simply cut himself off from its opinion. He has abandoned caring what the country thinks, except in his imagined end of the story, where he is the victor. For now, he will escalate as he pleases, blessed by Cheney.

"Have you read about Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam? Do you draw any lessons from that?" a reporter from USA Today asked the president in an interview published on Monday. In response Bush telescoped the entire tragic history of the Vietnam war and Johnson's agonies into slogans, slurring Johnson's patriotism in order to create a contrast with his own.

"Yes, win," he replied. "Win, when you're in a battle for the security ... if it has to do with the security of your country, you win."

In another interview a week earlier, on January 14, on CBS's 60 Minutes, Bush repelled any suggestion of responsibility for error in his Iraq policy. He located the lack of public support in the United States in the insufficient thanks offered by the Iraqis. "Do you think you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?" asked correspondent Scott Pelley.

"That we didn't do a better job or they didn't do a better job?" replied the president.

"Well, that the United States did not do a better job in providing security after the invasion."

"Not at all," said Bush. "I am proud of the efforts we did. We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude, and I believe most Iraqis express that. I mean the people understand that we've endured great sacrifice to help them. That's the problem here in America. They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that's significant enough in Iraq."

Two days later, Gianni Magazzeni, the chief of the UN assistance mission for Iraq, declared that 34,452 Iraqi civilians had been killed and 36,685 wounded in 2006.

As Bush's popularity continued to plummet, Cheney appeared on January 14 on Fox News to wave away the polls.

"I've seen embattled administrations, and this isn't one of them."

On the podium, as Bush confronts his first Democratic Congress, the state of the parties could not be more sharply divergent. In a little more than the two weeks since the new Congress was sworn in, Pelosi has commandingly dispelled nearly every stereotype about the Democrats that was propagated in the campaigns against them while they were out of power.

The Republican party, disoriented by defeat, its leadership unable to whip its troops into line without the incentives of entrenched power, and crushed by Bush's unpopularity, has turned into a scene from bedlam.

Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who is rumoured to be thinking of retiring, called Bush's policy "Alice in Wonderland".

Another Republican facing re-election, Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota, said, "I just don't believe this makes sense," adding that he would "stand against" Bush's Iraq policy.

On Monday, Senator John Warner of Virginia, the ranking Republican on the armed forces committee, introduced a resolution opposing Bush's "surge" (co-sponsored by Coleman and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine).

"I personally, speaking for myself, have great concern about the American GI being thrust into that situation, the origins of which sometimes go back over a thousand years," Warner said.

When Republicans in Congress see Bush, they are staring into the abyss.

Oblivious to realities in Iraq, Bush is also increasingly oblivious to political realities at home.

Herbert Hoover, acclaimed as the most talented and skilful man of his time, was incapable of rising above his narrow perspectives in the face of the Depression, and his stubborn limitations marked his party for two generations.

Bush views his State of the Union speech as another occasion for declaring what he will do regardless of what anyone thinks (with Cheney's approval).

His intention is not to report on the state of the union. It is to express his state of indifference to the union.

The Whole Piece Is Worth A Read, For The Nixon Juxtapositions Alone
52% Want Bush To Pull Troops Out Of Iraq Before Taking More Casualties, Before Civil Order Is Restored To Iraq

Bush Goes Into State Of The Union Speech With America's Confidence In His Ability To Lead The Nation At Home And At War At An All-Time Low

None of the press cons or addresses to the nations or supremely high-energy spin machinry of the White House in the past few months have managed to change the minds of Americans.

For the first time in his presidency, major speeches and addresses have failed to see a boost in his favourability or confidence ratings. The numbers continue to drop.

He is rating almost as badly as Nixon (only a few percentage points away) during the heights of the Watergate scandal, and the extended, and still bloody, pullout from Vietnam.

It is an utterly remarkable time for Bush, comparable to any history changing crisis to have faced any president since Washington.

The images pouring from the television screens on Iraq, and the corpses flowing back home, just blot out anything Bush has to say to his people. He cannot compete with the reality of the war he wanted, and got.

They think their president is a loser, and that he is losing the War On iraq.

With two years still to go before he empties the drawers of the desk built from the timbers of the Resolute, it appears there is nothing, not even a withdrawal from Iraq, that will now change their minds about their president.

And unlike 9/11, a major terrorist attack will likely make Americans trust him less, not more.

Two years to go, with some of the worst numbers in presidential history.

65% of Americans are now totally opposed to his key plan in 'winning' the War On Iraq : sending in more troops.

A mere 21% of Americans think Bush is leading the country down the right track.

71% think Bush is leading them all down the wrong track : towards greater danger, death and destruction.

For the first time, more than half of all Americans, 52%, want Bush to withdraw the troops instead of taking more casualties and staying until civil order is restored to Iraq.

From the Washington Post :

President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday at the weakest point of his presidency, facing deep public dissatisfaction over his Iraq war policies and eroding confidence in his leadership, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

With a major confrontation between Congress and the president brewing over Iraq, Americans overwhelmingly oppose Bush's plan to send an additional 21,500 troops to the conflict. By wide margins, they prefer that congressional Democrats, who now hold majorities in both chambers, rather than the president, take the lead in setting the direction for the country.

Iraq dominates the national agenda, with 48 percent of Americans calling the war the single most important issue they want Bush and the Congress to deal with this year.

No other issue rises out of single digits. The poll also found that the public trusts congressional Democrats over Bush to deal with the conflict by a margin of 60 percent to 33 percent.

The Post-ABC poll shows that 65 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops to Iraq; it was 61 percent immediately after the president unveiled the plan on Jan. 10 in a nationally televised address.

More broadly, Bush will be speaking on Tuesday night to a nation that is deeply pessimistic, with just 26 percent of Americans saying the country is heading in the right direction and 71 percent saying the country is seriously off track. That is the worst these ratings have been in more than a decade.

Bush's overall approval rating in the new poll is 33 percent, matching the lowest it has been in Post-ABC polls since he took office in 2001. Sixty-five percent say they disapprove. Equally telling is the finding that 51 percent of Americans now strongly disapprove of his performance in office, the worst rating of his presidency. Just 17 percent strongly approve of the way he is handling his job.

Only two presidents have had lower approval ratings on the eve of a State of the Union speech. Richard Nixon was at 26 percent in 1974, seven months before he resigned in disgrace because of the Watergate scandal. Harry S. Truman was at 23 percent in January 1952, driven down by public disapproval of the Korean conflict and his firing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

Just 29 percent approve of Bush's handling of the Iraq war, which is only one percentage point off his career low recorded a month ago, and 70 percent disapprove. Similarly, Bush's approval rating on handling terrorism is at a near-low, with just 46 percent giving him positive marks and 52 percent negative.

Just 42 percent say he can be trusted in a crisis, with 56 percent saying he cannot -- the first time a majority has given him a negative rating on a crucial element of presidential leadership. Only 45 percent call him a strong leader, which is also the lowest mark of his presidency. His previous low, 47 percent, came two months after Katrina ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

But the negative assessments of the president continue to stem overwhelmingly from public attitudes about Iraq. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say it was a mistake to go to war there, the highest negative response since the war began. And 55 percent of Americans now say the president has not made the country safer, the first time a majority of the country has reached that conclusion.

Another first-time majority, 52 percent, would prefer to see U.S. forces withdrawn from Iraq to avoid further casualties rather than leaving them until civil order is restored. The poll did not ask about a timetable for such a withdrawal.

Many Americans see Bush falling short of many of the goals he has outlined for his Iraq policy. Just 28 percent say it has contributed to long-term peace and stability in the region, and only 36 percent think it has encouraged the spread of democracy to other Arab countries. At this point, the public is evenly divided on the question of whether the war has made the lives of Iraqi citizens better.

Woodward On Bush And The State Of The Union

Legendary Washington Post investigative reporter, Bob Woodward, took questions from the public in an online Q & A the day Bush delivered his 2007 State Of The Union speech.

Here's some of his thoughts on Bush today, the War In Iraq, and what the last two years in the White House may hold for him..

We've paraphrased the questions posed to Woodward, but you can read them all in full here :

If Bush sees the outcome of the Iraq War as his legacy, at what point of ongoing disaster, would volatile and rebellious Republicans go to Bush and tell him to change course?

Woodward : That is a great question, and a similar situation occured in August 1974, when Sen. Barry Goldwater went to the White House to tell then-President Richard Nixon that he would be impeached and certainly removed from office in a Senate vote.

Within 24 hours, Nixon announced he was going to resign.

If this gets to be a similar situation as the Iraq War becomes graver and the situation further deteriorates, the question is, Who is the conscience of the Republican party?

Sen. John Warner, the Republican from Virginia who until recently headed the Senate Armed Services Committee, is already challenging the president's policy.

The big question mark is Senator McCain and other Republican leaders.

Is it true that Bush has some deep and troubling psychological problesm when it comes to accepting responsibility for failure in Iraq?

Woodward : People who strongly oppose the war don't necessarily want to hear this, but I have interviewed Bush for hours on the question of the Iraq war and there is a lot of idealism driving his decisions.

He told me in late 2003, nine months after the invasion, "I believe we have a duty to free people" -- to liberate and bring democracy to other countries.

He jumped in his chair in the Oval Office when he said this. The problem is, as I pointed out in my book, "State of Denial," he has not told the truth about what Iraq had become as the insurgent violence and sectarian violence have gotten totally out of hand.

If Bush continues to disagree the feelings and will of the American people, what can he hope to accomplish in his final two years in the White House?

Woodward : He has a very hard road ahead of him, particularly on Iraq.

The challenge in Iraq is not just to show progress but to clearly define some sort of exit strategy or timeline because the political system in this country will not continue to tolerate such an unpopular war with such high casualties.

The political system at some point -- and no one knows when that might be -- will force a new, different resolution unless things get better. That may not be until January 2009, when a new president takes office. Under the Constitution, that's the one thing Bush, his admirers and his detractors can count on.

If the new "surge" troop inscrease fails, will Congress move to censore the president?

Woodward : I haven't heard much talk at all about censure.

A formal censure of a president or commander in chief at a time of war would be to my knowledge unheard of. But maybe somewhere in the past there have been such actions.

I think it more likely that the hydraulics in the political system will create so much pressure that the president himself would alter course. But we'll have to wait and see.

Key Quote From Woodward : All the polling and discussions that I've seen show that the Iraq war is Topic A, B and C in the country,

Why did Bush do a 180 when it comes to "nation building"? He said in 200, repeatedly, that the United States should not be in the business of "nation building"...

Woodward : I've spent a number of years examining this question, and in Bush's mind, 9/11 did change everything. It is the pivot point of his presidency, and he argues either convincingly or unconvincingly that as president, it is his chief responsibility to protect the country.

After 9/11, Bush and his war cabinet examined the question: What are the lessons we should learn from 9/11? The lesson the president, the vice president and others took away was simply "take care of threats early."

In 2002-2003, the president deemed Saddam Hussein a significant threat. The available evidence shows that Bush believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

We now know that Saddam didn't, and that has pulled the carpet out from under Bush's core argument. The Iraq war is controversial not just because it has been long and violent and seemingly unending, but that the basic rationale disappeared.

This is a reality the president has only acknowledged very reluctantly.

How has this administration defined "winning" or "victory" in Iraq?

Woodward: It's not at all clear, and that's one of the problems in the war. On a common-sense level, victory in a war is the sort of thing that you know it when you see it, but this war may be so complex and entangled in other Middle East, terrorism and domestic political debates that we won't recognize it if we ever see it.

Several years ago, someone in the administration suggested to me that the president should have declared victory at the end of 2003 and simply said the two main goals have been achieved: Saddam Hussein is out of power and there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. As time goes on, that look like a better and better exit strategy.

Bush has serious lame duck status, and is regarded as the worst president since Nixon. What is the point of the State Of The Union address? Is it just pomp and protocol?

Woodward: President George W. Bush still holds office, and if there's anything we've learned over the last decades, it's that the president has incredible, real power, so everything the chief executive says, intends and actually does is at the center of what's happening.

I don't think Bush is overjoyed with the low poll ratings, but I also suspect he doesn't brood about them in the way some other presidents might have.

Recall after the Baker-Hamilton report, the debate was, how are we going to start withdrawing troops from Iraq? But Bush surprised everyone except those who know him by deciding to add troops.

So he still has the job and can make important decisions, but tonight is probably going to be mostly theater.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Online Poll : 87% Of Americans Demand The President Be Impeached

Almost 400,000 people voted in the online MSNBC poll today on whether or not Bush should be impeached. And close to 90% of all respondents said "Yes".

This is not a good look at all for the President. Nor is it a good look for the Democrats, who've made it very clear, once they won the mid-term elections, that they will not be seeking the impeachment of President Bush.

There is plenty of post-election analysis that claims online campaigning played a healthy role in getting the Democrats control of the Senate. Campaigning by the candidates, and by the thousands of blogs and hundreds of websites that were devoted to throwing as many Republicans out of the chamber as possible.

And this is where a major problem for the Democrats begins. Impeaching President Bush was a key firestarter for many online discussions and blog posts from pro-Democrats sites. Along with the Iraq War, of course. But these very same sites now have plenty of regular comments such as "When are the Dems going to live up to their election promise and impeach Bush?" and "Impeach Bush Now! Why are we waiting?"

The Democrats, in particular the new Speaker of the House Pelosi, quickly tried to dismiss all talk of a Bush Impeachment when she picked up her gavel, after a few weeks (post-election) clearly stating this was not part of their immediate agenda.

But, if the poll is an accurate reflection of even a small slice of the American public, then there are tens of millions of Americans, if not more than 100 million, who still want that 'promised' impeachment to go ahead.

Online polls are not accurate, they are open to stacking and corruption, but the below poll is a hell of a visual message for the millions who access MSNBC online every day, along with the tens of millions who will now see these poll results via friends e-mails or the wealth of anti-Bush blogs and websites and plenty of other mainstream and independent media.

From MSNBC :

Do you believe President Bush's actions justify impeachment?

* 392339 responses

Yes, between the secret spying, the deceptions leading to war and more, there is plenty to justify putting him on trial.
No, like any president, he has made a few missteps, but nothing approaching "high crimes and misdemeanors."
No, the man has done absolutely nothing wrong. Impeachment would just be a political lynching.
I don't know.
Not a scientific survey. Click to learn more. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.

I'll add in closing that the "Yes" question is accurate, but a loaded one all the same.

Why put "secret spying" first?

It's a fact that most Americans who wanted, and want, Bush impeached are more interested in seeing him frog-marched from the White House before January, 2008, for the Iraq War lies, deceptions and half-truths alone.

Fascinating, and alarming. For Bush, anyway. And the Democrats.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Not Just Bad, Evil, Wrong, Misguided...

It's Unacceptable X 3

The Chicago Tribune runs a blog post on just some of the things that Bush has found, and cited as, "unacceptable" in the past few years.

It's clearly one of his favourite words, and it's a powerful choice. No doubt courtesy of Karl Rove, a master of words and a visionary when it comes to using the power of a phrase or just a single word to exert power and influence on the human mind.

By calling an act or situation or environment "unacceptable", President Bush casts a moral judgement and appears ready to act, to change the situation, to make the unacceptable into acceptable.

By the use of this single word, Bush gives a powerful impression that he is already working to rectify the problems he has cited as unacceptable.

Below are some of the multitude of events, situations, environments and political positions that Bush has deemed worthy of being anointed with one of his favourite words.

Taking a shot at promising to lower the shocking murder rate in the United States :
"...this is unacceptable in America. It's just unacceptable. And we're going to do something about it. " - May, 2001.
Hurricane Katrina's federal government relief efforts were unacceptable.
".... many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need, especially in New Orleans. And that is unacceptable." September 23, 2005
Violence in the Middle East, then and now, so bad it get the triple treatment :
"We will continue to work with the international community to make it clear that some of the behavior in the Middle East is unacceptable. The development of a nuclear weapon is unacceptable. Harboring terrorists, or providing safe haven for terrorists is unacceptable.'' - February 17, 2005
"...there is terror on the one hand and hopelessness on the other, and that's unacceptable.'' - June 26, 2002

"We reaffirm our unequivocal condemnation of all terrorist acts, considering terrorism and any form of violence an absolutely unacceptable means for achieving political goals." - May 24, 2002.

The situation on the ground in Iraq clearly is unacceptable all over the place.
, "...by September 2004, the terrorists and insurgents had basically seized control of Tal Afar. We recognized the situation was unacceptable." - March 20, 2006
Even before the war began.
"...when it comes to confronting the growing danger posed by Iraq's efforts to develop or acquire weapons of mass destruction, the status quo is totally unacceptable." - September 14, 2002.
Iran thinking about nuclear weapons was worth three unacceptables in one sentence.
"...the idea of Iran having a nuclear weapon is unacceptable, and it's unacceptable to the United States and it's unacceptable to nations we're working with in the United Nations to send a common message.'' - October 27, 2006.
North Korea thinking about nuclear weapons was unacceptable in 2001 and 2002.

North Korea threatening to test nuclear weapons in 2003 was unacceptable.

When North Korea actually tested a nuclear device?
"...the proclaimed actions taken by North Korea are unacceptable and deserve an immediate response by the United Nations Security Council.'' - October 29, 2006.
The violence spreading through Africa?
"...genocide in Sudan is unacceptable.'' - April 28, 2006
Same sex marriage? Unacceptable.

Low quality schooling in the United States?
"...that's unacceptable. It's unacceptable to the Mayor, it's unacceptable to the City Council, it's unacceptable to Peggy, it's unacceptable, most importantly, to the parents." - July 27, 2003.
The word has always been there, littering Bush speeches and press conferences like an old familiar safety valve. Which is, of course, exactly what it is.

It was in one of his first speeches as president, on February 12, 2001, talking to American soldiers at Fort Stewart about the poor state of their pay, their housing and their equipment :

"This is not the way a great nation should reward courage and idealism...It's ungrateful, it's unwise and, it is unacceptable.''

And it tripped from his lips only last week, during the televised address to nation on the state of the Iraq War :
"The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people -- and it is unacceptable to me,''

Saying this or that is unacceptable is acknowledgement of a problem and veiled promise of coming rectification. Even if the promise is to a fix a problem that doesn't exist. Like Saddam threatening the United States with weapons of mass destruction.

Bush uses the word "unacceptable" like a weapon. A political blowtorch to cut through the muck clinging to the most important issues of the days.

But, his favourite word is also much more than that. It is a one word summation of the most famous call-to-action, dread-threat from his father, former president George HW Bush, who said of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 :
"This aggression will not stand."
But Bush's word is faster, clearer, more concise, and it trumps his father's most quotable quote.

George W. Bush and Karl Rove knew from the dark days of the shattering loss suffered by the old man to Bill Clinton in 1992 that the former president had been seen as weak, as wishy-washy, as indecisive and, God forbid, a flip-flopper.

The marketing of the 2nd Bush Presidency, from the day it began to the day it dies, had to be one that was templed on strength and decisive action, following from decisive words.

That the words "Bush" and "weak" had formed an association in the minds of the American public in 1992 was just one of the many elements of his father's presidency that the son clearly found, well, unacceptable.

Bush's plans for Iraq, for Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, for improving medicare and social security and school education may all be faltering, or failed, but Bush will continue to keep the language strong.

So you will be hearing many more "unacceptables" from the president in 2007.

Unfortunately, the greatest use of the word will probably be found in conjunction with discussions on the violence of Iraq and the weakness and instability of the democratically elected Maliki government.

A commenter on the same blog points out one important "Unacceptable" the writer missed, from a September 15, 2006 press conference :

"If there's any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it's flawed logic. I simply can't accept that. It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective."

This is one of the many occasions in 2006 when Bush stated, not so clearly in the above, that he finds certain beliefs and thoughts as unacceptable as deeds and actions, particularly when it comes to terrorism.

When the thoughts inside a person's head become targets in the War On Terror, then we have truly gone into the land beyond the beyond.

And yet, thought crimes are already becoming a reality in the United States. A hate speech bill has already been drafted and circulated and the Democrats are finding much support from Republicans to get anti-hate speech legislation passed.

It remains to be seen whether or not the global War On Terror will allow crimes of opinion and belief to be pursued as enthusiastically as physical acts of terrorism.

Does this mean the Coalition of the Willing will eventually be pursuing acts of psychological terrorism?

Some days, when Bush talks about the "evil ideology" and "the ideology of evil" it appears as though we are already doing exactly that.

Go Here To Read The Chicago Tribune Story

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Wouldn't You Cry, Too?

You're the President of the United States.

Your country is locked into a war that no-one, really, anymore, believes you can win.

You have met, privately, with the family members of at least one third of the men and women who have died in the war you insisted, for reasons that don't even make sense anymore, had to be fought.

You were surrounded by people who told you it would be "a cake walk", that "Americans would be greeted with flowers and sweets" and that the country you invaded was crying out for all that was good and true and right about America.

You look around today, and most of the people who were there with you, in the dark hours after 9/11, who said, "Yes, Mr President, we must do Iraq", you look around, and most of them aren't there anymore. There's Condi. God bless Condi, but she too was caught up in the filth that flowed in those darkest days. One day, people will read of how she held you in the darkest hours of the darkest days, held you as only a true friend can. You cried then, but you cry more now.

You know it was always a lie, that real men didn't cry. It was illusion. And it made it harder for you to cope when the tears started to come. Because it wasn't supposed to be that way. This was not what men did. At least, that's what you were always taught.

You wished you had been stronger, that you didn't listen to all those voices, all those people, all those front pages stories saying that what you were going to do was the right thing to do. That it was necessary. To do Iraq. To get rid of Saddam.

You did it for your own reasons, too, of course. You did it to become the legend. To make the dream of a world ruled by freedom and democracy a reality. How were you to know that it could never be? That it was all a fantasy? These were supposed to be the best minds in America. The brightest of all the shining stars. But they didn't know anything more than you in the end.

And you did it to show them all. All those who said you were a loser. From the days when your dynasty of privilege and opportunity offered you the world, but locked you out of it as well.

And you did it, in the end, to avenge your father. Or did you do it to show the old man?

To say to him, "Look, I can finish what you started. I can set these people free."

But he shakes his head at you now and says you don't understand, you never understood, this is not the way the world works, there is no black or white, or even shades of grey. The complexity of all would melt the mind of anyone man who tried to take it all in.

But how you were supposed to know that?

He never told you. He never wanted to tell you anything. Only until it was too late. And then he sent in his old friends. But he felt shame when he thought of you. That you could come from him. But who was he? A living joke, when you were the rising star.

Life was easy, for a long time. Drink some beers, have some lunch, go watch your baseball team play a game, chew some tobacco right there in the bleachers, next to your wife. Man, you were king of the world back then. Well, King of Texas, anyway. And that was all the world you knew, and that was all the world you needed to know.

But it's not then, it's now.


And you wonder, you wonder...

Like anyone would wonder.

What happened?

What the fuck happened?

How did it all go so fucking wrong?

This is now. This is your world. Your country. Your people. Your war.

And you're trying to get it right, in the time you have left.

You want to get it right. You would give your life like Jesus to get this right. To make it good.

God told you, this was the right thing to do. That when he said Love, he meant Freedom. That's what you wanted to give to the world as your gift as the most powerful man on the planet.

But your dreams lie in ruins now.

Your world has turned dark. Your dad isn't well. He doesn't understand why you did what you did. He warned you about those people. All those who told you were right, that you would be remembered as greater than George Washington. One day. If only you did what they said.

Get him. Get Saddam. Take his country. Kill them all.

Greater than Washington?

Not now.

Not ever, now.

And they want you gone.

All those who told you you had to do this. That you had to seize the moment in history provided by 9/11 to change the future. They want you gone in the worst way. Because everyday you're still there, you remind them of their own failings. Of their own hatred and their pitiful fancy, and their shame, and egret.

If they even know how to feel shame and regret.

They want you gone so bad, you don't even know if you will make it to your last days, if you will even be alive in January, 2009.

How can two hundred million Americans hate you so much?

Don't they understand? You're not God. You're just...you. The one who was not supposed to succeed. Who was not supposed to become President. You were written off before you even got out of high school. You drank too much, you did too many drugs, you made so many mistakes, but you got your shot at the golden fleece.

The greatest prize in history.

You were so close. Like a god on earth, maybe. For a few weeks perhaps.

So close.

And now it's all gone. All gone.

You dream about the Americans who died in Iraq, in Afghanistan, like you dream about all those other talented, brilliant young people who were engaged in black budget activities that never reached the newspapers, the successes and the failures, all those who will never be granted medals, or even recognised by name for the ways they tried to change the future. Tried to change the world. Like you did.

You keep going back to George Washington.

You keep returning to the same books. Re-reading them, trying to find something in those words, in that history, in those legendary days of the 1770s to guide you now. God isn't there anymore. You call to him, but there's no answer. Not like before.

You pray to Washington now. He was written off, like you are now, nobody believed he could turn it all around and defeat those who were unbeatable. But he did it. He proved them all wrong. And he changed the world forever.

Can you do this now?

Can you make it?

Can you prove them all wrong?

Are you strong enough?

You cry today for that young man, that brave young man who saw a grenade in the street and threw his helmet on it, and then blocked the rest of the blast with his chest. He died back home, with his parents by his side.

That poor kid. He died to save his friends, not only from death, but from shrapnel wounds. How brave is that? You cry because you don't know if you would have done the same thing in the place of the man whose family you just gave a medal to.

You want to cry?

Of course you want to cry.

What man wouldn't.

To see all this horror, and to know it is your own making.

They won't blame Saddam.

Not in two hundred years.

They won't blame Richard Perle and Frank Gaffney Jnr and Karl Rove and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, and all those who signed their names to that fantasyland doctrine in the late 1990s.

Their names will fade.

Some of them, some of those who cried loudest for war against Iraq, their names are already forgotten. They've gone back to being nobody fuck-alls and the nothings they were before you let them walk the halls of the White House and get a lend of your ear.

But your name, George W. Bush, it is your name that will be remembered in the centuries to come.

You are already the most famous President of the United States. Ever.

The poor, starving masses huddled in mud huts in the middle of bone-dry, food-bare Africa, and their equivalents in all the regions of the world, they don't know who the fuck Lincoln and Washington were.

But they know your name.

Oh yeah, they know who you are.

And they blame you for everything.


So you cry now. You cry now for all the dead American soldiers, and all the dead Iraqis and Afghans, and all those dead Somalis from this week as well. You weep for them all. And you cry for your country, and the wars to come, in far off lands, and the wars to come at home.

It won't end well.

There will be more horror to come. For everyone.

And for you, too.

If they let you live that long.

Someone has to pay. Someone always has to pay. To clean the slate. To restore the balance. To clear the halls of the ghosts. To let the world breathe a sigh of relief.

To start at the beginning, to begin again.

Did you give it your all? Did you give it your best shot?

Did you do it better than your dad?

He cries now, too.

But not with you.

So you cry alone, when everyone else has gone home.

God will forgive you.

Some of the mothers of the dead have already forgiven you.

But will America forgive you?

You want to make it end.

But even you can't stop it now.

And so it must go.

As it always goes.

So it goes.

This brutal war.

So it goes.

Bush Sheds Tears For Fallen Marine

In Baghdad, Bush Policy Is Met With Resentment

Bush's Approval Ratings Hit New Low

Bush Left Stranded In Fight For Iraq

"US Reinforcements Will Go Home In Coffins"

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Big Bush Push In Iraq Sees The President Fronting An 'Insurgency' Against His Own Generals

Even before President Bush unveils 'The New Way Forward' in Iraq, in a speech later tonight, it is clear that he is going to act directly against the advice of America's most powerful generals.

In a nation where almost 50% of the annual budget goes to the military, Bush is, thereby, fighting his own insurgency against the wishes of men not used to having presidents and public officials telling them not only that they are they wrong, but their advice no longer influences the final decisions of The Decider In Chief.

Yes, Bush clearly listens to the The Generals, but it is also clear that he has an agenda that will not be swayed, nor negatively influenced, by the men in control of the nation's armed forces.

Bush likes to muse on how historians will view his presidency, still believing that the long-term view will be more positive than negative, as in decades hence a democratic Iraq that has risen from the ashes and scorched bones of a civil war will be viewed as something nigh on miraculous.

But this day, today, the unveiling of the 'New Way Forward' will be the event viewed as one of the most pivotal events of his presidency.
Certainly, the most important day of his second term. Today is the day that history will prove whether or not Bush made choices that won the War On Iraq, or lost it decisively.

The speech itself is unlikely to be remarkable, and most of the details appear to have already been well and truly leaked days ahead of his announcements (with or without his silent permission).

But it is in the action of telling The Generals, "You may be right, but I don't care, I will do as I believe I must," that Bush sets himself up to face the very real chance of a military wide mutiny.

An unlikely mutiny, no doubt, but no president has faced such opposition from so many high-ranking military dons since the imperial wars of the late 1800s and early 1900s. And it is solidly credible opposition, backed up by the swollen ranks of furious retired generals, who rightly feel aggrieved and betrayed by the Rovian discrediting of their opinions and experiences in 2005 and 2006.

The below piece from the Washington Post explores some of these issues, though pulls back from discussing the mutinuous wave of dissent spreading fast and vastly through the US military ranks, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and perhaps most importantly on the homefront.

For it is amongst the National Guard and Army Reserve ranks who are now being told to get ready for an Iraq deployment (thousands of them for the second time) that the reality of the mutiny may now manifest.
What happens when Bush says, "Deploy the Guard, deploy the Reserves," and the Guard and Rserves say "No, we won't be doing that. Sorry, Mr President."

With some polls stating that up to 75% of Americans not favouring an escalation of the war, for that is exactly what 'The New Way Forward' is, a mutiny in the Guard and Reserves would win the solid backing of the greater American public, and leave the NeoCons and the Republican media in the nightmarish lands of being forced to attack the very military they have championed, near ceaselessly, and without criticism, since 9/11.

Bush's plan will have to be something special. Something visionary, bold and one that favours less casualties and body bags for the American soldiers in the front lines.

We will hazard a guess that it is likely to feature details of how Iraq must take responsibility for its own security. Not later. Now. Within months.

The withdrawal of US Forces will depend on how likely it is that Bush will face an uprising amongst his own fighting forces, with, as stated, the solid support of the American public.

If Bush faces not enough opposition, not enough harsh reality, then American troops could stay in Iraq for a decade more.

The rage of the American public, and the mutiny of the armed forces, would have to be very real, very dangerous, and very likely to topple the presidency before Bush decides to abandon American bases in Iraq, and leave trillions of dollars worth of oil to the Russians, the French, the Chinese and, most importantly, the Iranians.

From the Washington Post (excerpts) :

When President Bush goes before the American people tonight to outline his new strategy for Iraq, he will be doing something he has avoided since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003: ordering his top military brass to take action they initially resisted and advised against.

Bush talks frequently of his disdain for micromanaging the war effort and for second-guessing his commanders. "It's important to trust the judgment of the military when they're making military plans," he told The Washington Post in an interview last month. "I'm a strict adherer to the command structure."

But over the past two months, as the security situation in Iraq has deteriorated and U.S. public support for the war has dropped, Bush has pushed back against his top military advisers and the commanders in Iraq...

John P. Abizaid, the outgoing head of Central Command, said less than two months ago that adding U.S. troops was not the answer for Iraq.

Bush's decision appears to mark the first major disagreement between the White House and key elements of the Pentagon over the Iraq war since Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, then the Army chief of staff, split with the administration in the spring of 2003 over the planned size of the occupation force, which he regarded as too small.

It may also be a sign of increasing assertiveness from a commander in chief described by former aides as relatively passive about questioning the advice of his military advisers. In going for more troops, Bush is picking an option that seems to have little favor beyond the White House and a handful of hawks on Capitol Hill and in think tanks who have been promoting the idea almost since the time of the invasion.

There is little question that more troops for Iraq seemed far from the conventional wisdom in Washington after the beating Bush and the Republican Party took in the midterm elections Nov. 7.

Indeed, when Bush met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Amman, Jordan, on Nov. 30, Maliki did not ask for more American troops as part of a new Baghdad security plan he presented to Bush, U.S. officials said.

Maliki's idea was to lower the U.S. profile, not raise it. "The message in Amman was that he wanted to take the lead and put an Iraqi face on it. He wanted to control his own forces," said a U.S. official familiar with the visit.

The Joint Chiefs were...worried that sending more troops would set up the U.S. military for an even bigger failure -- with no backup options.

Go Here To Read The Full Story

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Saddam Hussein's Execution Viewed As Mafia-Style Clean-Up Of Another Potential Songbird Who Was Ready To Sing

Few investigate journalists have traced and catalogued the criminality of the Bush Family, and the current President Bush, like Robert Parry has. He broke some of the key stories of the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s, and remains a serious thorn in the side of the Bush dynasty.

In the below opinion piece, Parry takes up a theme explored widely in Arab and Eastern media : that President George W. Bush actively pursued Saddam Hussein and wanted the dictator to be executed, not only for his crimes against humanity, but to stop him singing any dangerous songs about the days when his father, former President George HW Bush, viewed Saddam not as the something close to Satan in human form, but as a powerful, influential ally in the Middle East, and someone that could get things done when it came to containing the Iranians.

In short, Saddam was "a dangerous witness", he knew too much, so he had to be taken out.

From Consortium News (excerpts) :

(Preisdnet Bush) has silenced a unique witness to crucial chapters of the secret history that stretched from Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979 to the alleged American-Saudi “green light” for Hussein to attack Iran in 1980, through the eight years of the Iran-Iraq War during which high-ranking U.S. intermediaries, such as Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates, allegedly helped broker supplies of war materiel for Hussein.

Hussein now won’t be around to give troublesome testimony about how he obtained the chemical and biological agents that his scientists used to produce the unconventional weapons that were deployed against Iranian forces and Iraqi civilians. He can’t give his perspective on who got the money and who facilitated the deals.

Nor will Hussein be available to give his account of the mixed messages delivered by George H.W. Bush’s ambassador April Glaspie before Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Was there another American “green light” or did Hussein just hear what he wanted to hear?

Like the climactic scene from the Mafia movie “Casino” in which nervous Mob bosses eliminate everyone who knows too much, George W. Bush has now guaranteed that there will be no public tribunal where Hussein gives testimony on these potentially devastating historical scandals, which could threaten the Bush Family legacy.

Hussein's hanging followed his trial for executing 148 men and boys from the town of Dujail in 1982 after a foiled assassination attempt on Hussein and his entourage. Hussein's death effectively moots other cases that were supposed to deal with his alleged use of chemical weapons to kill Iraqi civilians and other crimes that might have exposed the U.S. role.

Since stepping into the White House on Jan. 20, 2001, George W. Bush has made it a top priority to conceal the history of his father’s 12 years as Vice President and President and to wrap his own presidency in a thick cloak of secrecy.

One of Bush’s first acts as President was to sign an executive order that blocked the scheduled release of historic records from his father’s years. After the 9/11 attacks, Bush expanded his secrecy mandate to grant his family the power to withhold those documents from the American public in perpetuity, passing down the authority to keep the secrets to future Bush generations.

Already, every document at the George H.W. Bush presidential library must not only be cleared for release by specialists at the National Archives and – if classified – by the affected agencies, but also by the personal representatives of both the senior and junior George Bush.

With their backgrounds in secret societies like Skull and Bones – and with George H.W. Bush’s work at the CIA – the Bushes are keenly aware of the power that comes from controlling information. By keeping crucial facts from the American people, the Bushes feel they can turn the voters into easily manipulated children.

The American people also could demand that the surviving members of Hussein’s regime be fully debriefed on their historical knowledge before their voices also fall silent either from natural causes or additional executions.

But the singular figure who could have put the era in its fullest perspective – and provided the most damning evidence about the Bush Family’s role – has been silenced for good, dropped through a trap door of a gallows and made to twitch at the end of a noose fashioned from hemp.

The White House announced that George W. Bush didn’t wait up for the happy news of Hussein’s hanging. After the U.S. military turned Hussein over to his Iraqi executioners, Bush went to bed at his Crawford, Texas, ranch and slept through the night.

Go Here To Read The Full Story
Papa Bush's Murky Dealings In Oil, The CIA And The Kennedy Assassination

Don't even pretend to be shocked.

From the Real News Project :

Newly released internal CIA documents assert that former president George Herbert Walker Bush's oil company emerged from a 1950's collaboration with a covert CIA officer.

Bush has long denied allegations that he had connections to the intelligence community prior to 1976, when he became Central Intelligence Agency director under President Gerald Ford. At the time, he described his appointment as a 'real shocker.'

But the freshly uncovered memos contend that Bush maintained a close personal and business relationship for decades with a CIA staff employee who, according to those CIA documents, was instrumental in the establishment of Bush's oil venture, Zapata, in the early 1950s, and who would later accompany Bush to Vietnam as a “cleared and witting commercial asset” of the agency.

According to a CIA internal memo dated November 29, 1975, Bush's original oil company, Zapata Petroleum, began in 1953 through joint efforts with Thomas J. Devine, a CIA staffer who had resigned his agency position that same year to go into private business. The '75 memo describes Devine as an “oil wild-catting associate of Mr. Bush.” The memo is attached to an earlier memo written in 1968, which lays out how Devine resumed work for the secret agency under commercial cover beginning in 1963.

“Their joint activities culminated in the establishment of Zapata Oil,” the memo reads. In fact, early Zapata corporate filings do not seem to reflect Devine's role in the company, suggesting that it may have been covert. Yet other documents do show Thomas Devine on the board of an affiliated Bush company, Zapata Offshore, in January, 1965, more than a year after he had resumed work for the spy agency.

It was while Devine was in his new CIA capacity as a commercial cover officer that he accompanied Bush to Vietnam the day after Christmas in 1967, remaining in the country with the newly elected congressman from Texas until January 11, 1968. Whatever information the duo was seeking, they left just in the nick of time. Only three weeks after the two men departed Saigon, the North Vietnamese and their Communist allies launched the Tet offensive with seventy thousand troops pre-positioned in more than 100 cities and towns.

While the elder Bush was in Vietnam with Devine, George W. Bush was making contact with representatives of the Texas Air National Guard, using his father's connections to join up with an elite, Houston-based Guard unit - thus avoiding overseas combat service in a war that the Bushes strongly supported.

The new revelation about George H.W. Bush's CIA friend and fellow Zapata Offshore board member will surely fuel further speculation that Bush himself had his own associations with the agency.

Indeed, Zapata's annual reports portray a bewildering range of global activities, in the Mideast, Asia and the Caribbean (including off Cuba) that seem outsized for the company's modest bottom line. In his autobiography, Bush declares that “I'd come to the CIA with some general knowledge of how it operated' and that his 'overseas contacts as a businessman' justified President Nixon's appointing him as UN ambassador, a decision that at the time was highly controversial.

Previously disclosed FBI files include a memo from bureau director J. Edgar Hoover, noting that his organization had given a briefing to two men in the intelligence community on November 23, 1963, the day after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The memo refers to one as “Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency” and the other as “Captain William Edwards of the Defense Intelligence Agency.”

When this document was first uncovered in 1988, George Herbert Walker Bush, then vice president and seeking the presidency, insisted through a spokesman that he was not the man mentioned in the memo: "I was in Houston, Texas, at the time and involved in the independent oil drilling business. And I was running for the Senate in late '63. I don't have any idea of what he's talking about." The spokesman added, "Must be another George Bush."

When Nation magazine contributor Joseph McBride approached the CIA in 1988, it initially invoked a policy of neither confirming nor denying anyone's involvement with the agency. But it soon took the unusual step of asserting that the correct individual was a George William Bush, a one-time Virginia staffer whom the agency claimed it could no longer locate. But that George Bush, discovered in his office in the Social Security Administration by McBride, noted that he was a low-ranked coast and landing-beach analyst and that he most certainly never received such an FBI briefing.

It was perhaps to help lay to rest the larger matter of the elder Bush's past associations that the former president went out of his way during his recent eulogy for President Ford to sing the praises of the Warren Commission Report as the final authority on those days.

"After a deluded gunman assassinated President Kennedy, our nation turned to Gerald Ford and a select handful of others to make sense of that madness. And a conspiracy theorist can say what they will, but the Warren Commission report will always have the final definitive say on this tragic matter. Why? Because Gerry Ford put his name on it and Gerry Ford's word was always good."

In fact, Ford's role on the Warren Commission is seen by many experts as a decisive factor in his rise to the top. As a Commission member, Ford altered its report in a minor yet significant way. As the Associated Press reported in 1997, “Thirty-three years ago, Gerald R. Ford took pen in hand and changed - ever so slightly - the Warren Commission's key sentence on the place where a bullet entered John F. Kennedy's body when he was killed in Dallas. The effect of Ford's change was to strengthen the commission's conclusion that a single bullet passed through Kennedy and severely wounded Texas Gov. John Connally - a crucial element in its finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole gunman.”

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