Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bush's 'Compassionate Conservatism' Now Sounds A Lot Like The Ritual Sacrifice Of American Troops

Crooks & Liars
has an impressive round-up of links and facts from the Bush 'Iraq War No Matter What'' scandal, which we wrote about here, still spreading across the world's media :

How much money does Bush think a US soldier’s life is worth? How much money does Bush think the lives of our allies’ soldiers or innocent Iraqis are worth?

As we’re finding out, not very much.

On March 17, 2003 President Bush issued the warning: “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing ,” yet now thanks to a transcript leaked to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, we learn that more than three weeks prior to that Bush had told former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar that “The Egyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein. It seems he’s indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he’s allowed to take $1 billion …” When confronted about the leaked transcript yesterday, Whitehouse spokeswoman Dana Perino did not dispute its accuracy.

Just last week we learned from former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan that the real reason behind the war in Iraq was oil , and now we are finding out that the entire war could have been averted for letting him get away with $1 billion.

That’s just than one tenth of 1% of what this insane invasion and occupation of Iraq, that continues claim the lives of our country’s bravest men and women, has now been forcast to cost.

Think about that just for a second. Every single death, Iraqi and American coalition alike, could have been saved and Bush could have had Saddam’s oil, but apparently he didn’t even seriously consider it. Topping that, he then lied in public to the entire world about it just so he could have his war regardless. How’s that for compassionate conservatism?

Go To Crooks & Liars For Video On All This

Bush's Pre-Iraq War Threats To Dissident Nations

$1 Billion 'Exile Payment' Versus $1 Trillion War
Bush's Pre-Iraq War Threats To Dissident Nations Hits The Headlines

President Bush's now controversial meeting with Spanish prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, back on February 22, 2003, continues to generate damaging headlines around the world.

The White House has now unofficially confirmed the accuracy of tape transcripts from the meeting by declaring "No Comment" when asked about whether or not Bush really uttered the words now claimed to have fallen from his lips.

Even more damaging than the revelation that President Bush refused to allow Saddam Hussein to go into exile, thereby all but removing the 'case' for war on Iraq, and the clear evidence that he was going to go to war regardless of UN resolutions or evidence of WMDs, is certainly the news that Bush threatened nations with retaliation for not backing his illegal and unprovoked war.

From AFP :

In the transcript of a meeting on February 22, 2003 -- a month before the US-led invasion of Iraq -- published in El Pais newspaper, Bush tells Aznar that nations such as Mexico, Angola, Chile and Cameroon must know that the security of the United States is at stake.

He says during the meeting on his ranch in Texas that Angola stood to lose financial aid while Chile could see a free trade agreement held up in the US Senate if they did not back the resolution, the left-wing paper said.

The confidential transcript was prepared by Spain's ambassador to the United States at the time, Javier Ruperez, the paper said.

The White House did not challenge the accuracy of the transcript, with national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe declining to comment.

Prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, Washington unsuccessfully lobbied the 15 members of the UN Security Council for a second resolution paving the way for military action against Iraq if Saddam Hussein failed to comply with demands to disarm.

But during the meeting with Aznar, Bush made it clear the US would invade Iraq by the end of March 2003 whether or not there was a UN resolution to authorize it, El Pais reported.

"We have to get rid of Saddam. There are two weeks left. In two weeks we will be ready militarily. We will be in Baghdad at the end of March," Bush said in the transcript which was translated into Spanish by the newspaper.

"We can win without destruction. We are already planning a post-Saddam Iraq and I think there is a good basis for a better future. Iraq has a good bureaucracy and a relatively robust civil society," he added.

During the meeting Aznar tells Bush that he is worried by the US president's optimism.

"I am optimistic because I believe I am right. I am at peace with myself," Bush responded according to the transcript.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bush Refused Saddam Offer Of Exile

$1 Billion 'Exit Payment' Versus $1 Trillion War

For the more open-eyed, and open-minded, watchers of the Iraq War, this story is hardly breaking news. Arch NeoCon, and key Iraq War cheerleader Richard Perle acknowledged before the war began that he was involved in negotiations regarding Saddam Hussein's offer to go into exile. It may be hard to believe, but Saddam Hussein was reported to have said he would leave Iraq if his exit meant that America would not bomb "my people".

But BushCo. wanted the Iraq War, and they were going to go to war regardless of what Saddam Hussein did or did not do.

However, the claims now pumped by Iraq War apologists that one of the benefits of the invasion and occupation was some badly needed regime change is rendered obsolete by these new revelations.

And they further show the true tragedy of the Iraq War. For the Iraqis, and the Americans. The United States has spent more than half a billion on the Iraq War, and the final costs are widely estimated to eventually top $1.2 trillion. They've lost 3800 soldiers, with more than 60,000 more physically and mentally injured. Iraq has lost thousands of police and army members, and hundreds of thousands of civilians.

But the war industries that back Bush, and control all sides of Congress, have never seen such profits.

This story, from the UK Daily Mail, claims Saddam Hussein wanted $1 billion to go into exile. $1 billion is a lot, but it's nothing compared to the $1.2 trillion cost of going to War On Iraq. And it seems an almost pitiful amount considering the US has 'lost' more than $8 billion cash in Iraq, literally tons of money unloaded from planes with forklifts, due to a total lack of oversight in the months after the Iraq War began.

Saddam Hussein offered to step down and go into exile one month before the invasion of Iraq...

Fearing defeat, Saddam was prepared to go peacefully in return for £500million ($1billion).

The extraordinary offer was revealed yesterday in a transcript of talks in February 2003 between George Bush and the then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar at the President's Texas ranch.

The White House refused to comment on the report last night.

But, if verified, it is certain to raise questions in Washington and London over whether the costly four-year war could have been averted.

...according to the tapes, one month before he launched the invasion Mr Bush appeared convinced that Saddam was serious about going into exile.

"The Eqyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein," said Mr Bush.

"It seems he's indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he's allowed to take $1billion and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction."

Asked by the Spanish premier whether Saddam - who was executed in December last year - could really leave, the President replied: "Yes, that possibility exists. Or he might even be assassinated."

But he added that whatever happened: "We'll be in Baghdad by the end of March."

Mr Bush went on to refer optimistically to the rebuilding or Iraq.

The transcript - which was published yesterday in the Spanish newspaper El Pais - was said to have been recorded by a diplomat at the meeting in Crawford, Texas, on February 22, 2003.

Mr Bush was dismissive of the then French President Jacques Chirac, saying he "thinks he's Mr Arab".

Referring to his relationship with Downing Street, he said: "I don't mind being the bad cop if Blair is the good cop."

The President added: "Saddam won't change and he'll keep on playing games.

"The time has come to get rid of him. That's the way it is."

War is first, and above all, a business. And business has never been so good for the American, Australian, British and Israeli war industries in Iraq.

Saddam going into exile would have made justifying the 'War On Iraq' all but impossible for President Bush, especially considering he failed to get a second resolution from the United Nations.

And the new revelations render President Bush's demands that Saddam leave Iraq, only two days before the war began, to be nothing more than an utterly cynical, disgusting last ditch attempt to try and claim the moral high ground, for an unprovoked war on an all but defenceless people.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Early 2003 : Bush Tells Nations To Back His War Or Face Consequences

"I Am At Peace With Myself"

By early 2003, President Bush didn't care whether or not the United Nations would pass the infamous 'second resolution', which was supposed to show the scale of the international outrage toward the Hussein regime, condemning him for supposedly refusing to expose his weapons programs to inspectors.

Bush had already decided he was going to war on Iraq, with or without a second UN resolution, even as tens of millions of people around the world marched in opposition to what would clearly be a disastrous and deadly act of aggression by the United States.

Raw Story details how, on February 22, 2003, President Bush told then Spanish prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar :

"Saddam Husein will not change and will continue playing; the moment has arrived for undoing of him."

Bush said he would prefer to have a second UN resolution, but in his conversation, he makes clear that he would not hesitate to act without one, El Pais reported.

"We have to get rid of Saddam. There are two weeks left. In two weeks we will be ready militarily. We will be in Baghdad at the end of March," Bush said less than a month before bombs began falling on Baghdad.

Bush also threatened nations with retaliation if they did not vote for a UN resolution backing the Iraq war, according to a the transcript. Nations like Mexico, Angola, Chile and Cameroon must know that the security of the United States is at stake, the president tells Aznar.

...Bush threatened to pull financial aid from Angola and warned that a free-trade agreement with Chile might be delayed in the Senate if they did not back another UN resolution.

Prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq, Washington unsuccessfully lobbied the 15 members of the UN Security Council for a second resolution paving the way for military action against Iraq if Saddam Hussein failed to comply with demands to disarm.

Aznar tells Bush in the transcript that he needed Washington's help to get Spanish public opinion behind the invasion. He adds that he is worried by Bush's optimism.

"I am optimistic because I believe I am right. I am at peace with myself," Bush responded.

Go Here To Read The Full Story
White House Fury Over Bush 'Phonetics' Speech Leak

It sure seems like it's open slaughter now in the American media now when it comes to President Bush. No gaffe, no revelation is too small or petty not to become headline hogging fodder.

Witness one of the biggest Bush stories today in the American media : the news that President Bush is given phonetic pronounciation hints and tips in his speeches, particularly when it comes to correctly pronouncing the names of country's that the average American has never heard of, let alone tried to pronounce.

From USA Today :

Apparently, a marked-up draft of the president's speech popped up on the U.N.'s website as President Bush delivered his remarks this morning before the General Assembly...

Blake Hounshell at Foreign Policy revealed the phonetic guides for Bush's UN speech :

• Kyrgyzstan [KEYR-geez-stan]
• Mauritania [moor-EH-tain-ee-a]
• Harare [hah-RAR-ray]
• Mugabe [moo-GAH-bee]
• Sarkozy [sar-KO-zee]
• Caracas [kah-RAH-kus]

White House Press Secretary Perino was, to put it mildly, pissed off, that reporters kept raising questions about Bush & Phonetics :

PERINO: On the speech -- your question about the speech, the drafts are circulated, and there was an error made in trying to make sure that interpreters had what they needed. I don't know how the draft of the speech -- it was not final -- was posted, but it was, and it was taken down. There's really nothing more to say about it.

REPORTER: And they were phonetic spellings of various countries -- as well, we understand.

PERINO: That's not unusual. We do that for many speeches.

REPORTER: Does the president have a hard time pronouncing some of these countries's [sic] name?

PERINO: I think that's a offensive question. I'm going to just decline to comment on it.
Good to see reporters are focusing on the real issues. It's not like there's anything more important than Bush speech notes to discuss, or to get comment from the White House on. Is there?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Country Music "Abandons Bush"

President Bush and the Iraq War are now so deeply unpopular in the American heartland that even country music superstars are now voicing their dissent in song, and are finding audiences supportive.

It was, after all, the kings of pop-country music that helped to rally the American nation behind President Bush in the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq back in early 2003.

Now they know their audiences have changed their minds, and likewise they are changing their songs, to reflect the reality of the war's impact on the American heartland, and to keep their audiences coming to their shows.

From the UK Daily Telegraph :

Country music has thrived for years as the soundtrack to redneck America, supplying the Republican heartlands with a diet of knee-jerk jingoism that has included flag-waving anthems supporting the war on terror.

But as the US death toll rises in Iraq and public patience with the conflict — and with George W. Bush — diminishes, many anti-war songs are emerging from Nashville, Tennessee, home of the genre.

No one has moved further than Toby Keith and Darryl Worley, two of the biggest names in country music.

In 2002, Keith had a huge hit with Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue, which includes the lyric: "You'll be sorry that you messed with the US of A, 'cause we'll put a boot in your ass — it's the American Way."

Worley's Have You Forgotten in 2003 justified the Iraq invasion as a response to the September 11 attacks. The military liked it so much he was presented with a flag that had flown over the Pentagon.

Now Keith says he is a lifelong Democrat and has claimed he never supported the war, while Worley has had a hit with I Just Came Back from a War, about a soldier returning from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The changing tone reflects a growing scepticism in heartlands that have disproportionately contributed the young soldiers who have been fighting and dying.

Go Here To Read The Fully Story
Bush Is "Substantial Politician...Nobody's Pawn"

Some interesting insights into President Bush, behind his own jokes and big talk, can be gleamed from a review in UK Observer of a new volume on Bush by Robert Draper, which also quotes Bush talking about what he will post-White House :

'I'm gonna build a fantastic Freedom Institute ... I want a place where young leaders: you know, the former Prime Minister of Mongolia, it'd be cool to pay him a stipend, have him come to live in Dallas and write and lecture.' Anything else, sir? 'Well, replenish the ol' coffers ... Clinton's making a lot of money'.

The Bush we meet in these pages is not the George W of parody. We see him make his own way, and fortune, in Texas oils, scant thanks to Poppy (Dad's more of rival than a spur). We see him fight hard for the nomination, win by a dubious whisker and become his own man, choosing Dick Cheney for Vice-President, not having him chosen for him.

We watch him get into the office by 7.30am sharp and work like a beaver (with two hours' mandatory running or cycling factored in). We hear him take charge of meetings starting smack on time, dressing down a late Colin Powell, chewing off his Iraq lieutenants when they can't get the electricity back on, delivering erudite little lectures on Muslim extremism. He makes decent jokes, plenty of them, but this alternative Bush is no joke himself. He can even seem formidable.

But his progress, like his tragedy, comes back to front. The first years in Washington are the good years, listening, careful years (with his vital aide Karen Hughes close by). He's personally staunch after 9/11. He's decisive and passably eloquent. And then it all goes wrong (after Ms Hughes goes back to Texas).

There's his father's unfinished business with Saddam Hussein. There's also an increasing refusal to pause, ponder and adjust. This later Bush is a conviction politician who lacks real convictions, a cock-eyed, stubborn optimist. 'Are you an eight-year man?' he asked his staff after four years were gone, but his own sixth and seventh years have been cruelly revealing.

Draper can't hide the mistakes of a rigid mindset, but at least he sets this President in a different context: as a substantial politician and operator and nobody's pawn.

Don't blame somebody else for the blunders. Bush doesn't. He was responsible, he ruled this roost. But, equally, don't write him off too glibly as a bit of clown. There's nothing buffoonish about the way he shuffles his administration pack (goodbye Andy Card, with a successor already in waiting). And he doesn't blink easily.

'Mr President,' says his National Security Adviser, Steve Hadley, despondent over the latest Iraq policy review, 'you've got to run it.' To which Bush snaps back: 'I am running it.'

Whatever the legacy 16 months hence, it will be his legacy.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

John Grisham : Bush Surrounded By "Bad People With Evil Intent"

Best-selling crime thriller writer John Grisham has shocked his legion of Republican fans with a full-throated attack on the president. George W. Bush, says Grisham leads an administration built around "bad people with evil intent" and the president is playing politics while thousands of people are killed every month :
"The war is an immoral abomination that we'll pay for for decades to come," Grisham said near the end of a 40-minute telephone interview with The Des Moines Register.

"We're paying for it now at the rate of 100 kids a month while Bush plays politics with it."

"I think it's going to be very hard for the Republicans after this administration to hang on.

Grisham said his differences with the current administration trace back to the beginning of its White House run.

"I've always thought that they were bad people with evil intent - and all that, it's playing out now," he said. "You can't hardly look at any aspect of the government in the seven years so far that's been run properly."

"I can't stand those people - and their incompetence is astounding," he said.

"I always thought you could at least depend on the Republican Party to maintain some semblance of fiscal responsibility.

"But they run up record deficits - taking care of billionaires that they want to take care of. Don't get me started on politics. I could go for a long time."

Friday, September 21, 2007

He's From Texas, And He's Afraid Of Horses

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox has revealed in a new book that George W. Bush, of Texas, is scared of horses. Fox recently grabbed headlines when he referred to the president as "the cockiest guy I ever met." Now Fox calls Bush a "windshield cowboy". That is, he lives on a ranch, swaggers like a cowboy, but prefers to drive than ride :

He recalled a meeting in Mexico shortly after both men had been elected when Mr Fox offered Mr Bush a ride on a "big palomino" horse.

Mr Fox, who left office in December, recalled Mr Bush "backing away" from the animal.

''A horse lover can always tell when others don't share our passion," he said, according to the Washington Post.

Mr Bush has spoken of his fondness for shooting doves and cutting brush on his Crawford ranch in Texas, which he bought in 1999.

The property reportedly has no horses and only five cattle.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Bloggers Who Don't Hate Bush Get Rewarded For Their Loyalty

White House Actively Pursues 'New Media' Reach Out

The Bush administration is now aggressively pursuing a 'new media' policy of engaging with conservative and pro-Iraq War bloggers and internet/satellite radio talk back hosts. The 'new media' are not sitting in with the traditional White House press corps, instead they are getting special briefings and even long meetings with President Bush himself.

Bush and his White House media wranglers are now simply tolerating the mainstream media that isn't singing their tunes. The Washington Post might get close to a million newspaper and online readers, but so what? A good slice, presumably the majority, of the WashPost readership are opposed to Bush and deeply opposed to the Iraq War. But pulling together half a dozen successful bloggers could see the Bush message reaching two or three million readers, in a far more personal and influential way than the 'straight reporting' of the Washington Post.

Plus, some bloggers who actively promote the successes of the Iraq War are read by huge audiences of serving military and their family members.

For the first time in American history, a president doesn't necessarily need the mainstream media at all. There are now so many other ways to get the message out.

With less than 3 out of 10 Americans backing him, Bush knows it can be a waste of his time trying to reach everyone, so why not just keep hold of the base, the supporters already with him?

Bloggers, in particular, are proving the best way to get that message out, as this slightly green-eyed story from the Washington Post details :

The day after his prime-time speech on Iraq, President Bush sat down for a round-table interview not with traditional White House reporters but with bloggers who focus on military issues, including two participating by video link from Baghdad.

Judging from some of the accounts of the Friday meeting, the president offered up little news. Here is what one of the 10 bloggers, Ward Carroll of, described from his notes as some of Bush's most notable comments:

• "This strategy is my strategy."

• "I'm defining a horizon of peace."

• "I don't mind people attacking me. . . . That's politics . . . but I do mind people impugning the integrity of our generals."

Still, the hour-long meeting in the Roosevelt Room offered Bush another opportunity to break through what he sees as the filter of the traditional news media, while also reaching out to the providers of a new source of information for soldiers, their families and others who follow the conflict in Iraq closely.

"More and more we are engaging in the new-media world, and these are influential people who have a big following," said Kevin F. Sullivan, the White House communications chief.

Bush told the group that, to his knowledge, it was the first time a president had met with bloggers for a chat at the White House, one of the participants wrote. The blogs represented at the meeting are generally pro-Bush and pro-military, and the ensuing reports were highly sympathetic to the president.

"At this meeting President Bush came off as more comfortable with the message than I've seen him appear on TV or in speeches," wrote Carroll, a journalist and former Navy pilot. "No deer-in-the-headlights stuff here. Truly unwavering and passionate. Facts on the ground notwithstanding, he believes the United States can win the Iraq War. And to be honest, being around him made me believe it at that moment too."

Matthew Burden, a former Army officer who blogs under the name Blackfive, raved about how Bush slapped his hand and called him "brutha."

"The President was very intelligent, razor sharp, warm, focused, emotional (especially about his dad), and genuine," Blackfive wrote. "Even more so than this cynical Chicago Boy expected. I was overwhelmed by the sincerity -- it wasn't staged."

One blogger was so stoked about the face time with Bush that he compared it to jamming with Cheap Trick. "It was that good."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Vicente Fox On Bush : "The Cockiest Guy I Ever Met"

Well, that observation should come as no surprise to anyone who has had even a passing interest in the presidency of George W. Bush. He's probably the cockiest president in American history.

Former Mexican leader Vicente Fox has a new autobiography out and, seeing as his own career as a leader synced with that of Bush, it's no surprise to learn the book mentions W. more than a few times. But Fox isn't full of praise for President Bush.

According to Washington Whispers, Fox has settles a few scores, and makes some pointed observations about the behaviour and attitude of President Bush :
...Fox raps his border pal as stubborn and "the cockiest guy I have ever met in my life."

While he expresses a kinship with W, he breaks with the prez on the war and slams the GOP's immigration platform. He blames Bush's stubbornness on Iraq for bad international relations, calls his Spanish "grade-school level," and admits he didn't think Bush would ever become president.

"I can't honestly say that I had ever seen George W. Bush getting to the White House," he pens.
On that final point, he's certainly not alone.
Bush The Jihadist

Correlli Barnett looks at how President Bush himself turned into a jihadist to fight his 'War on Terror'. That would be a Christian jihadist :
I have long thought that Bin Laden was also motivated by a specific strategic purpose in launching 9/11 - a wish to trap the United States into an ideological struggle with the Islamic world. He certainly succeeded in this - but only because Bush and his neo-con cronies have been all too willing to accept the challenge.

Why? Because just as much as Bin Laden and his fellow jihadists, they, too, see world affairs in simple terms of ideological conviction.

Bush and his vicepresident Dick Cheney are fundamentalist Christians, while Bush's own political base lies in his fellow fundamentalists of the American 'Bible belt'. And tragically for Britain, Tony Blair passionately shared Bush's belief that world policy must be inspired by religious faith.

The grim truth is that when George W. Bush declared "a global war on terror", he was really announcing a jihad of his own - a struggle to convert the whole world to American-style capitalist democracy.

Only a couple of weeks ago, Bush trumpeted to a tame audience of the American Legion that the U.S. was engaged in "the first ideological war of the 21st century".

So we have two global jihads colliding head on. The collision has transformed world affairs from the cool-headed fixing of deals into an apocalyptic conflict between Good and Evil.

"We" are the righteous, while our chosen enemy is "the Axis of Evil" or "the Great Satan" (take your pick) with whom no compromise is possible, and against whom any violence is permissible.

Al Qaeda and its associated jihadists massacre the innocent to the cry of "Allah Akbar" ('God is Great'). Meanwhile, President Bush launches "shock and awe" aerial onslaughts on Iraqi and Afghan villages and cities in the sure belief that Jesus Christ wants him to spread democracy around the world.

Yet belief in the righteousness of the cause is only the vehicle for something deeper and even more alarming. And that something is sheer emotion. We see it in jihadist books and preaching. We see it in Bush's inflamed rhetoric. We saw it in the preachings of Tony Blair.

Such emotion is terrifyingly dangerous.

...wars have no such limits if they are fuelled by mutual hatred, or inspired by rival political or religious faiths, or fought for national survival. Instead, they will escalate to extremes.

All three of these factors were true of the titanic struggle to the death between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1941-45.

Now we see a comparable mutual hatred and fear - comparable fanatical beliefs - fuelling the current struggle between the two jihads of Bush and Bin Laden.

Here lies the peril for the future. For how can "the Axis of Evil" and "the Great Satan" negotiate a businesslike compromise on the basis of live-and-let-live?

Today, Iran has become the prime target of Bush's ideological mission. He recently trumpeted: "We will confront this danger before it is too late. Either the forces of extremism succeed or the forces of freedom succeed. Either our enemies advance their interests in Iraq, or we advance our interests."

In this inflamed rhetoric, echoing his rants in 2002 and 2003 about Saddam Hussein and his alleged development of weapons of mass destruction, we can hear the louder and louder beat of war drums.

It therefore seems that the disastrous consequences of American interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught Bush nothing.

Nor has he learned the harsh lesson from history that launching a war in order to achieve an ideological objective can lead to horribly unintended consequences.

The lesson here - the lesson of all military history - is that war, no matter how passionate the belief in the righteousness of the cause, is inherently uncontrollable, its outcome quite unpredictable.

If only George W. Bush would abandon his paranoid search for ideological monsters, we could all sleep more peacefully in our beds.

The true answer to Islamist jihad does not lie in Bush's ideological counter-jihad, but in cool political heads and painstaking work by police forces and intelligence services across the world.

The neocon's 'WoT' is clearly now aimed at Iran, and Osama Bin Laden knows it. America fell into Bin Laden's trap in Iraq, and by going to war on Iran we will only further the Al Qaeda leader's world-shaping ambition - an apocalyptic, nations wide clash between Islamic extremism and the West. Between Christianity and Islam.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bush : We Will Keeping On Fighting, And We'll Win

Is it really too late for President Bush to bring the majority of Americans back onside to continue the War On Iraq for years to come?

While Bush's 'The Way Forward In Iraq' speech yesterday is being widely mocked as, literally, the worst speech he has given in the seven years of his presidency, he may well still see a substantial turn around in American support for the Iraq War.

Regardless of whether it's the truth or not, Bush appears to be successfully giving the impression that the Iraq War is gradually coming to an end, almost, but not quite yet, but soon, real soon. So soon, he's used his address to the American people to announce he would start withdrawing troops before Christmas.

That American troop levels will then go back to pre-"surge" levels, simply because the Pentagon has no choice, they will run out of deployable troops if the current numbers are kept in place longer than May-June 2008, is news seeping through much of the American mainstream news coverage. But it's not one of the key, most important neon-signs of Bush's speech that most Americans will pay the closest attention to.

Many critics and angry Americans will now think, or be able to allow themselves to believe, that Bush is listening to them, that he is doing what they wish, what they have demanded of him : start bringing the troops home. This will buy Bush more time, which was always the strategy anyway. More time to find some kind of fix to the incomprehensible raft of problems for America in Iraq.

Next year, during his State Of The Union speech, there will be a whole new set of reasons to keep more than 100,000 American troops on the ground in Iraq. It hardly matters what those reasons will be right now. They won't be based completely in fact, as many of Bush's reasons not to begin immediate and widespread troop withdrawals aren't based in fact in the speech we've excerpted below.

Think Progress
has a couple of good, solid round-ups dismantling Bush's reasons for staying in Iraq, and how he is able to spin the reality to claim, as he did in the speech yesterday, that "success" in Iraq has given him the opportunity to bring some of the troops home, just as he promised it would before the troop "surge" began more than six months ago :
New White House Report Contradicts President's Claim That Troop Drawdown Is The Result Of "Success" In Iraq

The Washington Post also has an essential 'Fact Check After The Speech' feature here and another point-by-point fact check story here.

Bush managed to squeeze in twelve references to 'Al Qaeda' in the 18 minute long speech, and continues the NeoCon tradition of presenting the foreign terrorist threat in Iraq as being the 'New Nazis' - that is a huge, formidable enemy that requires the rallying-around and the blind allegiance of the entire American nation to defeat.

Bush steers clear, for now, of focusing on the "ideological war" against Al Qaeda, as he did earlier in the year.

In the speech, Al Qaeda are real and numerous and deadly and extremely dangerous, and a worthy enemy for the American military to defeat, instead of the reality of what Al Qaeda in Iraq actually is, as evidenced in this story.

Here's most of Bush's 'Way Forward In Iraq' speech :

In the life of all free nations, there come moments that decide the direction of a country and reveal the character of its people. We are now at such a moment.

In Iraq, an ally of the United States is fighting for its survival. Terrorists and extremists who are at war with us around the world are seeking to topple Iraq's government, dominate the region, and attack us here at home. If Iraq's young democracy can turn back these enemies, it will mean a more hopeful Middle East and a more secure America. This ally has placed its trust in the United States. And tonight, our moral and strategic imperatives are one: We must help Iraq defeat those who threaten its future and also threaten ours.

The premise of our strategy is that securing the Iraqi population is the foundation for all other progress. For Iraqis to bridge sectarian divides, they need to feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods. For lasting reconciliation to take root, Iraqis must feel confident that they do not need sectarian gangs for security. The goal of the surge is to provide that security and to help prepare Iraqi forces to maintain it. As I will explain tonight, our success in meeting these objectives now allows us to begin bringing some of our troops home.

Since the surge was announced in January, it has moved through several phases. First was the flow of additional troops into Iraq, especially Baghdad and Anbar province. Once these forces were in place, our commanders launched a series of offensive operations to drive terrorists and militias out of their strongholds. And finally, in areas that have been cleared, we are surging diplomatic and civilian resources to ensure that military progress is quickly followed up with real improvements in daily life.

Throughout Iraq, too many citizens are being killed by terrorists and death squads. And for most Iraqis, the quality of life is far from where it should be. Yet General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker report that the success in Anbar is beginning to be replicated in other parts of the country.

One year ago, much of Baghdad was under siege. Schools were closed, markets were shuttered, and sectarian violence was spiraling out of control. Today, most of Baghdad's neighborhoods are being patrolled by coalition and Iraqi forces who live among the people they protect. Many schools and markets are reopening. Citizens are coming forward with vital intelligence. Sectarian killings are down. And ordinary life is beginning to return.

These gains are a tribute to our military, they are a tribute to the courage of the Iraqi security forces, and they are the tribute to an Iraqi government that has decided to take on the extremists.

Now the Iraqi government must bring the same determination to achieving reconciliation. This is an enormous undertaking after more than three decades of tyranny and division. The government has not met its own legislative benchmarks -- and in my meetings with Iraqi leaders, I have made it clear that they must.

I have consulted with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, other members of my national security team, Iraqi officials, and leaders of both parties in Congress. I have benefited from their advice, and I have accepted General Petraeus's recommendations. I have directed General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker to update their joint campaign plan for Iraq, so we can adjust our military and civilian resources accordingly. I have also directed them to deliver another report to Congress in March. At that time, they will provide a fresh assessment of the situation in Iraq and of the troop levels and resources we need to meet our national security objectives.

The principle guiding my decisions on troop levels in Iraq is "return on success." The more successful we are, the more American troops can return home. And in all we do, I will ensure that our commanders on the ground have the troops and flexibility they need to defeat the enemy.

Americans want our country to be safe and our troops to begin coming home from Iraq. Yet those of us who believe success in Iraq is essential to our security, and those who believe we should begin bringing our troops home, have been at odds. Now, because of the measure of success we are seeing in Iraq, we can begin seeing troops come home. The way forward I have described tonight makes it possible, for the first time in years, for people who have been on opposite sides of this difficult debate to come together.

This vision for a reduced American presence also has the support of Iraqi leaders from all communities. At the same time, they understand that their success will require U.S. political, economic, and security engagement that extends beyond my presidency. These Iraqi leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America. And we are ready to begin building that relationship -- in a way that protects our interests in the region and requires many fewer American troops.

The success of a free Iraq is critical to the security of the United States. A free Iraq will deny al Qaeda a safe haven. A free Iraq will counter the destructive ambitions of Iran. A free Iraq will marginalize extremists, unleash the talent of its people, and be an anchor of stability in the region. A free Iraq will set an example for people across the Middle East. A free Iraq will be our partner in the fight against terror -- and that will make us safer here at home.

Realizing this vision will be difficult, but it is achievable. Our military commanders believe we can succeed. Our diplomats believe we can succeed. And for the safety of future generations of Americans, we must succeed.

If we were to be driven out of Iraq, extremists of all strains would be emboldened. Al Qaeda could gain new recruits and new sanctuaries. Iran would benefit from the chaos and would be encouraged in its efforts to gain nuclear weapons and dominate the region. Extremists could control a key part of the global energy supply. Iraq could face a humanitarian nightmare. Democracy movements would be violently reversed. We would leave our children to face a far more dangerous world. And as we saw on September the 11th, 2001, those dangers can reach our cities and kill our people.

Whatever political party you belong to, whatever your position on Iraq, we should be able to agree that America has a vital interest in preventing chaos and providing hope in the Middle East. We should be able to agree that we must defeat al Qaeda, counter Iran, help the Afghan government, work for peace in the Holy Land, and strengthen our military so we can prevail in the struggle against terrorists and extremists.

To the Iraqi people: You have voted for freedom, and now you are liberating your country from terrorists and death squads. You must demand that your leaders make the tough choices needed to achieve reconciliation. As you do, have confidence that America does not abandon our friends, and we will not abandon you.

To Iraq's neighbors who seek peace: The violent extremists who target Iraq are also targeting you. The best way to secure your interests and protect your own people is to stand with the people of Iraq. That means using your economic and diplomatic leverage to strengthen the government in Baghdad. And it means the efforts by Iran and Syria to undermine that government must end.

To the international community: The success of a free Iraq matters to every civilized nation. We thank the 36 nations who have troops on the ground in Iraq and the many others who are helping that young democracy. We encourage all nations to help, by implementing the International Compact to revitalize Iraq's economy, by participating in the Neighbors Conferences to boost cooperation and overcome differences in the region, and by supporting the new and expanded mission of the United Nations in Iraq.

To our military personnel, intelligence officers, diplomats, and civilians on the front lines in Iraq: You have done everything America has asked of you. And the progress I have reported tonight is in large part because of your courage and hard effort. You are serving far from home. Our nation is grateful for your sacrifices, and the sacrifices of your families.

Some say the gains we are making in Iraq come too late. They are mistaken. It is never too late to deal a blow to al Qaeda. It is never too late to advance freedom. And it is never too late to support our troops in a fight they can win.

Bush "More Upbeat" On Claims That Troop 'Surge' Resulted In "Success" Than Most Official Reports

All Important Benchmarks Mostly Unmet - But White House Claims 'Satisfactory Progress' Regardless

Bush Tells Nation He Will Begin To Roll Back The Troop 'Surge'

Bush Crafts Multiple Messages For Multiple Audiences

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Strange Way To Honor The Dead Of 9/11

In case you think this is just a photographic accident, as in the camera happened to click at the exact moment President Bush's fingers were making the 'Hail Satan' sign, there are literally dozens of other photos showing Bush making the exact same hand signal since he took office in 2001.

And forget about the old Texas Longhorns furphy. If it's true that President Bush throws the two-horns sign as a tribute to the sporting team, as TL fans are often seen doing, why has Bush been repeatedly photographed using the hand signal at functions and events that have nothing to do with the team, or sports in general?

It is downright creepy that Bush should it think it appropriate to make this hand signal during commemoration ceremonies for the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Beyond creepy.

Go Here For More Photos Of Bush 'Hailing Satan'

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bush : We're Winning The War On Terror...In The Asia Pacific Region

The Melbourne Age has run an edited version of President Bush's speech to the APEC summit yesterday as a short column. It's a positive to see that Bush is talking about using education and lifting people out of positive as a way to combat extremist ideologies, instead of just "kicking ass" :
The fight against the terrorists in this region is one of the untold success stories in the war on terror and the rest of the world could learn from the approach that has been taken to fight the extremists. The two most dangerous terrorist networks in this region are a group called Jemaah Islamiah, or JI, and a Filipino terrorist group called Abu Sayyaf.

Nations in the Asia Pacific understand the threat posed by these groups and together we're following a clear strategy to defeat them. First, we must do everything we can to bring them to justice so they don't kill the innocent. Nations in the Asia Pacific have arrested and killed key leaders and operatives in networks.

Second, nations in the Asia Pacific are providing economic assistance to struggling communities where the terrorists operate. The reason we do this is we want to strengthen moderate leaders and give citizens in these communities alternatives to the path of radicalism and violence. For example, in Indonesia the Government is working with the United States to implement a $US157 million ($A189 million) initiative to improve basic education in 1500 public and private schools.

Third, the nations in the Asia Pacific are increasing regional co-operation in the fight against terrorism. Malaysia and the US have established a regional counter-terrorism training centre in Kuala Lumpur. There are law enforcement training centres in Jakarta and Bangkok that are improving the capabilities of security forces from across this region. Finally, nations in the Asia Pacific are working to defeat the terrorists' hateful ideology.

Our enemies have a vision that is narrow because it despises freedom, it rejects tolerance, it crushes all dissent. And they have goals. They want to impose this ideology as far and wide as possible. I believe that in the interest of peace we must promote an alternative vision based on human dignity and human liberty — a hopeful vision, a vision that is far stronger than the dark appeal of resentment and murder. And that's precisely what we're doing, and that's exactly what leaders here in the Asia Pacific region are doing.

These and other efforts are making a difference, (but) there's more work to be done here. We must work for the day when the people of North Korea enjoy the same freedoms as the citizens of their democratic neighbours. We must press the regime in Burma to stop arresting and harassing and assaulting pro-democracy activists for organising or participating in peaceful demonstrations. The Burmese regime must release these activists immediately. It must stop its intimidation of these citizens who are promoting democracy and human rights. It must release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

We'll continue to work with nations like Russia to advance our shared interests while encouraging Russia's leaders to respect the checks and balances that are essential to democracy. We'll work with China, but as we do so, we'll never shy away from expressing our deepest-held values that each person has human dignity, and that we believe strongly in liberty. And finally, we look forward to free and fair elections in Thailand.

These are important steps — and now we must build on them by forging new regional institutions to encourage the continued expansion of freedom in this vital part of the world. And so this week, the US is proposing the creation of a new Asia Pacific Democracy Partnership. Through this partnership, free nations will work together to support democratic values, strengthen democratic institutions and assist those who are working to build and sustain free societies across the Asia Pacific region.

The lesson of freedom's advance in the Asia Pacific region is this: the desire for liberty is universal, written by our Creator into the hearts of every man, woman and child. Whenever they're given a chance, whenever they're given an opportunity, the people of every culture and every religion choose freedom over oppression.

By providing security in Iraq, we're creating conditions that allow people to reconcile. It's hard for people to come together after years of tyranny, particularly since the brutal dictator did all he could to divide society to stay in power. It's hard to imagine what it is like to recover — psychologically recover — from life under a thug like Saddam Hussein. But that's what's happening. And they need time to do so. And they need the security necessary to do so.

We're going to succeed in Iraq. Given a chance, liberty will succeed every time, and liberty will help yield the peace we need

In early September, President Bush gave a speech about the housing market. But some eagle-eyed viewers claim that there was a special guest watching on, from inside the White House (bottom right hand corner). Just a weird reflection of sunlight? Or a squatty little gray alien, as this site claims.

You see what you want to see.
Bush Told, End The War

Not The Iraq War, The Korean War

Everywhere President Bush goes in the world today, he comes face to face with journalists, protesters and politicians who demand, or politely ask, that he hurry up and finish the Iraq War.
But today in Sydney, at the APEC summit of world leaders, President Bush found himself facing demands that he wind up the Korean War, after some 53 years of stalemate.

Media reports claim that the US and South Korean presidents had a "testy" exchange. That's one way to put it. Another way would be to say that President Bush was confronted, he quickly lost his temper and diplomacy and decorum vanished into quiet seething, on both sides.

The Sydney APEC summit is quickly proving to be one of the most remarkable gatherings of world leaders for a good decade or more.

And the main weekend of meetings have not yet begun :
President Bush's talks with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun ended on a sour note Friday, not over the war in Iraq, but rather the Korean conflict that ended with a truce more than five decades ago. As Bush began to wind down his stay at the Asia-Pacific summit, Roh challenged him to make a declaration to end the Korean War. That conflict ended in a truce in 1953, not a peace treaty, so the two sides technically remain at war.

The awkward exchange occurred during the first in a series of sit- downs that Bush had here with leaders from Pacific Rim nations.

Bush's talks with Roh focused on the six-nation negotiations to get North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions. Soon after the mini diplomatic incident, Christopher Hill, the U.S. envoy handling the talks with Pyongyang, announced that nuclear experts from the U.S., China and Russia will travel to North Korea next week to survey nuclear facilities due to be shut down.

Bush said that during his talks with Roh, he reaffirmed the U.S. position that Washington will consider the war formally over only when North Korean leader Kim Jong Il actually dismantles his nuclear program.

Whatever Roh heard Bush say through his translator, it wasn't good enough.

"I think I did not hear President Bush mention the—a declaration to end the Korean War just now," Roh said as cameras clicked and television cameras rolled.

Bush said he thought he was being clear, but obliged Roh and restated the U.S. position.

That wasn't good enough either. "If you could be a little bit clearer in your message," Roh said.

Bush, now looking irritated, replied: "I can't make it any more clear, Mr. President. We look forward to the day when we can end the Korean War. That will end—will happen when Kim verifiably gets rid of his weapons programs and his weapons."

The White House immediately downplayed the testy exchange and said the meeting went smoothly.

A most curious incident. The United States cannot end the Korean War, because it was a war, officially, between the United States and the then breakaway North.

This incident marks the fourth time in only a few days that President Bush has clearly lost his temper in public. Not a good look.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Was Bush Drunk During Error-Plagued Speech In Sydney?

Thanks "Austrian" Troops, Gets Lost Trying To Leave The Stage

President Bush gave a speech today at the APEC summit in Sydney, riddled with implausible errors and mispronounciations. He appeared slightly unsteady on his feet, and had trouble finding his way off the stage.

Bush referred to the APEC summit as "OPEC".

He thanked "Austrian" troops for fighting in Iraq, instead of "Australian troops" and called his close friend Australian prime minister John Howard the "Austrian" prime minister.

All the more remarkable because Bush was in Sydney, Australia when he gave the speech, and has been in Sydney, Australia since Tuesday night.

Naturally, the audience laughed.

During the speech, Bush clearly slurred a number of other words.

He had the most trouble of all getting out the name of terror group Jemaah Islamiah, and quickly switched the abbreviation, JI.

No trouble there.

While he was trying to find his way off stage, before being helped by John Howard...

...a veteran White House correspondent seized the opportunity to ask Mr Bush whether there had been any new message in his speech. Apparently misunderstanding the question, he bristled and asked, "Haven't you been listening to my past speeches?" before turning away.

White House staffers offered an explanation for Bush's string of gaffs - he was just joking.

Sure he was.

Dazed Bush Forgets Where He Is - Thanks "Austrian" Troops For Fighting In Iraq - Video
Bush "Didn't Give A F..k" About Intelligence That Said There Were No Saddam WMDs

This story has been doing the rounds, in various forms, for a few years, but it's still jolting to have it confirmed in such detail.

This news won't change anything with how the Iraq War plays out, but it sure ain't gonna help Bush with that flaking legacy of his :

Months before the Iraq invasion, President Bush apparently ignored a 2002 Oval Office briefing in which CIA director George Tenet provided the president with intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction, according to former Clinton advisor and Salon columnist Sidney Blumenthal.

Reporting in Salon, Blumenthal writes that according to his sources, two former CIA officers,"Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam's inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again."

Blumenthal also adds that the intelligence from that day was left out of the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002, which definitively stated that had WMD.

"The president had no interest in the intelligence," a CIA officer disclosed. "Bush didn't give a fuck about the intelligence. He had his mind made up."

"No one in Congress was aware of the secret intelligence that Saddam had no WMD as the House of Representatives and the Senate voted, a week after the submission of the NIE, on the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq," Blumenthal writes. "The information, moreover, was not circulated within the CIA among those agents involved in operations to prove whether Saddam had WMD."

Blumenthal's sources confirm a 2006 interview with the CIA's chief of clandestine operations for Europe, Tyler Drumheller, who told CBS's 60 Minutes that the his agency had received intelligence from Saddam Hussein's foreign minister, Naji Sabri, indicating Iraq possessed no WMD.

"[The two former CIA officers] have confirmed Drumheller's account to me and provided the background to the story of how the information that might have stopped the invasion of Iraq was twisted in order to justify it," Blumenthal reports. "They described what Tenet said to Bush about the lack of WMD, and how Bush responded, and noted that Tenet never shared Sabri's intelligence with then Secretary of State Colin Powell."

Powell would later present US evidence justifying the preemptive invasion of Iraq to the United Nations--without knowledge of the Sabri information.

The former officials instead say that the information was "distorted in a report written to fit the preconception that Saddam did have WMD programs." That information was in turn passed to British intelligence, who used it in briefing Prime Minister Tony Blair as to validation for going to war.

"Tenet told me he briefed the president personally," one of the former CIA officers informed Blumenthal, referring to the Oval Office briefing session on Sept. 18, 2002. Bush, reportedly, thought the information was 'the same old thing,' insisting it was only what Hussein wished him to think.

Or what Bush wanted to think about what he thought Saddam was thinking.

Go To Raw Story For More

Thursday, September 06, 2007

You Sir, Have Been Caught Out

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann let rip on President Bush and his questionable attempt to make American servicemen and women in Iraq think that America is readying to draw down its forces in Iraq, when that clearly is not the case, as President Bush himself has admitted :
"...a Special Comment about Mr. Bush’s trip, and his startling admission of the true motive for this war, which was revealed in his absence.

And so he is back from his annual surprise gratuitous photo-op in Iraq, and what a sorry spectacle it was.

But it was nothing compared to the spectacle of one unfiltered, unguarded, horrifying quotation in the new biography to which Mr. Bush has consented.

As he deceived the troops at Al-Asad Air Base yesterday with the tantalizing prospect that some of them might not have to risk being killed and might get to go home, Mr. Bush probably did not know that, with his own words, he had already proved that he had been lying — is lying… will be lying — about Iraq.

He presumably did not know, that there had already appeared those damning excerpts from Robert Draper’s book “Dead Certain.”

“I’m playing for October-November,” Mr. Bush said to Draper.

That, evidently, is the time during which, he thinks he can sell us the real plan.

Which is, to quote him: “To get us in a position where the presidential candidates, will be comfortable about sustaining a presence.”

Comfortable, that is, with saying about Iraq, again quoting the President, “stay longer.”

And there it is, sir. We’ve caught you.

Your goal is not to bring some troops home — maybe — if we let you have your way now;

Your goal is not to set the stage for eventual withdrawal;

You are, to use your own disrespectful, tone-deaf word, playing at getting the next Republican nominee to agree to jump into this bottomless pit with you, and take us with him, as we stay in Iraq for another year, and another, and another, and anon.

Everything you said about Iraq yesterday, and everything you will say, is a deception, for the purpose of this one cynical, unacceptable, brutal goal — perpetuating this war indefinitely.

You have no remaining credibility about Iraq, sir.

And yet, yesterday at Al-Asad, Mr. Bush kept playing — and this time, using the second of his two faces.

The President told reporters, “They, (General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker) “tell me if the kind of success we are now seeing continues, it will be possible to maintain the same level of security with fewer American forces.”

And so, Mr. Bush got his fraudulent headlines today: “Bush May Bring Some Troops Home.”

While the reality is, we know from what he told Draper, that the President’s true hope is that they will not come home; but that they will stay there, because he is keeping them there now, in hope that those from his political party fighting to succeed him, will prolong this unendurable disaster into the next decade.

But, to a country dying of thirst, the President seemed to vaguely promise a drink from a full canteen — a promise predicated on the assumption that he is not lying.

Yet you are lying, Mr. Bush. Again. But now, we know why.

You gave away more of yourself than you knew in the Draper book

And you gave away more still, on the arduous trip back out of Iraq — hours in the air, without so much as a single vacation.

“If you look at my comments over the past eight months,” you told reporters, “it’s gone from a security situation — in the sense that we’re either going to get out and there will be chaos, or, more troops. Now, the situation has changed, where I’m able to speculate on the hypothetical.”

Mr. Bush, the only “hypothetical” here is that you are not now holding our troops hostage.

You have no intention of withdrawing them.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t pretend you’re thinking about it, does it?

That is your genius, sir — as you see it, anyway.

You can deduce what we want — we, the people, remember us? — and then use it against us.

You can hold that canteen up and promise it to the parched nation.

And the untold number of Americans whose lives have not been directly blighted by Iraq — or who do not realize that their safety has been reduced and not increased by Iraq — they will get the bullet points: ‘Bush is thinking about bringing some troops home. Bush even went to Iraq.’

You can fool some of the people all of the time, can’t you, Mr. Bush?

This President has decided that night is day, and death is life, and enraging the world against us, is safety.

And this laziest of Presidents, actually interrupted his precious time off to fly to Iraq to play at a photo opportunity with soldiers, some of whom will — on his orders — be killed before the year, maybe the month, is out.

Just over 500 days remain in this Presidency.

Consider the dead who have piled up on the battlefield in these last 500 days.

Consider the singular fraudulence of this President’s trip to Iraq yesterday, and the singular fraudulence of the selling of the Petraeus Report in these last 500 days.

Consider how this President has torn away at the fabric of this nation in a manner of which terrorists can only dream in these last 500 days.

And consider again how this President has spoken to that biographer: that he is “playing for October-November.” The goal in Iraq is “To get us in a position where the presidential candidates will be comfortable about sustaining a presence” and consider how this revelation contradicts every other rationale he has offered in these last 500 days.

In the context of all that… now, consider… these next 500 days.

Mr. Bush, our presence in Iraq must end.

Even if it means your resignation.

Even if it means your impeachment.

Even if it means a different Republican to serve out your term.

Even if it means a Democratic Congress — and those true Patriots among the Republicans — standing up and denying you another penny for Iraq, other than for the safety and the safe conduct home of our troops.

This country cannot run the risk of what you can still do to this country in the next 500 days…

The full transcript and video is here.
Bush And The Spiral Pasta Narrative

A Sydney journalist got her first up close experience with President Bush yesterday, witnessing him "storming the buffet" during a barbecue lunch with the Australian military.

But the real story was in the spiral pasta bowl, or 'noodles', as the Americans call them :

George Bush was in a good mood yesterday as he helped himself to his buffet lunch.

So when he caught sight of your correspondent, who had embedded herself 'twixt bain-marie and pasta salad with pen poised attentively, he was inclined to be expansive.

"Oh, you people are recording my every move here, aren't you?" he drawled. "I tell you what, I'll help you out. Here's your first sentence. 'The President takes a spoon …"'

"In your right hand or your left hand?" the Herald asked, slightly bewildered but happy to be in the frame for some high-level one-on-one, even if only on the topic of the cold buffet.

"Yes. Important. He takes the spoon in his right hand, and he takes some salad. But how many pieces? One, two … "

Whereupon the leader of the free world proceeded, as a friendly service to the readers of The Sydney Morning Herald, to count out pieces of spiral pasta as he dropped them one by one on to his plate. "Eight!" he concluded. "Eight noodles! There's your story. Nice helping you out!"

Emboldened by this significant exchange, your carbohydrates correspondent can now further report that the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, augmented her plate of barbecued chicken and sausage with a helping of root vegetable couscous, but eschewed the pasta spirals completely, suggesting perhaps a worrying rift with her leader.

Hovering besottedly at Dr Rice's elbow was the Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson, wearing a dashing open-necked black shirt and grey trousers that made him look excitingly like an extra from Saturday Night Fever.

Mr Bush, anticipating his first Aussie barbecue of the trip, had warned Mr Howard with Texan directness: "I'm a meat guy."

Dr Nelson, by contrast, is very much a Rice guy. As the Secretary of State took delivery of her couscous, an attendant alerted her to the presence of green salad, but Dr Nelson interceded protectively. "Secretary Rice has salad on her table, thank you," he intoned with crushing finality. The attendant retreated.

Eight Noodles. Now that's a story.

The journalist also details just what an outsider has to endure to get that close to the president.
Bush Takes Condi Rice On A Date

Says "We're Kicking Ass!" In Iraq

President Bush is now Down Under, and clearly enjoying his time in Sydney with Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, while his wife, Laura, is stuck back at home in the US with a 'pinched neck' that supposedly stopped her from joining her husband on the long flight, via Iraq, to Australia.

Arriving at Sydney airport last night, Bush and Rice looked and acted more like a president and his first lady, than a president and his secretary of state.

After a day's worth of meetings, press conferences, lunches and a little business, President Bush and Condi Rice climbed aboard a magnificent cruiser for a night-time trip across Sydney Harbour to the residence of prime minister John Howard.

Condi Rice stood back from Bush while he met with senior ministers of the Howard cabinet, but when he noticed her alone and off to one side, President Bush put his arm around the woman long rumoured in Washington to be his lover and said "You can be my date" for the dinner. The n the champagne began to flow.

Go To The Orstrahyun For More On The Ultra-Security Now Enveloping Sydney For Bush's Visit

From Your New Reality :
President Bush's first 24 hours in Australia have been a mix of luxurious dining, a chow down with Australian troops, harbour cruises, press conferences and big deals signed with Australia on the sharing of military technology secrets.

Bush's hour long press conference with Australia's prime minister John Howard was a dreary, long-winded mess of standard Bush rhetoric on the Iraq War, climate change, the lapdog loyalty of Australian prime minister John Howard and the hassle of having to wage both an "ideological" struggle and a battle for "hearts and minds" in the 'War on Terror'.

But President Bush is clearly feeling confident regarding the Iraq War. How confident?

When Bush arrived in Australia last night, he was greeted at the airport by deputy prime minister Mark Vaile. Having just flown in from Iraq, Bush was asked how things were going over there.

Bush grinned, "We're kicking ass!"

Bush almost topped himself in the headline quote department earlier today during the press conference when he told prime minister John Howard that he was expecting him to "shout" lunch.

"I'm a meat guy," the president reminded his Australian host.

A meat guy who loves kicking ass.

It's remarkable he's so unpopular back home in the United States.

President Bush also made the most of his massive 30-plus vehicle long motorcade. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was shut down so the president could cross the harbour to go mountain biking in a patch of national park.

And earlier in the morning he broke his own record for the shortest presidential motorcade ride in history. A mere 230 feet from his hotel to the prime minister's office. The motorcade was longer than the distance it traveled.

No doubt realising the sheer absurdity of driving such a short distance, Bush left the motorcade behind to walk back to his hotel.

But the streets around the Intercontinental Hotel are 'caged' - lined with ten foot high steel fences embedded in huge concrete blocks. The evening news was filled with bizarre images of the president walking down a city street, but cut off from the entire city by the massive security fence. The only people inside 'The Cage' were literally hundreds of police, riot squad officers and paramedics in chemical weapons suits and flak jackets.

Many Australians probably thought that was exactly where Bush belonged. Locked up behind steel mesh.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Karl Rove : Bush Legacy Will Be A Bright And Shining Light...Or Something

As one of his last acts of official loyalty to BushCo. Karl Rove has written a gushing, dripping editorial defending the Bush administration policies he helped cook up and implement and spin to a confusing muddle of facts and fiction, and attempts to claim that the Bush legacy will something historians will praise and hold up as an example of how to...

I can't do it. I can't sum up Rove's spectacular twaddle.

You just have to read it to for yourself, if you can stomach it :
I believe history will provide a more clear-eyed verdict on this president’s leadership than the anger of current critics would suggest.

President Bush will be viewed as a far-sighted leader who confronted the key test of the 21st century.

He will be judged as a man of moral clarity who put America on wartime footing in the dangerous struggle against radical Islamic terrorism.

Following the horrors of 9/11, this president changed American foreign policy by declaring terror sponsors responsible for the deeds of those they shelter, train, and fund. America, he said, will not wait until dangers fully materialize with attacks on our homeland before confronting those threats.

The president gave the nation new tools to defeat terrorism abroad and protect our citizens at home with the Patriot Act, foreign surveillance that works in the wireless age, a transformed intelligence community, and the Department of Homeland Security.

And this president saw the wisdom of removing terrorism’s cause by advocating the spread of democracy, especially in the Muslim world, where authoritarianism and repression have provided a potent growth medium for despair and anger aimed at the West. He recognized that democracy there makes us safer here.

President Bush will be seen as a compassionate leader who used America’s power for good.

History will see President Bush as a reformer who focused on modernizing important institutions.

He is concerned with fundamental change that will — among other goals — strengthen the ways our children are educated and health care is provided.

He will be seen as an innovative conservative thinker with a positive, optimistic agenda for action.

He will be recognized as a strong advocate of traditional values.

He advanced a culture of life where every child is protected and welcomed.

He supported traditional marriage when it came under attack from the courts. He sought to strengthen families and encourage personal responsibility.

The outcome in Iraq and Afghanistan will color how history views the president.

History’s concern is with final outcomes, not the missteps or advances of the moment. History will render a favorable verdict if the outcome in the Middle East is similar to what America saw after World War II.

Beyond his policies and actions, history will take the measure of the man.

I have known George W. Bush for nearly 34 years and have had the privilege of watching from nearby as history has placed its demands on him and our country. I know his humility and decency, his intelligence and thoughtfulness, his respect for every person he comes in contact with, his unwavering commitment to principle-based decision-making, and the quiet and compassionate hearts of the man and his graceful wife, Laura.

I have come to understand true leadership leans into the wind. It tackles big challenges with uncertain outcomes rather than taking on simple, sure tasks. It does what is right, regardless of what the latest poll or focus group says.

History demands much of America and its leaders and I am confident it will judge the 43rd president as a man more than worthy of the great office the American people twice entrusted to him.

There's a fat ton of 'maybes' riding on Rove's final declaration of how history will view President Bush, in decades or a century to come. So very many 'maybes'.

Go Here For The Full Rove Editorial From The National Review
Bush Warns UK, Australia Over Troop Withdrawals : Nobody Leaves Iraq Until I Say We've Won

Creates Own Reality-World To Counter Truth Of His Troop "Surge" Failure

President Bush is showing something close to aggression towards the United Kingdom and Australia as debate rages about withdrawing their troops from Iraq.

In the UK, prime minister Gordon Brown is actively defending the British withdrawal from Basra, and signs of clear tension are now rising between Bush and Brown over leaking plans for a total pullout of British troops.

In Australia, the 'Next Prime Minister' Kevin Rudd - heavily pegged to win the coming election over Bush's best friend in the Pacific, John Howard - is refusing to back down from his pledge to withdraw Australia's combat troops by mid-2008.

In the UK, Gordon Brown has the backing of the vast majority of the British people to pull the troops out of Iraq, and in Australia a large majority back Kevin Rudd's plans.

Here's Bush talking about the defiance of Gordon Brown :
"We need all our coalition partners. I understand that everybody's got their own internal politics. My only point is that whether it be Afghanistan or Iraq, we've got more work to do."

In a Sky News interview, he made clear his irritation with Mr Brown's approach on Iraq. He said Western troops should only think of pulling out once they had completed the "hard work" of defeating al-Qa'ida and Iranian-backed insurgents.

"What matters is success, and I believe we can be successful. This hard work will achieve what we all want, which is, over time, fewer troops and peace. The main thing we want is to make sure that we deal these radicals and extremists a major blow, which is success in Iraq."
Expect a new definition of "success in Iraq" to fall from Bush's lips shortly.

Here's Bush on Kevin Rudd's plans to get Australia out of Iraq :
"I'm going to remind him that, one, the stakes in Iraq are very high for peace..."

"Iraqi-style democracy in the heart of the Middle East is part of winning this ideological struggle. And I'll remind him that, as far as I'm concerned, that leaving Iraq before the job is done will cause an enemy that attacked us before to become emboldened."

He said he wanted to tell Mr Rudd "the best way to conduct policy is based upon conditions on the ground". "That conditions ought to be driving troop deployments. And that's how I would hope all our coalition partners would view the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Bush will be visiting Sydney for the APEC summit this week, and will fly home before the second day of the key meetings with Asia-Pacific leaders to face the music over the reality of the so-called progress in his troop "surge" strategy.

The spinning of the coming report on the "surge" has well and truly begun, but the facts on the ground are impossible to deny.

The killings of Iraqis in Baghdad has dropped slightly over the past two months, but still ratchets up to an appalling 1700 - 1800 dead per month. But while the increases of murder and execution rates have tapered off minutely in Baghdad, where the "surge" of troops is concentrated, across the rest of Iraq the death toll is rising, and rapidly.

A few days ago,
Bush began fighting back against negative reports on the impact of his troop "surge" and the fact that the Iraqi government has barely met 20% of the stated Bush goals that they needed to meet to gain the continuing support of the United States. Including getting electricity and water supplies out of Third World delivery rate levels.

Naturally, President Bush has his own version of reality when it comes to the success of the so-called Benchmarks Of Progress :
President Bush, appearing confident about sustaining support for his Iraq strategy, met at the Pentagon on Friday with the uniformed leaders of the nation’s armed services and then pointedly accused the war’s opponents of politicizing the debate over what to do next.

“The stakes in Iraq are too high and the consequences too grave for our security here at home to allow politics to harm the mission of our men and women in uniform,” Mr. Bush said in a statement after his meeting with the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines in a briefing room known as the Tank.

The meeting, which lasted an hour and a half, was among the president’s last Iraq strategy sessions before he leaves for Australia to meet with leaders of Asian and Pacific nations. It came on the eve of a string of reports and hearings that, starting next week, could determine the course of the remaining 16 months of Mr. Bush’s presidency.

Beginning on Tuesday, when Congress returns from its August recess, lawmakers are prepared to debate what to do in Iraq in daily hearings that will culminate on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 with appearances by the ambassador to Iraq, Ryan C. Crocker, and the military commander there, Gen. David H. Petraeus.

Congress has mandated a progress report from the White House before Sept. 15, and Mr. Bush chided lawmakers for calling for a change in policy before hearing the views of the two men who are, as administration officials repeatedly point out, “on the ground in Iraq.”

“Congress asked for this assessment,” Mr. Bush said in the statement, “and members of Congress should withhold judgment until they have heard it.”

Pentagon officials have said publicly that the goal of Mr. Bush’s meetings on Iraq strategy was not necessarily to produce a consensus among Mr. Bush’s military advisers, an unusual depiction of a process in which disagreements are normally shielded from public view.

Rather, the officials said, the goal was to ensure that Mr. Bush was hearing a diversity of views. It may become difficult, however, for the White House to avoid acknowledging that there are growing differences between officers in Washington and in Iraq.

The wonderfully wussy term 'Diversity Of Views' should be translated as "Bush Creates His Own Reality World".

The Iraq War is won when Bush says it is, the troop "surge" is working because Bush says it is, Congress should keep okaying $50 billion and $80 billion 'supplementals' to keep US troops in Iraq because Bush says they need to be there, and the Iraqi government needs continued support of the US because Bush says it does. Until he says it doesn't.

Which could be sooner than even the Iraqis think.

Iraq Far From US 'Benchmark' Levels For Delivery Of Electricity, Essential Services

Bush Gets The Bad News From The Joint Chiefs Of Staff, But Prepares To Declare His Troop "Surge" Strategy Is Working