Iraq Hearings: Questions to Petraeus (Obama; Dodd; Feingold; Biden)

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CapNewsNet

OBAMA ON IRAQ: What is Success with Al Qaeda in Iraq & Iran?

VOTERSTHINKdotORG

Sen Chris Dodd: Gen Petraeus Iraq Surge Hearing

Sen Russ Feingold: Gen Petraeus Iraq Surge Hearing

Sen Joe Biden: Gen Petraeus Iraq Surge Hearing

see

Iraq Hearings: Questions to Petraeus & Crocker

Iraq Hearings: McCain’s + Gen. Petraeus’ Opening Statements + Questions (videos)

Secret US Plan for Military Future in Iraq

Dandelion Salad

By Seumas Milne
08/04/08 “The Guardian

Document outlines powers but sets no time limit on troop presence

A confidential draft agreement covering the future of US forces in Iraq, passed to the Guardian, shows that provision is being made for an open-ended military presence in the country.

The draft strategic framework agreement between the US and Iraqi governments, dated March 7 and marked “secret” and “sensitive”, is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorises the US to “conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security” without time limit.

The authorisation is described as “temporary” and the agreement says the US “does not desire permanent bases or a permanent military presence in Iraq”. But the absence of a time limit or restrictions on the US and other coalition forces – including the British – in the country means it is likely to be strongly opposed in Iraq and the US.

Iraqi critics point out that the agreement contains no limits on numbers of US forces, the weapons they are able to deploy, their legal status or powers over Iraqi citizens, going far beyond long-term US security agreements with other countries. The agreement is intended to govern the status of the US military and other members of the multinational force.

Following recent clashes between Iraqi troops and Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army in Basra, and threats by the Iraqi government to ban his supporters from regional elections in the autumn, anti-occupation Sadrists and Sunni parties are expected to mount strong opposition in parliament to the agreement, which the US wants to see finalised by the end of July. The UN mandate expires at the end of the year.

One well-placed Iraqi Sunni political source said yesterday: “The feeling in Baghdad is that this agreement is going to be rejected in its current form, particularly after the events of the last couple of weeks. The government is more or less happy with it as it is, but parliament is a different matter.”

It is also likely to prove controversial in Washington, where it has been criticised by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has accused the administration of seeking to tie the hands of the next president by committing to Iraq’s protection by US forces.

The defence secretary, Robert Gates, argued in February that the planned agreement would be similar to dozens of “status of forces” pacts the US has around the world and would not commit it to defend Iraq. But Democratic Congress members, including Senator Edward Kennedy, a senior member of the armed services committee, have said it goes well beyond other such agreements and amounts to a treaty, which has to be ratified by the Senate under the constitution.

Administration officials have conceded that if the agreement were to include security guarantees to Iraq, it would have to go before Congress. But the leaked draft only states that it is “in the mutual interest of the United States and Iraq that Iraq maintain its sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence and that external threats to Iraq be deterred. Accordingly, the US and Iraq are to consult immediately whenever the territorial integrity or political independence of Iraq is threatened.”

Significantly – given the tension between the US and Iran, and the latter’s close relations with the Iraqi administration’s Shia parties – the draft agreement specifies that the “US does not seek to use Iraq territory as a platform for offensive operations against other states”.

General David Petraeus, US commander in Iraq, is to face questioning from all three presidential candidates on Capitol Hill today when he reports to the Senate on his surge strategy, which increased US forces in Iraq by about 30,000 last year.

Both Clinton and Democratic rival Barack Obama are committed to beginning troop withdrawals from Iraq. Republican senator John McCain has pledged to maintain troop levels until the country is secure.


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Ahmadinejad: US used Sept 11 as ‘pretext’ for invasions

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by Aresu Eqbali
Tue Apr 8, 2:38 PM ET

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States on Tuesday of using the September 11, 2001 attacks as a “pretext” to launch invasions and cast doubt on the accepted version of the terror strikes.

“On the pretext of this incident a major military operation was launched and oppressed Afghanistan was attacked. Tens of thousands of people have been killed until now,” he said in a speech broadcast on state television.

He appeared to cast doubt on the official version of the attacks, saying the names of those killed had never been published and questioning how the planes had hit the towers of the World Trade Centre in New York.

“An event was created in the name of the attack against the twin towers. We were all sad. It was said that 3,000 people were killed,” Ahmadinejad said.

“But the names of the 3,000 people were never published and nobody was able to respond to the main question, which is how is it possible that with the best radar systems and intelligence networks the planes could crash undetected into the towers.”

…continued

h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The Emerging Surveillance State by Ron Paul, M.D.

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by Ron Paul, M.D.
April 8, 2008

Last month, the House amended the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to expand the government’s ability to monitor our private communications. This measure, if it becomes law, will result in more warrantless government surveillance of innocent American citizens.

Though some opponents claimed that the only controversial part of this legislation was its grant of immunity to telecommunications companies, there is much more to be wary of in the bill. In the House version, Title II, Section 801, extends immunity from prosecution of civil legal action to people and companies including any provider of an electronic communication service, any provider of a remote computing service, “any other communication service provider who has access to wire or electronic communications,” any “parent, subsidiary, affiliate, successor, or assignee” of such company, any “officer, employee, or agent” of any such company, and any “landlord, custodian, or other person who may be authorized or required to furnish assistance.” The Senate version goes even further by granting retroactive immunity to such entities that may have broken the law in the past.

The new FISA bill allows the federal government to compel many more types of companies and individuals to grant the government access to our communications without a warrant. The provisions in the legislation designed to protect Americans from warrantless surveillance are full of loopholes and ambiguities. There is no blanket prohibition against listening in on all American citizens without a warrant.

We have been told that this power to listen in on communications is legal and only targets terrorists. But if what these companies are being compelled to do is legal, why is it necessary to grant them immunity? If what they did in the past was legal and proper, why is it necessary to grant them retroactive immunity?

In communist East Germany, one in every 100 citizens was an informer for the dreaded secret police, the Stasi. They either volunteered or were compelled by their government to spy on their customers, their neighbors, their families, and their friends. When we think of the evil of totalitarianism, such networks of state spies are usually what comes to mind. Yet, with modern technology, what once took tens of thousands of informants can now be achieved by a few companies being coerced by the government to allow it to listen in to our communications. This surveillance is un-American.

We should remember that former New York governor Eliot Spitzer was brought down by a provision of the PATRIOT Act that required enhanced bank monitoring of certain types of financial transactions. Yet we were told that the PATRIOT Act was needed to catch terrorists, not philanderers. The extraordinary power the government has granted itself to look into our private lives can be used for many purposes unrelated to fighting terrorism. We can even see how expanded federal government surveillance power might be used to do away with political rivals.

The Fourth Amendment to our Constitution requires the government to have a warrant when it wishes to look into the private affairs of individuals. If we are to remain a free society we must defend our rights against any governmental attempt to undermine or bypass the Constitution.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Documents prove FBI has national eavesdropping program that tracks IMs, emails and cell phones

Infragard – First in a Series by Virginia Simson

Beyond the New Deal By Howard Zinn

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Kucinich talked about this quite often during his campaign. ~ Lo

by Howard Zinn
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
April 8, 2008

We might wonder why no Democratic Party contender for the presidency has invoked the memory of the New Deal and its unprecedented series of laws aimed at helping people in need. The New Deal was tentative, cautious, bold enough to shake the pillars of the system but not to replace them. It created many jobs but left 9 million unemployed. It built public housing but not nearly enough. It helped large commercial farmers but not tenant farmers. Excluded from its programs were the poorest of the poor, especially blacks. As farm laborers, migrants or domestic workers, they didn’t qualify for unemployment insurance, a minimum wage, Social Security or farm subsidies.

Continue reading

Mosaic News – 4/7/08: World News from the Middle East

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Warning

.

This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

linktv

For more: http://linktv.org/originalseries
“Abbas Meets Olmert Amidst Escalations,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Israel Concerned with Nassrallah,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Military Drills Create Anxiety,” IBA TV, Israel
“Iran Celebrates its Nuclear Achievements,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
“Attacks on Al Mahdi Army,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“‘Diwans’ Bared in Kuwait,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Riots in Egypt,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Hijab a la Mode,” New TV, Lebanon
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

.

Remember: They Are Liars By William Rivers Pitt

Dandelion Salad

By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t
Tuesday 08 April 2008

No one is such a liar as the indignant man.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, along with a slew of administration underlings and a revolving-door cavalcade of brass hats from the Pentagon, have been making claims regarding Iraq for many years now.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, “enough to kill several million people,” according to a page on the White House web site titled Disarm Saddam Hussein.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of 500 tons, which equals 1,000,000 pounds, of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of nearly 30,000 munitions capable of delivering these agents.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of several mobile biological weapons labs.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was operating an “advanced” nuclear weapons program.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq had been seeking “significant quantities” of uranium from Africa for use in this “advanced” nuclear weapons program.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes “suitable for nuclear weapons.”

They lied.

They claimed America needed to invade, overthrow and occupy Iraq in order to remove this menace from our world. “It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country,” went the White House line, “to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.”

They lied.

“Simply stated,” said Dick Cheney in August of 2002, “there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”

Liar.

“Right now,” said George W. Bush in September of 2002, “Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of nuclear weapons.”

Liar.

“We know for a fact,” said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer in January of 2003, “that there are weapons there.”

Liar.

“We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction,” said Colin Powell in February of 2003, “is determined to make more.”

Liar.

“We know where they are,” said Donald Rumsfeld in March of 2003. “They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad, and east, south, west and north somewhat.”

Liar.

“The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about,” said Paul Wolfowitz in March of 2003. “Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator.”

Liar.

“No one ever said that we knew precisely where all of these agents were,” said Condoleezza Rice in June of 2003, “where they were stored.”

Liar.

“I have absolute confidence that there are weapons of mass destruction inside this country,” said Gen. Tommy Franks in April of 2003. “Whether we will turn out, at the end of the day, to find them in one of the 2,000 or 3,000 sites we already know about or whether contact with one of these officials who we may come in contact with will tell us, ‘Oh, well, there’s actually another site,’ and we’ll find it there, I’m not sure.”

Wrong.

“Before the war,” said Gen. Michael Hagee in May of 2003, “there’s no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical. I expected them to be found. I still expect them to be found.”

Wrong.

“Given time,” said Gen. Richard Myers in May of 2003, “given the number of prisoners now that we’re interrogating, I’m confident that we’re going to find weapons of mass destruction.”

Wrong.

“Do I think we’re going to find something? Yeah, I kind of do,” said Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton in May of 2003, “because I think there’s a lot of information out there.”

Wrong.

Gen. David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, is about to give testimony before the Senate regarding the current state of affairs in that battle-savaged country. He is a political general, one of many America has seen and heard over the last five years, one who would leap nude from the Capitol dome before telling the real truth about matters in Iraq … or who would speak using words fed to him by liars, and thus be wrong.

Remember: they lie. They all lie, from the top man down to the bottom. If their lips are moving, a lie is unfolding. If they say water is wet, get into the shower to make sure.

They lie.

Period.

End of file.

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: “War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn’t Want You to Know” and “The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.” His newest book, “House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America’s Ravaged Reputation,” is now available from PoliPointPress.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Eric Alterman: Why We’re Liberals

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note: replaced video Apr 25, 2011

It starts off slowly, then picks up and then it ends abruptly. Wish it was longer. ~ Lo

on Apr 24, 2011

Columnist and author, Eric Alterman, talks about his latest book, “Why We’re Liberals.”

Continue reading

Iraq Hearings: Questions to Petraeus & Crocker (Graham; Clinton)

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Veracifier

General David Petraeus Testimony
Senate Armed Services Committee
April 8, 2008

Petraeus Take 2: Is America Safer Because of Iraq War?

Lindsey Graham: You Guys Are The Best

Hillary Clinton Petraeus Testimony Opening Statement

Clinton Questions Crocker and Petraeus

see

Iraq Hearings: McCain’s + Gen. Petraeus’ Opening Statements + Questions (videos)

Iraq Hearings: McCain’s + Gen. Petraeus’ Opening Statements + Questions (Levin; Kennedy)

Dandelion Salad

CapNewsNet

April 08, 2008

Gen. Petraeus’ Opening Statement

McCAIN QUESTIONS GEN. PETRAEUS, AMB. CROCKER

***

Veracifier

Levin: So… When Are The Troops Coming Home?

[brief interruption by someone yelling, “Bring them home!”]

Kennedy Asks Crocker about Cheney’s Role in Basra Offensive

see

Iraq Hearings: Questions to Petraeus & Crocker

It was supposed to be a “cakewalk”: The General and the Trap

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by Prof. Ira Chernus
Global Research, April 8, 2008
atimes.com

It was supposed to be a “cakewalk”. General David Petraeus would come to the US Congress on Tuesday, armed with his favorite charts showing that the “surge” had dramatically reduced violence in Iraq. He would earn universal acclaim for his plan to “pause” troop reductions from July until after the presidential election in November – the same plan that Republican John McCain counts on to help him win that election.

When it comes to Iraq, though, the George W Bush administration’s cakewalks never seem to turn out as planned. The renewed violence of these past weeks in Iraq, and the prospect of more to come, gives war critics ample ammunition for a counterattack. The Democrats, including Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, may find it irresistible to assault the general, and the president, with every argument they can muster in the hearings this week. However, a recent report suggests they may resist that impulse and treat the impact of the “surge” as an irrelevant issue.

Let’s hope that report is right, because a debate focused on military success or failure is a trap, with Petraeus’ testimony as the bait. After all, no debate in Congress will really be about the level of violence in Iraq. “Has the surge worked?” is just a symbolic way of asking: “Would you rather believe that America is a winner or a loser?” And in any battle over patriotic symbolism, the Republicans always seem to have the bigger guns.

So the Democrats would be smart to refuse the bait and insist that this is not an old-fashioned World War II-style conflict, where force can produce a clearcut winner. Then they could refocus the debate on two crucial truths: we have no right to be in Iraq; the sooner we get out, the sooner we can begin to heal the terrible damage the war has done to us here at home.

Decoding the battle over Iraq It should have been obvious all along that the Republicans do not mean it literally when they claim that reducing violence in Iraq is their highest priority. It’s not likely that too many of them care a whole lot about the killing and maiming of Iraqis. So when they speak so urgently about lower levels of violence, it’s a coded way of saying something else; in fact, a lot of things.

For starters, “reduced violence” is a way to conjure up an image of American “success” in a war in which no real success (forget about “victory”) is possible. The level of violence is the only concrete yardstick the administration has come up with to gauge the success of the “surge” – no small matter when a successful surge has become the prime symbol of achievement for US troops and so for the president’s (and John McCain’s) war policies. Because the Bush administration still hopes to sell its failing war to the public by turning it into a gripping story of winners and losers, “violence” has been its currency, its coin of the realm.

Since that story took hold, supporters of Bush’s Iraq policy have insisted that violence there really has been subsiding, hence that his “surge” strategy has worked. When Democrats and other war critics rejected that claim, they sparked a battle over who has the right, and the proper criteria, to evaluate the surge and its post-surge effects. So violence-lowering success in Iraq also became a symbolic measure of the president’s political success here at home.

In fact, the home front is key – as it has been for years. Bush came into office as the hero of the right, not because he had sworn to defeat terrorism (that didn’t start until September 11, 2001), but because he had sworn to defeat 1960s-style liberalism and “secular humanism”. For conservatives the war in Iraq, the “war on terrorism”, and the political and cultural wars at home have all been symbols of the same long-term struggle against trends they see undermining the fabric of American society.

By choosing McCain to lead their troops in presidential battle, Republicans have voted with their feet. In effect, they have decided to make all their cherished battles hinge on the battle over Iraq policy and the “surge”.

When McCain talks about Iraq, his words always point up the symbolic nature of the battle there. He offers no reasonable idea of who we are fighting or why. In fact, on the occasions when he brings the matter up, he seems remarkably confused about the actual cast of characters in that country. As a result, he can offer no sensible outline of what “victory” in Iraq might mean.

Since McCain’s talk about the war is really a code, it makes perfect sense to feature that Bush-era bogeyman, al-Qaeda, as our main enemy in Iraq. Al-Qaeda, after all, is “the terrorists” and we are always fighting “the terrorists”. It makes no less sense, in his symbolic universe, to insist that al-Qaeda terrorists are being trained in Iran, a country whose leadership is deeply hostile to that organization. All enemies are interchangeable, because all are merely symbols of a vaguely defined sense of uncontrolled evil, which is said to threaten America’s security and moral virtue at home and abroad.

Bush was supposed to defeat that evil. He has obviously failed. Now, conservatives pin their hopes on a new champion whose mantra is: “no surrender”.

American ‘stability’ In addition to “reduced violence”, the “surge” and “no surrender”, the Republicans wield another symbol of America as a righteous winner: the goal of achieving “stability” in Iraq. It may be the most seductive image of all, because it exerts a strong appeal across the political spectrum.

Five years ago, when American forces quickly dismantled Iraqi society, liberal as well as conservative pundits announced that it was up to our forces to restore “stability” – as if the Iraqis themselves had wrought the chaos from which we were to rescue them. Though the American military did most of the destabilizing in Iraq, this historical fact was set aside in favor of the hoary myth that America is invariably a force for good, uniquely dedicated and qualified to bring order out of chaos around the world.

War – righteous, courageous and ultimately victorious – has always been a central theme in the American myth of stability. Pollsters still take that myth for granted, and reinforce it, when they ask pointed questions like: “How would you say things are going for the US in its efforts to bring stability and order to Iraq?” or “Should the US maintain its current troop level in Iraq to help secure peace and stability, or reduce its number of troops?”

Vietnam dealt this mythology a near-fatal blow. Nearly four decades later, at a time when conservatives, moderates, and even many liberals worry about all sorts of forces that seem to threaten the nation’s cohesion and moral fiber, reviving a cherished national myth holds broad appeal across the political spectrum. Millions debate the question of military success because they want to know whether they should, or can, still believe that America is the champion of order and stability in a dangerously unstable world. Asking “Did the surge work?” is a symbolic way of asking not only “Can America be a winner?” but “Can the stories of the America we once knew and loved still work?”

When the charismatic general, known to colleagues as “King David” Petraeus, comes before the cameras with his charts and statistics to “prove” that violence levels are lower, and so that the “surge” has worked, he will once again dangle the sweet smell of success before Congress. As soon as the pundits and the public get a whiff of that bait, it’s not just conservatives who will be sorely tempted to swallow it, regardless of what they know is happening in Iraq. If Petraeus can offer anything that might look like plausible evidence of “progress toward stability”, or even the possibility of progress, the whole web of patriotic myth and symbolism will automatically kick in and the usual spell will be woven.

If Democrats and war critics go on the counterattack against the “surge” success story, they will keep that mythic drama on center stage in the theater of political battle. No matter how logically persuasive their arguments may be, they will ensnare themselves in the general’s – and so the president’s – trap, because they will make America and its cherished myths look like losers. And that may very well end up making the Democrats losers.

Just check the latest polls on the presidential race. McCain is basing his campaign on unstinting support for Bush’s war and his economic policies, both of which are resounding failures, especially among moderate and independent voters. Yet he is running roughly even with both Clinton and Obama, and some polls even show him ahead.

How could this be? The polls show that most voters do indeed oppose the war and think that the decision to invade Iraq was a mistake. Yet they also reveal that more Americans trust McCain than either Clinton or Obama to make the right choices on Iraq (and on national security in general). McCain scores particularly well on these issues among independents.

As the mainstream media touted “reduced violence” in Iraq in the second half of 2007 and early 2008, the level of support for McCain’s “no surrender” policy rose steadily. McCain’s campaign survives, and thrives, only by ignoring reality and relying on its mastery of a language of American identity centered on the symbolism of an American “good war”. Any debate about military success in Iraq, however contentious, keeps his strong suit in the spotlight.

Escaping the general and the trap Yes, the Democrats might win by making military success or failure in Iraq the central issue of the coming election – if Iraqi violence continues to rise. But that violence would have to go on rising until election day (or the McCain-boosting “success” image would once again kick in). It’s a big gamble that depends on factors utterly beyond their control and it threatens to leave them trapped in a narrow corner.

Of course, Petraeus has trapped himself in a corner too – and Bush and McCain are there with him. They must also wait for events largely beyond their control to unfold, helplessly bobbing like corks on the tides of Iraqi violence.

The Democrats, however, can turn General Entrap-Us into General Entrapped by refusing to treat the issue of military success or failure as the central question of the moment. The fact is: the competing sides in Iraq have always been ill-defined and constantly shifting. Once the Sunni insurgency started there in 2003, no one has ever been able to say what an American victory might really mean. It’s no small truth that “success” in an Iraq where even Petraeus can’t imagine “victory”, might well prove more damaging than any failure.

Wise Democrats would heed the words of media critic Norman Solomon: “Arguments over whether US forces can prevail in Iraq bypass a truth that no amount of media spin can change: The US war effort in Iraq has always been illegitimate and fundamentally wrong.” The longer we stay in Iraq, the longer we perpetuate the wrongs we have done, regardless of whether we achieve military success by anyone’s measure.

We are uninvited intruders in Iraq. We invaded the country on false pretenses. It’s long past time for us to admit that truth and leave. The longer we stay, the longer we tell the world that invasion and occupation are okay with us, and the longer we leave America’s moral reputation around the world in tatters. When our troops leave, we will set an example for countries that have occupied, or might be tempted to occupy, other lands. And we can begin to heal from our moral bankruptcy, not to mention our impending financial one.

If Democrats take that approach, they will shift the terms of the debate. Then they can speak truths about the war that the American people might be prepared to understand. They can pose hard questions – and not ones of military strategy either – that the administration simply cannot answer. That would push war supporters deeper into their self-made trap whose tripwire is the irrelevance of their quest for military success.

But neither Democratic candidate for president is likely to take such an approach. Both argue that the US should remove some substantial number of troops from Iraq (though not all), and cut back military expenditures in Iraq, so that we can spend more and fight more on other fronts. Their arguments are all about the most “effective” ways to protect what are always termed “American interests” around the world. Some dare call it empire, though in any presidential campaign that word will be politely avoided.

Criticism of the US military is politely avoided, too. The candidates compete with each other to see who can offer the most fulsome praise of “our troops”, while heaping all the blame on the feeble Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

As long as the Democrats are committed to sustaining a neo-liberal imperial project, they have to try as hard as the Republicans to revive the myth of American troops as a force for global stability. The bipartisan guardians of empire need that myth to mask their economic and political goals – if only to keep the public paying the exorbitant bills.

The Democrats have already demonstrated that they value a myth of American stability even above winning the presidency. Think Florida in the weeks following election day 2000. In the months preceding election day 2008, they may very well make the same choice again, and that would be tragic.

With the polls showing that many Americans may consider voting for the war-makers even while opposing the war itself, this year’s election offers a rare opportunity to confront the difference between symbol and reality. It’s time to insist that war should be seen not through the lens of myth and symbol, but as the brutal, self-defeating reality it is.

Ira Chernus is professor of religious studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and author of Monsters To Destroy: The Neo-conservative War on Terror and Sin. He can be contacted at chernus@colorado.edu.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Ira Chernus , atimes.com, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8589

Scahill: Mercenaries in Iraq immune to law (videos)

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TheRealNews

Added: April 07, 2008

More at http://therealnews.com/c.php?c=080401YT
Journalist Jeremy Scahill on “Corporate Pillaging and Military Contractors” panel at Winter Solider.

see

List of Winter Soldier posts: It’s March 19 and Blogswarm Day! Posts on Iraq War by Lo

Obama & Clinton both support Blackwater!!!! (videos)

The Ridenhour Courage Prize: Bill Moyers acceptance speech

Dandelion Salad

Updated Sept. 13, 2012 added the video

by Bill Moyers
http://www.nationinstitute.org
April 3, 2008

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Women’s International Perspective – Uganda by Jennifer

Jennifer Wants Justice and Peace

by Jennifer
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Jennifer’s blog
Justice and Peace
April 7, 2008

Women’s International Perspective hosted its first ever speaker panel on Friday April 4, 2008, at the Monterey Institute of International Study. The organization, barely one year old at the time of the event offers a woman’s perspective of violence against women and children around the globe.

Joyce Laker, a human rights worker and women’s advocate in Uganda shared her experiences about violence against women and children. Uganda, known for its child soldiers has been riddled with violence and conflict for decades. Forced to join the armed resistance of the Lord’s Resistance Army, children as young as ten years old are often forced to kill their own parents first, to sometimes drink their blood or cannibalize their bodies, and then enter into a never ending cycle of violence.

As sociologist and scholar Riane Eisler points out, violence against women and children around the world is actually, “normal,” and calls it, “the most ubiquitous human rights violation in the world.” As evidenced by Joyce Laker’s experience in Uganda, Riane Eisler’s point carries great weight.

Joyce Laker shared alarming statistics representing reported sexual violence. Throughout Uganda, anywhere from 26 to 52 percent of the female population has experienced sexual violence. However, as Laker points out, these numbers are likely not accurate as the reporting and investigation of a rape for women is costly and tedious at its best, and further degrading at its worst. Women are forced to pay police to conduct the investigations at the rates of 3.00 for the police to come and take the report, 10.00 to provide transportation for the police to come take the report and 20.00 to provide transportation for the perpetrator to the police station.

These human rights violations and atrocities are rarely, if ever reported in United States mainstream media and do not gain the attention they deserve. As American media outlets and politicians continue to ignore developments in Africa, the Bush Administration has dramatically ramped up the militarization of the continent since 2002, flushing the area with over $130 million dollars in military sales, financing, and training expenditures for what the US considers strategic for the “war on terror.”

However, as the think tank Foreign Policy In Focus rightly queries, the fundamental question for many is whether the US will utilize this increased military presence to support freedom, self determination, growth, prosperity, and accountability on behalf of the majority of nearly one billion people in Africa or if this new initiative will instead serve to oversee surrogate nations whose leadership is accountable first to U.S security and economic interest. (Gerald Le Melle, “Africa Policy Outlook 2008,” (Waahsington, DC: Foreign Policy In Focus, February 7, 2008).

Under the Bush administration, AFRICOM’s (Africa Command) structure would “place humanitarian work previously done by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development under the directive of the Department of Defense.” (Le Melle 2008) As evidenced by circumstances on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan, and numerous countries around the globe, US interests rarely coincide with human rights, the sickness of the global society in regards to the rights of women and children around the globe should determine which countries the US does and does not call an ally.

As Le Melle points out in the Africa Policy Outlook conclusion, “Despite being the most stretched out campaign in American history, the 2008 presidential election is marked by the typical absence of any serious discussion of Africa. It is as if Africa has already been ceded to the Department of Defense and therefore out of the view of the American public. In contrast with the accelerating militarization of the U.S Africa relations described above, this silence is deafening.”

see

Babes at Arms by The Other Katherine Harris (child soldiers; recruiting)

Motherhood & Other Topics

AFRICOM – the big secret in the USA by Bryan Hunt (2/21/2007)