Saturday, September 15

CIA Officially (admits to and) Bans Water-Boarding

The CIA has banned Water-boarding, but that also means that they've finally admitted that they've been using it all along. From the Blotter.

The controversial interrogation technique known as water-boarding, in which a suspect has water poured over his mouth and nose to stimulate a drowning reflex, has been banned by CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden, current and former CIA officials tell ABCNews.com.

The officials say Hayden made the decision at the recommendation of his deputy, Steve Kappes, and received approval from the White House to remove water-boarding from the list of approved interrogation techniques first authorized by a presidential finding in 2002.

The officials say the decision was made sometime last year but has never been publicly disclosed.

Finally, the long-standing question of "did they or didn't they" has been answered. They did.

It is believed that water-boarding was used on fewer than five "high-value" terrorist subjects, and had not been used for three to four years.

Its most effective use, say current and former CIA officials, was in breaking Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, known as KSM, who subsequently confessed to a number of ongoing plots against the United States.

A senior CIA official said KSM later admitted it was only because of the water-boarding that he talked.

Ultimately, KSM took responsibility for the 9/ll attacks and virtually all other al Qaeda terror strikes, including the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

"KSM lasted the longest under water-boarding, about a minute and a half, but once he broke, it never had to be used again," said a former CIA official familiar with KSM's case.

It's been well documented that several months before the Bybee Memos, that under the advise of (as of today Former Attorney General) Alberto Gonzales the President exempted all "Enemy Combatants" from the protection of the Geneva Conventions. This was done, not because terrorists aren't included in Geneva - since according to Geneva Article 5 they are...

Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.

But because according to Gonzales the President's planned technique could be "misinterpreted" as War Crimes

As reported by Newsweek in 2004.

May 17 - The White House's top lawyer warned more than two years ago that U.S. officials could be prosecuted for "war crimes" as a result of new and unorthodox measures used by the Bush administration in the war on terrorism, according to an internal White House memo and interviews with participants in the debate over the issue.

The concern about possible future prosecution for war crimes--and that it might even apply to Bush administration officials themselves-- is contained in a crucial portion of an internal January 25, 2002, memo by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales obtained by NEWSWEEK. It urges President George Bush declare the war in Afghanistan, including the detention of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, exempt from the provisions of the Geneva Convention.
...

In that memo Gonzales wrote.

"It is difficult to predict the motives of prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges based on Section 2441 [the War Crimes Act]," Gonzales wrote. The best way to guard against such "unwarranted charges," the White House lawyer concluded, would be for President Bush to stick to his decision--then being strongly challenged by Secretary of State Powell-- to exempt the treatment of captured Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters from Geneva convention provisions. "Your determination would create a reasonable basis in law that (the War Crimes Act) does not apply which would provide a solid defense to any future prosecution," Gonzales wrote.

In February of 2002, following Gonzales' recommendations, the administration declared the Taliban and Al-Qaeda would not be "considered" as covered by Geneva. This semantic dodge paved the way for the Administration to openly violate War Crimes Act (18 USC § 2441) which includes sentences of 5 years to Life and possible execution for Grave Breaches of Geneva.

This Presidential determination was effectively rendered invalid upon the result of Hamdan v Rumsfeld, which found that the Geneva Conventions (and hence the War Crimes Act) did indeed apply to suspected Taliban and Al Qeada combatants.

To protect themselves from possible prosecution the Administration pushed forward the Military Commissions Act which effectively codified the Bybee Definition of Torture into the law. Under the MCA Torture is "Torture" unless the subject is at risk for death or major organ failure - however any techniques which do not leave permanent marks or scars are perfectly "legal."

This dubious legal definition has been an outrage to the international community which has called for the closure and an end to these techniques.

"The state party should cease to detain any person at Guantanamo Bay and close this detention facility, permit access by the detainees to judicial process or release them as soon as possible," the U.N. Committee Against Torture said in an 11-page report issued in Geneva, Switzerland.

The report concluded that detention of suspects without charges being filed runs counter to established human rights law and that the war on terrorism does not constitute an armed conflict under international law.

The U.S. dismissed the report, calling it "skewed."

The report also suggested that the United States is operating "secret prisons" and called on Washington to close any "it may be running." It said U.S. interrogators should stop using "water boarding" and other questioning techniques that amount to torture.

Administration officials, particularly Gonzales, have long declined to discuss "specific techniques" but it's been clear that they've been leaving plenty of "wiggle room" for techniques such as these within the law.

Gonzales before the Senate: I can not discuss specific techniques used, but we (America) do not torture.

A month and a half ago (and several years too late to prevent Abu Ghraib) President Bush signed an executive order banning "inhumane, degrading and humiliating" interrogation techniques, including a prohibition on sexual abuse and religious denigration.

Water-boarding was not included in this ban, but now we learn that this is because General Hayden had already taken this technique off the table. Although this should be considered welcome news, it is still disturbing to now have direction confirmation that this technique (and several others) had been specifically approved by the President.

While new legislation reportedly gave the CIA the leeway to use water-boarding, current and former CIA officials said Gen. Hayden decided to take it off the list of about six "enhanced interrogation techniques."

While welcoming the move, some critics say the CIA did not go far enough.

"I can say it's a good thing, but the fact remains that the entire program is illegal," John Sifton of Human Rights Watch told ABCNews.com.

And it's not like those other six technique have gone unused as documented by the ACLU via FOIA.

Reported methods of torture and abuse used against detainees include prolonged incommunicado detention; disappearances; beatings; death threats; painful stress positions; sexual humiliation; forced nudity; exposure to extreme heat and cold; denial of food and water; sensory deprivation such as hooding and blindfolding; sleep deprivation; water-boarding; use of dogs to inspire fear; and racial and religious insults. In addition, around one hundred detainees in U.S. custody in Afghanistan and Iraq have died. The government has acknowledged that 27 deaths in U.S. custody were homicide, some caused due to "strangulation," "hypothermia," "asphyxiation," and "blunt force injuries." These techniques constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and when used in combination or for prolonged periods of time may amount to torture.

This new revelation on Water-boarding connects Bush directly as an co-conspirator in a plot to violate and dodge War Crimes Laws. He may have technically dodged the legal bullet via the MCA so far - but this still means that the numerous deaths-in-custody which have occurred during the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, which have been in direct violation of the John McCain Detainee Treatment Act, can now be laid directly on the President's own Oval Office Desk.

Vyan

Thursday, September 13

President Bush's Iraq Speech

The New Way Backwards in Iraq

So the Petreaus/Crocker Puppet Show (now with New Ultra-Brite Powerpoint Lies) is finally over, and our Dear Deciderer-in-Chief plans to explain to us how our bold New Way Forward, has been so successful that it's time to make gradually make our way backwards to where we were before "The Surge", The Iraq Study Group and the 2006 Elections all began.

Isn't doing the Iraq Hokey-Pokey Fun?

Oh, but wait this just in Sheik Sattar Abu Risha - the too bit petty thug turned hero of the Amazing Anbar Awakening - has just been capped like an upstart rival of Tony Soprano.

Oops.

Guess, we're headed even further backwards than even Dubya thought.


Despite the sad and obvious reality that even the vaunted Al-Anbar province isn't really as safe and secure as it has been touted to be, the likelyhood that todays events will change even a single sentence in the Prez's planned speech tonight hover somewhere inside the infinate span between nil and a cold hole and the hell-hot place.

Tony Snow in his final White House bullshitting session Press Conference said it yesterday.

The idea that you have an unchanging strategy -- only a crazy person would fail to adjust strategy on a regular basis based on the realities on the ground.

Former Shameless Authoritarian Shill Says Wha?

It's really stunning when a tiny nugget of truth falls out of the corner of their mouths when they think you're not looking, isn't it? Kinda like Reverse Tourrettes.

Let's get real for a moment, the position jockeying by both parties on all of this is being played out for political reasons - not for the betterment of either the Iraqi people or U.S. soldiers. Both parties are playing for 2008.

And yet again, Bush has outmaneauvered the Dems. Tonight he'll offer them a taste of exactly what they've been clamoring for in Iraq - a troop withdrawal and redeployment. Just as he done so many times before, after critics had battered his door for month after month on issue after issue - right as their hands start to bleed and they take a moment to bandage themselves, Bush shoves what they've been screaming for out the back-door and claims it was his own idea all along.

Brilliant like a Dumb-Fox he is.

We clamored for Rumseld to resign or be fired for years. And then suddenly - POOF - he's gone. We wanted Gonzales out on his ear. Now he's twitching at the bottom of the stairs Bush threw him down. We wanted Karl Rove's head on a stick like Jeff Dunham's Jalapeno. Now he's auditioning for his new gig as checkout guy for Chipotle.

And still Bush manages to make it seem like Democrats had nothing to do with it? Amazing.

We wanted our troops out of Iraq and suddenly Bush after the "smashing success of the surge" decides to play "uniter" give us what just we wanted - kinda.

It doesn't matter that the troops have to come home anyway since their deployments (which were pushed up from 12 months to 15 months for the surge) are going to run out in April. Never mind the fact that in order to reach June as the President plans to state, he'll have to further extend some of those deployments from 15 to 18 months. Let's not let any factiness get in the way of the gingoism and hero worship for Commander-Guy in Chief, ok? He's gonna talkify to the nation, just sit down and shutup like good little children...

The problem for Democrats is that Bush did this sick Kabuki Dance with the lives of our troops simply to provide political cover for the 7-8 hold-out Republicans in the Senate (not to mention the handful in the House) that can still help sustain a Presidential Veto against any more agressive withdrawal, redeployment or timetable measures from Democrats. As long as those Republicans hold their ground here's nothing Democrats can reasonably do about it.

Yes, yes I know it's been said that they can simply re-submit a Vetoed Bill, but according to the Senate Reference Guide on Veto Procedure (PDF) they can't.

If two-thirds of the Members of the chamber of origin do not agree to override a veto, then the measure dies and the other chamber does not have an opportunity to vote on the question of repassing the bill.

A dead measure can not be reconsidered for a vote, any vote. (Footnote: Except that in the Senate a failed Veto Override can be reconsidered, but the only reason to do that is if you think you might win the Veto Override the second time - which we won't, yet - so why bother?) Despite what Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards have said, you can't simply "send the measure back to the President" again and again. Not without revising it and sending it back through it's original sub-committees, committees, full votes in both chambers, conference committe and second full vote on both houses post conference. This all takes weeks, meanwhile the clock is always ticking on the current appropriations.

The Ultimate Solution that many have suggested, that Dems simply refuse to send the President a measure that he'll only Veto isn't viable. Gingrich tried it on Clinton and although he managed to shutdown the entire government - twice - it didn't work. Because those Dems were able to sustain his Vetos it was Clinton who had his way, not Gingrich.

Yes, I know that a total defense appropriations shutdown - and that is exactly what we're talking about - won't neccesarily mean that the troops will be walking around in loin cloths, but it does mean that all of their logistical support and all of the government contractors who are providing them food and other supplies won't be getting paid. Some - would probably stand down. It would put our troops at risk and it simply a horrid hobson's choice.

"Save the Troops by (Temporarily) Screwing the Troops anyone?"

Hmm... I just don't think that idea is Veto Proof.

Now after cranking up our Troop Level in Iraq and managing to achieve just 3 out of 18 of the goals attempted (which is pretty much an "F" in any class I've ever been in) Bush now says our troops have "done good" and some of them can now come home. His grand Run-Out-The-Clock til 2009 plan is working to perfection.

(Rubbing hands together like Montgomery Burns) "Excellent!"

Yet that still leaves at least another 100,000 U.S. Troops still in country, caught between a set of Sunni Insurgent and Shia Death Squad Rocks and an AQI Hard Place.

Democratic options on Iraq now are a choice between awful and horrific. They don't control foreign policy, the President does, and he can't force the corrupt and dysfunctional Iraqi Parliment to implement complex and difficult legislation any more than it would be reasonable to expect that any foreign nation would be able to force our (relatively) corrupt and dysfuctional congress to adopt some specific legislation to their liking. I mean, it's not like we haven't completley blown-off China over possible trade sanctions, cause they just might threaten to pull all their money out of the country or anything.

Yeah, right - like something like taking a tough and serious diplomatic stance could ever work. Puh-leeze.

Even if the fragile peace in Anbar manages to hold, what does this bode for the rest of the country? Do we begin to actively undermine the prop shell vichy Malaki government we ourselves set in place by continuing to offer de-facto amnesty to other warlords who happen to be willing to do our dirty work for us and exterminate al Qeada the way Sattar did?

How likely would these islamic gang-bangers - now with U.S. backing, support money and weapons they don't even have to even bother to steal from us anymore - be to simply declare their rivals to be "al Qeada" and attack them (as Sattar reportedly did) in order to help consolidate their own powerbase?

Wouldn't the Crips and Bloods like to have a piece of some action like that? "What's that Mr. Officer - You want me to take this gun and shoot that "al Qeada guy" over there for you? Yessir Massah - I'll get right on that."

Exactly which lame horse should we be backing in this pack of nags?

At this point Dems may only be able to play around in the margins, they may be able to ensure that our troops who are being held hostage by this President still have adequate food, water and gear during their continued and extended captivity in Iraq. They might be able to accelerate the De-Surge by implementing some hard-limits on the length of troop deployments and extend rest periods at home as Senator Webb has attempted. They might be able to even bring things down to below pre-surge levels in June as Nancy Pelosi has already begun to demand.

But even if they do all that, we're still going to have far too many troops in Iraq to have them all completely pulled out by next November 2008. It's still going to be an issue for the next Presidential Election and the Next President.

A Democratic Congress, with a Republican President and Lock-Step Republican minority can only do so much. Repubs still have the filibuster and the Veto, so we need to turn our energies toward next election - toward the Next President and the Next Congress.

It's certain that that Congress will be Democratic, but will it be a Super-Majority able to break filibusters? It's certain that we will have a next President (Thank Vishnu), but will it be one of the crypt-keeper twins Giuliani and Thompson or someone who isn't willing to use the Constitution as toilet paper - y'know like a Democrat. Will it be Obama, Hillary, Edwards or God-in-heaven-dare-I-still-have-hope... Al Gore?

Stay tuned, baring zesty Impeachment goodness, this story continued next election cycle.

Vyan

Wednesday, September 12

ABC shelves Path to 9/11 DVD. Yay!

Last year during the fifth anniversary of 9/11 ABC televised a mini-series "dramatizing" some of the events which supposed led to attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Now, amid virilent criticism of the accuracy of it's docu-drama, ABC has declined to release the film on DVD and it's writer/creator, avowed conservative activist, Cyrus Nowresteh is now hopping mad. From Today's WSJ.

Left-leaning pundits, politicos and bloggers waxed hysterical about its supposed inaccuracies and anti-Clinton bias, though the vast majority of them had not seen it.

This passive self-censorship is just as effective as anything Joseph Stalin or Big Brother could impose. The result is the same: the curbing of free speech and creative expression, and the suppression of a viewpoint that may be an inconvenient truth for some politicians.

But ABC pulling the DVD had nothing to do with "left-leaning pundits" and everything to do with the film being a pile of lying crap.


More blather from Nowresteh via Raw Story.

Last Wednesday, in a front page LA Times Calendar piece "Clinton and the missing DVD," reporter Martin Miller gave voice to the latest series of charges from the mini-series’ neo-con writer/producer Cyrus Nowrasteh who now claims that out of deference to Hillary Clinton, ABC is shelving the five hour mini-series which was hyper-critical of her husband’s counter-terrorism record.

Oh, so now this is a dastardly plot by the villious Hillary Clinton - do tell?

In his latest FrontPage booking, Nowrasteh whines, "Last year at this time it was a coordinated effort from the Clintons, Sandy Berger, the DNC, and the far-left loony blogosphere to swamp ABC with emails and phone calls and threats to get them to block the broadcast, or recut the movie. Since then it’s been more subtle. I know there have been phone calls to top execs at Disney from President Clinton himself, and friends of the Clintons, of which there are many in Hollywood."

Wow that Hillary sure is powerful. I wonder if she got some help from that dirty bastard George Soros?

Frankly, if this is what happened - if the "far-left loony blogosphere" actually managed to cause ABC to fix the gross errors in this movie, which as a card-carrying member of that loony far-left I blogged about thoroughly here, here , here, here and here last year (and I was far from alone) - I would be impressed.

Yet somehow, I don't think that's what happened.

I think the fact that film essentially defamed John O'Neill, Richard Clarke, George Tenet, Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger and Bill Clinton by manufacturing failures of inaction on thier part which didn't take place and ignoring many successful aggressive anti-terrorist actions that did probably had more to do with it. And then there's also the issue of intellectual theft.

Don't take my word for it, listen to what Peter Lance, author of "1000 Years of Revenge" one of the books that was propurtedly a major source for "Path" has to say about it...

.... 1000 Years For Revenge, was one of the three works on which ABC based the mini. They acquired it for a quarter of a million dollars in 2005 under threat of litigation, after they’d lost the book in a bidding war with NBC.

Nowrasteh then proceeded to launder most of my critical findings on negligence by the FBI and the two Bush administrations and give Path a twisted pro-Bureau slant through the eyes of ex-ABC News correspondent John Miller, who now works as Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the FBI.

"Years" documents how various failures under Bush 41 within the NYPD and NY Office of the FBI were critical in allowing Ramzi Yousef, the original WTC bomber to roam free for several years and eventually conceive of the plot which became 9/11 to finish the job he'd started in 1993.

There was a rival book on the bidding table called "The Cell" which was essential a "Disney-ized" version of similar events, but was so white-washed it was " Like telling the story of John Dillinger’s takedown without mentioning FBI agent Melvin Purvis"

As it turned out, ABC failed to acquire the rights to "Years" after a fierce bidding war - so naturally Nowresteh simply appropriated parts of it to fit into his fictional narrative and went on his merry way. More from Raw Story.

Now, in July as the cameras began rolling on what ABC first called "the History Project," something told me that I should get a look at Cyrus’s script. When I turned to the first page of "Night One," I saw that Nowrasteh had lifted much of my book, scene by scene, dialogue for dialogue. He’d even titled the first two hours, "The Mozart of Terror," the name I’d coined for Yousef.

But beyond the hijacking of 1000 Years, what was most galling, was how Cyrus, hungry for some book on which to hang his story, had now embraced The Cell, the very book he’d bad-mouthed to me and elevated John Miller, who was about to take a job as chief FBI flak, to a lead character.

Worse, he’d taken the hapless Det. Lou Napoli – who had ignored Ronnie Bucca’s warnings and failed to follow the WTC bombers – and turned him into a lead member of the FBI posse out to stop bin Laden, a bullpen of real and fictional characters now led by John O’Neill.

Unable to legally acquire my book, Nowrasteh had simply appropriated it and used what he wanted from it and then set up The Cell with its pro-FBI slant as the "based on" underlying work for his re-telling of "History."

Nowresteh's unauthorized lifts from "Years" led to a lawsuit which was eventually settled for $250,000 and gave ABC the rights to the material that Nowresteh stole prior to it's airing. The settlement also included a gag-order to keep Nowresteh's theft and distortion of history and facts from becoming public - an order which Peter Lance has now knowingly breached in order to get the facts out.

Facts such as these which were not included in the film.

  • Bill Clinton personally authorized each and every agressive action suggested to stop and/or contain Osama Bin Laden (Roger Cressey)
  • Under Clinton the CIA had standing orders to Kill Bin Laden (9/11 Report Page 199)
  • No U.S. military personnel were ever on the ground in Afghanistan prior to 9/11 and ever had visual contact with Bin Laden (Richard Clarke)
  • Bill Clinton specifically ordered Joint Chiefs Chairman Hugh Shelton to develop a plan to put Special Forces on the ground in Bin Laden's camps, but it was the Pentagon who balked - not the White House. (Richard Clarke)
  • The Development of the Armed Predator, under Clinton, to address the logistical problems which plagued Special Forces in Afghanistan
  • Richard Clarke's urgent Jan 2001 warnings about Al Qeada to Condi Rice and call for an immediate Principles Meeting which was ignored for 9 months.
  • The Bush Administration doing nothing in response to the U.S.S. Cole bombing once Al Qaeda had been confirmed as the culprits in early 2001.
  • The Midnight Ride to Condi's Office by Tenet, Cofer Black and Clark to warn that something big "10 on a scale of 1 to 10" was coming, which was ignored.
  • The August 6th PDB.
  • George Tenet's personal briefing of Bush in August at the Crawford ranch to reemphisize the PDB and make clear that "They're Coming Here"
  • The fact that the Armed Predator, though ready, was not even discussed for deployment by the WH until Clarke's "urgent" meeting finally took place on Sept 5th.
  • Sept 11th, G.W. Bush and the seven minutes of "My Pet Goat".

In the Nowresteh retelling of events, the failures of both Bush 41 are Bush 43 are completely white-washed - while any misteps by Clinton are magnified and many are completely fabricated. In Cyrus-World Clinton did everything wrong, Bush (41 & 43) did everything right.

Fortunately most of live elsewhere and know better.

But how could we expect this film to give the Clinton Administration a fair and accurate shake when it was first announced and publisized triumphantly by Rush Limbaugh?

"The film really zeros in on the shortcomings of the Clinton administration in doing anything about militant Islamofascism or terrorism during its administration. It cites failures of Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright and Sandy Burglar."

The fact is that this film was never conceived of, and never will be considered a "documentary" or for that matter true. Numerous members of the 9/11 Commission have spoken up to point out that it fails to reflect their findings. It well past time that people like Mr. Nowserteh learned Freedom of Speach is not Freedom to Lie.

I myself regret that "Path to 9/11" won't be available on DVD since I actually missed it's original airing - I also love a good comedy.

Ok, ok... a really bad unintentional tragic hypocritical paranoid propaganda-laced bullshit black comedy (if you look at it from a Heathers-like perspective of "This is what some people actually think happened? Fuck Me Gently with a Chainsaw!" - but still a comedy.

Vyan

Tuesday, September 11

Too Many Peaceniks

Just before yesterdays Patreaus hearing the capital Police pulled Rev. Lennox Yearwod of the Hip Hop Caucus out of the line entering the hearing room and told him he couldn't enter because there were "Too many peace people" already in the room. The police then surrounded him as he argue his case, swarmed and football tackled him to the ground in the result injurying his leg (possibly breaking it).



The Reverend was taken from the scene in a wheelchair and is being held at George Washington Hospitol for "assulting an officer", but it clear from this Youtube video the Reverend did no such thing. He was clearly singled-out and denied lawful entry into the hearing room, then assulted by as he exerted his first amendment rights in the halls of the capitol police.

This is what we have become in the wake of 9-11, literally a police state where a middle aged minister can be man-handled like a vicious criminal for simply trying to watch democracy take place.

But I suppose that isn't possible when democracy has long ago died on the vine.

Vyan

Sunday, September 9

Kerry v McCain on the Presi-Treaus Report and "Making Progress"

Today John McCain in the last throes of his striaght (and slightly 'round the corner) talk tour went on This Week to pump a last few puffs of air into the soon to be orally delivered Presi-Treaus Report on our "success" in Iraq so far.

Fortunately John Kerry was also there to provide a bit of Reality-Checking, not to mention sanity.

(Video from Move On documenting the White House version of "progress")

Prefacing this latest version of the "We're Kicking Ass in Iraq" Show prior to the upcoming report was a brief clip from April of 1967 where Gen. Westmoreland spoke to a joint session of Congress to explain just how well we're doing on our last disastrous military boondoogle - Vietnam.

Westmoreland: The strategy we are pursuing is the correct one. And that it is making progress.


Making "progress"? - It's seem we're always making progress, just before we finally realize we've been running in circles, meanwhile the cost of slowly digging this ditch of mystical "progress" is often paid for in buckets of treasure and blood.

While we continued to "make progress" in South East Asia the U.S. lost approx 38,000 troops in from 1968 and 1972. Nice job.

After the clip Stephanapolous also pointed out that much of the public is highly skeptical of Patreaus' upcoming report.

Hmm, ya think?

- 43% Believe Patreaus will fudge the numbers
- 66% Believe Bush will continue his current course regardless of what the report says
- Only 28% believe that things are now “better in iraq”


None of this detered John McCain as he first tried to rehabilitate Patreaus from comparisons to Westmoreland.

McCain – Petreaus new strategy is more like that of Gen. Abrams [who significantly changed things in Vietnam] than Westmoreland.


So those additional 38,000 deaths should be laid at whose feet then? Westmoreland who false claimed we were "making progress" or Abrams who still didn't make any real progress even after this dramatic strategy change? How many more American Deaths will we be counting after this latest "progress" report?

But then again we have to show some sympathy to McCain, you see - he of course only wants what we all want right?

McCain : Of course we are all tired of this war and want our troops out - but we need to get out with honor


My that phrase sounds familiar doesn't it, might it have previously been uttered by Richard Milhouse Nixon in 1973 when he finally announced the agreement to end the vietnam war?

Good evening. I have asked for this radio and television time tonight for the purpose of announcing that we today have concluded an agreement to end the war and >bring peace with honor in Vietnam and in Southeast Asia.


But it seems to me, McCain doesn't really believe this kind of rhetoric since he later in the program proclaimed that what really don't want is a "defeated" army like the one we had after declared our "peace with honor" in Vietnam.

McCain: I know what it’s like when you have a defeated army. In the 1970 after we had a defeated army we had riots on our aircraft carriers we had rampant drug use we can insubordination, we had a broken army and it took us a decade to recover from that. I don’t want a defeated army.

Stephanopolous: The question is what does it take?

McCain: It does appear that this is moving toward a soft partition. If we leave the Sunni will ally the Iran, the Kurds declare independence. (If we leave) I am convinced that it will be chaos and genocide.


Here's a newsflash you Johnny, it's already is chaos and there already has been genocide and ethnic cleansing. A point which John Kerry made perfectly clear in response.

Kerry: And the fact of the matter is - John McCain just said there isn’t going to be a “soft partition” in Iraq – well the fact of the matter George is that their already is a soft partition in Iraq. At the beginning of this war Baghdad was 65% Sunni, today it is 75% Shia. And the fact is that you’ve had tens of thousand of Iraqis who have been driven out of their communities. And one of the reasons the violence is down is because this level of partition is already taken place.


The real issue isn't about our troops being "defeated" - didn't we declare Mission Accomplished several years ago? Our troops have long ago succeeded in finding out that Saddam had no WMD's, and that he had no ties to Al Qaeda - and managed to depose and execute him anyway. Good Job. Now the question is somewhat different, it's not whether the troops will be defeated - it's whether democracy and diplomacy will be defeated and that's something the troops have nothing to do with.

Stephanpolous: Sen. McCain says we have to give it more time to work.

Kerry: Well that’s the same kind of flawed thinking, I regret to say, that has brought us the first four and a half years of this disastrous war and the thinking that got us mired in Vietnam. You heard McCain say “I don’t want to see a defeated army”. That tells the whole story. It’s not a question of a defeated army, it’s a question of whether the Iraqi government is going to step up and make decisions that are out of the hands of our army. That are outside of any military solution.

So in effect, when Senator McCain and the republicans setup this equation "we can’t have a defeated army, our troops have to come home with honor" - well, of course they have to come home with honor - but they’ve done all that they can do. They've given the Iraqi government time to make those choices, and as we’ve seen the Iraqi government is failing utterly to make any of the critical compromises.

...

These benchmarks were set by the Iraqis, they said this is what you should measure us by and the administration said this is what you should measure us by. Well, we are. And when you look at only three out of 18 benchmarks met, and the three that are met are almost unimportant in terms of the real issue - the oil revenues, the elections the de-bathification, the amnesty – the sole reason for sending more troops was to give them time to make that decision. They’ve been given that time but they haven’t even begun to make the critical decisions.


Ah, yes isn't that nostalgia for the 60-70's intoxicating? Meanwhile in the present day, the question of have we made any "progress" in Iraq is still pressing. The real question is "Should we Stay or should we Rock The Casbah"? What does Mccain say?

McCain: No, the Iraqi government has not met benchmarks, but there has been significant local progress. But this strategy has “only just begun” and I think we’re just getting to a point where we could start withdrawing troops.

Stephapolous: How much time do we give them? Gen Patreaus strategy is based on having a functioning Iraqi government...

McCain: It’s only been after four years of a failed strategy (by Rumself) that we’ve had this strategy in place for short period of time. I share the frustration of the American people, but there is significant political progress – at the local level – on the ground.


By "Local Progress" McCain like so man right-wingers are now hanging all their hopes on Al-Anbar province. The problem of course is that what happened in Anbar has basically nothing to do with the Surge.

Stephanopoulous: Some democrats have come back from Iraq say they see progress. Congressman Brian Baird said “I believe the dynamics on the ground are changing, the changes I’ve seen warrant continued action until next spring”

Kerry: I think it’s really important that people who take quick trips to Iraq (and leasurely stroll through Markets with a ton of Humvee and gunships overhead) don’t get sidetracked by what’s really at stake here. Sunni violence in Anbar province was originally [caused by] al Qeada. And the Sunni sheiks decided they were tired of seeing their daughters raped and their suns beheaded, and violence in their villages. So they’ve took advantage of this moment. And they decided to cooperate with us in order to protect Sunni within their essentially Sunni province. No one can explain, and no one in the administration can particularly say how what has happened in Anbar province translates into anything the rest of Iraq.


Let me just emphasize the point that what we did in Anbar was ally ourselves with the local Insurgents, after they already decided to fight al Qaeda on thier own before the surge even began. Talk about trying to walk in during the third act and take credit.

There are reports today that one of the tribal leaders that met with Bush last week, Sheik Sattar is one of the shadiest characters in the region. Whose tribes is..

notorious for highway banditry, is also building a personal militia, loyal not to the Iraqi government but only to him.” Marc Lynch writes, “It’s kind of humiliating to watch an American President get rolled by a two bit, corrupt petty shaykh


Is this the kind of "progress" we're talking about here? Breaking bread with former killers of Americans and allowing them to setup their own mini-feifdoms?

I guess we have to roll-with-the-gangsters now since the Iraqi government is completely corrupt don't we? Maybe in the long run, ignoring the useless Iraqi Police, Iraqi Army and Iraqi Government and working directly with tribal leaders and former insurgents just might be the correct strategy to creating stabiilty in the region - but it would be nice if we were grown up enough to admit it.

The fact is the some of the fighting is down in certain areas because the ethnic cleansing of those area is now complete. Simple put: there's no one left alive to fight with they're either all dead or have fled.

However, in other areas where the civil war hasn't yet been settled, it's through the roof.

But that isn't a song that McCain cares to sing. He would prefer to simply belittle anyone and everyone who might happen to criticize this near total failure that the Iraq War has been and still is.

McCain: We used to hear that we weren’t making progress militarily, well now that we are we hear that we aren’t making progress politically. Suppose we are making progress (poltically) and in six months I come back on this program will you and the others say – “way to go?”

Stephanoplous: I hope that the evidence justifies it.


Yeah, that's telling isn't it? Doesn't "I hope the evidence justifies it" pretty much mean that Georgie just called McCain a liar to his face?

And he's not the only one since MoveOn.org has put out its "General Betray Us" ad - and McCain is certainly not above playing the Neo-Patriot Card.

Move On: Cooking the books for the White House.

General Petreaus will not admit what everyone else knows: Iraq is mired in an unwinnable religious civil war.

McCain: He's served his country with honor and distinction and if we have to sink to that level to besmirch the honor of a fair an fine individual. I lament the level of dialogue. I hope that my democrat friends will not be guided by moveon.org.

Steph: They say many of them have taken to calling this the Bush Report and that it may have undue White House Influence.

Mac: I know this man, he’s not going to allow politicization of the dedication and service that not only he is providing, but the brave young men and women under his command. This may be an indication of the level of discussion in this country, when the leader of the senate says "the war is lost", when a congressman from South Carolina says it would "hurt the democrat plans" if we succeed, Sen. Schumer says "we’re going to pick up seats" as a result of this war. What they fail to understand is that that Presidents don’t lose war snd political parties don’t lose wars – nations lose wars. When nations lose wars the nation suffers the consequences.

If we start disparaging the men and women who are serving in uniform and their honor, then I think we’ve reached a sad place in American politics.


What do you mean "reached"?

McCain laments the "level of the dialogue" of Democrats (for simply pointing out that Patreaus has already shown himself to be a liar fact fudger by the GAO, the Congressional Research Service and other experts) after the Bush campaign alleged that his experience as a P.O.W. in Vietnam had "made him crazy", and that he had an illegitimate black child?

Are you serious?

He laments this after Jean Schmidt called a decorated Marinelike John Murtha "a coward."

He laments this when people like Melanie Morgan - who somehow rates a private visit to the White House - can go around saying that Captain Jon Soltz should be "crushed like a cockroach?"

He thinks things have started getting "nasty" when Democrats point out that Patreaus numbers simply don't add up?

Really now?

I mean, don't we all understand that Democrats are allied with Al-Qeada, didn't Osama Bin Laden just say so? (PDF of Latest Bin Laden Tape)

Not to Kerry.

Kerry: Osama Bin Laden's tape is testimony to one thing, the failure of this Administration to capture and kill him. The failure at Tora Bora and the failure subsequently. He’s influencing the region. He’s still directing attacks against America from Afghanistan and Pakistan – and we have some Republican candidates for President that think he’s insignificant? That should be disqualify them from being President in the first place. This is an insult to everybody in the world that this man is still sending us tapes.

Iraq had nothing to do with Osama Bin Ladin in the beginning. Most of the measurements show that the war on terror is going worse.

Only 5 of the 22 top most wanted al-Qeada operatives have been captured or killed. Terrorism has increased 5-fold since 9-11, we need to redirect those troops and we need to do with certainty and a clarity.


What Republicans fail to understand that the nation suffers when you start wars for bogus reasons. The nation suffers when you fail to effectively manage that war, and it suffers when you fail to implement any form of diplomacy at all that might help resolve the lingering tensions in the region - that you initiated and exercerbated in the first place.

Maybe, just maybe - you shouldn't start shit you have no intention of finishing.

This point is apparently not lost on John Kerry.

But is he going to fall into the "insulting the troops" trap as he calls Patreaus to task? Not so much.

Steph: Do you trust General Patreaus to deliver a credible and honest report.

Kerry: I think General Patreaus will present the facts with respect to the statistics and the tactical successes or situations as he sees them. But none of us should be fooled into this tactical success debate. We’ll never have enough troops to provide the kind of tactical success in one community or another across all of Iraq. So the only way is to have political reconciliation. Until that happens things are going to get more tense. I think they’re courting disaster. You can take a tactical success and misread it as we did in Vietnam.


Amen to that, sir. Amen.

Vyan