Ten years into the Bush-Cheney Clusterfuck

Year: 2003
Photographer: Jean-Marc Bouju
Nationality: France
Organization / Publication: The Associated Press
Date: 31-03-2003
Country: Iraq

Caption: An Iraqi man comforts his four-year-old son at a holding center for prisoners of war, in the base camp of the US Army 101st Airborne Division near An Najaf. The boy had become terrified when, according to orders, his father was hooded and handcuffed. A soldier later severed the plastic handcuffs so that the man could comfort his child. Hoods were placed over detainees’ heads because they were quicker to apply than blindfolds. The military said the bags were used to disorient prisoners and protect their identities. It is not known what happened to the man or the boy.

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socialismartnatureTo this day, not a single soul among the US political elite has been brought to justice for the crime against humanity that was the invasion, war, and occupation of Iraq. (via: ihatepeacocks)

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Dying vet’s ‘fuck you’ letter to George Bush & Dick Cheney needs to be read by every American

“…I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences…”

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The war lasted years longer and cost 100 times as much as the Bush administration’s estimates.

JM Ashby: It should be reiterated that President Bush kept the cost of the Iraq war off the books while he was in office, and when Republicans make the claim that President Obama dramatically increased the national debt upon taking office, the only reason they are able to make that claim is because the president decided we should begin taking responsibly for the cost of the war by adding it to routine budgets rather than paying for it with emergency authorization bills.

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A Decade Of Mistakes: Timeline Of The Iraq War (3 selections):

MAY 1, 2003: Mission Accomplished. [M]y fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. [Bush, 5/1/03]

MAY 12, 2007: Billions in oil missing in Iraq. “Between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq’s declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling, according to a draft American government report. Using an average of $50 a barrel, the report said the discrepancy was valued at $5 million to $15 million daily.” [New York Times, 5/12/2007]

JUNE 13, 2011: Department of Defense announces that $6.6 billion dollars earmarked for Iraq has been lost with no explanation. [It was] enough to run the Los Angeles Unified School District or the Chicago Public Schools for a year, among many other things. For the first time, federal auditors are suggesting that some or all of the cash may have been stolen, not just mislaid in an accounting error. [LA Times, 6/13/11]

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Related: 

10 years later: documenting the true history of the Bush Administration

“The true history of my administration will be written 50 years from now, and you and I will not be around to see it.” — George W. Bush

On this day in 2003, a U.S. led coalition invaded Iraq. President Bush said the goal of Operation Iraqi Freedom was to “disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” The Iraqi invasion was strongly supported by Vice President Cheney. As Defense Secretary during the 1991 Gulf War, he opposed an invasion of Iraq, saying it wasn’t worth the casualties or “getting bogged down.” The U.S. combat role in Iraq ended last year after 4,486 Americans were killed, another 32,223 wounded. Direct spending on the Iraq war is estimated at $757 billion, a figure that does not include interest on money borrowed to finance the war — or taking care of veterans. A Brown University study in 2011 said it may also cost $1 trillion more (through 2050) to care for veterans of the 105-month war. On this day in 2011,  President Obama ordered air strikes on Libya.

MARCH 19: On this day in 2003, a U.S. led coalition invaded Iraq. President Bush said the goal of Operation Iraqi Freedom was to “disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” The Iraqi invasion was strongly supported by Vice President Cheney. As Defense Secretary during the 1991 Gulf War, he opposed an invasion of Iraq, saying it wasn’t worth the casualties or “getting bogged down.” …A Brown University study in 2011 said it may also cost $1 trillion more (through 2050) to care for veterans of the 105-month war.

OFFICIALS KNEW Iraq Had No Weapons of Mass Destruction

British and U.S. intelligence agencies “were informed by top sources months before the invasion that Iraq had no active WMD programme, and that the information was not passed to subsequent inquiries,” according to the Guardian.

MOTHER JONES: According to the first-ever comprehensive count of the true toll of the combined wars, the estimate the [Bush Administration] used to sell the invasion in 2003 was about 100 times too low. (i.e. $50-60 billion):

So what did that $6 trillion get us, exactly? Since we borrowed to pay for much of the war, we’re facing nearing $4 trillion in cumulative interest between now and 2053, according to the 30 researchers who worked on the Costs of War report for Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies.

To date, according to the report, medical and disability claims of U.S. war veterans of Iraq have reached $84 billion; ongoing care for wounded Iraq war vets and their families is expected to require nearly $500 billion more over the next several decades. Homeland Security got $245 billion in additional funding thanks to increased threats of terror—real, imagined, and staged—over the last ten years. On-the-ground operations alone ended up being 16 times more expensive than the Bush cabinet’s original estimate for the entire enterprise.

Apparently the Office of Management and Budget was really, really bad at math for a while there in 2003.


PAUL KRUGMAN wonders why there seems to be so little coverage of the 10-year anniversary:

Well, it’s not hard to think of a reason: a lot of people behaved badly in the runup to that war, and many though not all people in the news media behaved especially badly.

It’s hard now to recall the atmosphere of the time, but there was both an overpowering force of conventional wisdom — all the Very Serious People were for war, don’t you know, and if you were against you were by definition flaky — and a strong current of fear. To come out against the war, let alone to suggest that the Bush administration was deliberately misleading the nation into war, looked all too likely to be a career-ending stance. And there were all too few profiles in courage.

The war, then, was a big test — a test of your ability to cut through a fog of propaganda, but also a test of your moral and to some extent personal courage. And a lot of people in the media failed.

42% OF AMERICANS REMAIN COMFORTABLY DELUSIONAL, IGNORANT

53% of Americans believe the United States “made a mistake sending troops to fight in Iraq” while 42% say it was not a mistake. — a new Gallup poll

FACT: 100% of that 42% also believe this woman should lead the country

FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY:

Cheney: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked.  That’s been a major success.
Martha Raddatz: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.
Cheney: So?
Martha Raddatz: So?  You don’t care what the American people think?
Cheney: No.

TEN YEARS LATER: “I did what I did. It’s all on the public record, and I feel very good about it. If I had to do it over again, I’d do it in a minute.” — Cheney in a new  documentary which aired last Friday.

10 COMPANIES PROFITING THE MOST FROM WAR: The 10 biggest arms producers accounted for more than half of the 2010 sales. The composition of those sales reflects the state of modern warfare, as battles are now often fought with remote surveillance and air strikes instead of ground combat.

Click here for a closer look at each company.

In this charmed circle of American capitalism, Lockheed Martin-, Boeing-, and Raytheon-manufactured munitions destroy Iraq; George Schultz’s Bechtel Corporation and Dick Cheney’s Halliburton rebuild Iraq; and Iraq oil pays for it all.” — Who Benefits from Global Violence and War: Uncovering a Destructive System

Unfortunately military contractors and the politicians they handle walked away from the Iraq-Oil Party with greatly increased wealth and power, and left generations of American taxpayers to foot the bill.

NEVER FORGET:

“Maybe the American people can be brainwashed into forgetting why we supposedly went to war. Near as I can tell, our national memory span is down to about two weeks, and the media have been spectacularly unskeptical on this issue. But the rest of the world is not going to forget that WMDs were our primary reason for an unprovoked, pre-emptive war.” — the late Molly Ivins’ from April 29, 2003, barely a month after Shock ‘n Awe

Morning Bunker Report: Thursday 5.10.2012

WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY—————————–—

BIPARTISANSHIP to the modern Republican: after defeating Sen. Dick Lugar in the Indiana primary, Richard Mourdock dismissed Lugar’s parting shot.
 
Source: sandandglass

PART OF SEN. RICHARD LUGAR’S searing concession statement – “Too often bipartisanship is equated with centrism or deal cutting. Bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle. One can be very conservative or very liberal and still have a bipartisan mindset. Such a mindset acknowledges that the other party is also patriotic and may have some good ideas. It acknowledges that national unity is important, and that aggressive partisanship deepens cynicism, sharpens political vendettas, and depletes the national reserve of good will that is critical to our survival in hard times. Certainly this was understood by President Reagan, who worked with Democrats frequently and showed flexibility that would be ridiculed today — from assenting to tax increases in the 1983 Social Security fix, to compromising on landmark tax reform legislation in 1986, to advancing arms control agreements in his second term. I don’t remember a time when so many topics have become politically unmentionable in one party or the other. Republicans cannot admit to any nuance in policy on climate change. Republican members are now expected to take pledges against any tax increases. For two consecutive Presidential nomination cycles, GOP candidates competed with one another to express the most strident anti-immigration view, even at the risk of alienating a huge voting bloc… If fealty to these pledges continues to expand, legislators may pledge their way into irrelevance. Voters will be electing a slate of inflexible positions rather than a leader…” Ezra Klein

COLIN POWELL: War with Iraq was never debated — Former Secretary of State Colin Powell provides what may be the most authoritative confirmation yet that there was never a considered debate in the George W. Bush White House about whether going to war in Iraq was really a good idea. [...] “By then, the President did not think war could be avoided,” Powell writes. “He had crossed the line in his own mind, even though the NSC [National Security Council] had never met — and never would meet — to discuss the decision.” – HuffPo

 
AFTER WEEKS of blaming Obama for rising gas prices, Fox News is asking if the decrease in gas prices may be a bad thing, links the decrease to a weak economy and, again, blames Obama. – Fox News: Rising gas prices were bad. Now falling prices are bad. Both are Obama’s fault

MICHELE BACHANN granted dual Swiss-American citizenship – “Congresswoman Bachmann’s husband is of Swiss descent so she has been eligible for dual-citizenship since they got married in 1978,” said her spokeswoman Becky Rogness said in a statement given to the Politico.com website and other US media…“Recently some of their children wanted to exercise their eligibility for dual-citizenship so they went through the process as a family,” the spokeswoman said. – Raw Story 

  • BACHMANN HAS ISSUES with the truth — even about this: Her statement that she has been a citizen since 1978 is based off a technicality – at the time of her marriage, automatic citizenship was granted to those who married Swiss citizens. However, Marcus Bachmann, her husband, did not register their marriage with Swiss authorities until this year – meaning that the Swiss government was not aware of it until recently. — Politico
  • AS A CITIZEN OF SWITZERLAND, Bachmann [and her kids] can now partake in a healthcare system that is the envy of the world. It has transparent costs, it is consumer driven, and it provides near universal coverage. It also has an individual mandate: all Swiss citizens are required to purchase basic health insurance. You may recall that the current Supreme Court challenge against Obamacare rests on the contention that its health insurance mandate is unconstitutional. The Swiss mandate seems to only apply to all residents of Switzerland, so Bachmann may be able to get out of it by not living there full time. – The Daily Beast

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS————————————————————

OBAMA: ‘Same sex couples should be able to get married’ – It’s a breakthrough moment for a president who already has a rather impressive record on advancing LGBT rights, and an unexpected step forward for the gay-rights movement. — Steve Benen [image: drunkonstevphen]

  • That isn’t an “impressive” record. It’s AMAZING. That’s what flummoxes me about many activists. Those are real accomplishments, yet we still had folks (Dan Choi, Aravosis, I’m looking at you) flaming the President. …What is listed here are real actions. …But even if Obama had maintained his earlier position on same-sex marriage, he still has done more to advance gay rights than any other President, by a ridiculously wide margin. Faced with a congress more hostile than what Bill Clinton ever faced, he is UNDOING much of the damage inflicted on the gay community by none other than Bill Clinton. — John Cole

THANK President Obama for supporting marriage equality!

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REID DRAWS A LINE on Rolling Back Sequester – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced yesterday that Senate Democrats would not agree to replace mandated spending cuts unless Republicans agree to a “balanced” approach that asks the wealthy to help pay for it. – Roll Call

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS sees a lesson for the United States in the European elections — “In the United States and around the world, the middle class is in steep decline while the wealthy and large corporations are doing phenomenally well. The message sent by voters in France and other European countries, which I believe will be echoed here in the United States, is that the wealthy and large corporations are going to have to experience some austerity also and that that burden cannot solely fall on working families. In the United States, where corporate profits are soaring and the gap between the rich and everybody else is growing wider, we must end corporate tax loopholes and start making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. At the same time, we must protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Austerity, yes, but for millionaires and billionaires, not the working families of this country.” — Crooks & Liars

FROM PETER ORSZAG, after reporting on new evidence that the incomes of the very rich are far more sensitive to economic growth than in the past: If anything, high-earning households should be the ones most in favor of aggressively boosting the economy in the short run — and not just out of benevolence. Yet I suspect, without definitive proof, that support for additional stimulus declines as one moves up the income scale. – Well, I suspect that he suspects right. I also suspect that the very rich (a) just flatly don’t believe that Keynesian stimulus works, and (b) know for sure that tax cuts will increase their disposable incomes. So it’s Team Austerity for them. Sure, they’ll have to ride out the bad times by letting one of the yacht scrubbers go, but everyone has to make sacrifices, right? — Kevin Drum

image: Austerity Fever | NYTimes

Merry Christmas to the troops: celebrating the end of Iraq

Last troops joyously celebrate the end of Iraq.

Middle photo shows a member of the Kentucky National Guard kissing the ground after landing in Indianapolis, Indiana.

via: think-progress

thepoliticalnotebook:

The last US troops have crossed from Iraq into Kuwait… making this war at which we’ve spent a decade officially over. There’s a lot not to be optimistic about when it comes to post-war reconstruction Iraq, but right now, having the last soldiers off Iraqi soil is an amazing moment to take stock of.

Overnight, MRAP vehicles carried the last 500 soldiers into Kuwait. The last convoy left Iraq at daybreak, to cheering.

NBC’s Richard Engel was there, and tweeted:

image

His Twitter timeline at the moment is an amazing record of the last moments of our troop presence in Iraq.

[Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Pool via EPA]

OWS: NOT the America we want to live in: OccupyOakland and Iraq veteran Scott Olsen

We are all Scott Olsen. OccupyOakland OWS

“I’m just absolutely devastated that someone who did two tours of Iraq and came home safely is now lying in a US hospital because of the domestic police force”

Occupy Oakland: Iraq war veteran in critical condition after police clashes / guardian.co.uk (via rachelfershleiser)

thepoliticalnotebook: This is truly atrocious. Scott Olsen, 23, served in Iraq twice with the Marines and is currently under sedation with a skull fracture and brain swelling after the Oakland police [shot] a tear gas canister at him. They threw a second as fellow demonstrators rushed to his aid.

for peace


High-res →

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In response to the police brutality against peaceful American protesters –hereherehereherehereand here – military and police groups are forming to protect American citizens.

In fact, many in the military support the protests (and see this).

As of today, OccupyMarines, Occupy PoliceOccupy NavyOccupy Airforce, and Occupy Army have formed to protect the people against police brutality.

After Veterans for Peace member Scott Olsen – a Marine Corps veteran twice deployed to Iraq – was critically wounded in the Occupy Oakland protest, Occupy Marines tweeted:

WHEN YOU SHOOT ONE MARINE, YOU SHOOT AT ALL OF US. OORAH. Do It Peacefully Occupy We Stand In Solidarity

(via: paxamericana)

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Related:

Iraqis look forward to an end to U.S. presence in their country

HOWEVER DIFFICULT THIS IS FOR THE RIGHT TO ACCEPT, Iraqis would like their country back:

For Abu al-Hamza, a retired colonel of the pre-2003 Iraqi army who lives in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, the withdrawal gives a chance for “Iraqi forces to depend on themselves and develop their abilities in the future”.

“The US presence brought problems for us — of course, their withdrawal will lead to an improvement in Iraqis’ lives.”

Around 39,500 US troops remain in Iraq on 18 bases, down from a peak of nearly 170,000 soldiers on 505 bases, and all must withdraw by the end of the year under the terms of a 2008 security pact.

Iraqis voice happiness over U.S. withdrawal decision | The Raw Story


image: letterstomycountry

Yep. Zero:

image: pantslessprogressive

Mission Accomplished.

What’s a better way to support the troops than slapping a magnetic ribbon on your car?

Ending a nine-year war.

Marines near California’s Camp Pendleton welcomed President Barack Obama’s announcement that all troops will leave Iraq by year’s end.

What’s the next best way? GIVING THEM JOBS WHEN THEY GET HOME:

President Obama and the first lady, together for the last leg of his latest bus tour, announced on Wednesday a commitment by the American Logistics Association to hire 25,000 veterans and their spouses by the end of 2013.

The association represents 270 companies, including Coca Cola, Tyson Foods, and ConAgra, with the primary focus of placing veterans at those companies. The group was a logical first step for Michelle Obama and second lady Jill Biden’s “Joining Forces” initiative to hire 100,000 veterans in the private sector by the same deadline.

Obama and first lady announce new jobs for veterans

The Iraq war is over! Good news to everyone (except for the Fox-GOP-Teaparty-nation)

THE IRAQ WAR IS OVER ON OBAMA’S WATCH? Time for the Fox-News-Republican-Teaparty-nation to attack:

October 22 edition of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:

Van Susteren to John Bolton: “[A]t what point, though, do you get out, do you say, ‘Look, it’s time to go home’?”
Bolton: “We’re still in Germany. We’re still in Japan.”

October 22 edition of Special Report

Weekly Standard writer Stephen Hayes: [the announcement] is “a major setback” and “a disservice to our men and women in uniform”
Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer: [the announcement] was a “big, big failure.” … endorses keeping tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq “the same way that we retained forces in Korea, Germany, and Japan 50 years ago, to our advantage”

It’s sad and unfortunate that neither Romney nor Perry, the top GOP presidential candidates, seem to understand that it was ultimately up to the Iraqis to decide whether U.S. troops stayed in Iraq past the 2011 deadline, not the U.S. military:

Romney: “…The American people deserve to hear the recommendations that were made by our military commanders in Iraq.” (via)
Perry: “…The President was slow to engage the Iraqis and there’s little evidence today’s decision is based on advice from military commanders.” (via)

And once-relevant hawks are truly upset:

Bitter, bitter loser and perpetual war advocate John McCain said: “This decision will be viewed as a strategic victory for our enemies in the Middle East…” (via)

Stand by for equally “interesting” statements from members of the former (and as yet unpunished) Bush Administration…

Keep in mind:

Here are some relevant numbers:

8 years, 260 days since Secretary of State Colin Powell presented evidence of Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program

8 years, 215 days since the March 20, 2003 invasion of Iraq

8 years, 175 days since President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln

4,479 U.S. military fatalities

30,182 U.S. military injuries

468 contractor fatalities

103,142 – 112,708 documented civilian deaths

2.8 million internally displaced Iraqis

$806 billion in federal funding for the Iraq War through FY2011

$3 – $5 trillion in total economic cost to the United States of the Iraq war according to economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Blimes

$60 billion in U.S. expenditures lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001

0 weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq

“Congenital malformations” have been recorded in 15% of all births in Fallujah since 2003

via Andrew Sullivan:

93113656

[...] A 2010 study from Iraq found that “42 sites that are contaminated with high levels of radiation and dioxins—residue, the study claims, from three decades of war.” Kelley Beaucar Vlahos reports that there could be hundreds of other similar locations:

The pollution of Basra dates back to at least 1982, when Operation Ramadan, the biggest land battle of the Iran-Iraq war—in which the U.S. was supplying Saddam Hussein with billions of dollars worth of weapons, training, and support—shook the desert. In the 20 years since the first Gulf War, Basra has seen a marked increase in childhood illnesses. According to researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health, the rate of childhood leukemia more than doubled in Basra between 1993 and 2007.

Since 2003, “congenital malformations” have been recorded in 15 percent of all births in Fallujah. The worldwide average for major birth defects is 6 percent.

(Photo: Zahra Muhammad, age 4, who suffers from a birth defect, is held by her father on November 12, 2009 in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Birth defects have soared in the city, which was the site of two major battles between the U.S military and insurgents after the invasion of Iraq. By Muhannad Fala’ah/Getty Images)

Ugh — good thing we HAD to start the Iraq war to get all Saddam’s WMDs! Pro-lifers, what say you?

Top intelligence official: Iraq dossier was drawn up to make the case for war

There is only one reality show I’m interested in watching and I’ll never see it: Bush and Blair (and their administrations) on trial at the Hague:

A top military intelligence official has said the discredited dossier on Iraq’s weapons programme was drawn up “to make the case for war”, flatly contradicting persistent claims to the contrary by the Blair government, and in particular by Alastair Campbell, the former prime minister’s chief spin doctor.

In hitherto secret evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, Major General Michael Laurie said: “We knew at the time that the purpose of the dossier was precisely to make a case for war, rather than setting out the available intelligence, and that to make the best out of sparse and inconclusive intelligence the wording was developed with care.”

[...] “We could find no evidence of planes, missiles or equipment that related to WMD [weapons of mass destruction], generally concluding that they must have been dismantled, buried or taken abroad. There has probably never been a greater detailed scrutiny of every piece of ground in any country.”

[...] Despite its concerns, MI6 told ministers before the invasion that toppling Saddam Hussein “remains a prize because it could give new security to oil supplies”.

Read all →

One 9/11 every 4 months for 7 years

toseegrey:saracens:heartwarming:maced: (via morafi)

morafi | Palahniuk & Chocolate

But remember… they hate us for our freedom.

History will NOT be rewritten:

.

Bush March 19, 2003:

Bush Iraq War Speech, March 19, 2003 — WATCH:

Bush Aug/2006:

Bush admits that Iraq Had Nothing To Do With 9/11 — WATCH:

Bush today:

.
http://www.knowledgerush.com/wiki_image/c/c9/Bush_cheney_hastert.jpgBush: ‘I Was A Dissenting Voice’ On Iraq War

“I was a dissenting voice. I didn’t want to use force,” Bush said. “I mean force is the last option for a President. And I think it’s clear in the book that I gave diplomacy every chance to work. And I will also tell you the world’s better off without Saddam in power. And so are 25 million Iraqis.”

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Decision Points! A Look Back At The Bush Years]

Bush went on to say that he still feels like going to war was the right decision. And as he wrote in the book, “No one was more sickened or angry than I was when we didn’t find weapons of mass destruction.”

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Related:

Morning cup of politics

“This is going to be terrible. In fact, future historians will probably look back at the 2010 election as a catastrophe for America, one that condemned the nation to years of political chaos and economic weakness.” – Paul Krugman

    • DADT: An internal Pentagon study has found that most U.S. troops and their families don’t care whether gays are allowed to serve openly and think the policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” could be done away with.
    • “Let me make sure I understand this. The ad’s contention is that seniors are going to be forced out of Medicare and into a ‘government-run health care’ program?”
    • Fair and balanced! During the 2009-2010 election cycle, more than 30 Fox News personalities have endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or organizations in more than 600 instances.
    • “With all due candor, appearing on your own reality show on the Discovery Channel, I am not certain how that fits in the American calculus of ‘that helps me see you in the Oval Office….” – Karl Rove on Palin as a presidential candidate
    • Sarah Palin: I’ll run for President in 2012 if there’s nobody else to do it
    • Desperate for conservative votes, Meg Whitman says her former housekeeper should be deported.
    • Clinton did urge Meek to quit. Why?

    WATCH: The Rand Paul STOMP

    Bush: Greatest failure is that I didn’t privatize Social Security

    Bush: Sorry I Didn’t Privatize Social Security

    George W Bush

    “And just like that the worst President ever is back in the news.

    Former President George W. Bush signaled on Thursday that he sees not privatizing Social Security as his greatest failure from the eight years he served in the White House, the Chicago Tribune reports.

    The unpopular Republican leader made the suggestion while speaking at a trade conference in the Windy City, where he discussed his legacy and also offered a glimpse into what readers can expect from his forthcoming memoir, Decision Points.

    ‘I would like to be remembered as a guy who had a set of priorities, and was willing to live by those priorities,’ explained Bush. ‘In terms of accomplishments, my biggest accomplishment is that I kept the country safe amidst a real danger.’

    Yes, if you pretend away the worst terror attack in U.S. history and the unnecessary invasion of Iraq that allowed Al Qaeda and the Taliban to flourish, Bush kept us safe for the domestic anthrax attack and the drowning of New Orleans.”

    Worst. President. Ever.

    And where were all the Tea Partiers who worry so much about big government and spending between 2001 – 2008? Oh yeah: they were all hunkey dorey until Nov. 4, 2008.

    Related:

    .

    Trailer: Fair Game

    Newsweek:

    When columnist Robert Novak unveiled Valerie Plame as a CIA undercover operative in his syndicated column in 2003, Plame reportedly confessed to a friend, “I didn’t plan for this day.” …

    In Fair Game, director Doug Liman bravely tackles the now well-known story of how Plame’s husband, former career diplomat Joseph Wilson, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times accusing President George W. Bush of knowingly lying in his State of the Union address about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and how, in return, White House officials leaked Plame’s true identity to the media. As MSNBC’s Chris Matthews reportedly told Wilson, Karl Rove declared, “Wilson’s wife is fair game.” …continued


    Some highlights from the following timelines:

    2001:

    • 11 SEP 2001
    • 14 SEP 2001: Congress authorizes [PDF] President George W. Bush to use “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”
    • 20 SEP 2001: British Prime Minister Tony Blair meets with President George Bush at the White House. According to former British Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer, who also attended the dinner, Bush indicates that he is determined to remove Saddam Hussein from power: “We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.”

    2002:

    • 29 JAN 2002: In his State of the Union address, President Bush describes an “axis of evil” between Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Osama bin Laden is not mentioned in the speech.
    • 26 FEB 2002: Joe Wilson arrives in Niger. Before the leak: 2002 (Wilson’s Trip to Niger)
    • 24 SEP 2002: The British government releases a dossier [PDF] alleging that Iraq has and is developing weapons of mass destruction, including a claim that Iraq attempted to obtain uranium from Africa. George Tenet briefs the Senate Intelligence Committee on the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq. In his summary of the document, he includes the allegation that Iraq attempted to obtain uranium from Niger. Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had been sent to Niger by the CIA in February 2002 and who had determined that the allegations that Iraq had sought to obtain uranium from Niger were false, contacts the CIA and advises the agency to inform the British about the intelligence that had been acquired during his mission to Niger.

    JAN – MAR 2003:

    • BEFORE 28 JAN 2003:  The National Intelligence Council sends and the White House receives an unequivocal memo, drafted by Robert G. Houdek, the national intelligence officer for Africa, that the Niger story is baseless and should be laid to rest. (WaPo, DailyKos)
    • 28 JAN 2003: The 16 words are spoken by the President in the State of the Union address (transcript; SSCI). “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
    • 29 JAN 2003: Joseph Wilson meets with a friend who works at the State Department and asks why the president had cited the British intelligence report about Iraq’s attempt to buy uranium, when he had debunked the allegation a year earlier. (NYT)
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