Category Archives: Iraq War

Dick Cheney says Iraq War was worth it because now we know they didn’t have WMDs

Worst administration in history.

In my opinion, this is one of the most idiotic and insensitive things that has spoken by Dick “Darth Vader” Cheney…

Daily Kos

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is on a Famous Person Book Tour. A Famous Person Book Tour, for any youngsters out there unfamiliar with the practice, is an American phenomenon in which a famous person writes a book, and/or causes a book to be written in their name, and because they are famous American law dictates that all American media programs are required to have them on to discuss various things that may or may not have anything to do with the book they may or may not have written. You may think that this law is a bit stupid, but it is entrenched; no newsperson or talk show host wants to be the first person to go to jail for failing to give a Famous Person their free network interview.

So Dick Cheney may or may not have written a book that may or may not be a tutorial as to how to lure young homeless people into your house so that you may harvest their organs for later use. This means we get to hear him defend his life’s work, aka the Iraq War, and you will not be surprised to know that he considers it a fine success because we were able to find out that there weren’t any weapons of mass destruction there.

What we gain and my concern was then and it remains today is that the biggest threat we face is the possibility of terrorist groups like al Qaeda equipped with weapons of mass destruction, with nukes, bugs or gas. That was the threat after 9/11 and when we took down Saddam Hussein we eliminated Iraq as a potential source of that.

Whether Iraq actually had any weapons of mass destruction, you see, is beside the point. The point is that by invading them, unleashing a chaotic series of events that killed perhaps a half a million people or so, we were able to set our minds at ease as to how they did not have any. Scratch one country off the list; all that is required now is to bomb and invade every other nation in the world so as to satisfy ourselves that there are not any illicit weapons there either. You may recognize this as another rephrasing of the Cheney Doctrine, which says that if there is even a one percent chance that another country might do something bad to us, we are allowed to bomb and invade them before they get the chance. If bombing and invading them did not result in them liking us sufficiently, of course, we may have to bomb and invade them again; there is no common rule of thumb as to how many times you need to bomb and invade someone before they like you.

Dick Cheney was and is considered an American foreign policy expert. He was one of the people most intimately involved with deciding who should and should not be killed because reasons. All of the others are still around as well, flitting about on their occasional legally mandated Famous Person Book Tours. There is at least a 99 percent chance that they are all secretly idiots or worse, but the law is the law.

3 Comments

Filed under Dick Cheney, Iraq War

“Why I am no longer a Republican”

The Week

It has a lot to do with the Iraq War

This week has been filled with Iraq War recriminations and re-evaluations. While official Washington was strangely silent about the 10th anniversary of the start of the conflict, journalists and intellectuals have been (predictably) more vocal. Prominent neocons have reaffirmed, with minor caveats, their support for the war. Some (erstwhileliberal hawks have issued full-throated mea culpasOther liberals, meanwhile, have tried to have it both ways, denouncing the war they once supported while praising its outcome. And of course, lots of people who opposed the war from the beginning, on the right and left, have declared vindication.

My own position on the war fits into none of these categories. Ten years ago, I was working as an editor at First Things, a monthly magazine that’s aptly been described as the New York Review of Books of the religious right. (And no, that’s not oxymoronic.) The magazine strongly supported George W. Bush’s original conception of the War on Terror, and so did I. In his speech to Congress and the nation on September 20, 2001, Bush stated that the United States would seek to decimate al Qaeda as well as every other terrorist groups of global reach. To this day I remain committed to that goal and willing to support aggressive military action (including the use of drone strikes) to achieve it. But thanks in large part to the Iraq War, I no longer consider myself a Republican or a man of the right.

The reason I continue (like President Obama) to support the original vision of the War on Terror is that it was and is based on a correct judgment of the fundamental difference between (stateless) terrorists and traditional (state-based) military opponents. Even the most bloodthirsty tyrant will invariably temper his actions in war out of a concern for how his adversary will respond, and he will likewise act out of a concern for maintaining and maximizing his own power. Political leaders can thus be deterred by actions (and threats of action) by other states. Members of al-Qaeda-like groups, by contrast, seek in all cases to inflict the maximum possible number of indiscriminate deaths on their enemies and demonstrate no concern about the lives of their members. They are therefore undeterrable, which means that the only way to combat them is to destroy them.

Unfortunately, the right began to disregard the crucial distinction between terrorists and states right around the time of the January 2002 State of the Union speech, when President Bush broadened the scope of the War on Terror to include an “axis of evil” consisting of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. After that, the mood among conservatives began to grow fierce. Some columnists denied the effectiveness of deterrence against states and advocated unilateral preventive war to overthrow hostile regimes instead. Others openly promoted American imperialism. Still others explicitly proposed that the United States act to topple the governments of a series of sovereign nations in the Muslim Middle East, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

And these were the intellectually respectable suggestions, published in mainstream newspapers and long-established journals of opinion. Farther down the media hierarchy, on cable news, websites, and blogs, conservatives of all stripes closed ranks, unleashing a verbal barrage on any and all who dissented from a united front in favor of unapologetic American military muscle. The participants in this endless pep rally were insistent on open-ended war, overtly hostile to dissent, and thoroughly unforgiving of the slightest criticism of the United States abroad. Self-congratulation and self-righteousness ruled the day.

Continue reading here…

 

2 Comments

Filed under Iraq War, President George W. Bush, Republicans

“Hubris”: New Documentary Reexamines the Iraq War “Hoax”

Hubris:

Noun
  1. Excessive pride or self-confidence.
  2. (in Greek tragedy) Excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis.

Members the Senate are increasingly coming up with Benghazi questions to justify slowing down the process of approving President Obama’s nominees for his cabinet.   When they heard that UN Ambassador Susan Rice might be considered for the Secretary of State position upon Hillary Clinton’s departure, they claimed that Rice lied about Benghazi on national TV.  They promised that she would not be approved because of those lies.

Now certain key Senators are holding the Secretary of Defense nominee hostage because of…wait for it…more Benghazi questions.  Chuck Hagel, the DOD nominee had nothing to do with Benghazi at all.

The hypocrisy is astounding.  Here’s why…

Mother Jones

An MSNBC film, hosted by Rachel Maddow and based on Michael Isikoff and David Corn’s book, finds new evidence that Bush scammed the nation into war.

A decade ago, on March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush launched the invasion of Iraq that would lead to a nine-year war resulting in 4,486 dead American troops, 32,226 service members wounded, and over 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians. The tab for the war topped $3 trillion. Bush did succeed in removing Saddam Hussein, but it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction and no significant operational ties between Saddam’s regime and Al Qaeda. That is, the two main assertions used by Bush and his crew to justify the war were not true. Three years after the war began, Michael Isikoff, then an investigative reporter for Newsweek (he’s since moved to NBC News), and I published Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, a behind-the-scenes account of how Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and their lieutenants deployed false claims, iffy intelligence, and unsupported hyperbole to win popular backing for the invasion.

Our book—hailed by the New York Times as “the most comprehensive account of the White House’s political machinations”—was the first cut at an important topic: how a president had swindled the nation into war with a deliberate effort to hype the threat. The book is now the basis for an MSNBC documentary of the same name that marks the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war. Hosted by Rachel Maddow, the film premieres Monday night in her usual time slot (9PM ET/PT). But the documentary goes beyond what Isikoff and I covered in Hubris, presenting new scoops and showing that the complete story of the selling of that war has yet to be told.

One chilling moment in the film comes in an interview with retired General Anthony Zinni, a former commander in chief of US Central Command. In August 2002, the Bush-Cheney administration opened its propaganda campaign for war with a Cheney speech at the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention. The veep made a stark declaration: “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.” No doubt, he proclaimed, Saddam was arming himself with WMD in preparation for attacking the United States.

Zinni was sitting on the stage during the speech, and in the documentary he recalls his reaction:

It was a shock. It was a total shock. I couldn’t believe the vice president was saying this, you know? In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD, through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program. And that’s when I began to believe they’re getting serious about this. They wanna go into Iraq.

That Zinni quote should almost end the debate on whether the Bush-Cheney administration purposefully guided the nation into war with misinformation and disinformation.

But there’s more. So much more. The film highlights a Pentagon document declassified two years ago. This memo notes that in November 2001—shortly after the 9/11 attacks—Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with General Tommy Franks to review plans for the “decapitation” of the Iraqi government. The two men reviewed how a war against Saddam could be triggered; that list included a “dispute over WMD inspections.” It’s evidence that the administration was seeking a pretense for war.

The yellowcake uranium supposedly bought by Saddam in Niger, the aluminum tubes supposedly used to process uranium into weapons-grade material, the supposed connection between Saddam and Osama bin Laden—the documentary features intelligence analysts and experts who at the time were saying and warning that the intelligence on these topics was wrong or uncertain. Yet administration officials kept using lousy and inconclusive intelligence to push the case for war.

Through the months-long run-up to the invasion, Colin Powell, then the secretary of state, would become the administration’s No. 1 pitchman for the war with a high-profile speech at the UN, which contained numerous false statements about Iraq and WMD. But, the documentary notes, he was hiding from the public his deep skepticism. In the film, Lawrence Wilkerson, Powell’s chief of staff at the time, recalls the day Congress passed a resolution authorizing Bush to attack Iraq:

Powell walked into my office and without so much as a fare-thee-well, he walked over to the window and he said, “I wonder what’ll happen when we put 500,000 troops into Iraq and comb the country from one end to the other and find nothing?” And he turned around and walked back in his office. And I—I wrote that down on my calendar—as close for—to verbatim as I could, because I thought that was a profound statement coming from the secretary of state, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.

Wilkerson also notes that Powell had no idea about the veracity of the intelligence he cited during that UN speech: “Though neither Powell nor anyone else from the State Department team intentionally lied, we did participate in a hoax.”

A hoax. That’s what it was. Yet Bush and Cheney went on to win reelection, and many of their accomplices in this swindle never were fully held accountable. In the years after the WMD scam became apparent, there certainly was a rise in public skepticism and media scrutiny of government claims. Still, could something like this happen again? Maddow remarks, “If what we went through 10 years ago did not change us as a nation—if we do not understand what happened and adapt to resist it—then history says we are doomed to repeat it.”

Comments Off

Filed under Iraq War, Iraq War Lies, President George W. Bush, UN Abassador Susan Rice, United States Senate

The Iraq War’s ‘quiet’ end: By the numbers

This is an interesting look at the wind down of the Iraq War…

The Week

An understated ceremony in Baghdad marks the end of a mission that lasted nearly nine years, claimed the lives over 4,000 U.S. soldiers, and divided our nation

America’s long, contentious war in Iraq came to a “quiet” end Thursday. In a “muted ceremony” in Baghdad, U.S. troops lowered the flag of command that flew over the headquarters of the U.S. mission for a final time. “After a lot of blood spilled by Iraqis and Americans, the mission of an Iraq that could govern and secure itself has become real,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at the ceremony. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the bloodshed and monetary toll:
8
Number of years the Iraq War lasted — the official tally is eight years, eight months, and 25 days. As a start date, The Washington Post points to March 20, 2003, when an airstrike was launched in southern Baghdad where Saddam Hussein was presumed to be hiding.

More than 1 million
Number of U.S. troops who have served in Iraq since 2003

4,483
Number of troops who were killed during the Iraq War, according to Mark Leon Goldberg at UN Dispatch

33,183
Number who were wounded

104,080 to 113,728
Estimated number of Iraqi civilians killed during the mission,according to Iraq Body Count

6.5
Number of deaths per day from suicide attack and vehicle bombs in 2011, says Goldberg

$800 billion 
Cost of the war to the U.S. treasury, says Lolita C. Baldor at theAssociated Press

4,000
Number of troops who will remain in Iraq over the coming months, “despite President Barack Obama’s earlier contention that all American troops would be home for Christmas,” says Baldor

170,000
Number of troops in the country during the 2007 surge ordered by President George W. Bush

500
Number of bases and outposts established in Iraq during that surge


Number of bases that remain

61
Percent of Americans who favored the withdrawal of all troops of Iraq by the end of the year, according to a CNN/ORC Internation poll conducted last month. That’s despite the fact that “only half of Americans think their nation achieved its goals in Iraq,” says Richard Allen Greene and Moni Basu at CNN.

Comments Off

Filed under Iraq Troop Withdrawal, Iraq War, United States Military

Perry: Ending The Iraq War Is ‘Irresponsible,’ ‘Putting Our Kids’ Lives In Jeopardy’

Someone forgot to inform Gov. Rick Perry and the other GOP candidates that it was their very own George W. Bush that signed an agreement with the leaders of Iraq to leave by the end of 2011…

Think Progress

After President Obama announced that he is ending the Iraq War, virtually all of the Republican presidential candidates piled on in criticizing the move, even though two-thirds of Americans oppose the war. Mitt Romney called the decision an “astonishing failure” driven either by “naked political calculation or sheer ineptitude.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) also called it a “complete failure,” while Rick Santorum said the U.S had “lost the war in Iraq.”

Today on Fox News Sunday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) told host Chris Wallace that Obama was flat-out “irresponsible” for bringing the troops home, because, he argued, it is “putting our kids’ lives in jeopardy”:

PERRY: The idea that a commander-in-chief would stand up and signal to the enemy a date certain of when we’re going to pull our troops out I think is irresponsible. You need to be talking to your commanders in the field. You need to be working with the experts who understand what is going on in those countries, for instance. We need to finish our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. You better believe I want out kids home as soon as we can and safe. But to give that signal that we’re pulling them out is bad public policy and, more importantly, it’s putting our kids lives in jeopardy[...]

He has lost his standing from the standpoint of being a commander-in-chief who has any idea about what’s going on in those theaters. He’s making mistakes that are putting our kids that in theater and I think future issues dealing with whether it’s in the Middle East or the south China Sea with our allies, putting all of that in jeopardy because of this unwavering, or I should say this wavering or this aimless approach to foreign policy which he has.

Watch it:

Some senior military officials have been calling for a drawdown since 2009. It is hard to see how bringing soldiers home jeopardizes their safety. It’s also worth noting that if pulling out troops at the end of 2011 is a signal to the enemy, as Perry claims, it’s President George W. Bush who is the guilty party. Bush signed an agreement with Iraq to withdraw troops by the end of 2011, and Obama is just carrying that out.

Related articles

3 Comments

Filed under Iraq Troop Withdrawal, Iraq War

Iraq By The Numbers: The World’s Costliest Cakewalk

Powell's infamous presentation at the U.N.

That was an extremely expensive “cakewalk” in terms of lives lost and dollars…

Think Progress

The Obama administration’s announcement of a withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of the year offers the possibility of a definitive conclusion for the U.S. military’s involvement in Iraq. But while the return of all U.S. service men and women by Christmas is a cause for celebration, the costs of the war are only beginning to be fully understood. The “cakewalk” to Baghdad, as George W. Bush adviser Kenneth Adelman infamously wrote in February, 2002, has been anything but. The Iraq War, and the faulty premise that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, has had a staggering humanitarian and economic cost.

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

30,182U.S. military injuries

468contractor fatalities

103,142 – 112,708 documented civilian deaths

2.8 millioninternally 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

Related articles

Comments Off

Filed under Iraq War, Iraq War Lies

Veterans attempt citizens arrest of Rumsfeld in Boston

Donald Rumsfeld at National Press Club, Sep 2003

Image by @mjb via Flickr

The Raw Story

Several members of the group Veterans for Peace were escorted out of the Old South Meeting House in Boston Monday night after they attempted a citizen’s arrest of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

“I went down in front and looked Donald Rumsfeld in the eye and said, ‘I’m making a citizen’s arrest,’” protester Nate Goldschlag told WCVB-TV.

“He lied us into Iraq. He lied about weapons of mass destruction. He lied about Saddam Hussein being involved in 9/11.”

Three of the protesters removed from the event were with Veterans for Peace and a fourth was a member of Code Pink. One protester was arrested outside the event for allegedly using a bullhorn to assault a police officer.

Most of the 300 people who had to buy a copy of Rumsfeld’s book, “Known and Unknown,” to attend the event appeared to be fans.

“He’s one of the greatest Americans that has ever lived,” one woman said.

Watch this video from WCVB-TV, broadcast Sept. 26, 2011.

 

Related articles

Comments Off

Filed under Iraq War, Iraq War Lies

Dick Cheney’s Deceit of Shakespearean Proportions

I  think that Mr. Cheney believes everything he has written in his book.  I, personally cannot critique the book since I haven’t read it yet. Thus, I’m relying upon those who have…

The Nation – Robert Scheer 

Behold this unctuous knave, a disgrace to his nation as few before him, yet boasting unvarnished virtue. The deceit of Dick Cheney is indeed of Shakespearean proportions, as evidenced in his new memoir. For the former vice president, lying comes so easily that one must assume he takes the pursuit of truth to be nothing more than a reckless indulgence.

Here is a man who, more than anyone else in the Bush administration, trafficked in the campaign of deceit that caused tens of thousands to die, wasted trillions of dollars in resources and indelibly sullied the legacy of this nation through the practice of torture, which Cheney defends to this day. Still this villain claims that, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the horrid methods he endorsed were a necessary response to the threat of Osama bin Laden. How convenient to ignore that it was Barack Obama, a resolutely anti-torture president, who made good on the promise of Cheney and the previous administration to take down the Al Qaeda leader.

Not to mention that bin Laden was killed in his hiding place in Pakistan, a nation that the Bush administration had befriended after 9/11 by lifting the sanctions previously imposed in retaliation for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, a program connected with the proliferation of nuclear weapons know-how and the sale of nuclear material to North Korea, Libya and Iran.

Pakistan joined with only two other nations, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in granting diplomatic recognition to the Taliban government that provided a safe haven for Al Qaeda as bin Laden orchestrated the 9/11 attack. But instead of focusing on the source of the problem, Cheney led the effort to overthrow Saddam Hussein, who had ruthlessly hounded any Al Qaeda operatives who dared function in Iraq.

Continue reading this fascinating article here…

Related articles

2 Comments

Filed under Iraq War, Iraq War Lies, Water Boarding

Feds Say ‘Rogue Navy SEAL’ Smuggled Iraqi Machine Guns

TPM Muckraker

Federal agents arrested a Navy SEAL on Wednesday in San Diego, CA, on charges that he and two other men smuggled firearms from Iraq and possibly Afghanistan to sell them on the black market.

The Navy Times reports that Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Nicholas Bickle, 33, along with Richard Paul, 34, of Durango, CO and Andrew Kaufman, 36, of Las Vegas, NV, are facing charges after allegedly selling 18 machine guns and 14 other firearms to undercover agents in a sting operation from June through October. According to the court documents reviewed by TPM, the markings on some of the guns suggest they belonged to the Iraqi military. The Times reports that Bickle’s military awards and decorations “include the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V,” National Defense Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.”

According to the Associated Press, federal prosecutor Drew Smith told U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. in Las Vegas that Bickle is a “rogue Navy SEAL.” The complaint suggests that Bickle was in Chicago, IL, in August, apparently “involved” in the production of Transformers 3. The AP also reports that five pounds of C-4 explosives, grenades and night-vision goggles were also seized at Paul’s Colorado home. 

“As long as they got paid . . . they didn’t care if the weapons wound up in Mexico or on the streets of Las Vegas,” Smith also said.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Bickle, who is appearing in a San Diego court today, allegedly smuggled “about 80 AK-47s as well as Iraqi-made weapons. He allegedly bragged that the weapons would be impossible to trace.” The complaint alleges that on Sept. 8, Paul told an agent that he had 10 AK-47s for sale at $1,300 a piece, and six handguns at $300 each.

The Times also notes:

Federal agents were allegedly tipped off to the suspected smuggling conspiracy by someone facing felony charges of domestic violence and robbery

Related Articles

Comments Off

Filed under Iraq War, Rogue Navy Seals in Iraq

Md. Judge: Military Contractors Can Be Sued

A paratrooper from 1st Battalion (Airborne), 5...

Image via Wikipedia

Well, this is great news! For years, the likes of Blackwater, Halliburton, KBR and others have operated with carte blanche to do whatever they wanted, without fear of being prosecuted or litigated in Iraq and in the United States.  Perhaps now, that will finally change.  This is a start…

The New York Times

A federal judge says military contractors can be sued by soldiers and others who allege they were harmed by improper waste disposal while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus ruled last week in Maryland that military contractors including Halliburton Co. must face lawsuits alleging the soldiers were exposed to toxic emissions and contaminated water when they burned waste in open pits.

Titus is overseeing 43 lawsuits filed in 42 states on the issue. The contractors sought to have the lawsuits dismissed.

Titus said the courts must treat lawsuits against such contractors with caution to protect military missions abroad. But he said courts must be prepared to decide such cases if people were harmed.

Comments Off

Filed under Iraq War, Private Military Contractors