Brass Resistance
Mainly of the military to the Bush Administration, but also as regards FBI, CIA, & Iraq War Veterans

Index and Page 1
assembled by Chris Pringer, 6/23/06+; edited thru Jan 1, 2008

          What's the connection between the schisms in the Pentagon, the CIA, the US's approach to Iraq, and now Iran, AND among the average US Citizen? Is it conspiracy? Or is it the trend to redefine power and purpose in international relations? Is it about the dollar and the Euro (eg: who gets to decide how much things -and people?- are worth)? Is it about disenfranchisement and disinformation or about empowerment and rediscovering a vision for the planetary community? This page focuses on the sources of political power, military power, and personal power. And on the most recent changes in the role that ethics plays in the use of power.
          IMHO (In my humble opinion): We have come to a nexus where "the HOW of ethics" will determine the "HOW of world governance" for decades, perhaps centuries to come. And where that governance will look and act more like a democracy, or more like a dictatorship. The stakes are that big, as they say. And just as one cannot not-communicate, one also cannot not-choose the part s/he will play in this play of power. eg: Non-choice is a choice, and will add energy to the whole, as will any other choice. And yet, no amount of effort, no matter how small, is wasted if it is sincerely made. At this page, and many pages at this site, are opportunities, methods, and resources galore (and/or links to same) for individuals of most every age to take part in determining how this world shakes out. Thank you for your participation. -cp

After Looking over the INDEX of ARTICLES on Left
You may find more CONTEXT with it all on the Right
  2002  to  2006 
  • Oct 18 Ellsberg on Iraq War
  • Jun 17 THE GENERAL ('Taguba's) REPORT (Incl. 2 articles by Sy Hersh)

  • Sep 15 Murtha, W.Pt.GradsAW, GI Resistance
  • Jan 15 Murtha's Exit Strategy
  • Apr 23 Intra-military Debate & Rumsfeld
  • May 26 The Delusions of Global Hegemony
  • Aug 23 Lt. WATADA hearing & statement
  • Oct 16 Revolt Of The Generals
  • Oct 17 National Guard Protests DOD Bill Public Law 109-364, "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (signed by George Bush Oct 17 2006)
  • Oct 26 Chronicling Iraq Policy incl. Generals Bernard E. Trainor, Thomas Ricks, George Packer
  • Nov 05 Pentagon knew from 1999...
  • Nov 05 Army Times' calls 4 Rumsfeld's dismissal

  •   2007 
  • Feb 18 General Pace's Nay say of Iran War Rationale
  • Mar 02 Gen. Wesley Clark & '01 War plan for MidEast
  • Apr 15 Ex-generals on Global warming
  • May 13 Cynthia Tucker Reveals Revolt Among Generals
  • May 16 CENTCOM Adm.Fallon Sinks Gulf Buildup
  • May 29 Advocates of responsible exit strategies from Iraq Brig. Gen. John Johns (USA, ret.), and Lt. Gen. Robert Gard (USA, ret.)
  • Jun 07 Rebellion in the British Army
  • Jun 09 General Pace NOT Reappointed Chairman of Joint Chiefs
  • Jun 28 Marines Cut and Run Drop Charges Against Vet Who Claimed Iraq Was Illegal
  • Jun 28 Military shows little effort to find deserters
  • Jul 05 LtGen. Odom: 'Supporting the troops' means withdrawing them
  • Jul 31 From a secret but intense rebellion of a small coterie of Bush administration lawyers, Jack Goldsmith argues that a 'Global Convergence On Terror' is emerging
  • Aug 08 How do we leave Iraq? Gen. Wesley Clark, Ret.
  • Aug 15 V.F.W. is coming out (now get this:) as *PRO*-war! (Aug '07+)
  • Sep 01 Gen. Wesley Clark, Ret, Securing America's Future (on MySpace.Com)
  • Sep 17 Abizaid: World could abide nuclear Iran
  • Sep 23 Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater
  • Oct 10 Will U.S. Military Halt an Iran Attack?
  • Oct-Nov Pentagon believes striking Iran at this point would be a strategic mistake Summary of 4 articles with links re: views of CentCom head Adm. William Fallon
  • Oct-Nov A rumor is going about that we won't bomb Iran

  •   2008 
  • 3/17/08 - General William Odom Says Congress Should Impeach and Stop Funding the Occupation
  • 4/08/08 Iraq on verge of new maelstrom as Petraeus, Crocker talk of 'progress'
  • 4/17/08 - ANALYSIS: Iraq war 'major debacle,' new Pentagon assessment says
  • 4/24/08 - PTSD (political) VA lied about vets' suicide attempt (12,000 a year vs. "800")

  • 4/26/08 - Pentagon 'suspends' propaganda system using retired military 'analysts'
  • 5/06/08 - With little notice, a military insider critiques what went wrong in Iraq

  •   Sept-Oct 2009 
  • Summarys & Links, McChrystal, Obama, Afghanistan Policy precipitates 'crisis'

  •   2010 
  • 6/22/10 - Rolling Stone: THE RUNAWAY GENERAL - Stanley McChrystal ...has seized control of the war...
  • 6/22/10 - Obama's Real McChrystal Problem: Afghanistan Plan in Trouble
  • 6/23/10 - Obama sacks McChrystal; Petraeus will lead US troops in Afghanistan
  • 11/16/10 - Pentagon seeking to overturn Obama's July 2011 Afghan drawdown date'

  •   In Context II 
  • 1/03--07/13 - NEWS: Two former Obama insiders speak out against US drone policy
  • I N    C O N T E X T 
  • Dec 2005: Chain of Command (Order of Succession)
  • May 2007: National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51
  • "Cheney: 'The Dark Side'" (on TV's 'Frontline' PBS)
  • "Cheney's power trip" (on TV's 'Frontline' PBS)

      FBI's Sibel Edmonds: 
  • Sep'02 to Jun'05: FBI Knowledge of 911
  • Sep'06: Carlyle, Al Caida, Turkey, Heroin, etc

  •   IRAN  ( & THE  DOLLAR ) 
  • Mar 2006: Iraq Civil War
  • Apr 2006: Hersh on War on Iran
  • Dec 2006: Bush Consults With Pentagon On Iraq
  • Feb 2007: Bush Blames Iran for I.E.D.s
  • Mar 2007: Hersh on "The Redirection," Nasrallah's vision & Ole Boy's New Strategy for MidEast (old strategy; new twist) and *On Hersh* on "The Redirection"

  • PTSD - One Report & Some Related Links
  • Winter Soldier
  • (Various) Veterans Groups for Peace & Justice
  • Some Article Summaries on Military Resistance
  • Some Research Finds




  • One Pro-Active Response To Bush's Assuming Dictatorial Powers in Emergency and Confiscating Americans' Assets


    WHY Poly-Psy? See Poly-Psy Home Page

  • Editor/Author Section


    One Definition of Insanity (paying for war when peace costs so much less)


    How much is spent on military budgets a year worldwide?

    How much of this is spent by the U.S.?

    What percent of US military spending would ensure
    the essentials of life to EVERYONE in the world ?
    (according the UN, & includes education, of course)
    $900+ billion

    10% (That is about $40 billion, the amount of funding initially requested to fund our retaliatory attack on Afghanistan in 2002). National Priorities .Org

          Q1:    "The main rationale for war generally boils down to lack of sustenance" - ie: due to the planet not having sufficient resources ?
          Q2:    "It's about Terrorism" ? Or, how many people would support extremists, IF everyone already had all they needed (basic needs and much more, which obviously could be afforded, were it not for the addiction to arms) ?
          Q3:    About someone's lifestyle, RELIGION, or values being threatening to "our own"?


         A1:   The above stats clearly do not support that notion shaking out with Reality. That is, the claim about planetary resources has been a lie, certainly for the last 150 years. In fact, that will only be true if we don't prevent climate change before it has gone on too long. But indeed, poverty and fear-of-lack has almost always provided the basis of war, and/or the excuse of the power-addicted, as well as sufficient circumstance, desparation, and fodder for terrorism.
          A2:    No and very few (not near enough to give cause for the risk). This assumes (after these needs are met) that there would be some amount of cooperative international policing capability, of course, with substantially reduced redundancy (not to mention "over-kill" capacity). When will we realize that EVERY basic *need* [that] EVERY person on this planet has - could be paid for many times over - for a fraction of what we spend - to fight those who feel so underfed, that they have to join extremists to make themselves heard (???), since that is when the recruiters will fail to meet the power-brokers' requirements for war-making -- which is much more expensive, ANY way you count it.
          A3:    Any psychologist, let alone anthropologist, will tell you that we cannot survive on this planet without diversity, and thence the respect for it. Scientists will tell you that goes for plant and animal species as well. (Q: Have we not yet learned from politicians who play with religious fervor and the freedom jealousy thing - on the emotions of the emotionally led?   A: One only hopes so!)
          A1-3:    The main point being, *Need* is NOT what motivates war - By about 90% or $800 Billion !!! (per the U.N., pre-Iraq War!) The real cause of war or terrorism is "Desire" by those who don't know when enough is enough (things or power), who don't know the difference between *Need* and *Desire,* and thus fail to deal appropriately with HOW the resources are distributed - and NOT. And to thus continue using problem-solving methods that increase the number and size of problems - is that not one definition of insanity? Vs such as those as could be accomplished by those discussed in "Providing the INFRASTRUCTURE for Cooperation" and the awareness and momentum as garnered by the Bernie Sanders campaign, the Peace Tax Fund legislation (H.R. 2377, originally H.R. 2037 by Senator Hatfield), & via the below links.

    Do you want to make a difference in the politicized economy? Please consider these VIEWS and RESOURCES as needed (on other pages at this site)
    [Parts Added 12'15, 2'16: a) about planetary resource availability in A1; after "When will we realize" in A2; & after "By about 90% or $800 Billion!!!" b) re: "Providing INFRASTRUCTURE..." and Bernie Sanders, Peace Tax Fund in A1-3 c) CostOfWar.Com became NationalPriorities.Org ]
    Wanna   Get   Back?   (By Bringing us back to Reality, that is ?)

    V O T E     W I T H     Y O U R     D O L L A R !
    Please Use Resources via Reference Section (VI.) As Needed

    To TOP    of PAGE

    Ellsberg on Iraq War

    Here's a transcript of Daniel Ellsberg, the man who blew the whistle on the Pentagon thirty years ago, on CNN Newsnight with Aaron Brown, 10/18/02.   A chapter from his new book, "Secrets" is available online at
    Iraq-related excerpts from Daniel Ellsberg's speech in honor of Mordechai Vanunu (the man who blew the whistle on Israel's nuclear arms program) @

    Fond regards, L

    Weblog Entry
    October 19, 2002

    Transcript of Ellsberg on CNN Newsnight with Aaron Brown, 10/18/02

    BROWN: We came across some quotes from the President arguing for military action. "Our credibility is at stake," he said. "The dangers involved action is less than the danger resulting from inaction. Creating a free and democratic nation is essential to America's security." It sounds like some of the things we've been hearing from President Bush of late, but this it was Lyndon Johnson, and the nation was Vietnam.

    Daniel Ellsberg, for one, believes we risk forgetting the lessons of that terrible war as we consider the prospects of a new one in Iraq. We should add Mr. Ellsberg has a new book out "Secrets, a Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers." We are pleased to welcome him to the program. It's nice to see you. You are a little hoarse tonight, so we'll bear with you.

    I want to talk about Vietnam and the papers for a bit. Did it ever occur to you that what you were doing, as strongly as you believed it was right, might be wrong, that you might, in fact, be doing great damage to the country? That ever hit your mind?

    ELLSBERG: I read the papers. I knew these documents. I was one of the first who read all of them. I'd worked for the government for 15 years as a Marine and as a consultant and in the pentagon. I knew these documents should have been made public to Congress and to the press years before. And I knew I should have done it.

    BROWN: And you never thought that your wisdom and your conscience, as sharp as you are and as good as you are, that that judgment might be wrong? And that the judgment of five presidents and countless secretaries of defense and the list goes on might, in fact, have had the country's best interests in mind?

    ELLSBERG: First, of course, I can always be wrong. I'm human just like those presidents. And I know I've been wrong many times before, and I'll be wrong again. There's never been a time when I was sure I was right, except that I felt pretty sure that I'd been wrong to keep my mouth shut so long when Congress was being lied into a reckless gamble, into an unnecessary war and a wrongful war. You know, I used to be asked that question an awful lot right after the papers came out. That was 30 years ago. "What gave you the right to make this decision on your own?" And I used to ask myself, I wonder why I never got asked the question that I have to ask myself: "What gave me the right to conceal that so long? What gave anyone in the executive branch the right, when they knew that the country was being lied into this war?" I don't think I was - I wasn't elected. But I didn't really take - I took an oath to uphold the constitution, and what we were doing was clearly not constitutional.

    BROWN: All right. Let's fast forward and try and bring these two things together as much as they fit together. In some ways they don't. There are lots of people who oppose the president's way about doing this. But, at the same time - we've had him on this week in fact - who will. . .

    ELLSBERG: You're talking about history or today?

    BROWN: No, today. I'm sorry, today, in talking about Iraq.

    ELLSBERG: It is very hard because I feel that I'm waking up to the world I left 30 years ago.

    BROWN: But don't you - don't you see a difference between a Vietnam of 1960 and an Iraq of today? They are not the same, are they?

    ELLSBERG: Oh, no. Their language is different; religion is different. There's lots of - actually, there are lots of differences. For example. . .

    BROWN: No, but I mean the threat is different.

    ELLSBERG: We are facing a very serious threat today from Al Qaeda. According to the CIA director, George Tenet, which he - I give him credit for saying in an unclassified letter to Congress - he said Saddam Hussein is a threat to his own people. He surely is. He is a tyrant. He's even a monster, like a lot of others, but that doesn't excuse him. He is not a threat to us unless he is attacked. He's not behind al Qaeda, as far as the CIA can make out, and as far as the Senate Intelligence Committee can make out, and statements to the contrary by Vice President Cheney and President Bush appear to be without any basis.

    BROWN: We've got about a half a minute left. Do you think there is - is it your view then that there is some hidden agenda here?

    ELLSBERG: Well, I feel confident that the reasons being given for this war by the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of Defense, they can't be right. They're contradicted by everything that comes out from the Senate Intelligence Committee, from the CIA and so forth. So we have to look for other reasons. That's, by the way, part of the job. That's what I did when I worked for presidents. They - the message of my book and of the Pentagon Papers, unfortunately, is that officials, like me and my bosses did, lie and conceal far more than any outsider can even imagine.

    But there is another side to that. It's possible to tell the truth. The message I would like to get to people inside right now: if they feel that what the President and the Vice President and the Secretary of Defense are saying is deceptive of the public, is not founded on the evidence that they know passing across their desks or they know, by expertise, I would like them to consider doing what I wish I'd done in 1964 and 1965, rather than waiting five years, as I did until 1969. They should consider going to Congress and the press and telling the truth with documents. They shouldn't do what I did, wait until the bombs are falling. That's why I think the message in my book is urgent. So urgent, in fact, that I decided to put the first chapter on the internet tonight on You don't have to buy the book to read that. That tells us what is happening right now. It's about the week that Congress passed the first Tonkin Gulf Resolution, having now - this is the time to read it, when they've just passed the second one.

    BROWN: Mr. Ellsberg, it's nice to meet you. Thanks for coming in tonight. Good luck.

    ELLSBERG: Thank you.

    For the first chapter of Ellsberg's book,

    To TOP    of PAGE

    THE GENERAL ('Taguba's) REPORT (Sy Hersh)

      THE GENERAL ('Taguba's) REPORT
    By Seymour M. Hersh.
    June 17, 2004

    Comment by Dick McManus:
      Hersh's report is the most confusing bit of writing I have ever read by a "noted" journalist. I have re-written Hersh's article/commentary so you can understand it. I have summarized it somewhat as well, because Hersh is writing to other journalist more then writing to the general reader.
      That is, he includes comments from sources, that speak in defense or spin these matters to support or protect the Bush administration.   I have not included this BS.   Hersh has had to write these comments to retain his image of impartiality.  
    I am not afraid of taking a point of view, because in my opinion the facts below speak for themselves, speak the truth. I have also added my past Newsletter material about his subject.
    Dick ( N&V newsletters:

    A RE-WRITE of the article by Hersh, THE GENERAL'S REPORT the follows a time line:
    Taguba learned that in August 2003, the Pentagon had ordered Major General Geoffrey Miller, the commander at Guantanamo, to Iraq. His mission was to survey the prison system there and to find ways to improve the flow of intelligence. The core of Miller's recommendations, as summarized in the Taguba report, was that the military police at Abu Ghraib should become part of the interrogation process: they should work closely with interrogators and intelligence officers in "setting the conditions for successful exploitation of the internees."

            "Between October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility (BCCF), numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees.

      On January 13, 2004, a military policeman named Joseph Darby gave the Army's Criminal Investigation Division (C.I.D.) a CD full of images of abuse.   Two days later, General Craddock and Vice-Admiral Timothy Keating, the director of the Joint Staff of the J.C.S., were e-mailed a summary of
    the abuses depicted on the CD.
    (On 31 January 2004, U.S. Army Major General   Antonio Taguba was appointed by a Lt. General.)   His orders were clear, however: he was to investigate only the military police at Abu Ghraib, and not those above them in the chain of command.   "From what I knew, troops just don't take it upon themselves to initiate what they did without any form of knowledge of the higher-ups," Taguba told (Hersh).   "These M.P. troops were not that creative," he said. "Somebody was giving them guidance, but I was legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority. I was limited to a box."
    Taguba decided to keep the photographs from most of the interrogators and researchers on his staff of twenty-three officers. "I didn't want them to prejudge the soldiers they were investigating, so I put the photos in a safe," he told Hersh). "Anyone who wanted to see them had to have a need-to-know and go through me."
    Taguba told Hersh, "early on, a senior general in Iraq had pointed out to him that
    the abused detainees were "only Iraqis."
    "I kept on asking these questions of the officers I interviewed: 'You knew what was going on. Why didn't you do something to stop it?' "
    Taguba came to believe that Lieutenant General Sanchez, the Army commander in Iraq, and some of the generals assigned to the military headquarters in Baghdad had extensive knowledge of the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib even before Joseph Darby came forward with the CD. Taguba was aware that in the fall of 2003 -- when much of the abuse took place -- Sanchez routinely visited the prison, and witnessed at least one interrogation. According to Taguba, "Sanchez knew exactly what was going on."
    Taguba's assignment was limited to investigating the 800th M.P.s, but he quickly found signs of the involvement of military intelligence -- both the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, commanded by Colonel Thomas Pappas, which worked closely with the M.P.s, and what were called "other government agencies," or O.G.A.s, a euphemism for the
    C.I.A. and special-operations units operating undercover in Iraq. Some of the earliest evidence involved Lieutenant Colonel Steven L. Jordan, whose name was mentioned in interviews with several M.P.s. For the first three weeks of the investigation, Jordan was nowhere to be found, despite repeated requests. When the investigators finally located him, he asked whether he needed to shave his beard before being interviewed -- Taguba suspected that he had been dressing as a civilian. "When I asked him about his assignment, he says, 'I'm a liaison officer for intelligence from Army headquarters in Iraq.'" But in the course of three or four interviews with Jordan, Taguba said, he began to suspect that the lieutenant colonel had been more intimately involved in the interrogation process -- some of it brutal -- for "high value" detainees.
    Taguba said that Jordan's "record reflected an extensive intelligence background." He also had reason to believe that Jordan was not reporting through the chain of command. But Taguba's narrowly focussed mission constrained the questions he could ask. "I suspected that somebody was giving them guidance, but I could not print that," (in his final report) Taguba said.
    "After all Jordan's evasiveness and misleading responses, his rights were read to him," Taguba went on. Jordan subsequently became the only officer facing trial on criminal charges in connection with Abu Ghraib and is scheduled to be court-martialled in late August (2007) ...for failure to obey an order or regulation; cruelty, and maltreatment; and false swearing and obstruction of justice.
    At the time he filed his report, in March of 2004, Taguba said, "I knew there was C.I.A. involvement, but I was oblivious of what else was happening" in terms of covert military-intelligence operations.
    Their essential tactic was seizing and interrogating terrorists and suspected terrorists; they also had authority from the President to kill certain high-value targets on sight. The most secret task-force operations were categorized as Special Access Programs, or S.A.P.s.
    COMMENT:   Extra-judical murders just like Operation Phoenix in Vietnam.
    Whether the President was told about Abu Ghraib in January (when e-mails informed the Pentagon of the seriousness of the abuses and of the existence of photographs) or in March (when Taguba filed his report), Bush made no known effort to forcefully address the treatment of prisoners before the scandal became public, (April 28, 2004) or to re-evaluate the training of military police and interrogators, or the practices of the task forces that he had authorized. Instead, Bush acquiesced in the prosecution of a few lower-level soldiers. The President's failure to act decisively resonated through the military chain of command: aggressive prosecution of crimes against detainees was not conducive to a successful career.
    April 28, 2004:   60 Minutes II Has Exclusive Report On Alleged Mistreatment, 28 Apr 04: CBS shows images from 2003 of inmates being subjected to abuses by US soldiers
    News reports. "George Bush is shocked" May 1, 2004
    On the afternoon of May 6, 2004, Army Major General Antonio M. Taguba was summoned to meet, for the first time, with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in his Pentagon conference room.   Rumsfeld and his senior staff were to testify the next day, in televised hearings before the Senate and the House Armed Services Committees, about abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, in Iraq.   The previous week, revelations about Abu Ghraib, including photographs showing prisoners stripped, abused, and sexually humiliated, had appeared on CBS and in the *NewYorker*.
    Lt. Gen. Taguba was not prepared for the greeting he received when he was finally ushered in (to speak to Rumsfeld and his boys).

    "Here . . . comes . . . that *famous* General Taguba -- of the Taguba report!" Rumsfeld declared, in a mocking voice.   The meeting was attended by Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld's deputy; Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (J.C.S.), and General Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, along with Craddock and other officials.

    Taguba, said, sadly, "I thought they wanted to know.   I assumed they wanted to know.   I was ignorant of the setting."
    In the meeting, the officials professed ignorance about Abu Ghraib. "Could you tell us what happened?" Wolfowitz asked.   At that point, Taguba recalled, "I described a naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum, and (Taguba) said 'That's not abuse.   That's torture.'   There was quiet."
    Rumsfeld was particularly concerned about how the classified report had become public.   "General," he asked, "who do you think leaked the report?"   ...Rumsfeld also complained about not being given the information he needed.   "Here I am," Taguba recalled Rumsfeld saying, "just a Secretary of Defense, and we have not seen a copy of your report.   I have not seen the photographs.
    COMMENT:   Why did Rumsfeld fake ignorance.   He and Bush made no known effort to forcefully address the treatment of prisoners.
    Taguba had submitted more than a dozen copies of his report through several channels at the Pentagon and to the Central Command headquarters,   By the time he walked into Rumsfeld's conference room, he had spent weeks briefing senior military leaders
    on the report...When Taguba urged one lieutenant general to look at the photographs, he rebuffed him, saying, "I don't want to get involved by looking, because what do you do with that information, once you know what they show?"

    Taguba also knew that senior officials in Rumsfeld's office and elsewhere in the Pentagon had been given a graphic account of the pictures from Abu Ghraib, and told of their potential strategic significance, within days of the first complaint back in January 2004.
    Taguba told Hersh) that the first wave of materials included descriptions of the sexual humiliation of a father with his son, who were both detainees.   Taguba said that he saw "a
    video of a male American soldier in uniform sodomizing a female detainee."
    Rumsfeld, in his appearances before the Senate and the House Armed Services Committees on May 7, 2004, claimed to have had no idea of the extensive abuse.
    Rumsfeld told the Senate and the House Armed Services Committees:   "There were rumors of photographs in a criminal prosecution chain back sometime after January 13th . . . I don't remember precisely when, but sometime in that period of January, February, March. . . . The legal part of it was proceeding along fine.   What wasn't proceeding along fine is the fact that the President didn't know, and you didn't know, and I didn't

    Taguba, watching the hearings, was appalled.   He believed that Rumsfeld's testimony was simply not true. Taguba said.   "He and his aides have abused their offices and have no idea of the values and high standards that are expected of them. And they've dragged a lot of officers with them."
    What happened to Lt. Gen. Taguba:
    A few weeks after his report (into the torture at Abu Ghraib) became public, Taguba, who was still in Kuwait, was in the back seat of a Mercedes sedan with General John Abizaid. Abizaid's driver and his interpreter, who also served as a bodyguard, were in front. Abizaid turned to Taguba and issued a quiet warning: "You and your report will be investigated."
    Taguba said. "I'd been in the Army thirty-two years by then, and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia."
    One of Rumsfeld's his senior press aides, Lawrence Di Rita, stated to Taguba. Di Rita, who was standing beside Rumsfeld, said sarcastically, "See what you started, General? See what you started?"
    Taguba had been scheduled to rotate to the Third Army's headquarters, at Fort McPherson, Georgia, in June of 2004   A retired four-star Army general later told Taguba that he had been sent (instead) to the job in the Pentagon so that he could "be watched." Taguba realized that his career was at a dead end.
    In January of 2006, Taguba received a telephone call from General Richard Cody, the Army's Vice-Chief of Staff. "This is your Vice," he told Taguba. "I need you to retire by January of 2007." No pleasantries were exchanged, although the two generals had known each other for years, and, Taguba said, "He offered no reason."
    Taguba went on, "There was no doubt in my mind that this stuff was gravitating upward. It was standard operating procedure to assume that this had to go higher. The President had to be aware of this."
    "From the moment a soldier enlists, we inculcate loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and selfless service," Taguba said. "And yet when we get to the senior-officer level we forget those values. I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable."
    Hersh article continues:
    Later that summer of 2004 after he submitted his report, Taguba learned that the C.I.A. had serious concerns about the abusive interrogation techniques that military-intelligence operatives were using on high-value detainees.
    Hell, even if we reopened it we wouldn't get any more information than we already have."
    The Army also protected General Miller.   Since 2002, F.B.I. agents at Guantanamo had been telling their superiors that their military counterparts were abusing detainees.   The F.B.I. complaints were ignored until after Abu Ghraib.   When an investigation was opened, in December 2004, and   Air Force Lieutenant General Randall M. Schmidt, ordered to investigate the charges, which included alleged abuses during Miller's tenure at Guantanamo..
    Schmidt, who retired last year, told Hersh, . "I found some things that didn't seem right. For lack of a camera, you could have seen in Guantanamo what was seen at Abu Ghraib."
    At Guantanamo, Schmidt told the investigators, Miller "was responsible for the conduct of interrogations that I found to be abusive and degrading. The intent of those might have been to be abusive and degrading to get the information they needed. . . . Did the means justify the ends? That's fine. . . . He was responsible."

            According to a Dec. 20, 2005 Army inspector general's report on Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former commanding general in charge of Gitmo, Rumsfeld approved an interrogation plan for Mohammed al-Kahtani, the alleged 20th hijacker:
            In a sworn statement to the inspector general, [Lt. Gen. Randall] Schmidt described Rumsfeld as “personally involved" in the interrogation and said that the defense secretary was “talking weekly" with Miller.
            Rumsfeld developed an interrogation plan that required the Gitmo detainee to “stand naked in front of a female interrogator, was accused of being a homosexual, and was forced to wear women's underwear and to perform ‘dog tricks' on a leash." Schmidt said that the open-ended policies Rumsfeld approved, and that the apparent lack of supervision of day-to-day interrogations permitted the wide-scale abuse to take place.

    Schmidt formally recommended that Miller be "held accountable" and "admonished."
    LT. Gen. Craddock rejected this recommendation and absolved Miller of any responsibility for the mistreatment of the prisoners. The Inspector General inquiry endorsed Craddock's action. (Lieutenant General Bantz J. Craddock, was promoted about serving as Rumsfeld's senior military assistant)
    "I was open with them," Schmidt told (Hersh), referring to the I.G. investigators. "I told them, 'I'll do anything to help you get the truth.'" But when he read their final report (Dec. 20, 2005), he said, "I didn't recognize the five hours of interviews (by IG) with me (Schmidt, in the IG report)."
    Rumsfeld was in frequent contact with Miller about the progress of Qahtani's interrogation, and personally approved the most severe interrogation tactics. ("This wasn't just daily business, when the Secretary of Defense is personally involved," Schmidt told the Army investigators.)
      Military investigators were precluded from looking into the role of Rumsfeld and other civilian leaders in the Pentagon; the result was that none found any high-level intelligence involvement in the abuse.
      In an April, 2005, memorandum, a C.I.D. officer -- his name was redacted -- complained to C.I.D. headquarters, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, about the impossibility of investigating military members of a Special Access Program suspected of prisoner abuse: "[C.I.D.] has been unable to thoroughly investigate . . . due to the suspects and witnesses involvement in Special Access Programs (SAP) and/or the security classification of the unit they were assigned to during the offense under investigation. Attempts by Special Agents . . . to be "read on" to these programs has [sic] been unsuccessful."
    The C.I.D. officer wrote that "fake names were used" by members of the task force; he also told investigators that the unit had a "major computer malfunction which resulted in them losing 70 per cent of their files; therefore, they can't find the cases we need to review."
    The military task forces were under the control of the Joint Special Operations Command, the branch of the Special Operations Command that is responsible for counterterrorism. One of Miller's unacknowledged missions had been to bring the J.S.O.C.'s "strategic interrogation" techniques to Abu Ghraib. In special cases, the task forces could bypass the chain of command and deal directly with Rumsfeld's office. A former senior intelligence official told me that the White House was also briefed on task-force operations.
    The former senior intelligence official said that when the images of Abu Ghraib were published, there were some in the Pentagon and the White House who "didn't think the photographs were that bad" -- in that they put the focus on enlisted soldiers, rather than on secret task-force operations. Referring to the task-force members, he said, "Guys on the inside ask me, 'What's the difference between shooting a guy on the street, or in his bed, or in a prison?'" A Pentagon consultant on the war on terror also said that the "basic strategy was 'prosecute the kids in the photographs but protect the big picture.'"
    A recently retired C.I.A. officer, who served more than fifteen years in the clandestine service, told me that the task-force teams "had full authority to whack -- to go in and conduct 'executive action,'" the phrase for political assassination.     "It was surrealistic what these guys were doing," the retired operative added. "They were running around the world without clearing their operations with the ambassador or the (CIA) chief of station" (the CIA's chain of command).
    COMMENT: Here we learn why a SAP was needed, without telling Congress.   A program where only those with the need to know were read onto it.   This is done to limit the risk of compromise or leak to the press.   If you don't have a record of enemy combatants (ghost detainees) in Abu Ghraib or in secret prisons, you can kill them and nobody can prove the U.S. killed them, extra-judicial murders.
    J.S.O.C.'s special status undermined military discipline. Richard Armitage, the former Deputy Secretary of State, told me that, on his visits to Iraq, he increasingly found that "the commanders would say one thing and the guys in the field would say, 'I don't care what he says. I'm going to do what I want.' We've sacrificed the chain of command to the notion of Special Operations and GWOT" -- the global war on terrorism. "You're painting on a canvas so big that it's hard to comprehend," Armitage said.
    A former high-level Defense Department official said that, when the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, Senator John Warner, then the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, was warned "to back off" on the investigation, because "it would spill over to more important things." A spokesman for Warner acknowledged that there had been pressure on the Senator, but said that Warner had stood up to it -- insisting on putting Rumsfeld under oath for his May 7th testimony, for example, to the Secretary's great displeasure.
    An aggressive congressional inquiry into Abu Ghraib could have provoked unwanted questions about what the Pentagon was doing, in Iraq and elsewhere, and under what authority. By law, the President must make a formal finding authorizing a C.I.A. covert operation, and inform the senior leadership of the House and the Senate Intelligence Committees. However, the Bush Administration unilaterally determined after 9/11 that intelligence operations conducted by the military -- including the Pentagon's covert task forces -- for the purposes of "preparing the battlefield" could be authorized by the President, as Commander-in-Chief, without telling Congress.
    There was coordination between the C.I.A. and the task forces, but also tension. The C.I.A. officers, who were under pressure to produce better intelligence in the field, wanted explicit legal authority before aggressively interrogating high-value targets. A finding would give operatives some legal protection for questionable actions, but the White House was reluctant to put what it wanted in writing.
    A recently retired high-level C.I.A. official, who served during this period and was involved in the drafting of findings, described to me the bitter disagreements between the White House and the agency over the issue. "The problem is what constituted approval," the retired C.I.A. official said. "My people fought about this all the time. Why should we put our people on the firing line somewhere down the road? If you want me to kill Joe Smith, just *tell* me to kill Joe Smith. If I was the Vice-President or the President, I'd say, 'This guy Smith is a bad guy and it's in the interest of the United States for this guy to be killed.' They don't say that. Instead, George" -- George Tenet, the director of the C.I.A. until mid-2004 -- "goes to the White House and is told, 'You guys are professionals. You know how important it is. We know you'll get the intelligence.' George would come back and say to us, 'Do what you gotta do.' "
    The Pentagon consultant said in an interview late last year that "the C.I.A. never got the exact language it wanted." The findings, when promulgated by the White House, were "very calibrated" to minimize political risk, and limited to a few countries; later, they were expanded, turning several nations in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia into free-fire zones with regard to high-value targets. I was told by the former senior intelligence official and a government consultant that after the existence of secret C.I.A. prisons in Europe was revealed, in the *Washington Post*, in late 2005, the Administration responded with a new detainee center in Mauritania. After a new government friendly to the U.S. took power, in a bloodless coup d'état in August 2005, they said, it was much easier for the intelligence community to mask secret flights there.

    End of Harsh article:

    ========== Dick McManas ===================
    What is JTF-121?

    IT is a highly classified field Army/AirForce/Navy unit that has been activated to coordinate the hunt for "high-value targets." Its organization and structure have been streamlined to improve its ability to concentrate on real-time hunter-killer missions (to kill or capture and interrogate) against terrorist leaders and cells. A three-star command is also being designed to oversee the most clandestine elements of U.S. special operations, according to senior officers close to the community.

    The very secretiveness of special operations makes it hard for the public, or even members of Congress charged with oversight, to keep informed about the new tactics or to measure their effectiveness.

    Only about 1,500 "black" special operators are assigned to clandestine units at any one time, including JTF 121 and the so-called Gray Fox intelligence unit.

    The "buzz" on the Internet is that Task Force 121 is a new elite assassination death squad trained by the Israelis at Fort Bragg. First, Task Force 121 is not a brand new Special Operations unit....More likely, the Israelis were sharing intelligence or maybe some of their vast experience in operating in Arab countries. (translated: their vast experience in torture methods).

    What is SOG?

    Six years ago when he took charge of the CIA, George Tenet began rebuilding the supersecret Special Operations Group (SOG). Hundreds of millions of additional dollars have been pumped into the CIA budget by President George W. Bush. He has ordered SOG operatives to join forces with foreign intelligence services. He has even authorized the CIA to kidnap "terrorists" in order to break their cells or kill them.

    Comment: When was torture authorized? Because there existed a "JTF-121 interrogation policy".

    The CIA had about 100 officers and SOG troops roaming in Afghanistan during the U.S. invasion.

    Intelligence sources tell Time that the CIA had requested that commandos from the U.S. Army's elite Delta Force join its first team going into Afghanistan but that the Pentagon refused to send them.

    The part of the (CIA) SOG air force that has received the most publicity lately is the fleet of remote-controlled Predator drones, armed with 5-ft.-long Hellfire missiles, that the agency bought from the Air Force.

    In November 2001 the CIA deployed the drone to eliminate bin Laden's lieutenant, Mohammed Atef. Last November's Predator hit in Yemen killed an al-Qaeda commander and his entourage of five, though the strike was controversial: one of the dead men turned out to be a U.S. citizen. .Administration officials say Bush did not specifically order the Predator attack in Yemen. But after Sept. 11 he gave the CIA the green light to use lethal force against al-Qaeda.


    [My related research:]
    Is the torture methods used at Abu Ghraib the product of CIA research?

    Forced standing:   has a long proven history of use by torturers because it leaves few mark

    This torture is well known to intelligence agencies worldwide. The CIA documented the effects of forced standing 40 years ago. And the technique is valued because it leaves few marks, and so no evidence.

    Forced standing was a prescribed field punishment in West European armies in the early 20th century. The British Army called it Field Punishment No. 1, though the soldiers referred to it as "the crucifixion." The French Legionnaires called it "the Silo."

    By the 1920s, forced standing was a routine police torture in America. In 1931, the National Commission on Lawless Enforcement of the Law found numerous American police departments using forced standing to coerce confessions.

    In the 1930s, Stalin's NKVD also famously used forced standing to coerce seemingly voluntary confessions for show trials. The Gestapo used forced standing as a routine punishment in many concentration camps. It even created small narrow "standing cells," Stehzelle, where prisoners had to stand all night.

    In 1956, the CIA commissioned two experts, Harold Wolff and Lawrence Hinkle, who described the effects of forced standing. The ankles and feet swell to twice their normal size within 24 hours. Moving becomes agony. Large blisters develop. The heart rate increases, and some faint. The kidneys eventually shut down. ("A Long-Standing Trick of the Torturer's Art," The Seattle Times, May 14, 2004)

    In the mid-20th century, torturers learned how to use the swelling and blistering to cause more pain. The South African and Brazilian police made prisoners stand on cans or bricks, the edges causing excruciating pain to the sensitive feet. In 1999, the South African Truth Commission determined that forced standing was the third-most-common torture during apartheid, after beating and applying electricity.

    Hooding was a common feature of Brazilian and South African torture. In the 1970s, the Brazilians added the electrical supplement. They threatened victims with electroshock if they began to give up and collapse in exhaustion. The jolts of electricity would make the hooded victims' feet stick to the cans and force them to stand up straight.

    Source: The Seattle Times, 14 May 2004, by Darius Rejali. He is the author of "Torture and Democracy" (forthcoming, Princeton University Press) and a 2003 Carnegie Scholar. He is an associate professor of political science at Reed College in Portland.

    Torture at Abu Ghraib Followed CIA's Manual (Stress and Duress Techniques)
    by Alfred W. McCoy

    CIA torture techniques noted in the phonographs from the Abu Ghraib prison are snapshots not of simple brutality or a breakdown in discipline, but have been developed by the US intelligence community.

    From 1950 to 1962, the CIA led secret research into coercion and consciousness that reached a billion dollars at peak. After experiments with hallucinogenic drugs, electric shocks, and sensory deprivation, this CIA research produced a new method of torture that was psychological, not physical -- best described as "no touch" torture.

    The CIA's discovery of psychological torture was a counterintuitive breakthrough. Under the CIA's new psychological paradigm, however, interrogators used two essential methods to achieve their goals.

    In the first stage, interrogators employ the simple, nonviolent techniques of hooding or sleep deprivation to disorient the subject; sometimes sexual humiliation is used as well.

    Once the subject is disoriented, interrogators move on to a second stage with simple, self-inflicted discomfort such as forced standing for hours with arms extended. In this phase, the idea is to make victims feel responsible for their own pain and thus induce them to alleviate it by capitulating to the interrogator's power.


    o.. Men ordered to masturbate in front of each other and in front of female American soldiers, a humiliating experience which offends their religion (see: "The application of procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality");

    o.. Men ordered to simulate homosexual sex with one another, a humiliating experience condemned by their religion (see: "The application of procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality");
    o.. A man, hooded, standing on a box with electrodes attached to his fingers and penis, who was told that if he stepped off the box, he would be electrocuted to death

    o.. A naked man menaced by, and then attacked by, a vicious dog

    Comment: I think these sexual tortures, etc. were the result of years of experimentation by the CIA.

    In the below article you will see some of these torture methods spelled out in a formerly classified CIA torture manual dated 1963. This manual was produced based on a whole lot of classified CIA research projects in years proceeding its publication.

    Iraq Tactics Have Long History With U.S. Interrogators
    By Walter Pincus
    Washington Post

    13 June 2004

    A CIA handbook on coercive interrogation methods, produced 40 years ago during the Vietnam War, shows that techniques such as those used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have a long history with U.S. intelligence and were based on research and field experience.

    Declassified 10 years ago, the training manual carries in its title the code word used for the CIA in Vietnam, "KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation - July 1963." Used to train new interrogators, the handbook presents "basic information about coercive techniques available for use in the interrogation situation."
    Note The CIA was never to be mentioned by name in any documents or in oral communications; instead the Agency was referred as KUBARK .

    The specific coercive methods it describes echo today's news stories about Guantanamo and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. At Abu Ghraib, for example, photographs and documents have shown that detainees were hooded, blindfolded, dressed in sloppy garb and forced to go naked.

    The KUBARK manual suggests that, for "resistant" prisoners, the "circumstances of detention are arranged to enhance within the subject his feelings of being cut off from the known and the reassuring and of being plunged into the strange."

    The 1963 handbook describes the benefits and disadvantages of techniques similar to those authorized for use at Abu Ghraib, such as forcing detainees to stand or sit in "stress positions," cutting off sources of light, disrupting their sleep and manipulating their diet.

    And among the manual's conclusions: The threat of pain is a far more effective interrogation tool than actually inflicting pain, but threats of death do not help.

    Like the lists of interrogation methods approved for Iraq and Guantanamo, the KUBARK manual offers a menu of options for confusing and weakening detainees. A neat or proud individual was to be given an outfit one or two sizes too large without a belt "so that he must hold his pants up," the manual said. Forced changes in diet and sleep patterns should be done "so that the subject becomes disorientated [and] is very likely to create feelings of fear and helplessness."

    Tactics involving deprivation of accustomed sights, sounds, taste, smells and tactile sensations were presented as primary methods for producing stress, and mirror the techniques seen at Abu Ghraib. Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the top U.S. military officer in Iraq, approved in September a list of methods that included "sensory deprivation," "minimum bread and water," "light control," enforced silence and yelling at prisoners. Those methods have since been barred in Iraq.

    The KUBARK manual cited research supporting the effectiveness of the deprivations. "Results produced only after weeks or months of imprisonment in an ordinary cell can be duplicated in hours or days in a cell which has no light or weak artificial light which never varies, which is sound-proofed, and in which odors are eliminated," the manual said.

    An experiment referred to in the handbook was done in the 1950s and involved conditions designed to produce stress before an interrogation - similar to those applied to John Walker Lindh after his capture in Afghanistan. Lindh was tied to a stretcher naked and later held for long periods in a large metal container.

    In the experiment done about 50 years earlier, volunteers were "placed in a tank-type respirator" with vents open so that the subjects could breathe but their arms and legs were enclosed in "rigid cylinders to inhibit movement and tactile contact." Lying on their backs in minimal artificial light, the subjects could not see their own bodies, and the respirator motor was the only sound.

    Only six of the 17 volunteers completed the 36 hours of the experiment; the other 11 asked for early release - four because of anxiety and panic, and the others because of physical discomfort.

    The conclusion reached, the handbook said, was that "the early effect of such an environment is anxiety" and that "the stress becomes unbearable for most subjects," some of whom "lose touch with reality [and] focus inwardly."

    The payoff of such techniques, the manual said, is that when the interrogator appears, he or she appears as a "reward of lessened anxiety . . . providing relief for growing discomfort," and that sometimes, as a result, "the questioner assumes a benevolent role."

    When it comes to torture, however, the handbook advised that "the threat to inflict pain . . . can trigger fears more damaging than the immediate sensation of pain."

    "In general, direct physical brutality creates only resentment, hostility and further defiance," the manual said.

    Intense pain, interrogators were taught, "is quite likely to produce false confessions concocted as a means of escaping from distress."

    While pain inflicted by others tends to create resistance in a subject, the manual said, "his resistance is likelier to be sapped by pain which he seems to inflict upon himself."

    Reports from Iraq and Afghanistan indicate that detainees have been told to stand at attention for long periods or sit in "stress positions." In one of the photographs from Abu Ghraib, a hooded detainee is shown being forced to stand on a box with wires attached to his body. He was told he would get an electric shock if he moved. Seven military police soldiers have been charged in connection with the abuse shown in that and other photographs. Investigations continue into the role military interrogators played in those incidents.

    In such situations, the manual said, the source of pain "is not the interrogator but the victim himself." And while the subject remains in that uncomfortable or painful position, he must be made to think that his captor could do something worse to him, creating in him the stress and anxiety the interrogator seeks.

    Threats of death, however, were described as "worse than useless" because they can leave the prisoner thinking "that he is as likely to be condemned after compliance as before."

    Experiments at that time also showed that creating physical weakness through prolonged exertion, extremes of heat, cold or moisture, or through drastic reduction of food or sleep do not work.

    "The available evidence suggests that resistance is sapped principally by psychological rather than physical pressures," the handbook advised.

    PEntagon leak confirms US tortured Iraqis illegally   Aug 28 2004

    WASHINGTON -- On (25 Aug 04), the Pentagon made public unclassified part of the 171-page report by Maj. Gen. George R. Fay on the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.

    A senior Defense Department official" leaked "classified parts of the
    Fay report to the *New York Times*, the paper reported in a front-page story Friday, Aug. 27.

    Classified passages involving General Sanchez's orders were among several deleted from the unclassified version of the report.

    Classified parts of the report say Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the former top
    commander in Iraq, approved the use in Iraq of some severe interrogation
    practices intended to be limited to captives held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Afghanistan.

    "Interrogators at Abu Ghraib used both dogs and isolation as interrogation
    practices," a classified part of the report said. "The manner in which they
    were used on some occasions clearly violated the Geneva Conventions."

    The classified parts of the do not appear to contain sensitive material about interrogations or other intelligence-gathering methods. They do show in much clearer detail than ever before how interrogation practices from Afghanistan and Guantanamo were brought to Abu Ghraib...

    Military officials and others in the Bush administration have repeatedly said
    the Geneva Conventions applied to all prisoners in Iraq.

    The classified sections of the Fay report reinforce criticisms made by the independent panel headed by James R. Schlesinger. That panel argued that General Sanchez's actions effectively amounted to an unauthorized suspension of the Geneva Conventions in Iraq by categorizing prisoners there as unlawful combatants.

    In an interview on Thursday with reporters and editors of the *Times*, Gen.
    Paul J. Kern, the senior officer who supervised General Fay's work, said the
    Fay inquiry had not addressed whether General Sanchez was authorized to
    designate detainees in Iraq as unlawful combatants, as the administration has
    treated prisoners in Afghanistan.

    The classified section of the Fay report also sheds new light on the role
    played by a secretive Special Operations (Group) /Central Intelligence Agency task force that operated in Iraq and Afghanistan as a source of interrogation procedures that were put into effect at Abu Ghraib. It says that a July 15, 2003, "Battlefield Interrogation Team and Facility Policy," drafted by use by Joint Task Force 121, which was given the task of locating former government members in Iraq, was adopted "almost verbatim" by the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, which played a leading role in interrogations at Abu Ghraib.

    That task force policy endorsed the use of stress positions during harsh
    interrogation procedures, the use of dogs, yelling, loud music, light control,
    isolation and other procedures used previously in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The techniques approved by General Sanchez were among those previously approved by the Pentagon for use in Afghanistan and Cuba, and were recommended Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller and his Team, a commander at Guantanamo who had been sent to Iraq by senior Pentagon officials, and by a military intelligence unit (JTF-121) that had served in Afghanistan and was taking charge of interrogations at Abu Ghraib.

    The Schlesinger panel described that reasoning as "understandable," but said
    General Sanchez and his staff should have recognized that they were "lacking specific authorization to operate beyond the confines of the Geneva

    Comment: Translated:... lacking a Presidential finding (order) to use torture.

    The role played by members of the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, from Fort Bragg, N.C., some of whom were identified as having taken part in the abuses, is given particular attention in the classified parts of the report.

    Members of the 519th MI BN had earlier served in Afghanistan, where some were implicated in the deaths of two detainees that are still under investigation, and the report says commanders should have heeded more carefully the danger that members of the unit might again be involved in abusive behavior.

    The 519th MI Bn had worked closely with Special Operations Forces (JTF-121) in Afghanistan, and "at same point" it "came to possess the JTF-121 interrogation policy" used by the joint Special Operations (Group)/C.I.A. teams, the classified section of the report says.

    Source: via Mark Jensen, Professor, PLU

          How a secret Pentagon program came to Abu Ghraib      


    According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon's operation or top secret special-access program, (SAP), known inside the intelligence community by code words, Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior C.I.A. official in confirmed the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld's long-standing desire to wrest control of America's clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.

    Note: That during the Clinton administration, the CIA started built a secret paramilitary (aka Special Forces) Army estimated in size to be 200 to 500 men.

    Rumsfeld authorized the establishment of the SAP that was given blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate "high value" targets in the Bush Administration's war on terror. The program would recruit operatives and acquire the necessary equipment, including aircraft. Fewer than two hundred operatives and officials, including Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were "completely read on to the program," the former intelligence official said. The goal was to keep the operation protected.

    "Rumsfeld's goal was to get a capability in place to take on a high-value target-a standup group to hit quickly," a former high-level intelligence official told me. "He got all the agencies together-the C.I.A. and the N.S.A.-to get pre-approval in place. Just say the code word and go." The operation had across-the-board approval from Rumsfeld and from Condoleezza Rice, the national-security adviser. President Bush was informed of the existence of the program, the former intelligence official said.

    The people assigned to the program worked by the book, the former intelligence official told me. They ...recruited, after careful screening, highly trained commandos and operatives from America's élite forces-Navy seals, the Army's Delta Force, and the C.I.A.'s paramilitary experts.

    In theory, the operation enabled the Bush Administration to respond immediately to time-sensitive intelligence: commandos crossed borders without visas and could interrogate terrorism suspects deemed too important for transfer to the military's facilities at Guantanamo, Cuba. They carried out instant interrogations-using force if necessary-at secret C.I.A. detention centers scattered around the world. The intelligence would be relayed to the sap command center in the Pentagon in real time, and sifted for those pieces of information critical to the "white," or overt, world.

    One Pentagon official who was deeply involved in the program was Stephen Cambone, who was named Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence in March, 2003. Early in his tenure, Cambone provoked a bureaucratic battle within the Pentagon by insisting that he be given control of all special-access programs that were relevant to the war on terror.

    In mid-2003, the special-access program was regarded in the Pentagon as one of the success stories of the war on terror. "It was an active program," the former intelligence official told me. "It's been the most important capability we have for dealing with an imminent threat. If we discover where Osama bin Laden is, we can get him. And we can remove an existing threat with a real capability to hit the United States-and do so without visibility." Some of its methods were troubling and could not bear close scrutiny, however.

    By then, the war in Iraq had begun. The sap was involved in some assignments in Iraq, the former official said.

    Rumsfeld and Cambone went a step further, however: they expanded the scope of the sap, bringing its unconventional methods to Abu Ghraib. The commandos were to operate in Iraq as they had in Afghanistan. The male prisoners could be treated roughly, and exposed to sexual humiliation.

    "They weren't getting anything substantive from the detainees in Iraq," the former intelligence official told me. "No names. Nothing that they could hang their hat on. Cambone says, I've got to crack this thing and I'm tired of working through the normal chain of command. I've got this apparatus set up-the black special-access program-and I'm going in hot. So he pulls the switch, and the electricity begins flowing last summer. And it's working. We're getting a picture of the insurgency in Iraq and the intelligence is flowing into the white world. We're getting good stuff. But we've got more targets"-prisoners in Iraqi jails-"than people who can handle them."

    Cambone then made another crucial decision, the former intelligence official told me: not only would he bring the sap's rules into the prisons; he would bring some of the Army military-intelligence officers working inside the Iraqi prisons under the sap's auspices...Hard-core special operatives, some of them with aliases, were working in the prison at Abu Ghraib.

    By fall, according to the former intelligence official, the senior leadership of the C.I.A. had had enough. "They said, 'No way. We signed up for the core program in Afghanistan-pre-approved for operations against high-value terrorist targets-and now you want to use it for cab drivers, brothers-in-law, and people pulled off the streets'"-the sort of prisoners who populate the Iraqi jails. "The C.I.A.'s legal people objected," and the agency ended its sap involvement in Abu Ghraib, the former official said.

    Comment: Was CIA Director Trent fired because he blow the whistle on Bush and Rumsfeld's secret SAP to HERSH?

    The C.I.A.'s complaints were echoed throughout the intelligence community. There was fear that the situation at Abu Ghraib would lead to the exposure of the secret sap, and thereby bring an end to what had been, before Iraq, a valuable cover operation. "This was stupidity," a government consultant told me. "You're taking a program that was operating in the chaos of Afghanistan against Al Qaeda, a stateless terror group, and bringing it into a structured, traditional war zone. Sooner or later, the commandos would bump into the legal and moral procedures of a conventional war with an Army of a hundred and thirty-five thousand soldiers."

    In a separate interview, a Pentagon consultant, who spent much of his career directly involved with special-access programs, spread the blame. "The White House subcontracted this to the Pentagon, and the Pentagon subcontracted it to Cambone," he said. "This is Cambone's deal, but Rumsfeld and Myers approved the program." When it came to the interrogation operation at Abu Ghraib, he said, Rumsfeld left the details to Cambone. Rumsfeld may not be personally culpable, the consultant added, "but he's responsible for the checks and balances. The issue is that, since 9/11, we've changed the rules on how we deal with terrorism, and created conditions where the ends justify the means."

    The government consultant said that there may have been a serious goal, in the beginning, behind the sexual humiliation and the posed photographs. It was thought that some prisoners would do anything-including spying on their associates-to avoid dissemination of the shameful photos to family and friends. The government consultant said, "I was told that the purpose of the photographs was to create an army of informants, people you could insert back in the population." The idea was that they would be motivated by fear of exposure, and gather information about pending insurgency action, the consultant said.

    . One book that was frequently cited was "The Arab Mind," a study of Arab culture and psychology, first published in 1973, by Raphael Patai, a cultural anthropologist who taught at, among other universities, Columbia and Princeton, and who died in 1996. The book includes a twenty-five-page chapter on Arabs and sex, depicting sex as a taboo vested with shame and repression. "The segregation of the sexes, the veiling of the women . . . and all the other minute rules that govern and restrict contact between men and women, have the effect of making sex a prime mental preoccupation in the Arab world," Patai wrote. Homosexual activity, "or any indication of homosexual leanings, as with all other expressions of sexuality, is never given any publicity. These are private affairs and remain in private." The Patai book, an academic told me, was "the bible of the Neocons on Arab behavior." ...It became a talking point among pro-war Washington conservatives in the months before the March, 2003, invasion of Iraq.

    In 2003, a group of senior military legal officers from the Judge Advocate General's (jag) Corps to pay two surprise visits within five months to Scott Horton, who was then chairman of the New York City Bar Association's Committee on International Human Rights. "They wanted us to challenge the Bush Administration about its standards for detentions and interrogation," Horton told me. "They were urging us to get involved and speak in a very loud voice. It came pretty much out of the blue. The message was that conditions are ripe for abuse, and it's going to occur." The military officials were most alarmed about the growing use of civilian contractors in the interrogation process, Horton recalled. "They said there was an atmosphere of legal ambiguity being created as a result of a policy decision at the highest levels in the Pentagon. The jag officers were being cut out of the policy formulation process." They told him that, with the war on terror, a fifty-year history of exemplary application of the Geneva Conventions had come to an end. fact

    In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes. MY NEWSLETTER has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is MY NEWSLETTER endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

    To TOP    of PAGE

    Murtha, W.Pt.GradsAW, GI Resistance
    4/3/06, 4/12/06, 4/14/2006, 5/5/06, 5/13/06, 5/17/06, 9/15/06

    VIDEO | Murtha on Patriotism and the Cost of the War An Interview by Geoffrey Millard and Scott Galindez
    In Part 2 of our interview with Congressman John Murtha, we ask him about the attacks on his patriotism, the cost of the war, and his opposition to permanent bases in Iraq.

    Murtha Lays the Dead at Rumsfeld's Door

    Murtha Lays the Dead at Rumsfeld's Door
    [vfp-all] 9/15/2006 3:07 PM

    Jason Leopold | Murtha Lays the Dead at Rumsfeld's Door
    Democratic congressman John Murtha has released a 12-page report outlining severe shortfalls plaguing the US Army as thousands of troops prepare to be deployed to Iraq. Murtha said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld bears full responsibility for the military's consistent readiness failures and demanded that he resign.
    Murtha Lays the Dead at Rumsfeld's Door
            By Jason Leopold
            t r u t h o u t | Report
            Friday 15 September 2006
            Democratic congressman John Murtha released a 12-page report outlining severe shortfalls plaguing the US Army as thousands of troops prepare to be deployed to Iraq.
            Murtha, a 37-year Marine Corps veteran who entered the political arena in 1990, said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld bears full responsibility for the military's consistent readiness failures and demanded that the Defense Secretary resign.
            "Many Army combat and support units scheduled to deploy to Iraq in 2007 will have less than the required one year period for rest and re-training," the report says. "This is one of the key indicators that lead many Army officials to conclude that current deployment rates cannot be sustained without breaking the force."
            Murtha publicized the report at a news conference Wednesday where he was joined by Congressman David Obey, D-Wisconsin. Murtha read the most explosive parts of the report, much of which is based on detailed, internal Army documents his staff requested over the past few months.
            The findings are damning.
            "In effect, the Army has become a 'hand-to-mouth' organization," Murtha said, reading from the report. "Its inability to get ahead of the deployment and training curves is rooted in the Secretary's miscalculations and blind optimism about troop and industrial surge requirements for the US occupation of Iraq."
            Murtha added that "thousands of key Army weapons platforms - such as tanks, Humvees, Bradley Fighting Vehicles - sit in disuse at Army maintenance depots for lack of funding ... there are over 600 tanks - enough for one full Army division - sitting at Anniston Army Depot."
            An Army spokesman said Murtha's report is wildly overblown, and released a statement in response to the congressman's charges.
            "Today's Army is the highest quality Army this Nation has ever produced - it has not 'gone south,'" a statement released by the Army says. "To imply otherwise is an insult to the young men and women who have volunteered to protect our nation's freedoms."
            But Murtha refuses to back down. Frustrated by the White House's refusal to hold Rumsfeld accountable for failing to prepare for a lengthy ground war in Iraq, which, according to career military officials have led to thousands of US casualties, Murtha released a resolution calling for Rumsfeld to immediately step down.
            "For the good of the country, the United States of America must restore credibility both at home and abroad and the first step toward restoring that credibility must be to demonstrate accountability for the mistakes that have been made in prosecuting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq by
    immediately effecting the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and replacing him with someone capable of leading the nation's military in a strategy to resolve our deployment in Iraq," Murtha's resolution says.
            Megan Grote, a spokeswoman for Murtha, said the resolution has five co-sponsors and is gaining support among House Democrats. However, she cautioned not to read too much into that, since the resolution is just starting to make the rounds among Murtha's colleagues in the House.
            "It's still too early to know, because it's only been a day since the resolution was released," Grote said. "There are other members who've called for [Rumsfeld] to resign in the past whose offices may not have heard about the resolution yet."
            Career military officials have long believed the reason the Iraq war hasn't been a "cakewalk," as Bush administration officials described it prior to the March 2003 US-led attack, is because of the flawed war plan Rumsfeld designed in 2002.
            In October 2002, Rumsfeld ordered the military's regional commanders to rewrite all of their war plans to capitalize on precision weapons, better intelligence, and speedier deployment in the event the United States decided to invade Iraq.
            The goal was to use fewer ground troops, a move that caused dismay among some in the military who said concern for the troops requires overwhelming numerical superiority to assure victory.
            Rumsfeld refused to listen to his military commanders, saying that his plan would allow the military "to begin combat operations on less notice and with far fewer troops than thought possible - or thought wise - before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks," the New York Times reported in its October 13, 2002, edition.
            Military officials viewed Rumsfeld's approach as injecting too much risk into war planning and said it could result in US casualties that might be prevented by amassing larger forces, according to published reports.
            Those predictions have been borne out over the past 41 months, and that is of grave concern to Murtha, who spent most of his life in the military. Murtha said during Wednesday's news conference that issues plaguing today's military are so severe that "of the 16 active-duty, non-deployed combat brigades in the United States managed by the Army's Forces Command, the vast majority of them are rated at the lowest readiness ratings."
            "The situation facing the Army Guard and Reserve is comparatively worse," Murtha added. "Of all the Guard units not currently mobilized, about four-fifths received the lowest readiness rating. Personnel shortages are the major reason behind the decline in Guard and Reserve readiness-shortages created for the most part by mobilizations having lapsed or personnel having been pulled from units to augment others. Perhaps most troubling to many of the Army's senior uniformed leaders is the lack of national attention to the Army's plight."
            Jason Leopold is a former Los Angeles bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswire. He has written over 2,000 stories on the California energy crisis and received the Dow Jones Journalist of the Year Award in 2001 for his coverage on the issue as well as a Project Censored award in 2004. Leopold also reported extensively on Enron's downfall and was the first journalist to land an interview with former Enron president Jeffrey Skilling following Enron's bankruptcy filing in December 2001. Leopold has appeared on CNBC and National Public Radio as an expert on energy policy and has also been the keynote speaker at more than two dozen energy industry conferences around the country.

    James Starowicz
    Blog: Imagine A World Of,
    "PTSD: You didn't fight Alone Then,
    You needn't fight Alone Now!!"

          Murtha predicts Iraq pullout      

    AP: Murtha predicts Iraq pullout or Democratic control of House by 2007
    [snow-news] 5/13/2006 9:40 PM

    [On Thursday, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA 12th) told AP that either George W. Bush will yield to public opinion and pull U.S. troops out of Iraq or Democrats will regain control of Congress in the 2006 off-year elections.   --   Murtha predicted Democrats would gain between forty and fifty seats; only fifteen would be needed to shift control of the U.S. House of Representatives out of Republican control.   --   Murtha was first sent to Congress "in a February 1974 special election that signaled the political weakness of Richard Nixon" (*Almanac of American Politics 2004*, p. 1392), and on Thursday he compared today's political situation to the time when as a 41-year-old decorated Marine veteran of Vietnam (Murtha was the first Vietnam vet to serve in Congress) he was elected from the district that includes the site of the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794.   --Mark]

    1. U.S.Washington
    Associated Press May 12, 2006

    CAPTION: Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa. is interviewed by the Associated Press in his Capitol Hill office, Thursday, May 11, 2006.PHOTO

    WASHINGTON -- Rep. John Murtha, a Vietnam veteran first elected in the anti-war fever of 1974, says American troops will be brought home from Iraq by 2007.

    Either President Bush will bow to public opinion or Democrats will have won control of the House of Representatives and increased pressure on the White House, Murtha, D-Pa., said in an Associated Press interview Thursday.

    Most likely, there will be a "tidal wave" that propels Democrats into the majority, said Murtha.   He predicts Democrats will gain 40-50 seats -- well more than the 15 needed for the party to gain control.

    Murtha, 73, a retired Marine colonel who has generally been hawkish on war issues, shocked Washington in November when he said the war could not be won and it was time for troops to come home.   He offered a plan that would keep troops in the region in case of a national security emergency.

    Murtha was elected in 1974, when public outrage over the Watergate scandal and President Nixon swept Democrats into office.   He compared this election year to that of 1974 and to 1994, when the GOP rolled into power -- partly because of discontent with President Clinton.

    "Republicans are spinning the fact that it's going to be very hard.   From my experience in '74 and '94, they can't stop it . . . even if they did something dramatic," Murtha said.

    Murtha said he thinks President Bush would have to bring more than half the troops in Iraq back to the United States before election day for it to start to make a difference to voters.

    "If that happens, he would have to admit he made mistakes," Murtha said.   "The biggest problem he has had is admitting he made a mistake in going in there in the first place

          Murtha re Troop Moral, [PTSD]      

    AFP May 17, 2006

    A U.S. lawmaker and former Marine colonel accused U.S. Marines of killing innocent Iraqi civilians after a Marine comrade had been killed by a roadside bomb.

    "Our troops over-reacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood," John Murtha told reporters.   The November 19 incident occurred in Haditha, Iraq.

    "There was no firefight" that led to the shootings at close range, the Vietnam war veteran said, denying early official accounts, which said that a roadside bomb had killed the Iraqis.

    "There were no (roadside bombs) that killed these innocent people," he said.

    *Time* magazine reported the shootings on March 27, based on an Iraqi human rights group and locals, who said that 15 unarmed Iraqis died, including women and children, when Marines barged into their home throwing grenades and shooting.

    "It's much worse than reported in *Time* magazine," Murtha said.

    At least three Marine officers are under official investigation, and no report has been released, *Army Times* said Tuesday.

    Murtha is a harsh critic of the war in Iraq and said that such incidents are the result of inadequate planning, training, and troop numbers in Iraq.

    2. Politics & government
    Knight Ridder May 17, 2006

    WASHINGTON -- A Pentagon report on an incident in which U.S. Marines shot and killed more than a dozen Iraqi civilians last November will show that those killings were deliberate and worse than initially reported, a Pennsylvania congressman said Wednesday.

    "There was no firefight.   There was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed those innocent people," Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said during a news conference on Iraq.   "Our troops over-reacted because of the pressure on them. And they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.   That is what the report is going to tell."

    Murtha's comments were the first on-the-record remarks by a U.S. official characterizing the findings of military investigators looking into the Nov. 19 incident.   Murtha, the ranking Democrat on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee and an opponent of Bush administration policy in Iraq, said he hadn't read the report but had learned about its findings from military commanders and other sources.

    Military public affairs officers said the investigation isn't completed and declined to provide further information.   "There is an ongoing investigation," said Lt. Col. Sean Gibson, a Marine spokesman at Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla.   "Any comment at this time would be inappropriate."

    Both Gibson and Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said that the military has yet to decide what, if any action, might be taken against Marines involved in the incident.

    "It would be premature to judge any individual or unit until the investigation is complete," Irwin said.   Said Gibson, "No charges have been made as we have to go through the entire investigatory process and determine whether or not that is a course of action."

    Three Marine commanders whose troops were involved in the incident were relieved of duty in April, but the Marines didn't link their dismissals to the incident, saying only that Gen. Richard Natonski, commander of 1st Marine Division, had lost confidence in the officers' ability to command.   Gibson reiterated that point Wednesday.   "It's important to remember that the officers were relieved by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division as a result of events that took place throughout their tour of duty in Iraq," he said.

    The dismissed officers were Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, commander of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, and two of his company commanders, Capt. James S. Kimber and Capt. Lucas M. McConnell. Gibson said all three have been assigned to staff jobs with the 1st Division.

    U.S. military authorities in Iraq initially reported that one Marine and 15 Iraqi civilians traveling in a bus were killed by a roadside bomb in the western Iraq insurgent stronghold of Haditha.   They said eight insurgents were killed in an ensuing firefight.

    But Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the ground commander of coalition forces in Iraq, ordered an investigation on Feb. 14 after a reporter with *Time* magazine told military authorities of allegations that the Marines had killed innocent civilians.

    After CNN broke the news of the initial investigation in March, military officials told Knight Ridder that the civilians were killed not in the initial blast but were apparently caught in the crossfire of a subsequent gun battle as 12 to 15 Marines fought insurgents from house to house over the next five hours.   At that time, military officials told Knight Ridder that four of the civilians killed were women and five were children.

    Subsequent reporting from Haditha by *Time* and Knight Ridder revealed a still different account of events, with survivors describing Marines breaking down the door of a house and indiscriminately shooting the building's occupants.

    Twenty-three people were killed in the incident, relatives of the dead told Knight Ridder.

    The uncle of one survivor, a 13-year-old girl, told Knight Ridder that the girl had watched the Marines open fire on her family and that she had held her 5-year-old brother in her arms as he died.   The girl shook visibly as her uncle relayed her account, too traumatized to recount what happened herself.

    "I understand the investigation shows that in fact there was no firefight, there was no explosion that killed the civilians on a bus," Murtha said. "There was no bus.   There was no shrapnel.   There was only bullet holes inside the house where the Marines had gone in.   So it's a very serious incident, unfortunately.   It shows the tremendous pressure these guys are under every day when they're out in combat and the stress and consequences."

    Murtha, who retired as a colonel after 37 years in the Marine Corps, said nothing indicates that the Iraqis killed in the incident were at fault.

    "One man was killed with an IED," Murtha said, referring to a Marine killed by the roadside bomb.   "And after that, they actually went into the houses and killed women and children."

          West Point Graduates Against the War      

    [PolyPsySp] West Point Graduates Against the War [yes, really! :-)]
    4/14/2006 10:13 PM

    I was ecstatic when heard about these guys.
    From the West Point Graduates Against the War Statement of Purpose:
              "...When we West Point graduates took our commissioning oath of office one past June morning, we swore to protect our nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The deceitful connivances of the current administration have resulted in a war catastrophic to our nation's interests: politically, economically, militarily, and morally. We now stand to protect our nation from these deceivers. We will not serve their lies..."
    Also THE (full) LANCET STUDY (documenting the 100,000 Iraqi civilians killed - finished in 2004, and not even including those since) is at West Point Graduates Against The War .Org. "Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey":

          GI Resistance      

    How GI Resistance Altered The Course Of History:
    “Sir, No Sir," A Timely Film,
    Premiers Week of 4/3/2006
    by Paul Rockwell
    Oakland, California

            “General, your tank is a mighty vehicle.
            It shatters the forest and crushes a hundred men.
            But it has one defect:
            It needs drivers.

            General, a man is quite expendable.
            He can fly and he can kill.
            But he has one defect:
            He can think."
            -- Bertolt Brecht

    When award-winning actors Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland organized an anti-war review, touring U.S. military bases and towns around the world, the GI rebellion against the war in Vietnam was already in full force.

    In one theatrical episode, evoking laughter and applause from thousands of soldiers and Marines, Fonda played the part of an aide to President Richard Nixon.

            “Richard," she exclaims. “There's a terrible demonstration going on outside."
            Nixon replies: “Oh, there's always a demonstration going on outside."
            Fonda: “But Richard. This one is completely out of control. They're storming the White House."
            “Oh, I think I better call out the 3rd Marines." Nixon exclaims.
            “You, can't, Richard," says Fonda.
            “Why not?" says Nixon.
            She answers: “Because they ARE the 3rd Marines!"

    Archival footage of the Fonda tour appears in David Zeiger's exciting new film, “Sir, No Sir," which opens in select theatres throughout the U.S. this month. (See for schedule.)

    “Sir, No Sir," the untold story of the GI movement to end the war in Vietnam, is a documentary. It's not a work of nostalgia. It's an activist film, and it comes at a time when GI resistance to the current war is spreading throughout the United States.

    There are more than 100 films -- fiction and nonfiction -- about the war in Vietnam. Not one deals seriously with the most pivotal events of the time -- the anti-war actions of GIs within the military.

    The three-decade blackout of GI resistance is not due to any lack of evidence. Information about the resistance has always been available. According to the Pentagon, over 500,000 incidents of desertion took place between 1966 and 1977. Officers were fragged. Entire units refused to enter battle.

    Large social movements create their own “committees of correspondence" -- communication systems beyond the control of power-holders and police authority. Despite prison sentences, police spies, agent provocateurs, vigilante bombing of their offices, coffee houses and underground papers sprung up in the dusty, often remote towns that surrounded U.S. military bases throughout the world. “Just about every base in the world had an underground paper," Director Zeiger tells us in Mother Jones.

    When the first coffee house opened in Columbia, South Carolina, near Fort Jackson, an average of six hundred GIs visited each week. Moved by the courage and audacity of soldiers for peace, civilians raised funds to help operate the coffee houses and to provide legal defense.

    When local proprietors, like Tyrell Jewelers near Fort Hood, fleeced GIs, GI boycotts were common. At one point, the Department of Defense tripled its purchase of non-union produce in order to break the United Farm Workers boycott. American GIs, many from the fields and barrios of California, immediately joined the Farm Worker pickets. Mocking signs appeared on military bases saying “Officers Buy Lettuce." The GI movement was a profoundly class-conscious movement.

    A counter-culture blossomed inside the military. Affinity groups, like “The Buddies" and “The Freaks" were formed. Afros, rock and soul music, bracelets and beads, the use of peace signs and clenched fists -- a culture antithetical to the totalitarian culture of military life -- proliferated. Prison riots in the stockades, from Fort Dix to the Marine brig in Da Nang, were common by 1970.

    In response to a detested recruitment slogan -- "Fun, Travel, Adventure" -- GIs named one periodical “FTA," which meant “Fuck The Army." When GIs ceased to cooperate with superiors, the military lost control of culture and communication.

    Military attacks on GI rights -- the right to hold meetings, to read papers, to think for themselves, to resist illegal orders -- did not subdue the growing anti-military movement. Repression actually widened the resistance.

    Like Pablo Paredes, Kevin Benderman, Kelly Dougherty, Camilo Mejia -- to name a few war resistors of our time -- the GI resistors of the 60s and 70s showed incredible courage. Pvt. David Samas, one of the Fort Hood Three, who refused to serve in Vietnam, said in one impassioned speech: “We have not been scared. We have not been in the least shaken from our paths. Even if physical violence is used against us, we will fight back...the GI should be reached somehow. He doesn't want to fight. He has no reason to risk his life. And the peace movement is dedicated to his safety."

    In July 1970 forty combat officers sent a letter to the commander-in-chief. If the war continues, they wrote, “young Americans in the military will simply refuse en masse to cooperate." That's exactly what happened. Nothing is so fearful to power-holders as non-cooperation. In 1971, even the Armed Forces Journal published an article by a former Marine Colonel, entitled, “The collapse of the Armed Forces."

    A point was reached where the resistance became infectious, almost unstoppable. It spread from barracks to aircraft carriers, from army stockades and navy brigs into the conservative military towns where GIs were stationed. Even elite colleges like West Point were affected by revolt. Thousands of defiant soldiers went to prison. Thousands went into exile in Canada and Sweden.

    In the end the GI anti-war movement -- enlisted youth, draftees, poor kids from ghettos, farms and barrios--paralyzed the biggest death machine of modern times. In short, people power altered the course of history. (The book “Soldiers In Revolt," by David Cortright, makes an excellent companion to “Sir, No Sir.")
    Meeting The War Resisters
    “Sir, No Sir" is organized around the testimony of prominent war resistors. Yes, there are a lot of talking heads in “Sir, No Sir." But their revelations, backed with images and footage of rebellion, are unforgettable. We meet Donald Duncan, the decorated member of the Green Berets, who resigned in defiance in 1963 after 15 months of service in Vietnam. His article in Ramparts, “I Quit," generated great excitement in the student movement.

    We also meet Howard Levy, the Green Beret medic who refused to use medical practices as a political tactic in war. His court martial caused a huge impact on GI and civilian consciousness. The troops supported him.

    “When the court martial began on base," he tells us on film, “it was the most remarkable thing when hundreds and hundreds would hang out of the windows of the barracks and give me the V-sign, or give me the clenched fist. Something had changed here, something very important was happening."

    That something was GI revolt.

    Thousands of separate, individual acts of moral defiance eventually merged into a collective movement with a specific goal: end the war.

    “Sir, No Sir" is not a preachy film. Geiger does not lecture us; he tells a story. Yet we cannot afford to miss the built-in lesson from the eventual triumph of the GI resistance, a lesson that goes against media ideology and conventional wisdom. In the words of George Lakey, “People power is simply more powerful than military power. Nothing is more important for today's activists to know than this: the foundation of political rule is the compliance of the people, not violence. People power is more powerful than violence. The sooner we act on that knowledge, the sooner the U.S. Empire can be brought down."

    Of course times have changed. The '60s are over. And while every generation determines its own destiny in its own way, while history itself is but “a light on the stern" -- it is still true that “The spirit of the people is greater than man's technology."

    “Sir, No Sir" is a work of hope.

    Paul Rockwell is a columnist for In Motion Magazine. His latest essay on military resistance appears in “Ten Excellent Reasons Not To Join The Military," edited by Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, just published by New Press.

    Published in In Motion Magazine April 3, 2006.

    "Never again shall one generation of veterans abandon another."
    James Starowicz
    Member: Veterans For Peace
    Blog: 'Imagine' a World of...

          Field commanders tell Pentagon Iraq war 'is lost' (ref: Gen. Pace)     

      From Capitol Hill Blue

    The Rant
    Field commanders tell Pentagon Iraq war 'is lost'
    Jun 5, 2006, 07:13

    Military commanders in the field in Iraq admit in private reports to the Pentagon the war "is lost" and that the U.S. military is unable to stem the mounting violence killing 1,000 Iraqi civilians a month.

    Even worse, they report the massacre of Iraqi civilians at Haditha is "just the tip of the iceberg" with over-stressed, out-of-control Americans soldiers pushed beyond the breaking point both physically and mentally.

    "We are in trouble in Iraq," says retired army general Barry McCaffrey. "Our forces can't sustain this pace, and I'm afraid the American people are walking away from this war."

    Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has clamped a tight security lid on the increasingly pessimistic reports coming out of field commanders in Iraq, threatening swift action against any military personnel who leak details to the press or public.

    The wife of a staff sergeant with Kilo Company, the Marine Unit charged with killing civilians at Haditha, tells Newsweek magazine that the unit was a hotbed of drug abuse, alcoholism and violence.

    "There were problems in Kilo company with drugs, alcohol, hazing [violent initiation games], you name it," she said. "I think it's more than possible that these guys were totally tweaked out on speed or something when they shot those civilians in Haditha."

    Journalists stationed with the unit described Kilo Company and the Third Battalion of Marines as a "unit out of control," where morale had plummeted and rules went out the window.

    Similar reports emerge from military units throughout Iraq and even the Iraqi prime minister describes American soldiers as trigger happy goons with little regard for the lives of civilians.

    Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki says the murder of Iraqi civilians has become a "daily phenomenon" by American troops who "do not respect the Iraqi people."

    "They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion. This is completely unacceptable," Maliki said. The White House tried to play down Maliki's comments, saying the prime minister was "misquoted" although Maliki himself has yet to made such a public claim.

    ''Can anyone blame Iraqis for joining the resistance now?'' Mustafa al-Ani, an Iraqi analyst living in Dubai, told The Chicago Tribune. ''The resistance and the terrorists alike are feeding off the misbehavior of the American soldiers.''

    As the resistance mounts and daily violence escalates, the over-stressed U.S. units are unable to control the mounting violence and conclusions escalate that the war is lost.

    "Our troops over-reacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood," says Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.

    The former commander of American forces in Northern Iraq admits incidents like Haditha add to the impression that the U.S. cannot win the war.

    "Allegations such as this, regardless of how they are borne out by the facts, can have an effect on the ability of U.S. forces to continue to operate," says Army Brig. Gen. Carter Ham. Others say the incident just shows the U.S. has lost he "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people.

    "When something like Haditha happens, it gives the impression that Americans can't be trusted to provide security, which is the most important thing to Iraqis on a day-to-day level," says Anthony Cordesman, an Iraq expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It tends to confirm all of the worst interpretations of the United States, and not simply in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan and in the region."

    © Copyright 2005 Capitol Hill Blue

    To TOP    of PAGE

    Murtha's Exit Strategy 1/15/06


    [vfp-all] Murtha Details His Exit Strategy - CBS "60 Minutes - 1/15/2006:  
          The beginnings of actual political fallout began to find its way into the White House last week. Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the House Democrats' most vocal defense hawk, joined Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to declare that the conflict is "unwinnable." Murtha, a Vietnam veteran, rocked the Democratic caucus when he said at a leader's luncheon Tuesday that the United States cannot win the war in Iraq.
          "Unwinnable." Well, it only took about 14 months.
          Also last week, calls for the resignation of Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld became strident. Pelosi accused Rumsfeld of being "in denial about Iraq," and said U.S. soldiers "are suffering great casualties and injuries, and American taxpayers are paying an enormous price" because Rumsfeld "has done a poor job as secretary of defense." Representative Charlie Rangel, a leading critic of the Iraq invasion, has filed articles of impeachment against Rumsfeld.

    ===============[ ------------ ]================
    Bill Moyers comments:
    Our present Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has a plaque on his desk that reads, "Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords." Perhaps, but while war is sometimes necessary, to treat it as sport is obscene. At best, war is a crude alternative to shrewd, disciplined diplomacy and the forging of a true alliance acting in the name of international law. Unprovoked, "the noblest sport of war" becomes the slaughter of the innocent.

    ===============[   ]================

    To TOP    of PAGE

    Intra-military Debate & Rumsfeld 4/23/06

    BACKGROUND: *NY Times* reports on intra-military debate on Rumsfeld-related issues

    []The *New York Times* reported Sunday on its front page that "an extraordinary debate" is underway among "junior and mid-level officers" throughout the military around issues raised by the controversy over whether U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should resign.[1]   --   Although Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice ( says that "Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct," (constitutional challenges to this law have consistently failed; see *United States v. Howe*, 37 C.M.R. 555 [A.B.R. 1966], *reconsideration denied*, 37 C.M.R. 429 [C.M.A. 1967], in which a conviction was upheld even thought the lieutenant convicted was off duty and wearing civilian clothes at the time he carried a sign insulting President Lyndon B. Johnson in an anti-war demonstration), "the military correspondents of the *Times*" set out to give officers an opportunity to publish expressions of their contempt for civilian leaders anonymously.   --   Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt quote an Army major in Special Forces who said, "I believe that a large number of officers hate Rumsfeld as much as I do, and would like to see him go."   --   The *Times* reporters seem oblivious to the fact that by soliciting such comments, they are doing more than reporting on "a debate" within the military.   --   They are, in fact, encouraging and stimulating insubordination against civilian leadership of the military.   --   There are, of course, ample grounds for contempt.   --   Historian Chalmers Johnson has written:   "The old and well-institutionalized American division of labor between elected officials and military professionals who advised elected officials and then executed their policies was dismantled [after Vietnam], never to be recreated.   During the Reagan administration, an ever-burgeoning array of amateur strategists and star-wars enthusiasts came to occupy the White House and sought to place their allies in positions of authority in the Pentagon.   The result was the development of a kind of military opportunism at the heart of government, with military men paying court to the pet schemes of inexperienced politicians and preparing for lucrative post-retirement positions in the arms industry or military think tanks.   Top military leaders began to say what they thought their political superiors wanted to hear, while covertly protecting the interests of their individual services or of their minifiefdoms within those services.   The military establishment increasingly became a gigantic cartel, operated to benefit the four principal services -- the army, navy, Marine Corps, and air force -- much the way the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC) functions to maintain the profits of each of its members. Shares of the defense budget for each service have not varied by more than 2 percent over the past twenty-five years, during which time the Soviet Union collapse and the United States fought quite varied wars in Panama, Kuwait, Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.   Military needs did not dictate this stability" (*The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic* [Metropolitan Books, 2004], pp. 61-62).   --Mark[]


    ** Secretary's Woes Raise Wider Military Issues **
    New York Times April 23, 2006 Section 1, Page 1

    PHOTO ( CAPTION: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld at the 2004 graduation ceremony of the United States Military Academy.

    WASHINGTON -- The revolt by retired generals who publicly criticized Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has opened an extraordinary debate among younger officers, in military academies, in the armed services' staff colleges and even in command posts and mess halls in Iraq.

    Junior and mid-level officers are discussing whether the war plans for Iraq reflected unvarnished military advice, whether the retired generals should have spoken out, whether active-duty generals will feel free to state their views in private sessions with the civilian leaders and, most divisive of all, whether Mr. Rumsfeld should resign.

    In recent weeks, military correspondents of the *Times* discussed those issues with dozens of younger officers and cadets in classrooms and with combat units in the field, as well as in informal conversations at the Pentagon and in e-mail exchanges and telephone calls.

    To protect their careers, the officers were granted anonymity so they could speak frankly about the debates they have had and have heard.   The stances that emerged are anything but uniform, although all seem colored by deep concern over the quality of civil-military relations, and the way ahead in Iraq.

    The discussions often flare with anger, particularly among many midlevel officers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and face the prospect of additional tours of duty.

    "This is about the moral bankruptcy of general officers who lived through the Vietnam era yet refused to advise our civilian leadership properly," said one Army major in the Special Forces who has served two combat tours.   "I can only hope that my generation does better someday."

    An Army major who is an intelligence specialist said:   "The history I will take away from this is that the current crop of generals failed to stand up and say, 'We cannot do this mission.'   They confused the cultural can-do attitude with their responsibilities as leaders to delay the start of the war until we had an adequate force.   I think the backlash against the general officers will be seen in the resignation of officers" who might otherwise have stayed in uniform.

    One Army colonel enrolled in a Defense Department university said an informal poll among his classmates indicated that about 25 percent believed that Mr. Rumsfeld should resign, and 75 percent believed that he should remain.   But of the second group, two-thirds thought he should acknowledge errors that were made and "show that he is not the intolerant and inflexible person some paint him to be," the colonel said.

    Many officers who blame Mr. Rumsfeld are not faulting President Bush -- in contrast to the situation in the 1960's, when both President Lyndon B. Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara drew criticism over Vietnam from the officer corps.   (Mr. McNamara, like Mr. Rumsfeld, was also resented from the outset for his attempts to reshape the military itself.)

    But some are furiously criticizing both, along with the military leadership, like the Army major in the Special Forces.   "I believe that a large number of officers hate Rumsfeld as much as I do, and would like to see him go," he said.

    "The Army, however, went gently into that good night of Iraq without saying a word," he added, summarizing conversations with other officers.   "For that reason, most of us know that we have to share the burden of responsibility for this tragedy.   And at the end of the day, it wasn't Rumsfeld who sent us to war, it was the president.   Officers know better than anyone else that the buck stops at the top.   I think we are too deep into this for Rumsfeld's resignation to mean much.

    "But this is all academic.   Most officers would acknowledge that we cannot leave Iraq, regardless of their thoughts on the invasion.   We destroyed the internal security of that state, so now we have to restore it.   Otherwise, we will just return later, when it is even more terrible."

    The debates are fueled by the desire to mete out blame for the situation in Iraq, a drawn-out war that has taken many military lives and has no clear end in sight.   A midgrade officer who has served two tours in Iraq said a number of his cohorts were angered last month when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that "tactical errors, a thousand of them, I am sure," had been made in Iraq.

    "We have not lost a single tactical engagement on the ground in Iraq," the officer said, noting that the definition of tactical missions is specific movements against an enemy target.   "The mistakes have all been at the strategic and political levels."

    Many officers said a crisis of leadership extended to serious questions about top generals' commitment to sustain a seasoned officer corps that was being deployed on repeated tours to the long-term counter-insurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the rest of the government did not appear to be on the same wartime footing.

    "We are forced to develop innovative ways to convince, coerce, and cajole officers to stay in to support a war effort of national-level importance that is being done without a defensewide, governmentwide, or nationwide commitment of resources," said one Army colonel with experience in Iraq.

    Another Army major who served in Iraq said a fresh round of debates about the future of the American military had also broken out.   Simply put, the question is whether the focus should be, as Mr. Rumsfeld believes, on a lean high-tech force with an eye toward possible opponents like China, or on troop-heavy counterinsurgency missions more suited to hunting terrorists, with spies and boots on the ground.

    In general, the Army and Marines support maintaining beefy ground forces, while the Navy and Air Force -- the beneficiaries of much of the high-tech arsenal -- favor the leaner approach.   And some worry that those arguments have become too fierce.

    "I think what has the potential for scarring relations is the two visions of warfare -- one that envisions near-perfect situational awareness and technology dominance, and the other that sees future war as grubby, dirty and chaotic," the major said.   "These visions require vastly different forces. The tension comes when we only have the money to build one of these forces. Who gets the cash?"

    Some senior officers said part of their own discussions were about fears for the immediate future, centering on the fact that Mr. Rumsfeld has surrounded himself with senior officers who share his views and are personally invested in his policies.

    "If civilian officials feel as if they could be faced with a revolt of sorts, they will select officers who are like-minded," said another Army officer who has served in Iraq.   "They will, as a result, get the military advice they want based on whom they appoint."

    Kori Schake, a fellow at the Hoover Institution who teaches Army cadets at West Point, said some of the debates revolved around the issues raised in *Dereliction of Duty*, a book that analyzes why the Joint Chiefs of Staff seemed unable or unwilling to challenge civilian decisions during the war in Vietnam.   Published in 1997, the book was written by Col. H. R. McMaster, who recently returned from a year in Iraq as commander of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment.

    "It's a fundamentally healthy debate," Ms. Schake said.   "Junior officers look around at the senior leadership and say, 'Are these people I admire, that I want to be like?'"

    These younger officers "are debating the standard of leadership," she said. "Is it good enough to do only what civilian masters tell you to do?   Or do you have a responsibility to shape that policy, and what actions should you undertake if you believe they are making mistakes?"

    The conflicts some officers express reflect the culture of commander and subordinate that sometimes baffles the civilian world.   No class craves strong leadership more than the military.

    "I feel conflicted by this debate, and I think a lot of my colleagues are also conflicted," said an Army colonel completing a year at one of the military's advanced schools.   He expressed discomfort at the recent public criticism of Mr. Rumsfeld and the Iraq war planning by retired generals, including Lt. Gen. Gregory S. Newbold, the former operations officer for the Joint Chiefs, who wrote, in *Time* magazine, "My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions -- or bury the results."

    But the colonel said his classmates were also aware of how the Rumsfeld Pentagon quashed dissenting views that many argued were proved correct, and prescient, like those of Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, a former Army chief of staff. He was shunted aside after telling Congress, before the invasion, that it would take several hundred thousand troops to secure and stabilize Iraq.

    Others contend that the military's own failings are equally at fault.   A field-grade officer now serving in Iraq said he thought it was incorrect for the retired generals to call for Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation.   His position, he said, is that "if there is a judgment to be cast, it rests as much upon the shoulders of our senior military leaders."

    That officer, like several others interviewed, emphasized that while these issues often occupied officers' minds, the debate had not hobbled the military's ability to function in Iraq.   "No impact here that I can see regarding this subject," he said.

    To TOP    of PAGE

    "The Delusions of Global Hegemony"

    Part I | Andrew Bacevich: The Delusions of Global Hegemony
            By Tom Engelhardt
            Tuesday 23 May 2006

            I wait for him on a quiet, tree and wisteria-lined street of red-brick buildings. Students, some in short-sleeves on this still crisp spring morning, stream by. I'm seated on cold, stone steps next to a sign announcing the Boston University Department of International Relations. He turns the corner and advances, wearing a blue blazer, blue shirt and tie, and khaki slacks and carrying a computer in a black bag. He's white haired, has a nicely weathered face, and the squared shoulders and upright bearing of a man, born in Normal, Illinois, who attended West Point, fought in the Vietnam War, and then had a twenty-year military career that ended in 1992.

            Now a professor of history at Boston University, he directs me to a spacious, airy office whose floor-to-ceiling windows look out on the picturesque street. A tasseled cap and gown hang on a hook behind the door - perhaps because another year of graduation is not far off. I'm left briefly to wait while he deals with an anxious student, there to discuss his semester mark. Soon enough though, he seats himself behind a large desk with a cup of coffee and prepares to discuss his subjects of choice, American militarism and the American imperial mission.

            Andrew Bacevich is a man on a journey - as he himself is the first to admit. A cultural conservative, a former contributor to such magazines as the Weekly Standard and the National Review, a former Bush Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, he discovered sometime in the 1990s that his potential conservative allies on foreign policy had fallen in love with the idea of the American military and its imagined awesome power to change the world. They had jumped the tracks and left him behind. A professed cold warrior, in those years he took a new look at our American past - and he's not stopped looking, or reconsidering, since.

            What he discovered was the American empire, which became the title of a book he published in 2002. In 2005, his fierce, insightful book on American dreams of global military supremacy, The New American Militarism, How Americans Are Seduced by War, appeared. (It was excerpted in two posts at this site.) It would have been eye-opening no matter who had written it, but given his background it was striking indeed.

            Forceful and engaged (as well as engaging), Bacevich throws himself into the topic at hand. He has a barely suppressed dramatic streak and a willingness to laugh heartily at himself. But most striking are the questions that stop him. Just as you imagine a scholar should, he visibly turns over your questions in his mind, thinking about what may be new in them.

            He takes a sip of coffee and, in a no-nonsense manner, suggests that we begin.

            Tomdispatch: In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, you said the revolt of the retired generals against Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld represented the beginning of a search for a scapegoat for the Iraq War. I wondered whether you also considered it a preemptive strike against the Bush administration's future Iran policy.

            Andrew Bacevich: The answer is yes. It's both really. Certainly, it's become incontrovertible that the Iraq War is not going to end happily. Even if we manage to extricate ourselves and some sort of stable Iraq emerges from the present chaos, arguing that the war lived up to the expectations of the Bush administration is going to be very difficult. My own sense is that the officer corps - and this probably reflects my personal experience to a great degree - is fixated on Vietnam and still believes the military was hung out to dry there. The officer corps came out of the Vietnam War determined never to repeat that experience and some officers are now angry to discover that the Army is once again stuck in a quagmire. So we are in the early stages of a long argument about who is to be blamed for the Iraq debacle. I think, to some degree, the revolt of the generals reflects an effort on the part of senior military officers to weigh in, to lay out the military's case. And the military's case is: We're not at fault. They are; and, more specifically, he is - with Rumsfeld being the stand-in for [Vietnam-era Secretary of Defense] Robert McNamara.

            Having said that, with all the speculation about Bush administration interest in expanding the Global War on Terror to include Iran, I suspect the officer corps, already seeing the military badly overstretched, doesn't want to have any part of such a war. Going public with attacks on Rumsfeld is one way of trying to slow whatever momentum there is toward an Iran war.

            I must say, I don't really think we're on a track to have a war with Iran any time soon - maybe I'm too optimistic here [he laughs] - but I suspect even the civilian hawks understand that the United States is already overcommitted, that to expand the war on terror to a new theater, the Iranian theater, would in all likelihood have the most dire consequences, globally and in Iraq.

            TD: Actually, I was planning to ask about your thoughts on the possibility of an Iranian October surprise.

            Bacevich: You mean, attacking Iran before the upcoming fall election? I don't see Karl Rove - because an October surprise would be a political ploy - signing off on it. I think he's cunning, calculating, devious, but not stupid. With the President's popularity rating plummeting due to unhappiness with the ongoing war, it really would be irrational to think that yet another war would turn that around or secure continued Republican control of both houses of Congress.

            TD: It seems that way to me with gas assumedly soaring to $120 a barrel or something like that…

            Bacevich: Oh gosh, oh my gosh, yes…

            TD: But let me throw this into the mix, because I've seen no one mention it: If you look at the list of retired commanders who came out against Rumsfeld, they're all from the Army or Marines. We always say the military is overextended, but only part of it is - and I note the absence of admirals or anybody connected to the Air Force.

            Bacevich: That's a good point. One could argue that the revolt of the generals actually has a third source. If the first source is arguing about who's going to take the fall for Iraq and the second is trying to put a damper on war in Iran, the third has to do with Rumsfeld's military transformation project. To oversimplify, transformation begins with the conviction that the military since the end of the Cold War has failed to adapt to the opportunities and imperatives of the information age. Well before 9/11, the central part of Rumsfeld's agenda was to "transform" - that was his word - this old Cold-War-style military, to make it lighter, more agile, to emphasize information technology and precision weapons.

            Well, if you're in the Air Force, or you're a Navy admiral, particularly one in the aviation community, that recipe sounds pretty good. It sounds like dollars, like programs being funded. But if you're in the Army or the Marine Corps, becoming lighter and more agile sounds like cutting divisions or like getting rid of tanks and artillery; it sounds like a smaller Marine Corps.

            Both the initial stage of the Afghanistan War and the invasion of Iraq were specifically designed by Rumsfeld as projects to demonstrate what a transformed military could do. Hence, his insistence on beginning the Iraq War without a major build-up, on invading with a relatively small force, on having the ground intervention accompany the air campaign rather than having a protracted air campaign first as in the first Gulf War. All the literature about both Afghanistan and Iraq now shows that the war-planning process was filled with great civil/military tension. The generals argued, "Mr. Secretary, here's the plan; we want to do a Desert Storm Two against Iraq," and Rumsfeld kept replying, "I want something smaller, think it over again and get back to me" - reflecting his intention to demonstrate his notion of how America will henceforth fight its wars.

            Well, now we can see the outcome and it's at best ambiguous. That is to say, the early stages of Afghanistan and Iraq proved to be smashing successes. The smaller, agile forces performed remarkably well in demolishing both the Taliban and the Baath Party regime; but in both cases, genuine victory has proven enormously elusive. This gets us to the third basis for the generals' gripe. When they talk about Rumsfeld's incompetence and micromanagement, they're arguing against the transformation project and on behalf of those services which have footed most of the bill.

            TD: Just to throw one other thing into the mix, if there were a campaign against Iran, it would be a Navy and Air Force one.

            Bacevich: It would begin with a Navy and Air Force campaign, but it wouldn't end that way. If the Army generals could be assured that we know exactly where the Iranian nuclear program is, that we have the targeting data and the munitions to take it out… Well, that would be one thing, but we don't have that assurance. From the Army and Marine Corps perspective, an air attack might begin a war with Iran, but the war would not end there. As is the case in both Afghanistan and Iraq, some sort of ugly aftermath would be sure to follow and the Navy and the Air Force aren't going to be there, at least not in large numbers.

            TD: What about the Iraq War at present?

            Bacevich: There are a couple of important implications that we have yet to confront. The war has exposed the limited depth of American military power. I mean, since the end of the Cold War we Americans have been beating our chests about being the greatest military power the world has ever seen. [His voice rises.] Overshadowing the power of the Third Reich! Overshadowing the Roman Empire!

            Wait a sec. This country of 290 million people has a force of about 130,000 soldiers committed in Iraq, fighting something on the order of 10-20,000 insurgents and a) we're in a war we can't win, b) we're in the fourth year of a war we probably can't sustain much longer. For those who believe in the American imperial project, and who see military supremacy as the foundation of that empire, this ought to be a major concern: What are we going to do to strengthen the sinews of American military power, because it's turned out that our vaunted military supremacy is not what it was cracked up to be. If you're like me and you're quite skeptical about this imperial project, the stresses imposed on the military and the obvious limits of our power simply serve to emphasize the imperative of rethinking our role in the world so we can back away from this unsustainable notion of global hegemony.

            Then, there's the matter of competence. I object to the generals saying that our problems in Iraq are all due to the micromanagement and incompetence of Mr. Rumsfeld - I do think he's a micromanager and a failure and ought to have been fired long ago - because it distracts attention from the woeful performance of the senior military leaders who have really made a hash of the Iraq insurgency. I remember General Swannack in particular blaming Rumsfeld for Abu Ghraib. I'll saddle Rumsfeld with about ten percent of the blame for Abu Ghraib, the other ninety percent rests with the senior American military leaders in Baghdad…

            TD: General Ricardo Sanchez signed off on it…

            Bacevich: Sanchez being number one. So again, if one is an enthusiast for American military supremacy, we have some serious thinking to do about the quality of our senior leadership. Are we picking the right people to be our two, three, and four-star commanders? Are we training them, educating them properly for the responsibilities that they face? The Iraq War has revealed some major weaknesses in that regard.

            TD: Do you think that the neocons and their mentors, Rumsfeld and the Vice President, believed too deeply in the hype of American hyperpower? Ruling groups, even while manipulating others, often seem to almost hypnotically convince themselves as well.

            Bacevich: That's why I myself tend not to buy into the charge that Bush and others blatantly lied us into this war. I think they believed most of what they claimed. You should probably put believe in quotes, because it amounts to talking yourself into it. They believed that American omnipotence, as well as know-how and determination, could imprint democracy on Iraq. They really believed that, once they succeeded in Iraq, a whole host of ancillary benefits were going to ensue, transforming the political landscape of the Middle East. All of those expectations were bizarre delusions and we're paying the consequences now.

            You know, the neoconservatives that mattered were not those in government like Douglas Feith or people on the National Security Council staff, but the writers and intellectuals outside of government who, in the period from the late seventies through the nineties, were constantly weaving this narrative of triumphalism, pretending to insights about power and the direction of history. Intellectuals can put their imprint on public discourse. They can create an environment, an atmosphere. When the events of September 11, 2001 left Americans shocked and frightened and people started casting about for an explanation, a way of framing a response, the neoconservative perspective was front and center and had a particular appeal. So these writers and intellectuals did influence policy, at least for a brief moment.

            TD: Here's something that puzzles me. When I look at administration actions, I see a Middle Eastern catastrophe in the midst of which an Iranian situation is being ratcheted up. Then there's China, once upon a time the enemy of choice for the neocons and Rumsfeld, and now here we are this summer having the largest naval maneuvers since Vietnam, four carrier task forces, off the Chinese coast. Then - as with Cheney's recent speech - there's the attempted rollback of what's left of the USSR, which has been ongoing. On the side, you've got the Pentagon pushing little Latin American bases all the way down to Paraguay. So many fronts, so much overstretch, and no backing down that I can see. What do you make of this?

            Bacevich: My own sense is that this administration has largely exhausted its stock of intellectual resources; that, for the most part, they're preoccupied with trying to manage Iraq. Beyond that, I'm hard-pressed to see a coherent strategy in the Middle East or elsewhere. In that sense, Iraq is like Vietnam. It just sucks up all the oxygen. Having said that, before being eclipsed by 9/11 and its aftermath, China was indeed the enemy-designate of the hawks, and a cadre of them is still active in Washington. I would guess that large naval exercises reflect their handiwork. Still, I don't think there's been a resolution within the political elite of exactly how we ought to view China and what the U.S. relationship with China will be.

            Why the hell we're extending bases into Latin America is beyond me. Rumsfeld just announced that he has appointed an admiral as the head of U.S. Southern Command. Now this has almost always been an Army billet, once or twice a Marine billet, never a Navy one. I got an email today from someone who suggested that this was another example of Rumsfeld's "boldness." My response was: Well, if he was bold, he'd simply shut down the Southern Command. Wouldn't it be a wonderful way to communicate that U.S.-Latin American relations had matured to the point where they no longer revolved around security concerns? Wouldn't it be interesting for Washington to signal that there is one region of the world that does not require U.S. military supervision; that we really don't need to have some four-star general parading around from country to country in the manner of some proconsul supervising his quarter of the American Empire?

            Now, I have friends who think that [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez poses a threat to the United States. I find that notion utterly preposterous, but it does reflect this inclination to see any relationship having any discord or dissonance as requiring a security - i.e. military - response. I find it all crazy and contrary to our own interests.

            TD: One thing that's ratcheted up in recent years is the way the Pentagon's taken over so many aspects of policy, turning much of diplomacy into military-to-military relations.

            Bacevich: If you look at long-term trends, going back to the early Cold War, the Defense Department has accrued ever more influence and authority at the expense of the State Department. But there's another piece to this - within the Defense Department itself, as the generals and the senior civilians have vied with one another for clout. When Rumsfeld and [Paul] Wolfowitz came into office they were determined to shift the balance of civil/military authority within the Pentagon. They were intent on trimming the sails of the generals. You could see this in all kinds of ways, some symbolic. Regional commanders used to be called CINCs, the acronym for commander-in-chief. Rumsfeld said: Wait a minute, there's only one commander-in-chief and that's my boss, so you generals who work for me, you're not commanders-in-chief any more. Now the guy who runs US Southern Command is just a "combatant commander."

            Also indicative of this effort to shift power back to the civilians is the role played by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which has been nonexistent for all practical purposes. Accounts of the planning and conduct of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars make clear that they had virtually no influence at all. They were barely, barely consulted. Ever since Colin Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs and became a quasi-independent power broker, presidents have chosen weak chairmen. Presidents want top officers to be accommodating rather than forceful personalities who might hold independent views. I'm sure General Myers of the Air Force is a wonderful man and a patriot, but he served four years as chairman after 9/11 and did so without leaving any discernible mark on policy. And that's not accidental. It reflects Rumsfeld's efforts to wrest authority back towards the office of the Secretary of Defense.

            TD: Isn't this actually part of a larger pattern in which authority is wrested from everywhere and brought into this commander-in-chief presidency?

            Bacevich: That's exactly right. I've just finished a review of Cobra II this new book by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor. A major theme of the book is that people like Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz saw 9/11 as a great opportunity. Yes, it was a disaster. Yes, it was terrible. But by God, this was a disaster that could be turned to enormous advantage. Here lay the chance to remove constraints on the exercise of American military power, enabling the Bush administration to shore up, expand, and perpetuate U.S. global hegemony. Toward that end, senior officials concocted this notion of a Global War on Terror, really a cover story for an effort to pacify and transform the broader Middle East, a gargantuan project which is doomed to fail. Committing the United States to that project presumed a radical redistribution of power within Washington. The hawks had to cut off at the knees institutions or people uncomfortable with the unconstrained exercise of American power. And who was that? Well, that was the CIA. That was the State Department, especially the State Department of Secretary Colin Powell. That was the Congress - note this weird notion that the Congress is somehow limiting Presidential prerogatives - and the hawks also had to worry about the uniformed military, whom they considered "averse to risk" and incapable of understanding modern warfare in an information age.

            TD: And you might throw in the courts. After all, the two men appointed to the Supreme Court are, above all else, believers in the unitary executive theory of the presidency.

            Bacevich: Yes, it fits. I would emphasize that it's not because Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz are diabolical creatures intent on doing evil. They genuinely believe it's in the interests of the United States, and the world, that unconstrained American power should determine the shape of the international order. I think they vastly overstate our capabilities. For all of their supposed worldliness and sophistication, I don't think they understand the world. I am persuaded that their efforts will only lead to greater mischief while undermining our democracy. Yet I don't question that, at some gut level, they think they are acting on your behalf and mine. They are all the more dangerous as a result.


            [Note: Part 2 of Andrew Bacevich's interview, Drifting Down the Path to Perdition, will be posted on Thursday. Those readers who want some background on the issues discussed in this interview are advised to pick up a copy of Bacevich's remarkable book, The New American Militarism, How Americans Are Seduced by War.]

    To TOP    of PAGE

    Lt. WATADA hearing & statement 8/23--24/06

    WATADA WATCH: Account of hearing & statement by Boyle published
    [snow-news] 8/24/2006 1:13 AM

    []In the Aug. 24-30 *Stranger*, Eli Sanders gave a 2,900-word account of Lt. Ehren Watada's Aug. 17 pre-trial Article 32 (pretrial) hearing at Fort Lewis.[1]   --   The "only one in the room wearing a suit" was Watada's attorney, Eric Seizt, Sanders reported, no doubt hyperbolically.   --   The "opportunity to see a serious debate over the legality of the war" was rare, and it "felt a bit tardy, coming more than three years after the fall of Baghdad, but it was nevertheless refreshing."   --   On Thursday, the web site CounterPunch posted hearing witness Francis Boyle's statement on Lt. Watada.[2]   --   Boyle wrote:   "First Lieutenant Ehren Watada is America's equivalent to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Vaclav Havel, Andrei Sakharov, Wei Jingsheng, Aung San Suu Kyi, and others.   He is the archetypal American Hero whom we should be bringing into our schools and teaching our children to emulate, not those wholesale purveyors of gratuitous violence and bloodshed adulated by the U.S. government, America's power elite, the mainstream corporate news media, and its interlocked entertainment industry."   --   As for the Bush administration, Boyle said that it "should now be viewed as constituting an ongoing criminal conspiracy under international criminal law in violation of the Nuremberg Charter, the Nuremberg Judgment, and the Nuremberg Principles."   --   Also on Wednesday, Mark Tooley published a piece in *American Spectator* mistakenly linking Watada to First United Methodist Church in Tacoma, which has declared itself a sanctuary for service personnel reviewing their options.[3]   --   Thanks to Sallie Shawl for sending the first piece.   --Mark[]


    WAR CRIMES By Eli Sanders
    ** Last Week, in a Small Hearing Room at Fort Lewis, a Young Soldier Put the Iraq War on Trial **
    Stranger (Seattle, WA) August 24-30, 2006
    PHOTO (

    Lieutenant Ehren Watada seems to know his chances are slim.   He is trying to convince the U.S. Army that the war in Iraq is illegal, a task that would be challenging for anyone, and is even more so for Watada, a 28-year-old officer who has, with much ensuing media attention, refused to deploy to Iraq.   "He is willing to accept some form of punishment," Watada's lawyer, Eric A. Seitz, told military officials at a packed hearing at Fort Lewis army base on August 17, tacitly acknowledging his client's difficult position.

    After deliberately missing the deployment of his Iraq-bound Stryker brigade on June 22, Watada was charged with multiple violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice -- one count of missing movement, two counts of contempt toward officials, and three counts of conduct unbecoming an officer.   It was a contentious ending to a military career that began with the stuff of Army recruiters' dreams:   A patriotic young man who simply wanted to defend his country against terrorists.

    By his own account, Watada joined the military in 2003 at the age of 25 because he felt the United States was in danger.   This was two years after the Twin Towers had been leveled by terrorists flying hijacked airliners, a year after the terrorist bombings in Bali, and during the run of constant terror alerts and heated rhetoric that marked the build-up to the Iraq war.

    "I had the idea that my country needed me," Watada recently told an interviewer for the liberal website

    His first rotation took him to South Korea, where he received stellar reviews from his superiors, but while he was racking up accolades he was also developing a different view of the Iraq war, reading books and articles that led him to conclude that the U.S. attack on Iraq was "manifestly illegal." That transformation led to his refusal to deploy, and to his current confrontation with the military justice system.

    The August 17 hearing was simply meant to allow the Army's investigating officer, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Keith, an opportunity to hear arguments from both sides before deciding whether to recommend a court-martial for Watada. In the language of civilian courts, it was a hearing about whether to have a trial.   But what transpired suggested that if Watada is ultimately court-martialed, as seems likely, the military will be dealing with more than just a few violations of its code.   In prosecuting Watada, it will also have to defend the legality of a war that is increasingly seen as a mistake (if not worse), and as a result is steadily losing its public support.

    As his lawyer noted, Watada repeatedly looked for ways out of this confrontation with the military.   When he realized he could not allow himself to deploy to Iraq, Watada asked to be sent to Afghanistan, a war he supports because it has a clear connection to an enemy that attacked the U.S.   The request was denied.   Watada then asked to resign.   That request, too, was denied.   After refusing to deploy and having the book thrown at him by Army prosecutors, Watada suggested a compromise:   a less-than-honorable discharge and some non-prison form of punishment.   The military wasn't interested.   All of this suggests to Seitz that the military wants this confrontation with his client -- wants to make an example of Watada.

    "That's fine with us," Seitz said on August 17 before heading into the hearing, which he promptly used as an opportunity to put the Iraq war on trial.   Afterward, explaining his strategy, he said:   "We really want the military to know what's coming."

    * * *

    The spring of 2003, when Watada enlisted, was a tense and confusing time.   The U.S. had just deposed the terrorist-sheltering Taliban leadership in Afghanistan, but the "war on terror" continued with Osama bin Laden still on the loose, the American population still jittery, and the military now gearing up for its second major offensive.

    Phase two of the war on terror was a war of choice -- or, as President Bush described it, a "preemptive war" -- against a longtime American adversary, Iraq.   Even as a surging patriotism drove Watada to enlist, he was aware that many people disagreed with the arguments being used to justify this new war. He knew there were doubts about the links the Bush administration was drawing between Iraq and the attacks of September 11, 2001.   He also knew there were doubts about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.   What he couldn't imagine, however, was that he was being misled.

    "I could never conceive of our leader betraying the trust we had in him," he told the TruthOut interviewer.

    Watada, raised in Honolulu, is now doing desk work at Fort Lewis, just south of Tacoma, as he awaits his legal fate.   In person, he has a serene bearing and a hopeful, earnest face.   It's the face of an idealist, a face that reminds of the great chasm between the way the world should be and the way it actually, disappointingly, is.   In Watada's world -- or, at least, in his world as it was in 2003 -- it's hard to imagine a leader betraying the trust of his people.

    There is, of course, no shortage of such leaders in the wider world, now and ever since the beginning of storytelling, but when Watada tells his story of being disappointed by Bush, there is something fresh about it.   Perhaps it is that hearing about the loss of innocence always hurts, no matter how many times such loss is repeated.   Or perhaps it is that so many citizens of this country can relate to Watada's particular disappointment.

    "Like millions of Americans," Watada says in a recent web video, "I believed the administration when they guaranteed that Saddam [Hussein] had weapons of mass destruction and had the willingness to use them against his neighbors and also the U.S.   And I believed the administration when they said that Iraq had ties to al-Qaeda and 9/11."   He is wearing a plain gray sweatshirt as he says this, staring into the camera with serious, unblinking eyes.

    "Since then," he continues, "I have found those premises to be false."

    It is Watada's genuine and compelling dismay, directed both inward and outward, that makes him such a good spokesman for the antiwar movement.   His resistance to the typical attacks from war supporters helps, too.   Watada's patriotic motivations, and the good reviews he received from his commanders until this year, make it impossible to suggest he is a coward in military clothing -- to "Swift Boat" him, as was done with Vietnam veteran John Kerry during the last presidential election -- and his succinct eloquence makes it hard to call him crazy or unhinged, as was done to Cindy Sheehan.

    His desire to defend the U.S. against foreign threats also makes it impossible to tarnish him as a "cut and run" coward -- or, worse still, a wimpy liberal. And the plain, unselfconscious way in which Watada talks about his evolution over the past few years allows him to push the debate over the Iraq war beyond the normal limits -- further than it has been pushed by Kerry or John Murtha or Nancy Pelosi, further than it has been pushed by the handful of Republicans now questioning the war, further, even, than most liberal pundits and bloggers have dared to.

    Instead of talking about whether the Iraq war was wise, or whether it has been well executed, Watada talks about whether it was ever legal to begin with.   He clearly wants to engage in a new critical discussion about the war, but also, he has to.   He faces up to seven years in military prison unless he can convince the military justice system that his commanders were issuing an illegal order when they told him to deploy to Iraq -- an order that, by virtue of its illegality, he had an obligation to refuse.

    * * *

    A military hearing is a strange thing.   For starters, everyone involved is wearing the same fatigues and boots -- the defendant, the prosecutors, and even the investigator, who plays a judge-like role.   The on-base setting and the sameness of the attire all serve to create a sense of unreality, a sense that everyone is just acting and for the most part playing roles to which they are unaccustomed.   In the case of the investigator, Keith, this was in large part true.   As he told the hearing audience at the outset, he is not a lawyer and has never before served as a military investigator.

    Seitz, Watada's civilian defense lawyer, was the only one in the room wearing a suit, and he painted his client's legal predicament as one entirely of the military's making.   He recited Watada's attempts to get out of his Iraq deployment by reaching compromises with military officials and then complained, "All of those efforts were rejected."

    Yet it seems a bit unrealistic to imagine that the military would ever have backed away from the hard line it is taking with Watada.   Part of waging war is controlling the narrative about the war, and if the army came to be seen as giving credence to Watada's position on the war's illegality, it would have a serious problem on its hands.   "It's just dangerous in our army to allow that to happen," said Captain Dan Kuecker, the lead military prosecutor.

    The result of these opposing hard lines was, as Seitz and Watada no doubt intended, a rare opportunity to see a serious debate over the legality of the war -- a war that has become the defining political and foreign-policy issue of the time and yet is still difficult for Americans to discuss without descending into recriminations about lack of patriotism or lack of intelligence.   The debate felt a bit tardy, coming more than three years after the fall of Baghdad, but it was nevertheless refreshing.

    Francis Boyle, an expert in international law whose mentor at Harvard wrote the army's field manual on land warfare, was the lead witness for Watada.   He told the hearing room that "under the circumstances of this war, if [Watada] had deployed, he would have been facilitating a Nuremberg crime against peace."

    The invocations of Nuremberg at the hearing were repeated and served as a rather stark reminder of how different the posture of the U.S. is these days than it was in the 1940s, when the American government helped organize the Nuremberg trials to deal with the war crimes committed by the Germans during World War II.   Those trials helped cement in international law the idea that soldiers have an obligation to disobey illegal orders, along with the idea that certain wars cannot be justified -- such as a "war of aggression" by one country against another country that has not attacked it.   While in the 1940s the U.S. was helping to create these international norms for warfare, these days it is bending -- some would say outright breaking -- the rules it once backed.   It attacked Iraq, for example, without the U.N. authorization that is required, according to Boyle, in order to keep a war from being deemed an illegal "war of aggression."

    Another prong of Watada's argument was that he would inevitably be a party to war crimes were he to deploy in Iraq.   Noting the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, the alleged use of cluster bombs in civilian areas, and the reported rapes and murders committed by U.S. soldiers in Iraq, Boyle said that if Watada deployed to Iraq, "it would be difficult, if not impossible, for him not to be committing war crimes."

    This was the easier of the two prongs for Keith, the military prosecutor, to attack.   "By this reasoning, if you will, has everyone in theater committed war crimes just by the fact of their deployment?" Keith asked.

    Boyle's response was that Watada, because he was a lieutenant and because he had made it his business to learn about U.S. misconduct, would be more culpable than the average grunt.   "The more you know, and the higher your rank, the more your responsibility," he said.

    On the question of whether the war itself was illegal, however, prosecutor Keith could only point out that no legal or international body -- not the U.N., not the U.S. Congress, and not the U.S. court system -- has yet declared the war to be a violation of international law.   Boyle agreed that this was so.   But he and other witnesses also pointed out that the U.N.'s structure makes it nearly impossible to sanction the world's sole superpower, that no American civilian court has yet been asked to rule on the legality of the Iraq war, and that the Bush administration was able to procure its war authorization from the current U.S. Congress "by means of fraud -- they lied to Congress that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and they lied to Congress that Iraq had connections to 9/11."

    * * *

    Watada, sitting slightly slouched, was all but silent during the proceedings, speaking only to tell the military investigator that he didn't wish to make a statement.   Prosecutors, however, played a number of clips of Watada speaking in public about his reasons for not deploying.   In one clip, shot at a recent Veterans for Peace conference in Seattle, Watada is seen explaining what he hopes to accomplish.   "Today I speak with you about a radical idea," he says. "The idea is this:   that to stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers and service members can choose to stop fighting it."   The prosecutors' use of this clip seemed intended to hammer home how dangerous it might be to military morale and discipline if Watada's example were followed.

    It doesn't seem, however, that a huge mass of soldiers is yet following Watada's lead.   In fact, Watada is believed to be the only officer so far to have refused duty in Iraq, and while prosecutors worried during the hearing that his example would hurt army morale and discipline, after the hearing, Lieutenant Colonel Dan Williams, spokesman for Fort Lewis, told reporters that Watada's actions were doing no such thing.   "My morale is just as high as it was yesterday," Williams said.   "This is an anomaly."

    The military is speaking out of both sides of its mouth on this score --arguing during the hearing that Watada is a threat to order and discipline and arguing to the media that he is not -- but the fact remains that Watada has not inspired a large number of soldiers to throw their weapons down.   His impact, at this point, appears to be mainly as another piece of the steady legal assault that is taking apart the grand narrative by which the Iraq war was sold and conducted -- the narrative in which the war is completely justified and any criticism of the Bush administration or its conduct of the war can be dealt with by an official saying, essentially, "Trust us, we're protecting you; don't ask too many questions and don't worry about the law." (Or, when that fails, attacking the critic's patriotism or sanity.)

    There are signs that the administration is increasingly worried about the unraveling of its war narrative -- especially with the midterm congressional elections just 60 days away -- and recently, the nation's courts have given the administration even more cause for concern.   In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the administration's attempt to ignore the Geneva Conventions for prisoners in the war on terror was illegal.   Last week, a federal judge in Detroit ruled that the administration's domestic spying program was unconstitutional, with the judge, Anna Diggs Taylor, using her ruling to remind Bush that he is not allowed "unfettered control," particularly when his actions "disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights" (that ruling is now being appealed).   And a CNN poll released on Monday showed opposition to the Iraq War now at its highest level ever, 61 percent.

    The tide seems to be shifting, and in a sign of the concern this is generating within the administration, officials representing Bush are currently circulating proposed amendments to the federal war-crimes law, apparently hoping to give themselves a way out should they someday be charged under that statute.   That's not the tactic of a group of people who feel they are on the right side of the law, or public-opinion trends.

    In this context, it seems impossible that the army will be allowed to go easy on Watada.   In all likelihood, he will go to jail for refusing to deploy.   He has said he is at peace with his decision, and with his possible punishment. As one of his own witnesses at the hearing, retired army Colonel Ann Wright, put it:   "If you challenge an order, you do it at your own jeopardy."

    Still, Wright added, army commanders, and their civilian leaders, suffer from being unable to convincingly explain, to Watada or anyone else, why the Iraq war shouldn't be seen as illegal under international law.   This failure probably shouldn't be surprising, given how often the rationale for the war has shifted -- from WMDs to spreading democracy to the self-justifying notion that we can't leave because we're now there.   But this lack of good answers, Wright said, hurts military order and discipline more than anything else.

    "Good order and discipline," she told the army investigator, "is based on the fact that good leaders can explain things to their soldiers."


    ** An Archetypal American Hero **
    CounterPunch August 23, 2006

    One generation ago the peoples of the world asked themselves:   Where were the "good" Germans? Well, there were some good Germans.   The Lutheran theologian and pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the foremost exemplar of someone who led a life of principled opposition to the Nazi-terror state even unto death.

    Today the peoples of the world are likewise asking themselves:   Where are the "good" Americans?   Well, there are some good Americans.   They are getting prosecuted for protesting against illegal U.S. military interventions and war crimes around the world.   First Lieutenant Ehren Watada is America's equivalent to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Vaclav Havel, Andrei Sakharov, Wei Jingsheng, Aung San Suu Kyi, and others.   He is the archetypal American Hero whom we should be bringing into our schools and teaching our children to emulate, not those wholesale purveyors of gratuitous violence and bloodshed adulated by the U.S. government, America's power elite, the mainstream corporate news media, and its interlocked entertainment industry.

    In international legal terms, the Bush Jr. administration itself should now be viewed as constituting an ongoing criminal conspiracy under international criminal law in violation of the Nuremberg Charter, the Nuremberg Judgment, and the Nuremberg Principles, because of its formulation and undertaking of wars of aggression, crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes that are legally akin to those perpetrated by the former Nazi regime in Germany.

    As a consequence, American citizens and soldiers such as Lieutenant Watada possess the basic right under international law and the United States domestic law, including the U.S. Constitution, to engage in acts of civil resistance in order to prevent, impede, thwart, or terminate ongoing criminal activities perpetrated by U.S. government officials in their conduct of foreign affairs policies and military operations purported to relate to defense and counter-terrorism.

    If not so restrained, the Bush Jr. administration could very well precipitate a Third World War.

    --Francis A. Boyle, Professor of Law, University of Illinois, is author of *Foundations of World Order*, Duke University Press, *The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence*, and *Palestine, Palestinians and International Law*, by Clarity Press.   He can be reached at: FBOYLE@LAW.UIUC.EDU

    3. [still on the Watada issue]

    The Nation's Pulse
    SANCTUARY CHIC By Mark Tooley
    American Spectator August 23, 2006

    "Sanctuary" became a *cause célèbre* in the 1980s when left-wing churches ostensibly offered it to illegal Central American refugees as a protest against the Reagan Administration's battles against Marxist insurgencies in Latin America.

    Now "sanctuary" is chic again.   There are currently two ongoing celebrated cases.   One involves an illegal Mexican woman immigrant in Chicago.   The other involves a U.S. army officer in Tacoma who refuses to serve in Iraq.   Both involve Methodist churches.

    Lt. Ehren Watada is facing a court martial because he will not deploy with his unit to Iraq, where the U.S. military effort is "morally wrong" and "a breach of American law."

    Watada is currently at Ft. Lewis in Tacoma.   He joined the army after the Iraq War had begun, but decided afterwards that he must oppose a war based on "lies."

    In solidarity with Watada, the 250-member First United Methodist Church in Tacoma has declared itself a "sanctuary" for any U.S. soldiers who don't want to fight in Iraq or elsewhere.   "We're supporting troops by giving them the space to think about what their options are in a supportive environment," a church member told the local newspaper.

    First United Methodist Church Tacoma is offering legal counseling on evading military service, along with overnight shelter for conscience-ridden, anti-war soldiers.   Watada has used the church for media gatherings and doubtless appreciates the supportive gesture from the Methodists, who have helped organize demonstrations on his behalf outside Ft. Lewis.

    Several liberal Methodist bishops have spoken up for Watada.   "I perceive in your actions a courageous questioning of the role of the military in our world and a willingness to act on the basis of what you believe to be ethically right." said Bishop Robert Hoshibata of Oregon.   "I applaud your willingness to balance your call to duty with your innermost thoughts and core beliefs."

    Bishop Roy Sano, as secretary of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, offered his support to Watada's mother.   "I was inspired by the brave step your son took in refusing to be deployed to Iraq," he wrote.   "In the United Methodist Church, we do not take civil disobedience lightly, but when necessary for conscience sake, we approve it."

    The United Methodist Bishop of Los Angeles, Mary Ann Swenson, told Watada:   "I commend you as one who has taken a courageous and difficult stand to publicly make known a position you have come to believe in opposition to a particular war."   She insisted that the denomination's supposed anti-war stance is the "underpinning of our support for you."

    Meanwhile, illegal Mexican immigrant Elvira Arellano is living in "sanctuary" at Chicago's Adalberto United Methodist Church.   Its activist pastor, Walter Coleman, defends the church's harboring her based on her outspoken leadership of undocumented workers.   "She defines the movement for her people, and they love her," he explained to the *Chicago Sun-Times*.

    Rev. Coleman compared sanctuary for Arellano with Moses and the burning bush. "God said this is holy ground," he said.   "She has a place here."   Of course, she agrees with her pastor.   "This is the house of God," Arellano told the *Washington Post*.   "What man would enter the house of God to arrest me?"

    Arellano's supporters may cite supernatural protection. But they are hoping that fear of negative publicity will prevent the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement from enforcing its deportation order against Adalberto, whose cause has been championed by Mayor Richard Daley and Senator Richard Durbin, among other politicos.   She was arrested in 2002 for using a false Social Security number, and after having entered the U.S. twice illegally. Private congressional bills delayed her deportation based on the health of her young son, which has since improved.   Her notoriety as an activist has earned her a wide circle of political and religious allies.

    United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcano of Phoenix, appearing on CNN in defense of Arellano, claimed that since the Old Testament, "the community of faith has provided refuge for persons who are foreigners."   As a young Methodist woman, Arellano "stands out of her Christian conviction that our laws are unjust," the bishop explained.

    "The United Methodist Church views the immigration policies of this country as unjust," Carcano asserted.   "It is seeking the reformation of our immigration policies, stands with families like Ms. Arellano's family, requesting that this government look at the impact on families.   If we really care about children in this country, this is an opportunity to care for a child." Arellano's situation is not political, the bishop insisted, it is a "moral and ethical issue."

    It is a lot of high-handed talk by clerics who preside over declining churches that are long on statements and short on members. Of course, just as "sanctuary" in the 1980s was simply a ruse to oppose Reagan in Central America, "sanctuary" now is an opportunity to oppose the Iraq War and advocate unrestricted immigration as "moral" imperatives.

    More revealingly, "sanctuary" is usually championed by well-heeled liberal elites hunting about for a politically palatable cause *du jour*.   No Methodist or other liberal church elites were offering sanctuary to victims of Saddam Hussein. Not do they agitate over refugees from Fidel Castro. Indeed, the United Methodist Church helped fund Fidel Castro's lawyers in sending Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba in the 1990's.   Their version of "sanctuary" only extends to the contrived victims of U.S. policies, and rarely to anybody else.

    --Mark Tooley directs the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C.

    PepperSpray Productions announces the release of
    "He Stood UP"
    a DVD about the mistrial of Lt. Ehren Watada (Fall '07)

    Corporate media treated this victory like it was a flat tire, or some other technical problem. We were right there front and center, in the inner court room, and we knew that the mistrial of Ehren Watada, first officer to refuse to go to Iraq, was a big victory for our side. We saw how the judge pulled the plug on the trial rather than risk a Watada victory. Our court-room observer heard one juror mutter "at least somebody has some principles around here." We saw the prosecutor bury his face in his hands when the judge began to bail out of the case that had become an airplane on fire, careening towards the earth.

    Our cameras were at the gates, at the rallies, and at the press conferences. And because NO cameras are allowed in any kind of federal court, including military courts-marital, we got the court artist sketches, and with animation, sketches, and live footage we bring you the story that corporate media glossed over. There was no "mistrial." The prosecution rested its case, and on the prosecution case alone, Lt. Watada was doing great. The judge had already barred every witness Lt. Watada wanted to bring in, and had ruled out every defense Watada could possibly raise. But every prosecution witness contributed to the defense's case, and by the time the prosecutor excused his last witness, it was painfully obvious that Watada should win, and there was a distinct possibility that he would win on at least some counts. The judge stopped the show. It isn't that often that something like this happens, but we were there, we watched it all, and now, we're bringing that story to a screen near you.

    "He Stood UP" is the story of Lt. Watada and the mistrial that happened in February. The Army claims that they are going to try him again, although there are serious doubts about the legality of that, because of double jeopardy. Sometimes a moral stand can bring a legal victory. This is that story, brought to you by PepperSpray Productions, an independent activist video collective based in Seattle, WA.

    To get more info, or to order the DVD online, go to
    (Also available at Alliance for Democracy video Lending Library- check out the library at (click on “lending library” in Left Column)

    To TOP    of PAGE

    "Revolt Of The Generals" 10/16/06

    COMMENTARY: Iraq is 'Vietnam with the volume turned way up'

      []Writing in the Oct. 16, 2006, number of the *Nation*, author Richard J. Whalen called attention to a "revolt . . . brewing among our retired Army and Marine generals."[1]   --   Among the leaders:   Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack Jr. and Maj. Gen. John Batiste, both of whom commanded forces in Iraq, and both of whom "recently sacrificed their careers by retiring and joining the public protest" against the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- a movement that is, according to Whalen, "unprecedented in American history."   --   Whalen has personal experience of what it is like to be on the inside in the midst of a strategic débâcle:   forty years ago, he was on the staff of President Richard Nixon and was involved in planning to end the Vietnam war.   --   Whalen favors Karen Kwiatkowski's view that "The retired generals' revolt may be inspired by their apprehension over a wider Mideast conflict spreading to potentially nuclear Iran," and goes on to endorse the increasingly heard view that the U.S. must engage in discussions with Iran with a view to reaching agreement on security in the Persian Gulf region.   --   As part of the aftermath of the Iraqi débâcle, Whalen foresees an "inevitable post-Iraq War tsunami of U.S. political recrimination."   --   Thanks to Todd Boyle for sending this piece.   --Mark[]


    By Richard J. Whalen

    October 16, 2006 (posted Sept. 28)

    [This article was corrected for the web after going to press; in the printed version, comments made by Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton were mistakenly attributed to Marine Lieut. Gen. Gregory Newbold.]

    A revolt is brewing among our retired Army and Marine generals.   This rebellion -- quiet and nonconfrontational, but remarkable nonetheless --comes not because their beloved forces are bearing the brunt of ground combat in Iraq but because the retirees see the U.S. adventure in Mesopotamia as another Vietnam-like, strategically failed war, and they blame the errant, arrogant civilian leadership at the Pentagon.   The dissenters include two generals who led combat troops in Iraq:   Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack Jr., who commanded the 82nd Airborne Division, and Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who led the First Infantry Division (the "Big Red One").   These men recently sacrificed their careers by retiring and joining the public protest.

    In late September Batiste, along with two other retired senior officers, spoke out about these failures at a Washington Democratic policy hearing, with Batiste saying Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was "not a competent wartime leader" who made "dismal strategic decisions" that "resulted in the unnecessary deaths of American servicemen and women, our allies and the good people of Iraq."   Rumsfeld, he said, "dismissed honest dissent" and "did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war."

    This kind of protest among senior military retirees during wartime is unprecedented in American history -- and it is also deeply worrisome.   The retired officers opposing the war and demanding Rumsfeld's ouster represent a new political force, and therefore a potentially powerful factor in the future of our democracy.   The former generals' growing lobby could acquire a unique veto power in the future by publicly opposing reckless civilian warmaking in advance.

    No one should be surprised by the antiwar dissent emerging among those who have commanded our legions on the fringes of the U.S. military empire. After more than sixty-five years of increasingly centralized and secret presidential warmaking, we have concentrated ultimate civilian authority in fewer and fewer hands.   Some of these leaders have been proved by events to be incompetent.

    I speak regularly to retired generals, former intelligence officers, and former Pentagon officials and aides, all of whom remain close to their active-duty friends and protégés.   These well-informed seniors tell me that whatever the original U.S. objective was in Iraq, our understrength forces and flawed strategy have failed, and that we cannot repair this failure by remaining there indefinitely.   Fundamental changes are needed, and senior officers are prepared to make them.   According to my sources, some active-duty officers are working behind the scenes to end the war and are preparing for the inevitable U.S. withdrawal.   "The only question is whether a war serves the national interest," declares a retired three-star general.   "Iraq does not."

    How widespread is antiwar feeling among the retired and active-duty senior military?   And does it extend into the younger active-duty officer corps? These are unanswerable questions.   The soldiers who defend our democracy on the battlefield fight within military, and therefore nondemocratic, organizations.   They are sworn to uphold the Constitution and obey orders. Traditionally, they debate only on the "inside."

    Earlier this year, Gen. George Casey, the top American commander in Iraq, drafted a highly classified briefing plan that was leaked to the *New York Times* in June.   It called for sharply reducing U.S. troop levels in Iraq from the current fourteen combat brigades to a half-dozen or so by late December 2007.   The plan contained a great many caveats, and events soon rendered it obsolete.   Now General Casey says the Iraqi security forces may be ready to take the lead role in twelve to eighteen months, but he says nothing about troop withdrawals.

    Casey's leaked plan revealed the thinking of some of today's top-level officers.   These senior military men believe that our forces will have to win the potentially decisive battle for Baghdad before the United States can leave.   In August the Army announced an urgent transfer of American forces from insecure western Iraq to the capital in preparation for that coming battle.   The move barely doubled the number of troops in Baghdad, to only 14,000 GIs spread over a sprawling metropolis with a population exceeding 7 million.

    On August 3 the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, Gen. John Abizaid, the universally respected, Arabic-speaking warrior-scholar who knows Iraq intimately, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that worsening Iraqi sectarian violence, especially in Baghdad, "could move [Iraq] towards civil war."   In private, senior officers openly refer to civil war, and have indicated that the Army would depart in such circumstances to avoid being caught in the crossfire.

    The dissenting retired generals are bent on making Iraq this nation's last strategically failed war -- that is, one doggedly waged by civilian officials largely to avoid personal accountability for their bad decisions.   A failed war causes mounting human and other costs, damaging or entirely destroying the national interest it was supposed to serve.

    Let me interject a personal note.   At the height of the Vietnam War, between 1966 and 1968, I was a conservative Republican in my early 30s on the campaign staff of the likely next President, Richard Nixon.   What I heard from junior officers returning from Vietnam convinced me that U.S. military involvement there should give way to diplomacy.   We no longer had a coherent political objective, and were fighting only to avoid admitting defeat.   I wrote Nixon's secret plan for "ending the war and winning the peace," a rhetorical screen for striking a summit deal with the Soviet Union, followed by a historic opening to China that would allow us to extricate ourselves from what we belatedly recognized was an anti-Chinese Indochina.

    After I left Nixon's staff in August 1968, I helped end the draft.   In 1969-70, I co-wrote and edited the *Report of the President's Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force*.   Our blockbuster proposal to end the draft combined political expediency and libertarian idealism.   Our staff's numbers crunchers calculated that if we raised enlisted men's pay scales, retention rates among the sons of lower- to middle-income families would stay high enough to create a de facto all-volunteer Army.   So why not take credit for acting on principle?   Nixon's domestic adviser Martin Anderson pushed it, the private computers of consultant Alan Greenspan (who would go on to become chair of the Federal Reserve System) confirmed it and I delivered the text that the commission accepted.   Nixon, for once, enjoyed the media's acclaim.   The draft was swiftly abolished.

    The Iraq War only confirms the wisdom of the nation's commitment to the all-volunteer armed forces.   A draft would merely prolong the Iraq agony, not avoid defeat.   More than 2,700 GIs killed and more than 20,000 wounded, along with tens of thousands of dead and wounded Iraqis, are enough to carry on the nation's conscience.

    Some of the officers from the first generation of the volunteer Army, now mostly retired, are speaking out and influencing their active-duty colleagues.   Retired Lieut. Gen. William Odom calls the Iraq War "the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States" and draws a grim parallel with the Vietnam War.   He says that U.S. strategy in Iraq, as in Vietnam, has served almost exclusively the interests of our enemies. He says that our objectives in Vietnam passed through three phases leading to defeat.   These were:   (1) 1961-65, "containing" China; (2) 1965-68, obsession with U.S. tactics, leading to "Americanization" of the war; and (3) 1968-75, phony diplomacy and self-deluding "Vietnamization." Iraq has now completed two similar phases and is entering the third, says Odom, now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.   In March he wrote in the newsletter of Harvard's Nieman Foundation:   "Will Phase Three in Iraq end with U.S. helicopters flying out of Baghdad's Green Zone?   It all sounds so familiar.   The difference lies in the consequences.   Vietnam did not have the devastating effects on U.S. power that Iraq is already having.   On this point, those who deny the Vietnam-Iraq analogy are probably right.   They are wrong, however, in believing that staying the course will have any result other than making the damage to U.S. power far greater than would changing course and making an orderly withdrawal. . . . But even in its differences, Vietnam can be instructive about Iraq.   Once the U.S. position in Vietnam collapsed, Washington was free to reverse the negative trends it faced in NATO and U.S.-Soviet military balance, in the world economy, in its international image, and in other areas.   Only by getting out of Iraq can the United States possibly gain sufficient international support to design a new strategy for limiting the burgeoning growth of anti-Western forces it has unleashed. . . ."

    The fact that so many retired generals are speaking out against the war and against Rumsfeld, and are doing so at such forums as New York's prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, reflects the depth and intensity of the military's dissent.   Traditional discipline and career-protecting reticence prompt many disillusioned field-grade officers (majors and above) to keep silent.   These are "the Carlisle elite," who attend the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and from whose ranks are selected the generals and top leaders of tomorrow.

    The military's senior active-duty leadership will not openly revolt. "We're not the French generals in Algeria," says Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, now retired.   "But we damned well know that the Iraq War we've won militarily is being lost politically."   The well-read retired Marine Lieut. Gen. Gregory Newbold wrote in a *Time* magazine essay:   "I retired from the military four months before the March 2003 invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy."   Newbold calls the Iraq War "unnecessary" and says the civilians who launched the war acted with "a casualness and swagger" that are "the special province" of those who have never smelled death on a battlefield.

    When civilian Pentagon officials bungled the long, dishonorable endgame of the Vietnam War, disciplined senior soldiers kept silent.   After that war ended in U.S. defeat and humiliation, a flood of firsthand military accounts of the war appeared.   Embittered generals and other officers, like future general Colin Powell, vowed it would never happen again.

    Today, a retired major general privately asserts:   "For our generation, Iraq will be Vietnam with the volume turned way up.   Three decades ago, the retired generals who are now speaking out against the Iraq War were junior officers in Vietnam.   The seniors who trained and mentored us, and who became generals but who kept silent, did not speak out after retirement against Vietnam."   Now, even before the Iraq War has ended, generals have shed their uniforms and begun publicly to fight back against Rumsfeld's bullying and a new generation of Pentagon civilians' bloodstained mistakes.   These former generals despise Rumsfeld, with several, like Batiste, describing him as totally dismissive of their views.   They recall repeatedly trying to warn Rumsfeld before the Iraq invasion that the U.S. forces he was planning to deploy were barely half the 400,000 they said were needed.

    Rumsfeld publicly humiliated all who dissented, beginning with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, who was virtually dismissed the day he honestly gave his views to Congress.   Rumsfeld's deputy, neoconservative ideologue Paul Wolfowitz, listened respectfully before rejecting the generals' advice.   As the Iraqi insurgency grew, the generals found Rumsfeld "completely unable and unwilling to understand the collapse of security in Iraq," says Maj. Gen. Eaton.   The severely understrength U.S. forces have never been able to provide adequate security.   Once Iraqi civilians lost their trust and confidence in America's protection, the war was lost politically.   As General Newbold says:   "Our opposition to Rumsfeld is all about his accountability for getting Iraq wrong from day one."

    Bureaucratic accountability comes hard and very slowly.   According to a stark consensus of global terrorism trends by America's sixteen separate espionage agencies, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq "helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and [expand] the overall terrorist threat."   This highly classified National Intelligence Estimate is, according to the *New York Times*, "the first report since the war began to present a comprehensive picture" of global terrorism trends.

    There's blame enough to go around.   In his recently published bestseller *Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq*, Thomas Ricks, the *Washington Post*'s senior Pentagon correspondent, offers a devastating, heavily documented indictment of almost incredible civilian and military shortsightedness and incompetence, such as the foolish decisions that encouraged the Iraqi insurgency.   "When we disbanded the Iraqi Army, we created a significant part of the Iraqi insurgency," explains Col. Paul Hughes, whose advice to retain the army was rejected.   Before he retired he told Ricks, "Unless we ensure that we have coherency in our policy, we will lose strategically."   The most critical political-strategic decisions about post-Saddam Iraq's future were made by deeply mistaken civilian officials in Washington and in the Green Zone by our "viceroy," Paul Bremer, administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

    The senior military dissenters will not rest until they indict the mistakes of Rumsfeld and his principal civilian aides at Congressional hearings.   The military always plays this game of accountability for keeps.   Should the Democrats gain control of a Congressional chamber in the November midterms, televised Capitol Hill hearings in 2007 will feature military protagonists speaking of "betrayal" and "tragically wasted sacrifices."   The retired generals believe nothing would be gained, and much would be lost, by keeping the truth about Iraq from the families of America's dead and wounded.

    Says retired two-star General Eaton:   "The repeated rotations of Army Reservists and National Guardsmen are hollowing out the U.S. ground forces.   This whole thing in Iraq is going to fall off a cliff. . . . Yet we have a moral obligation to see this thing [the Iraqi occupation] through.   If we fail, it will cause America grave problems for several decades to come."   These earnest, if contradictory, sentiments echo what some conflicted U.S. military officers told me thirty-five years ago, as Vietnam was being abandoned.   After President Nixon's Watergate disgrace and resignation, a fed-up American public and a heavily Democratic-controlled Congress finally pulled the plug on our Saigon ally, allowing South Vietnam to fall.

    Over the past year, the United States has pressed into service newly trained Iraqi army, police and security forces, replacing elements of the 140,000-plus U.S. troops.   But the Iraqi forces lack everything from body armor to tanks and helicopters.   Major General Eaton, who in 2003-04 was in charge of training Iraqi security forces, says the United States needs another five years to train the Iraqi army, and as much as another decade to train and equip an effective Iraqi police force.

    Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a hero in the 1991 Gulf War who visited Iraq and Kuwait this past spring, writes in an unpublished report:   "We need to better equip the Iraqi Army with a capability to deter foreign attack and to have a leveraged advantage over the Shia militias and the insurgents they must continue to confront.   The resources we are now planning to provide are inadequate by an order of magnitude or more.   The cost of a coherent development of the Iraqi security forces is the ticket out of Iraq -- and the avoidance of the constant drain of huge U.S. resources on a monthly basis."

    Thus, the crucial "Iraqification" process has barely begun and is mostly still self-deception.   *New York Times* Iraq correspondent Dexter Filkins reports that Baghdad has become "a markedly more dangerous place" over the past year.   This undercuts "the central premise of the American project here:   that Iraqi forces can be trained and equipped to secure their own country, allowing the Americans to go home," a replay of the failed Vietnamization scenario.

    The retired generals' revolt may be inspired by their apprehension over a wider Mideast conflict spreading to potentially nuclear Iran, writes former Pentagon planner and now antiwar critic Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and a razor-sharp Ph.D.   Writing in, she speculates that the generals are trying to get rid of Rumsfeld now to head off a conflict with Iran.   The Bush Administration reportedly has contingency plans to bomb Iran's U.N.-disapproved nuclear sites.   Some underemployed Navy and Air Force officers are lobbying to strike Iran, but the overstretched ground combat forces overwhelmingly oppose it as the worst of all possible wars.   She writes:   "If Rumsfeld retires, we will not 'do' Iran under Bush 43."   Such concern over Tehran is well founded.   According to Kwiatkowski and retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner, American Special Forces are already secretly inside Iran, identifying potential targets for future air strikes. The Iranians are of course aware of their uninvited visitors.

    The obvious diplomatic recourse is for the Bush Administration to talk to Tehran about our pending exit from Iraq, but the White House refused to do so until late September, when the Bush family's longtime political fixer, former Secretary of State James Baker, entered the picture as a deal-maker.   Baker is co-chair, with retired Indiana Democratic Representative Lee Hamilton, of the Congressionally created Iraq Study Group (ISG), which is due to issue a comprehensive report on U.S. options in Iraq after the November elections.   After a four-day visit to Iraq, Baker, Hamilton and the eight other members of the bipartisan task force returned to Washington with an obvious recommendation:   Start talking to Tehran.   After receiving President Bush's immediate approval, Baker invited an unidentified "high representative" of the Iranian government, as well as Syria's foreign minister, to meet with the ISG.   Baker realizes the leverage is largely on Iran's side of the table.

    An expert on Shiite Islam, Professor Vali Nasr of the Naval Postgraduate School, sees a glaring missed opportunity the ISG could help seize.   He suggested in the July-August Foreign Affairs that "Iran will actively seek stability in Iraq only when it no longer benefits from controlled chaos there, that is, when it no longer feels threatened by the United States' presence.   Iran's long-term interests are not inherently at odds with those of the United States; it is current U.S. policy toward Iran that has set the countries' respective Iraq policies on a collision course."

    General McCaffrey warns that "U.S. public diplomacy and rhetoric about confronting Iranian nuclear weapons development is scaring neighbors in the Gulf.   Our Mideast allies believe correctly that they are ill equipped to deal with Iranian strikes to close the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. They do not think they can handle politically or militarily a terrorist threat nested in their domestic Shia populations."

    The recent war in Lebanon has only made the prospect of war with Iran more problematic.   As Richard Armitage, the astute onetime Navy SEAL and former Deputy Secretary of State, told reporter Seymour Hersh:   "When the Israel Defense Forces, the most dominant military force in the region, can't pacify little Lebanon [population: 4 million], you should think twice about taking that template to Iran, with strategic depth and a population of 70 million."

    McCaffrey's report raises the possibility that U.S. forces will have to fight their way out of Iraq.   He says, "A U.S. military confrontation with Iran could result in [the radical Islamic Mahdi Army's] attacking our forces in Baghdad or along our 400-mile line of communications out of Iraq to the sea."   The Bush Administration needs Iranian cooperation for the eventual safe exit of our troops, as General McCaffrey advises.   This assumes that the Iranians will not risk World War III by trying to entrap our hostage Army in a humiliating Dunkirk-in-the-desert.   After successful negotiations, the United States should be able to withdraw via the southern exit route leading through Kuwait to the Persian Gulf and the blue waters beyond.

    Once we get our troops safely out, a newly elected, post-2008 administration in Washington may be able to begin reassembling America's scattered global allies to address the region's problems anew, next time multilaterally, and through diplomacy rather than pre-emptive unilateral military force.

    America is a uniquely favored nation that redefines itself in each generation.   But we have had a lifetime of embracing one democratic global war, and numerous presidentially inspired, politicized, and secret smaller wars that have turned out badly.   Sixty-five years after Pearl Harbor, we owe it to the past three generations to resume the debate on our national identity, suspended on December 7, 1941, and foreshortened on September 11, 2001.

    In the post-cold war era, we have severely cut back our military manpower, reducing the regular Army to only 480,000 troops, but we have not cut back fantastically expensive Air Force weapons systems or the somewhat more useful but still gold-plated Navy.   Nor have we redefined our strategic goals to fit realistically within reduced budgets.   We have "paid" for the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by borrowing heavily from foreign dollar-holders, such as China, that are awash in trade surpluses, and have left debt service to future U.S. generations.

    A key argument in the ex-generals' indictment is this undeniable fact: Our armed forces are too small to police and reorder the world and intervene almost blindly, as we have in Iraq.   That invasion acted out the world-changing daydreams of pro-Israel neoconservative policy intellectuals like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and others who gained warmaking power and influence atop the Pentagon but who evidently never asked themselves, Suppose we're wrong?   What happens then?   Sober, realistic Israelis privately fear the neocons' "friendship," and where it has led America, more than any Arab enemies.   In the inevitable post-Iraq War tsunami of U.S. political recrimination, such Israelis foresee Christian Zionist evangelicals, whose lobbying muscle in Congress was decisive in the run-up to the Iraq War, attempting to scapegoat the high-profile neocons and endangering Israel's all-important security ties to the United States.

    Growing public disgust and frustration with the Iraq War has begun to arouse a self-defeating desire to retreat into isolationism.   Rather, the United States should revive the traditional but recently neglected realistic approach to foreign policy, as the ISG is starting to do, and it should begin with a renewed multilateral approach to peacemaking in the Middle East.

    --Richard J. Whalen, a former senior editor of *Time* and *Fortune*, is the author of several books, including *The Founding Father: The Story of Joseph P. Kennedy* and *Catch the Falling Flag: A Republican's Challenge to His Party*.   He writes and publishes "The Big Picture," a fortnightly letter on politics and finance, and is currently working on *In the Name of National Security*, a personal and political history of the domestic impact of America's wars since Pearl Harbor.

    To TOP    of PAGE

    National Guard Protests DOD Bill Public Law 109-364, "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (signed by the George Bush on October 17th, 2006)

      Hill's National Guard Advocates Hold News Conference
    To Protest DOD Bill's Proposed Decisions On National Guard

    . . .'Empowerment' Steps Likely To Be Dropped, While Provision Threatening State Control Likely To Be Added

    WASHINGTON (Sept. 19) – Congressional leaders heading the fight for National Guard empowerment Tuesday expressed grave disappointment over the House and Senate conference agreement on the Fiscal Year 2007 Defense Authorization Bill for abandoning the National Guard “empowerment" thrust of the Senate's version of the bill.   The conference report is also likely to take a sizable step toward weakening states' authority over their Guard units, according to the congressional leaders who are leading the fight for Guard empowerment.

    Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) – the co-chairs of the Senate's National Guard Caucus – said the conference agreement is expected to include a provision making it easier for the President to declare martial law, stripping state governors of part of their authority over state National Guard units in domestic emergencies.   The provision is opposed by the National Governors Association and by key leaders in both the House and Senate.   The conference report is also expected to drop a Senate-adopted provision authored by Bond and Leahy to elevate the status of the National Guard within the Pentagon.

    During committee deliberations thus far, negotiators from the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have dropped a Senate-adopted version of the National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act of 2006, a bill first introduced in the Senate in March by Bond and Leahy.   The legislation, which was added as an amendment to the Authorization Bill, would codify the National Guard's prominent role in the nation's defense since the September 11th attacks.   The legislation, which flowed from several major reports on the National Guard and homeland security, would have elevated the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to rank of full General with four-stars, while ensuring that the Deputy Commander of the United States Northern Command would come from the ranks of the National Guard.

    Also expected to be included in the conference report is a widely opposed provision to allow the President more control over the National Guard.   The conference committee has made changes the Insurrection Act, which governs when the President can call to action the National Guard without the consent of state governors to restore public order.   Under the changes, the President would now be able to invoke the Act during such regular occurring events as a natural disaster.   Because posse comitatus restrictions that prevent the military's involvement in law enforcement do not apply when the Insurrection Act is invoked, the changes would nullify these long-standing laws.

    “This would be a one-two punch against Guard empowerment that runs counter to the Guard's needs and the Guard's crucial missions," said Leahy.   “We can deal with a range of situations at home if the people and resources of the National Guard remain regularly under the control of the officials who are closest to managing these situations.   At the same time, the Guard also needs more institutional muscle to ensure it has the equipment and authorities it needs to carry out its dual-missions.   As it stands, this defense bill would go in exactly the wrong direction."    

    Bond added, “Whenever the nation has called upon the National Guard for support, both at home and abroad, the Guard has responded in exemplary fashion. The Guard has earned a promotion and the enhanced authority necessary to be in the huddle of the Pentagon's senior defense team.   Unfortunately that is not presently the case which is why the legislation we are discussing is so vital to national security and the ability of the Guard to promote and protect its key policy provisions and requirements."

    # # # # #

    Remarks Of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy,
    Co-Chair, Senate National Guard Caucus
    News Conference On The National Guard Empowerment Act
    Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    Thank you, General Koper, General Taylor and General Conaway.   I appreciate your joining us today.   This petition is so impressive.   It speaks directly to strong desire of our men and women in the National Guard for a more substantial voice at the highest levels of the Defense Department.   It is also makes clear to those of us on Capitol Hill that the men and women of the National Guard have expectations for us, just as we always expect great things from them.

    The National Guard has delivered for America, over and over again.   The National Guard has played a crucial role in our national defense at home and abroad.   At the high-water mark, the Guard made up almost 40 percent of the troops on the ground in Iraq.   Here at home, the Guard is being routinely called up to support such diverse missions as airport and border security and, of course, disaster relief.

    Regrettably, we are here because Congress at this critical moment is on the verge of an outright failure in supporting the National Guard.   Reports continue to trickle out of the conference on the Defense Authorization Bill that House and Senate leaders plan to drop a slimmed-down version of our National Guard Empowerment Act, which will give the Guard more of a voice in the upper reaches of the Pentagon.

    Compounding this setback, we also hear that the conferees are ready to adopt changes to the Insurrection Act, which will make it easier for this or any future President to use the military to restore domestic order WITHOUT the consent of the nation's governors.   To put it another way, the Defense Authorization Bill will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law – something has been done in only three - three - occasions over the past several decades.

    From coast to coast, the members and leaders of the National Guard are alarmed and puzzled by these setbacks, and Senator Bond and I could not agree with them more.   The Guard empowerment thrust of this year's Defense Authorization Bill in the Senate was a long-awaited reform that would help ensure that the Guard has the bureaucratic muscle to match its needs in fulfilling the lengthening list of missions we are asking the Guard to perform.   Our Guard Empowerment initiative would clear away some of those bureaucratic cobwebs, to help take advantage of the Guard's ability to respond to emergencies at home quickly.   We must end this troubling pattern that the active duty forces continually raid high-priority National Guard programs and personnel accounts to pay their own bills.   We saw that troubling pattern in action late last year, when the Army and the Air Force tried to cut the end-strength of the National Guard by upward of 17,000 and 14,000, respectively.   With more than 70 senators joining us, Senator Bond and I helped block that decision, but that episode dramatically showed how the Guard often gets the short end of the stick in key budget and policy deliberations.

    At the same time, we certainly do not need to make it easier for Presidents to declare martial law.   Invoking the Insurrection Act and using the military for law enforcement activities goes against some of the central tenets of our democracy.   It creates needless tension among the various levels of government – one can easily envision governors and mayors in charge of an emergency having to constantly look over their shoulders while someone who has never visited their communities gives the orders.

    A bill that began with such promise in empowering the National Guard now increasingly appears to be shaping up as a double setback for the Guard.   That is inexplicable, that is indefensible, and that is wrong.   The last thing Congress should be doing is making the National Guard's job more difficult.   We urge the Defense Bill conferees to adopt the Empowerment Bill and drop the ill-advised changes to the Insurrection Act.

    The Guard is always there for America.   Now the ball is in Congress's court, and we cannot afford to let our Guard down.

    Thank you.

    To TOP    of PAGE

    "Pentagon knew from 1999..." 11/5/06

    They knew Iraq was not a cakewalk knew we would not be liberators
    by Margie Burns | Nov 5 2006 - 8:05am

    Reprinted with permission of

    The National Security Archive now reveals that the Pentagon knew from 1999 on that invasion and occupation of Iraq would entail disaster.

    Through a FOIA request, the National Security Archive has obtained documents of "Desert Crossing" war games conducted by CENTCOM (U.S. Central Command) in April 1999 to assess outcomes of invading Iraq. Outcomes were not rosy.
    As the NSArchive introduction observes, "Some of these conclusions are interestingly similar to the events which actually occurred after Saddam was overthrown.

    (Note 1) The report forewarned that regime change may cause regional instability by opening the doors to "rival forces bidding for power" which, in turn, could cause societal "fragmentation along religious and/or ethnic lines" and antagonize "aggressive neighbors." Further, the report illuminated worries that secure borders and a restoration of civil order may not be enough to stabilize Iraq if the replacement government were perceived as weak, subservient to outside powers, or out of touch with other regional governments. An exit strategy, the report said, would also be complicated by differing visions for a post-Saddam Iraq among those involved in the conflict."

    General Zinni, who retired after the war games, tried unsuccessfully to remind the current administration about Desert Crossing. In an act of political heroism, he went public with some of his concerns. Aside from other problems, "the former CENTCOM commander noted that his plan had called for a force of 400,000 for the invasion -- 240,000 more than what Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approved. "We were concerned about the ability to get in there right away, to flood the towns and villages," USA Today quoted Zinni as saying in July 2003. "We knew the initial problem would be security."

    (Note 7)"
    Portions of the conclusions are being reported on today.

    Selected emails disclose that one of the entities involved in planning Desert Crossing, along with CENTCOM, was the giant security contractor "Booz Allen." The emails refer to Booz Allen Hamilton, a huge northern Virginia firm numbering members and signatories of PNAC among its principals and the government among its chief clients. Booz Allen is a privately held mega-funded global contractor.

    The company name hit the news earlier this fall with revelations that the Bush administration was secretly monitoring bank transactions (SWIFT). The White House said that the electronic surveillance was being supervised by Booz Allen, a claim that itself arouses problems. As this article by Liana Forest reminds, Booz Allen also developed Carnivore, the discredited data mining process, for use by the FBI. Thus we have a purported check and audit on government electronic surveillance being handled by a company that has demonstrably not seen fit to warn the public about what government is doing, either in regard to Iraq or in regard to financial spying.

    Back to Desert Crossing: no argument can be made that key government agencies were left out of the loop. As the report afterward makes clear, "Over 70 participants, including the Department of State, Department of Defense, National Security Council, and the Central Intelligence Agency took part in the seminar." Donald Rumsfeld, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and David Addington had access to the information processed by their predecessors in the Defense department. Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley had access to material available to the National Security Council.

    Even couched in the value-neutral language of bureaucracy, the conclusions of the report are horrifying: "The dimensions of preparing a post-Saddam policy for Iraq and the region are vast and complex. Early preparation of a political-military plan as called for in Presidential Decision Directive 56 should be a priority. The accompanying policy debate will expose a variety of contentious positions that must be reconciled and managed. Key discussion points include: benefits and risks associated with various strategic options; information requirements; and the likelihood that intervention will be costly in terms of casualties and resources."

    Setting aside if one could that calling the invasion of another country "intervention" is quintessentially Orwellian; setting aside if one could that one nation has no right to remake another nation in the first place; setting aside if one could the injuries and deaths of thousands - one is still faced with the obscene presumptuousness with which underqualified individuals set themselves on a course to do something they never had a chance of doing. We keep asking how - how could they do it? - how could personnel as negligible as George Walker Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Wolfowitz and Libby, Hadley and Addington even think they could accomplish the remaking of Iraq? What made them think they had the right to do so?

    In a sense the question answers itself. Invading and trashing a country that has not attacked us is self-evidently invalid. Only unqualified, ignorant, selfish people - ignorant in spite of all their resources, their wealth and their access to information and expertise -- could imagine either that they could, or that they should give it a try.
    Reprinted with permission of
    Margie Burns is a freelance journalist in the D.C. area with a blog at

    To TOP    of PAGE

    ‘Army Times' calls 4 Rumsfeld's dismissal 11/5/06

    'Army Times' calls for Donald Rumsfeld's dismissal
    [snow-news] 11/5/2006 4:38 PM

    COMMENTARY: ‘Army Times' calls for Rumsfeld's dismissal

    [An editorial to be published Monday by *Army Times* calls for the dismissal of U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and denounces the American plan to create an Iraqi army capable of tending to the security of Iraqis as unrealizable:   “[T]he problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity has become a losing proposition."[1]   --   *Army Times* portrays Rumsfeld as a leader who has lost the confidence of the men he is supposed to lead. --   The editorial also asserts that “many [of the nation's currently military leaders] privately feared [the Iraq war] would fail" but “have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority."   --   Now, *Army Times* asserts, “although that tradition, and the officers' deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe [that the war is a failure]."     --   The editorial places the blame for the failure squarely on the shoulders of Rumsfeld (whose incompetence, it will be recalled, is the controlling thesis of Bob Woodward's recent bestseller, *State of Denial*).   --“[T}he blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary," the editorial concludes.   --   "Donald Rumsfeld must go."   --   It's remarkable and welcome that *Army Times* questions “the war's planning, execution, and dimming prospects for success," but we wish it would dig a little deeper and acknowledge, as Lt. Ehren Watada has done, the war's illegal and immoral character ab ovo...--Mark]



    Army Times
    November 6, 2006 (posted Nov. 5)

    “So long as our government requires the backing of an aroused and informed public opinion . . . it is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth."

    That statement was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins more than a half-century ago during the Korean War.

    But until recently, the “hard bruising" truth about the Iraq war has been difficult to come by from leaders in Washington.

    One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:   “mission accomplished," the insurgency is “in its last throes," and “back off," we know what we're doing, are a few choice examples.

    Military leaders generally toed the line, although a few retired generals eventually spoke out from the safety of the sidelines, inciting criticism equally from anti-war types, who thought they should have spoken out while still in uniform, and pro-war foes, who thought the generals should have kept their critiques behind closed doors.

    Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war's planning, execution, and dimming prospects for success.

    Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee in September:   “I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it . . . and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war."

    Last week, someone leaked to the *New York Times* a Central Command briefing slide showing an assessment that the civil conflict in Iraq now borders on “critical" and has been sliding toward “chaos" for most of the past year.   The strategy in Iraq has been to train an Iraqi army and police force that could gradually take over for U.S. troops in providing for the security of their new government and their nation.

    But despite the best efforts of American trainers, the problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity has become a losing proposition.

    For two years, American sergeants, captains, and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, don't show up for duty, and cannot sustain themselves.

    Meanwhile, colonels and generals have asked their bosses for more troops. Service chiefs have asked for more money.

    And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand.

    Now, the president says he'll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House.

    This is a mistake.   It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed.   But when the nation's current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.

    These officers have been loyal public promoters of a war policy many privately feared would fail.   They have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority.

    And although that tradition, and the officers' deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe it.

    Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress, and with the public at large.   His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised.   And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.

    This is not about the midterm elections.   Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth:

    Donald Rumsfeld must go.

    To TOP    of PAGE

    General Pace's Nay say of Iran War Rationale

    At 02:53 PM 2/18/2007, wrote: COMMENTARY: The Bush team 'has completely lost its mojo' (Frank Rich)

      [On Sunday, *New York Times* columnist Frank Rich had harsh words for even the Bush administration's vaunted capacity for lying.   --   "Watching the administration try to get its story straight about Iran's role in Iraq last week was like watching third graders try to sidestep blame for misbehaving while the substitute teacher was on a bathroom break.   The team that once sold the country smoking guns in the shape of mushroom clouds has completely lost its mojo."[1]   --   As everyone knows, when a public figure in America becomes an object of mockery, the end is near. --Mark]


      Op-ed columnist

      By Frank Rich

      New York Times
      February 18, 2007
      Section 4, Page 12 (subscribers only)

      Maybe the Bush White House can't conduct a war, but no one has ever impugned its ability to lie about its conduct of a war.   Now even that well-earned reputation for flawless fictionalizing is coming undone. Watching the administration try to get its story straight about Iran's role in Iraq last week was like watching third graders try to sidestep blame for misbehaving while the substitute teacher was on a bathroom break.   The team that once sold the country smoking guns in the shape of mushroom clouds has completely lost its mojo.

      Surely these guys can do better than this.   No sooner did unnamed military officials unveil their melodramatically secretive briefing in Baghdad last Sunday than Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, blew the whole charade.   General Pace said he didn't know about the briefing and couldn't endorse its contention that the Iranian government's highest echelons were complicit in anti-American hostilities in Iraq. Public-relations pandemonium ensued as Tony Snow, the State Department, and finally the president tried to revise the story line on the fly.   Back when Karl Rove ruled, everyone read verbatim from the same script.   Last week's frantic improvisations were vintage Scooter Libby, at best the ur-text for a future perjury trial.

      Yet for all the sloppy internal contradictions, the most incriminating indictment of the new White House disinformation campaign is to be found in official assertions made more than a year ago.   The press and everyone else seems to have forgotten that the administration has twice sounded the same alarms about Iranian weaponry in Iraq that it did last week.

      In August 2005, NBC News, CBS News and the *Times* cited unnamed military and intelligence officials when reporting, as CBS put it, that “U.S. forces intercepted a shipment from Iran containing professionally made explosive devices specifically designed to penetrate the armor which protects American vehicles."   Then, as now, those devices were the devastating roadside bombs currently called E.F.P.'s (explosively formed penetrators).   Then, as now, they were thought to have been brought into Iraq by members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.   Then, as now, there was no evidence that the Iranian government was directly involved.   In February 2006, administration officials delivered the same warning yet again, before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

      Timing is everything in propaganda, as in all showmanship.   So why would the White House pick this particular moment to mount such an extravagant rerun of old news, complete with photos and props reminiscent of Colin Powell's infamous presentation of pre-war intelligence?   Yes, the death toll from these bombs is rising, but it has been rising for some time. (Also rising, and more dramatically, is the death toll from attacks on American helicopters.)

      After General Pace rendered inoperative the first official rationale for last Sunday's E.F.P. briefing, President Bush had to find a new explanation for his sudden focus on the Iranian explosives.   That's why he said at Wednesday's news conference that it no longer mattered whether the Iranian government (as opposed to black marketeers or freelance thugs) had supplied these weapons to Iraqi killers.   “What matters is, is that they're there," he said.   The real point of hyping this inexact intelligence was to justify why he had to take urgent action now, no matter what the E.F.P.'s provenance:   “My job is to protect our troops. And when we find devices that are in that country that are hurting our troops, we're going to do something about it, pure and simple."

      Darn right!   But if the administration has warned about these weapons twice in the past 18 months (and had known “that they're there," we now know, since 2003), why is Mr. Bush just stepping up to that job at this late date?   Embarrassingly enough, the *Washington Post* reported on its front page last Monday -- the same front page with news of the Baghdad E.F.P. briefing -- that there is now a shortfall of “thousands of advanced Humvee armor kits designed to reduce U.S. troop deaths from roadside bombs."   Worse, the full armor upgrade “is not scheduled to be completed until this summer."   So Mr. Bush's idea of doing something about it, “pure and simple" is itself a lie, since he is doing something about it only after he has knowingly sent a new round of under-armored American troops into battle.

      To those who are most suspicious of this White House, the “something" that Mr. Bush really wants to do has little to do with armor in any case.   His real aim is to provoke war with Iran, no matter how overstretched and ill-equipped our armed forces may be for that added burden.   By this line of thinking, the run-up to the war in Iraq is now repeating itself exactly and Mr. Bush will seize any handy casus belli he can to ignite a conflagration in Iran.

      Iran is an unquestionable menace with an Israel-hating fanatic as its president.   It is also four times the size of Iraq and a far more dangerous adversary than was Saddam's regime.   Perhaps Mr. Bush is as reckless as his harshest critics claim and will double down on catastrophe.   But for those who don't hold quite so pitch-black a view of his intentions, there's a less apocalyptic motive to be considered as well.

      Let's not forget that the White House's stunt of repackaging old, fear-inducing news for public consumption has a long track record.   Its reason for doing so is always the same:   to distract the public from reality that runs counter to the White House's political interests.   When the Democrats were gaining campaign traction in 2004, John Ashcroft held an urgent news conference to display photos of seven suspected terrorists on the loose.   He didn't bother to explain that six of them had been announced previously, one at a news conference he had held 28 months earlier.   Mr. Bush played the same trick last February as newly declassified statistics at a Senate hearing revealed a steady three-year growth in insurgent attacks:   he breathlessly announced a thwarted Qaeda plot against the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles that had already been revealed by the administration four months before.

      We know what Mr. Bush wants to distract us from this time:   Congressional votes against his war policy, the Libby trial, the Pentagon inspector general's report deploring Douglas Feith's fictional pre-war intelligence, and the new and dire National Intelligence Estimate saying that America is sending troops into the cross-fire of a multifaceted sectarian cataclysm.

      That same intelligence estimate also says that Iran is “not likely to be a major driver of violence" in Iraq, but no matter.   If the president can now whip up a Feith-style smoke screen of innuendo to imply that Iran is the root of all our woes in the war -- and give “the enemy" a single recognizable face (Ahmadinejad as the new Saddam) -- then, ipso facto, he is not guilty of sending troops into the middle of a shadowy Sunni-Shiite bloodbath after all.

      Oh what a malleable war Iraq has been.   First it was waged to vanquish Saddam's (nonexistent) nuclear arsenal and his (nonexistent) collaboration with Al Qaeda.   Then it was going to spread (nonexistent) democracy throughout the Middle East.   Now it is being rebranded as a fight against Tehran.   Mr. Bush keeps saying that his saber rattling about Iran is not “a pretext for war."   Maybe so, but at the very least it's a pretext for prolonging the disastrous war we already have.

      What makes his spin brazen even by his standards is that Iran is in fact steadily extending its influence in Iraq -- thanks to its alliance with the very Iraqi politicians that Mr. Bush himself has endorsed.   In December the president welcomed a Shiite leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, to the White House with great fanfare; just three weeks later American forces had to raid Mr. Hakim's Iraq compound to arrest Iranian operatives suspected of planning attacks against American military forces, possibly with E.F.P.'s.   As if that weren't bad enough, Nouri al-Maliki's government promptly overruled the American arrests and ordered the operatives' release so they could escape to Iran.   For all his bluster about doing something about it, Mr. Bush did nothing.

      It gets worse.   This month we learned that yet another Maliki supporter in the Iraqi Parliament, Jamal Jafaar Mohammed Ali Ebrahimi, was convicted more than two decades ago of planning the murderous 1983 attacks on the American and French Embassies in Kuwait.   He's now in Iran, but before leaving, this terrorist served as a security adviser, no less, to the first Iraqi prime minister after the American invasion, Ibrahim al-Jafaari.   Mr. Jafaari, hailed by Mr. Bush as “a strong partner for peace and freedom" during his own White House visit in 2005, could be found last week in Tehran, celebrating the anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution and criticizing America's arrest of Iranian officials in Iraq.

      Even if the White House still had its touch for spinning fiction, it's hard to imagine how it could create new lies brilliant enough to top the sorry truth.   When you have a president making a big show of berating Iran while simultaneously empowering it, you've got another remake of “The Manchurian Candidate," this time played for keeps.

      PPJH's website is located at -- others may join by sending an email to

    To TOP    of PAGE

    Gen. Wesley Clark & '01 War plan for MidEast 3/2/07

    This is an excerpt from an Amy Goodman interview with Gen. Wesley Clark on Democracy Now, March 2

    GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in.

    He said, "Sir, you've got to come in and talk to me a second." I said, "Well, you're too busy." He said, "No, no." He says, "We've made the decision we're going to war with Iraq." This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, "We're going to war with Iraq? Why?" He said, "I don't know." He said, "I guess they don't know what else to do." So I said, "Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?"

    He said, "No, no." He says, "There's nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq." He said, "I guess it's like we don't know what to do about terrorists, but we've got a good military and we can take down governments." And he said, "I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail."

    So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, "Are we still going to war with Iraq?" And he said, "Oh, it's worse than that." He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, "I just got this down from upstairs" -- meaning the Secretary of Defense's office -- "today." And he said, "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran." I said, "Is it classified?" He said, "Yes, sir." I said, "Well, don't show it to me." And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, "You remember that?" He said, "Sir, I didn't show you that memo! I didn't show it to you!"

    AMY GOODMAN: I'm sorry. What did you say his name was?

    GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I'm not going to give you his name.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, go through the countries again.

    GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, starting with Iraq, then Syria and Lebanon, then Libya, then Somalia and Sudan, and back to Iran.

    To TOP    of PAGE

    Cynthia Tucker Reveals Revolt Among Generals

    Did I say "I hate to say I told you so, but...?"
    Well, obviously, if I did (between last Summer and now)
    I take it back... -Chris Pringer,
    vUSPA Admin & Web-Admin (
    VFP92, "Seattle12" of SNOW, PolyPsyArts HmPg
      * PolyPsy List Archives at


    Tucker: Active-Duty Generals Will ‘Revolt' Against Bush If He Maintains Escalation Into 2008

    Appearing on NBC's Chris Matthews Show this morning, Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Cynthia Tucker revealed that sources within the military are warning of “a revolt from active-duty generals if September rolls around and the president is sticking with the surge into ‘08." Watch it:

    Noting that retired generals such as Gen. John Batiste have already begun voicing their discontent with the president's strategy in Iraq, Tucker added that the generals “don't want to fall by the wayside like the generals in Vietnam did, kept pushing a war that they knew was lost."

    When President Bush vetoed the Iraq timeline legislation earlier this month, he claimed that “the measure would ‘impose impossible conditions on our commanders in combat' by forcing them to ‘take fighting directions from politicians 6,000 miles away in Washington, DC.'"

    But despite past claims that “the right force level" will be determined by “the sober judgment of our military leaders," the Bush administration has a proven track record of disregarding the advice of military leaders. As recently as last December, when the White House was first pushing its escalation plan, the administration explicitly ignored “the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."

    It appears the commanders on the ground in Iraq are getting tired of “taking fighting directions" from a politician “6,000 miles away" in the White House. And they might not stay quiet for long.

    Digg It!


            TUCKER: Look for a revolt from active-duty generals if September rolls around and the president is sticking with the surge into ‘08. We've already heard from retired generals. But my Atlanta Journal-Constitution colleague Jay Bookman has lots of sources among currently serving military officers who don't want to fall by the wayside like the generals in Vietnam did, kept pushing a war that they knew was lost.

    To TOP    of PAGE

    CENTCOM Adm.Fallon Sinks Gulf Buildup 5/16/07

    Subject: [vfp92speak] CENTCOM Commander's Veto Sank Bush's Threatening Gulf Buildup Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 19:40:49 -0700

    May 15, 2007 Inter Press Service

    Admiral William Fallon, then President George W. Bush's nominee to head the Central Command (CENTCOM), expressed strong opposition in February to an administration plan to increase the number of carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf from two to three and vowed privately there would be no war against Iran as long as he was chief of CENTCOM, according to sources with access to his thinking. Fallon's resistance to the proposed deployment of a third aircraft carrier was followed by a shift in the Bush administration's Iran policy in February and March away from increased military threats and toward diplomatic engagement with Iran. That shift, for which no credible explanation has been offered by administration officials, suggests that Fallon's resistance to a crucial deployment was a major factor in the intra-administration struggle over policy toward Iran.

    The deployment of three carrier groups simultaneously was not part of a plan for an actual attack on Iran, but was meant to convince Iran that the Bush administration was preparing for possible war if Tehran continued its uranium enrichment programme.

    But Fallon, who was scheduled to become the CENTCOM chief Mar. 16, responded to the proposed plan by sending a strongly-worded message to the Defence Department in mid-February opposing any further U.S. naval buildup in the Persian Gulf as unwarranted.

    “He asked why another aircraft carrier was needed in the Gulf and insisted there was no military requirement for it," says the source, who obtained the gist of Fallon's message from a Pentagon official who had read it.

    Fallon's refusal to support a further naval buildup in the Gulf reflected his firm opposition to an attack on Iran and an apparent readiness to put his career on the line to prevent it. A source who met privately with Fallon around the time of his confirmation hearing and who insists on anonymity quoted Fallon as saying that an attack on Iran “will not happen on my watch".

    Asked how he could be sure, the source says, Fallon replied, “You know what choices I have. [Including: resignation.] I'm a professional." Fallon said that he was not alone, according to the source, adding, “There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box."

    There is a lot more...

    To TOP    of PAGE

    "Rebellion in the British Army"

    June 7, 2007 Rebellion in the British Army
    by John Pilger

    An experienced British officer serving in Iraq has written to the BBC describing the invasion as "illegal, immoral, and unwinnable," which, he says, is "the overwhelming feeling of many of my peers." In a letter to the BBC's Newsnight and he accuses the media's "embedded coverage with the U.S. Army" of failing to question "the intentions and continuing effects of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation." He says most British soldiers regard their tours as "loathsome," during which they "reluctantly [provide] target practice for insurgents, senselessly hemorrhaging casualties and squandering soldiers' lives, as part of Bush's vain attempt to delay the inevitable Anglo-U.S. rout until after the next U.S. election." He appeals to journalists not to swallow "the official line/White House propaganda."

    In 1970, I made a film in Vietnam called The Quiet Mutiny in which GIs spoke out about their hatred of that war and its "official line/White House propaganda." The experiences in Iraq and Vietnam are both very different and strikingly similar. There was much less "embedded coverage" in Vietnam, although there was censorship by omission, which is standard practice today.

    What is different about Iraq is the willingness of usually obedient British soldiers to speak their minds, from Gen. Richard Dannatt, Britain's current military chief, who said that the presence of his troops in Iraq "exacerbates the security problem," to Gen. Michael Rose who has called for Tony Blair to be impeached for taking Britain to war "on false grounds" – remarks that are mild compared with the blogs of squaddies.

    What is also different is the growing awareness in the British forces and the public of how "the official line" is played through the media. This can be quite crude: for example, when a BBC defense correspondent in Iraq described the aim of the Anglo-American invasion as "bring[ing] democracy and human rights" to Iraq. The director of BBC Television, Helen Boaden, backed him up with a sheaf of quotations from Blair that this was indeed the aim, implying that Blair's notorious word was enough.

    More often than not, censorship by omission is employed: for example, by omitting the fact that almost 80 percent of attacks are directed against the occupation forces (source: the Pentagon) so as to give the impression that the occupiers are doing their best to separate "warring tribes" and are crisis managers rather than the cause of the crisis.

    There is a last-ditch sense about this kind of propaganda. Seymour Hersh said recently,

    "[In April, the Bush administration] made a decision that because of the totally dwindling support for the war in Iraq, they would go back to the al-Qaeda card, although there's no empirical basis. Most of the pros will tell you the foreign fighters are a couple of per cent and they're sort of leaderless … there's no attempt to suggest there's any significant coordination of these groups, but the press keeps going gaga about al-Qaeda … it's just amazing to me."

    Gaga day at the London Guardian was May 22. "Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force U.S. out of Iraq," said the front-page banner headline. "Iran is secretly forging ties with al-Qaeda elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq," wrote Simon Tisdall from Washington, "in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition intended to tip a wavering U.S. Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, U.S. officials say." The entire tale was based on anonymous U.S. official sources. No attempt was made to substantiate their "firm evidence" or explain the illogic of their claims. No journalistic skepticism was even hinted, which is amazing considering the web of proven lies spun from Washington over Iraq.

    Moreover, it had a curious tone of something-must-be-done insistence, reminiscent of Judith Miller's scandalous reports in the New York Times claiming that Saddam was about to launch his weapons of mass destruction and beckoning Bush to invade. Tisdall in effect offered the same invitation; I can remember few more irresponsible pieces of journalism. The British public and the people of Iran deserve better.

    To TOP    of PAGE


    Chairman of Joint Chiefs Will Not Be Reappointed 6/9/07

    Published: June 9, 2007
    [Note: article '07// 02/18 above]

    WASHINGTON, June 8 - The Bush administration said Friday that it would not reappoint Gen. Peter Pace to a second term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, making him the highest-ranking officer to be a political casualty of the fight over Iraq.

    Adm. Mike Mullen, the chief of naval operations, will replace General Peter Pace as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the decision was reached in order to avoid bitter hearings in a Democratic-controlled Senate that is already confronting the White House over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    “I have decided that at this moment in our history, the nation, our men and women in uniform, and General Pace himself would not be well-served by a divisive ordeal in selecting the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," Mr. Gates said.

    The defense secretary stood alone at a Pentagon podium in making the announcement, and he spoke in somber tones in describing how he fully had intended to recommend General Pace be offered a second two-year term as chairman, only to change his mind over the last few weeks after consulting with senior senators of both parties.

    Mr. Gates said he would recommend that President Bush appoint Adm. Michael G. Mullen, the chief of naval operations, to serve as the next chairman. The defense secretary praised Admiral Mullen as a man of “vision, strategic insight, experience and integrity."

    General Pace has served for six years at the very highest ranks of the military, for four years as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and then two years as the first marine to be chairman. General Pace, who is 61, had made clear that he wanted to be reappointed, and associates said he was deeply disappointed. When he steps down at the end of September, he will become the shortest-serving chairman since Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor in 1964, during the early years of the Vietnam War.

    By law, the chairman is the senior-ranking member of the armed services and is the top military adviser to the president, the defense secretary and the National Security Council. In that capacity, he is not in command of American forces at war, but plays a central role in shaping strategy and policy and in relaying communications from the civilian leadership to commanders in the field.

    But General Pace's reputation has nevertheless become intertwined with the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the heavy tolls that the subsequent counter-insurgency fights have inflicted on the United States military. He has been criticized by some senior officers who saw him as too deferential to civilian leadership, in particular former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, and too inattentive to the impact of prolonged war-fighting on the Army, Marines and their National Guard and Reserve elements.

    President Bush is known for loyalty to members of his senior council, including the generals who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he risked a confirmation battle earlier this year when he successfully nominated Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top American commander in Iraq, to become Army chief of staff.

    In the case of General Pace, however, Mr. Bush "reluctantly agreed" not to seek a renomination for the chairman, even though the president “has the highest regard for General Pace," said Dana Perino, the deputy White House press secretary.

    In a written statement, Mr. Bush said, “I have relied on his unvarnished military judgment, and I value his candor, his integrity and his friendship."

    A confirmation hearing for the next chairman would have come in September, just as the two top American ground commanders in Iraq are scheduled to issue their first official assessment of Mr. Bush's strategy of escalating the troop presence there.

    In making his announcement, Mr. Gates emphasized that the decision should not be viewed as a rebuke of General Pace's tenure, which he described as one of “great distinction." Mr. Gates likewise said the decision should not be seen as an acknowledgment that the decline in Congressional support for the war was spreading even to Republicans.

    The defense secretary, though, said his conversations with senior lawmakers of both parties had led him to conclude that “the focus of his confirmation process would have been on the past, rather than the future" and “that there was the very real prospect the process would be quite contentious."

    Although Mr. Gates acknowledged that both Democrats and Republicans had warned of a bruising confirmation hearing for General Pace, the public statements from senior Republicans were effusive. "Peter Pace has served his nation, his beloved Marine Corps, with the greatest of distinction," said Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee.

    But Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, acknowledged Friday that he had cautioned against offering General Pace a second term as chairman.

    “In response to a request from Secretary Gates, I solicited the views of a broad range of senators," Mr. Levin said. “I found that the views of many senators reflected my own, namely that a confirmation hearing on General Pace's reappointment would have been a backward-looking debate about the last four years."

    General Pace is a highly decorated combat veteran who led a rifle platoon during some of the most vicious urban combat in American military history, in Vietnam during the 1968 battle of Battle of Hue.

    In the past week, however, speculation swirled that he would not be renominated, rumors coming after General Pace was forced to defend his comments that homosexual conduct was immoral, akin to adultery - a statement far from the legal underpinnings of the military's ban on openly gay soldiers based on arguments for discipline and unit cohesion.

    General Pace also stirred concern among senior colleagues that he had stepped over a line defining civilian-military relations with a letter urging leniency for I. Lewis Libby Jr., the vice-presidential aide convicted of lying during a Central Intelligence Agency leak investigation.

    Looking to the future, Mr. Gates noted that Admiral Mullen already had a reputation for rising above parochial service interests to focus on how all of the armed forces can best support each other. Mr. Gates said that his senior military assistant had recently been told by Admiral Mullen that his highest priority, even as chief of naval operations, was finding ways to help the Army as it carried the burden of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Over recent months, Admiral Mullen also called upon his service's brightest minds to write the first new maritime strategy since the end of the cold war to address both traditional challenges and emerging asymmetrical threats.

    Mr. Levin, the armed services committee chairman described Admiral Mullen as “ well-qualified" for the job of chairman.

    Mr. Gates also said he would recommend that the new vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs be General James E. Cartwright, the Marine Corps officer in charge of the Strategic Command, responsible for American nuclear forces and computer attack.

    The current vice chairman, Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., announced his retirement last week. With the decision to name a Navy officer as chairman, it would not have been possible for Admiral Giambastiani to continue in the No. 2 job, although Mr. Gates said he unsuccessfully had urged the admiral to accept another senior-level position.

    A number of respected officers have seen their career paths damaged or altered by the debate over Iraq.

    Among them are Gen. John P. Abizaid, an advocate of limiting the American presence in Iraq, who retired months early from his command in the Middle East as Mr. Bush was ordering an influx of troops. And Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the senior ground commander in Iraq after the invasion, never received a fourth star and was quietly pushed toward retirement.

    Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting.

    To TOP    of PAGE

    'Supporting the troops' means withdrawing them

    LtGen. William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Ret.)

    July 05, 2007

    Gen. William Odom writes that opponents of the war should focus public attention on the fact that Bush´s obstinate refusal to admit defeat is causing the troops enormous psychological as well as physical harm.

    By William E. Odom

    [see added note about half-way down "Part that goes into Solutions for Current Situation:"]

    Every step the Democrats in Congress have taken to force the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq has failed. Time and again, President Bush beats them into submission with charges of failing to "support the troops."

    Why do the Democrats allow this to happen? Because they let the president define what "supporting the troops" means. His definition is brutally misleading. Consider what his policies are doing to the troops.

    No U.S. forces have ever been compelled to stay in sustained combat conditions for as long as the Army units have in Iraq. In World War II, soldiers were considered combat-exhausted after about 180 days in the line. They were withdrawn for rest periods. Moreover, for weeks at a time, large sectors of the front were quiet, giving them time for both physical and psychological rehabilitation. During some periods of the Korean War, units had to fight steadily for fairly long periods but not for a year at a time. In Vietnam, tours were one year in length, and combat was intermittent with significant break periods.

    In Iraq, combat units take over an area of operations and patrol it daily, making soldiers face the prospect of death from an IED or small arms fire or mortar fire several hours each day. Day in and day out for a full year, with only a single two-week break, they confront the prospect of death, losing limbs or eyes, or suffering other serious wounds. Although total losses in Iraq have been relatively small compared to most previous conflicts, the individual soldier is risking death or serious injury day after day for a year. The impact on the psyche accumulates, eventually producing what is now called "post-traumatic stress disorders." In other words, they are combat-exhausted to the point of losing effectiveness. The occasional willful killing of civilians in a few cases is probably indicative of such loss of effectiveness. These incidents don't seem to occur during the first half of a unit's deployment in Iraq.

    After the first year, following a few months back home, these same soldiers are sent back for a second year, then a third year, and now, many are facing a fourth deployment! Little wonder more and more soldiers and veterans are psychologically disabled.

    And the damage is not just to enlisted soldiers. Many officers are suffering serious post-traumatic stress disorders but are hesitant to report it – with good reason. An officer who needs psychiatric care and lets it appear on his medical records has most probably ended his career. He will be considered not sufficiently stable to lead troops. Thus officers are strongly inclined to avoid treatment and to hide their problems.

    There are only two ways to fix this problem, both of which the president stubbornly rejects. Instead, his recent "surge" tactic has compelled the secretary of defense to extend Army tours to 15 months! (The Marines have been allowed to retain their six-month deployment policy and, not surprisingly, have fewer cases of post-traumatic stress syndrome.)

    The first solution would be to expand the size of the Army to two or three times its present level, allowing shorter combat tours and much longer breaks between deployments. That cannot be done rapidly enough today, even if military conscription were restored and new recruits made abundant. It would take more than a year to organize and train a dozen new brigade combat teams. The Clinton administration cut the Army end strength by about 40 percent – from about 770,000 to 470,000 during the 1990s. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld looked for ways to make the cuts even deeper. Thus this administration and its predecessor aggressively gave up ground forces and tactical air forces while maintaining large maritime forces that cannot be used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Sadly, the lack of wisdom in that change in force structure is being paid for not by President Bush or President Clinton but by the ordinary soldier and his family. They have no lobby group to seek relief for them.

    The second way to alleviate the problem is to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq as soon as possible and as securely as possible. The electorate understands this. That is why a majority of voters favor withdrawing from Iraq.

    [Part that goes into Solutions for Current Situation:]

    If the Democrats truly want to succeed in forcing President Bush to begin withdrawing from Iraq, the first step is to redefine "supporting the troops" as withdrawing them, citing the mass of accumulating evidence of the psychological as well as the physical damage that the president is forcing them to endure because he did not raise adequate forces. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress could confirm this evidence and lay the blame for "not supporting the troops" where it really belongs – on the president. And they could rightly claim to the public that they are supporting the troops by cutting off the funds that he uses to keep U.S. forces in Iraq.

    The public is ahead of the both branches of government in grasping this reality, but political leaders and opinion makers in the media must give them greater voice.

    Congress clearly and indisputably has two powers over the executive: the power of the purse and the power to impeach. Instead of using either, members of congress are wasting their time discussing feckless measures like a bill that "de-authorizes the war in Iraq." That is toothless unless it is matched by a cut-off of funds.

    The president is strongly motivated to string out the war until he leaves office, in order to avoid taking responsibility for the defeat he has caused and persisted in making greater each year for more than three years.

    To force him to begin a withdrawal before then, the first step should be to rally the public by providing an honest and candid definition of what "supporting the troops" really means and pointing out who is and who is not supporting our troops at war. The next step should be a flat refusal to appropriate money for to be used in Iraq for anything but withdrawal operations with a clear deadline for completion.

    The final step should be to put that president on notice that if ignores this legislative action and tries to extort Congress into providing funds by keeping U.S. forces in peril, impeachment proceeding will proceed in the House of Representatives. Such presidential behavior surely would constitute the "high crime" of squandering the lives of soldiers and Marines for his own personal interest.

        Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute and a professor at Yale University. He was Director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988. From 1981 to 1985, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the Army's senior intelligence officer. From 1977 to 1981, he was Military Assistant to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski.


    To TOP    of PAGE

     Chronicling Iraq Policy - incl. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, Thomas Ricks, George Packer

    [added 9'07]

    [from email: "...Shelf Full of Books Chronicle Iraq Policy, Strategy"]

    A Shelf Full of Books Chronicle Iraq Policy, Strategy

    Listen to this story... Windows Media Player
    Real Player

    George Packer

    The Assassins' Gate author George Packer reviews new books on Iraq. Getty Images

    Morning Edition, October 24, 2006 · A slew of recently released books examine U.S. policy and military strategy behind the Iraq war. Steve Inskeep discusses them with George Packer, author of 2005's highly acclaimed The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq.

    The books are Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor; Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran; The Prince of the Marshes and Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq by Rory Stewart; Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas Ricks; and State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III by Bob Woodward.

    Read Packer's take on these titles:

    'Cobra II, the Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq' by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor

    The central theme of Cobra II is how the civilians in the Pentagon really brought the uniform military under their control in a way that ignored and discouraged expert military advice. It's also the story of military failure -- the failure of the uniformed military to stand up to the civilians and give them their best advice and, if necessary, resign in the face of what some of them thought was an unworkable war plan.

    Donald Rumsfeld so intimidated everyone around him, chewed out four-star generals in public, humiliated his civilians aides, told [Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice that she wasn't in the chain of command. By the time we went to war with Iraq, there was a cowed, compliant defense establishment that, whatever its innermost misgivings, was ready to go [into] battle with him simply because he had broken their will to object or to criticize. In Fiasco, it becomes a more crucial theme after the invasion.

    * Read an Excerpt (Requires Adobe Acrobat)

    'Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq' by Thomas Ricks

    The focus of Fiasco is on the occupation, and there what we see is the total failure of Rumsfeld to come up with a strategy to fight the insurgency, mainly because he simply didn't want to acknowledge that it existed. And, in the absence of a strategy, his generals used tactics that were so counterproductive, like ringing villages in barbed wire and massive sweeps of young Iraqi males that within a few months, if there was not going to be an insurgency, we had pretty much created one.

    * Read an Excerpt

    'State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III' by Bob Woodward

    >From the point of view of Washington, State of Denial confirms what previous books have already suggested. In fact, one thing you can say about all of these books is that there is a coherent narrative in place. And that narrative is that the war plan and the postwar policy and the failures to understand what we were getting into originated because we had an incurious president who did not take an interest in the details. We had a weak national security adviser and we had two powerful poles -- the vice president and the secretary of defense -- who, over and over again, went around what's called the interagency process and got their own ideas made into policy, in some ways without the knowledge of others in the administration, like Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    * Read an Excerpt

    'Imperial Life in the Emerald City' Inside Iraq's Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran;

    Imperial Life in the Emerald City

    Rajiv Chandrasekaran's book on the Green Zone shows how those ideological and political battles that were fought in Washington played out in Baghdad. And it reads sort of as a farce because what one sees is utterly unqualified people -- people either too young, inexperienced or chosen simply because they were cronies or ideological soul mates of someone in the administration -- were put in jobs, for example, to oversee the health system of Iraq and made decisions based more on what they know of the health system of Michigan. So there you see... the confusion and disconnection of Washington having very real and long-term consequences on the ground after the fall of Baghdad.

    * Read an Excerpt

    'The Prince of the Marshes' and Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq by Rory Stewart

    What you realize as you read his book is that all the mistakes the Americans made, all these mistakes in a sense might not have mattered because what Rory Stewart [who was a top British foreign service official in southern Iraq] gets at is something also inherent in the situation, which is an occupying power that's ignorant, that's out of place, that is more and more unwanted, and an Iraqi society that's so damaged by Saddam Hussein and so driven by tribalism and by a very conservative brand of Islam that these two may never meet.

    In a sense, it leaves you with more despair than the scathing accounts from Washington and Baghdad, because it leaves you thinking: Is nation building possible? Is it a good idea to try? Should we really be bringing new ideas, or should we simply try to work with what's already there, namely tribalism and deep religious faith?

    I don't know that we'll ever know whether this could have been a success, partly because so much was rigged from the outset by the follies of the administration that, in a way, we never gave the Rory Stewarts and his Iraqi counterparts a chance to make it succeed.

    * Read an Excerpt

    More with George Packer

    * Nov. 10, 2005
    'Assassins' Gate': Bush and America's Iraq Disaster

    * Oct. 17, 2006
    A Question-and-Answer Session on the Iraq War

    * March 18, 2006
    Reflections on Three Years of War in Iraq

    * Nov. 30, 2005
    Analysis of Bush's Iraq Strategy

    More with Gordon, Trainor

    * March 14, 2006
    Inside the Invasion of Iraq

    More with Thomas Ricks

    * Aug. 24, 2006
    U.S. Strategy and Tactics Fail to Mesh in Iraq

    * Aug. 7, 2006
    'Fiasco': The Turning Point in the Iraq War

    * July 25, 2006
    Book Decries 'Fiasco' in Iraq

    * Aug. 7, 2006
    Thomas Ricks on the Middle East Conflict

    More with Woodward

    * Oct. 2, 2006
    Woodward's Tone Changes in New Bush Chronicle

    * Oct. 4, 2006
    Woodward Elaborates on Bush's 'State of Denial'


    To TOP    of PAGE

    Ex-generals on Global warming

    [added 9'07]

    Ex-generals: Global warming threatens U.S. security
    CNN International (via Gen. Wesley Clark's MySpace message)

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Global warming poses a "serious threat to America's national security" and the U.S. likely will be dragged into fights over water and other shortages, top retired military leaders warn in a new report.

    The report says that in the next 30 to 40 years there will be wars over water, increased hunger instability from worsening disease and rising sea levels and global warming-induced refugees. "The chaos that results can be an incubator of civil strife, genocide and the growth of terrorism," the 35-page report predicts.

    "Climate change exacerbates already unstable situations," former U.S. Army chief of staff Gordon Sullivan told Associated Press Radio. "Everybody needs to start paying attention to what's going on. I don't think this is a particularly hard sell in the Pentagon. ... We're paying attention to what those security implications are."

    Gen. Anthony "Tony" Zinni, President Bush's former Middle East envoy, says in the report: "It's not hard to make the connection between climate change and instability, or climate change and terrorism."

    The report was issued by the Alexandria, Virginia-based, national security think-tank The CNA Corporation and was written by six retired admirals and five retired generals. They warn of a future of rampant disease, water shortages and flooding that will make already dicey areas -- such as the Middle East, Asia and Africa -- even worse.

    "Weakened and failing governments, with an already thin margin for survival, foster the conditions for internal conflicts, extremism and movement toward increased authoritarianism and radical ideologies," the report says. "The U.S. will be drawn more frequently into these situations."

    Joining calls already made by scientists and environmental activists, the retired U.S. military leaders call on the U.S. government to make major cuts in emissions of gases that cause global warming.

    The Bush administration has declined mandatory emission cuts in favor of voluntary methods. Other nations have committed to required reductions that kick in within a few years.

    "We will pay for this one way or another," writes Zinni, former commander of U.S. Central Command. "We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, and we'll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or we will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives. There will be a human toll."


    To TOP    of PAGE

    Marines Cut and Run – Drop Charges Against Vet Who Claimed Iraq Was Illegal

    [added 9'07]

    June 29th, 2007

    Kevin Zeese 301-996-6582
    Liam Madden 703-408-3626

    *Marines Cut and Run – Drop Charges Against Vet Who Claimed Iraq Was Illegal “Marines Cower at a Real Debate on Whether War Crimes are Being Committed in Iraq”*

    Washington, DC: Liam Madden, the Iraq War veteran who claimed the military attack on Iraq was “an illegal war of aggression under Nuremberg principles” and that “war crimes were being committed in Iraq,” received word today that the Marines have dropped the charges against him rather than provide a forum for these issues to be debated. The Marines had claimed his comments were “disloyal” and threatened to reduce his discharge from honorable to less than honorable.

    “I planned to argue that my comments were accurate and therefore not disloyal. In fact, it is the duty of veterans and active duty members of the military to stand up and tell their leaders when war crimes are being committed,” said Madden. “Now that the military has chickened out and dropped these charges I hope others will join me in speaking out against this illegal war.”

    The Marines offered to drop the charges against Madden if he agreed to not where his uniform at demonstrations. Liam responded that he would agree to that only if the Marines agreed that his comments about the war being illegal were not disloyal because they were accurate. His response to the Marines is below.

    “The dropping of charges in my case should be a signal to all vets that they can speak out. The Marine Corps fear of holding a disciplinary hearing is an admission that my comments were accurate. If the Marines had moved forward to discipline me I would have brought forward leading legal scholars, military law experts and historians to demonstrate conclusively that the United States is now engaged in an illegal war of aggression under international law and therefore all acts being taken are war crimes,” said Madden.

    Madden is currently on tour with fellow vets going to military bases to reach out to active duty troops and urge them to get involved in efforts to end the war. “The reception we are receiving is remarkable. There is no doubt that more and more troops are coming to the conclusion that this war is wrong and are ready to speak out. Indeed, under international law all acts taken in an illegal war of aggression are considered war crimes,” noted Madden.

    Madden can be reached while he is on the road for interviews. His number is 703-408-3626.

    *# # #*

    Liam Madden's response to the Marine Corps

    June 25, 2007

    Lt Col Blessing,

    This letter is in response to the offer the Marine Corps Mobilization Command relayed to me via my military appointed attorney. I am prepared to accept the settlement proposed in which the Marine Corps agrees not to continue with the discharge proceeding regarding my alleged disloyal statements and protest activity. I understand that this is contingent on my oral promise not to engage in further political protest while wearing articles of my Marine uniform.

    I will make such an oral agreement and stand by my good word if the Marine Corps is prepared to meet the following condition.

    I will orally agree to not wear my military uniforms while engaged in any political protest, hell, I'll have it carved into stone if you'd like, upon receiving a signed, written statement on official USMC letterhead acknowledging that my statements in question were neither disloyal nor inaccurate. If the Marine Corps issues this statement, apologizing for erroneously (or possibly vindictively) accusing me of disloyalty to my country, I will not share it with another living soul.

    I believe that the statements I make and the protest I engage in is necessary. If it's not true that the war in Iraq is illegal, then I believe it would be indeed disloyal to declare such a position. However, the fact of the matter is that the United States is violating the sovereignty of another nation without the approval of the UN Security Council or a legitimate claim to self defense. Sir, is honesty disloyalty?

    Additionally, if it isn't true, I would hope the US Government would prove to the skeptical world that the war is legal instead, of trying to stifle political opposition. I am sure we can agree that protesting against an illegal war, premised on lies and baseless assertions cannot be considered disloyal.

    If the Marine Corps decides to not accept this condition, then I cannot agree to stop wearing my uniform at protests and we must continue to exhaust my legal alternatives. Which at present, include my right to an administrative board and may ultimately result in a case in federal appeals court.

    I assure you, as a fellow patriot, my actions are taken in the best interest of the American people and the people of the world. Therefore, if the Marines decide to stop pursuing this case, I will accept that measure as your implied tolerance and support of protesting against war crimes while wearing military uniforms.

    Thank you for considering my counter offer and I hope we can come to agreement on the matter. I understand men in your position have their careers to think about, as I'm positive many German Colonels did in 1939.

    Semper Fidelis, Liam Madden


    To TOP    of PAGE

    Military shows little effort to find deserters

    [added 9'07]
    Although numbers rising, only 5 percent of lawbreakers reprimanded

    The Associated Press
    Updated: 5:00 p.m. PT June 28, 2007

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. - There is no crack team of bounty hunters, no elite military unit whose job is to track them down and bring them in.
    Despite a rise in desertions from the Army as the Iraq war drags on into a fifth year, the U.S. military does almost nothing to find those who flee and rarely prosecutes those it gets its hands on.

    An Associated Press examination of Pentagon figures shows that 174 troops were court-martialed by the Army last year for desertion — a figure that amounts to just 5 percent of the 3,301 soldiers who deserted in fiscal year 2006. The figures are about 1 percent or less for the Navy and the Marines, according to data obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act.

    Some deserters are simply allowed to return to their units, while the majority are discharged in non-criminal proceedings on less-than-honorable terms.
    Pentagon officials say that while the all-volunteer military is stretched thin by the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of deserters represents an extremely small percentage of the armed forces, and it would be a poor use of time to go after them, particularly when there is a war on.
    As a result, the Pentagon does little more than enter deserters' names into an FBI national criminal database.

    'Looking over his shoulder'

    In most cases, as long as a deserter stays out of trouble — as long as, say, police don't pull him over for speeding and run his name through the computer — he is in little danger of getting caught.

    “A deserter either returns voluntarily or he spends the rest of his life looking over his shoulder wondering when he'll be discovered,” said Maj. Anne Edgecombe, an Army spokeswoman.
    She added: “Rather than dedicate seasoned noncommissioned officers to the task of tracking down a deserter, commanders choose to spend time and resources to ensure their soldiers are properly trained and prepared to perform the missions they will be tasked with in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.”
    Sgt. Ricky Clousing of the Army's storied 82nd Airborne Division found that out after he slipped away from Fort Bragg in the middle of the night in 2005 rather than return to Iraq.

    Having left a note in his barracks announcing his intentions, he was sure police would be waiting for him with handcuffs by the time he reached his home in Washington state. But no one was there.
    A year later, when he tried to turn himself in near Seattle to make an anti-war statement, he was not hustled off to the stockade in leg irons. He was given a bus ticket and told to report to Fort Bragg on his own.

    “I thought I would be more of a priority,” said Clousing, a 24-year-old paratrooper and military intelligence interrogator with combat experience.
    Clousing ultimately pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of being absent without leave. He was given a bad-conduct discharge and sentenced to three months in prison.

    Rise in desertions

    The Army is by far the biggest branch of the military, with a half-million active-duty members, and accounts for the vast majority of U.S. troops in Iraq. The number of Army deserters plummeted after the 2001 terrorist attacks and the start of the Iraq war in 2003, perhaps in a burst of patriotism, and bottomed out in fiscal year 2004.

    But desertions crept back up as the fighting dragged on and the death toll climbed. Since fiscal year 2004, desertions are up by more than a third.
    A total of 4,399 soldiers deserted the Army in fiscal year 2001; 3,971 in 2002; 2,610 in 2003; 2,450 in 2004; 2,659 in 2005; and 3,301 in 2006.

    Desertions from the Navy have declined steadily since 2001, and are down 36 percent over the past three calendar years, falling to 1,296 in 2006. Desertions from the Marines and the Air Force bounced up and down after 2001 and stood at 834 and 42, respectively, in fiscal year 2006.

    Exactly how many deserters are caught is unclear, largely because each branch of the military keeps statistics in different ways and does not give breakdowns of how many people who deserted in a given year are ultimately caught.

    Many deserters decide to turn themselves in and face the consequences. Others are eventually caught, but usually after they expose themselves in some way — they get arrested for a civilian offense, or apply for a passport or a job that requires a background check, military officials say.

    Under the military criminal code, the maximum penalty for desertion during a declared war is death. But such a sentence has been carried out just once since the Civil War, when Pvt. Eddie Slovik went before a firing squad during World War II. The next-highest punishment is five years in prison.

    'Equivalent of a firing'

    The number of Army soldiers prosecuted for desertion tripled in the year after Sept. 11. But it has essentially held steady since 2002. The Navy prosecuted 17 deserters in 2006, the Marine Corps just four. There were 10 prosecutions for desertion in the Air Force during fiscal year 2006.

    The decision of whether to prosecute is up to the soldier's unit commander.
    Deserters who are discharged on less-than-honorable terms through an administrative, or non-criminal, proceeding lose the medical and educational benefits and other privileges available to veterans.

    “I sort of look at the administrative discharge process as the equivalent of a firing ... leaving with a bad reference,” said David Miner, a former Army attorney now in private practice, with Clousing among his clients.

    The number of Army deserters in 2006 amounted to less than 1 percent of the active-duty force. That compares with 3.4 percent at the height of the Vietnam War in 1971.
    “We had a larger problem in Vietnam because we had the draft,” said Scott Silliman, a law professor and director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University, who added he knows of no units that chased down deserters back then, either. “Here the individual is not going to go into the military unless they had some inclination to do so in the first place.”

    'Dropped from the rolls'

    In the Army, officials said deserters are typically junior enlisted soldiers in their teens or early 20s, with less than three years of service. Most often, they cite financial or personal problems as a reason for leaving, officials say.
    Army and Marine officials say there is no evidence that repeated deployments to Iraq are leading to more desertions. The Army's Edgecombe said that more than 60 percent of deserters over the past 18 months have had less than a year of service, so they haven't been deployed at all.

    In recent years, the military has lowered its standards to fill its ranks, letting in more recruits with criminal records or low aptitude scores. But officials said that does not appear to be a factor in the rising desertion rate either.
    In fact, Edgecombe said, recruits who got into trouble before they enlisted tend to shape up under the influence of the military's code of honor and discipline.
    Those who leave without permission are considered AWOL for 30 days, after which they are “dropped from the rolls” and branded deserters.

    That is when the paychecks are supposed to stop, but a congressional audit found that more than 7,500 deserters and soldiers who were absent from duty improperly received $6.6 million in pay between October 2000 and February 2002.
    Once a soldier is dropped from the rolls, employees at a small Army office at Fort Knox in Kentucky enter the deserter's information into the FBI database.

    'Years and years'

    When someone is arrested for a civilian offense and the computer flags him as a deserter, local authorities typically hold him and contact the military, which might send someone to bring him in, or ask him to come in on his own.
    The military does actively chase down deserters who committed crimes before abandoning their posts. Military officials do not have jurisdiction off-base to arrest a deserter, and so the federal Marshals Service works with the military in such cases. Spokeswoman Nikki Credic said federal marshals arrested 68 deserters from all services in fiscal year 2006.

    “People have been hiding for years and years. If you want to hide out, you can,” said Maj. Jay Delarosa, a Marine Corps spokesman. But he added that in the information age, it is less likely that a deserter can hide forever.
    “There's other ways people reveal themselves besides being caught with a broken tail light,” Delarosa said.


    To TOP    of PAGE

    from a secret but intense rebellion of a small coterie of Bush administration lawyers, Jack Goldsmith argues that a 'Global Convergence On Terror' is emerging

    [added 9'07]

    ("...Goldsmith is now a Harvard Law School professor, but in 2003-2004 he was head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel - a kind of mini Supreme Court...")

    COMMENTARY by Mark Jensen:
    Jack Goldsmith argues that a 'global convergence on terror' is emerging (FT) -- In a comment published Tuesday in the *Financial Times* (UK), Jack Goldsmith observed that "Europeans are acknowledging possible merits in U.S. counter-terrorism positions," even as "the Bush administration has acknowledged the inadequacy of its early post-September 11, 2001, position that terrorist detainees had few enforceable legal rights."[1] -- To Goldsmith, this indicates a "global convergence on terror." -- "How far this convergence goes will depend on many unknowns," Goldsmith argued, "including the location and scope of the next terror attack. But it is wrong to think of the gap as unbridgeable. Quietly, almost unnoticed, the blueprint for the bridge is coming into focus. For the sake of transatlantic collective security, our politicians should recognize this fact and succor it. Exaggerating these differences for political reasons will only undermine the joint fight." -- Goldsmith is now a Harvard Law School professor, but in 2003-2004 he was head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, "a kind of mini Supreme Court" whose "carefully worded opinions are regarded as binding precedent." -- In its Feb. 6, 2006, issue, almost a year and a half before former Assistant Attorney General James Comey's now famous May 2007 testimony before a Senate Committee, *Newsweek* reported that in 2003-2004 Goldsmith had been "the central figure in a secret but intense rebellion of a small coterie of Bush administration lawyers. Their insurrection, described to NEWSWEEK by current and former administration officials who did not wish to be identified discussing confidential deliberations, is one of the most significant and intriguing untold stories of the war on terror."[2] --According to this account, Jack Goldsmith was the hero who dared to stand up to the infamous éminence grise of the Office of the Vice President, David S. Addington. -- Goldsmith's name will become much better known before the scandals of the Bush administration are fully sorted out.


    Comment & analysis


    By Jack Goldsmith

    Financial Times (UK)
    July 31, 2007

    A senior government official, discussing the possibility of using targeted killings, combatant detentions, and aggressive computer surveillance to fight terrorism, recently said: "The old categories no longer apply. The fight against international terrorism cannot be mastered by the classic methods of the police . . . We have to clarify whether our constitutional state is sufficient for confronting the new threats."

    Bold, controversial stuff -- the sort of comments that human rights groups have come to expect from Dick Cheney, the U.S. vice president, and Alberto Gonzales, attorney general. Except that the speaker was neither man. He was not even American. He was the German interior minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, speaking recently to *Der Spiegel*.

    Mr. Schäuble's ideas have a long way to go before being adopted. But the very fact that a European leader can float them is remarkable. For six years, Europeans have criticized America's "military" approach to the detention and trial of terrorists as inconsistent with Western rule-of-law traditions and international law, and Americans have derided Europe's stuck-in-the-past "law enforcement" approach as inadequate to thwart Islamist terrorism. Mr. Schäuble's comments are one of a growing string of implicit acknowledgments by both sides about the possible virtues in the other's positions.

    European governments, for example, have begun to recognize that the traditional criminal process of trial and punishment will not suffice for dealing with Islamist terrorists. Mr. Schäuble raised the possibility of treating them "as combatants" and interning them. Last week Gordon Brown's Labor government proposed doubling the time from 28 to 56 days for detaining suspected terrorists without charge, a period that had been doubled from 14 days just last year. Spain and France already permit up to four years of pre-trial detention for terror suspects.

    The shift reflects the recognition that terrorist plots take more time to investigate. The evidence is often thin or uncertain, not necessarily because there is no plot, but because the plot must be thwarted early before the evidence fully develops for fear of letting it come too close to fruition. Terror investigations also typically involve evidence trails in other countries that require the co-operation of other governments. Beyond this, sometimes the government simply lacks enough evidence to convict a terrorist even though clear evidence shows that the terrorist is a danger to society. The rationale for detention -- prevention of possible future harm to society -- is the same as traditional non-criminal detentions for the mentally incompetent and people with infectious diseases.

    Detentions are not the only area where Europeans are acknowledging possible merits in U.S. counter-terrorism positions. They also believe more and more that the Geneva conventions system designed for interstate warfare between professional state militaries is inadequate for 21st century warfare against lethal non-state military forces that structure their operations to flout the laws of war. This year the U.K.'s foreign affairs committee of the House of Commons urged the government to recognize that the Geneva conventions "lack clarity and are out of date," and to "update the conventions in a way that deals more satisfactorily with asymmetric warfare, with international terrorism, with the status of irregular combatants, and with the treatment of detainees".

    The special rapporteur on Guantánamo for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe made a similar recommendation last year.

    The U.S. is moving in the other direction. For a while the Bush administration has acknowledged the inadequacy of its early post-September 11, 2001, position that terrorist detainees had few enforceable legal rights. While the U.S. still maintains the power to detain enemy combatants under a war powers rubric, it has ramped up the procedures for determining who is an enemy combatant and made these determinations subject to judicial review by civilian courts. And there is a growing consensus across party lines for even more elaborate procedures before an alleged terrorist can be detained without trial.

    The U.S. has also established a separate process for determining when detainees are no longer dangerous and can thus be let go -- a process that has resulted in the release or transfer of hundreds of detainees from Guantánamo. And after the Supreme Court invalidated the Bush administration's initial effort at military commissions, the U.S. Congress created one that provides nearly all traditional civilian court protections, including judicial review in the Supreme Court. These detention and trial institutions provide alleged terrorists with rights far beyond anything contemplated by the Geneva conventions.

    These developments reflect a recognition on both sides of the Atlantic that the pre-9/11 trade-off between liberty and security must be adjusted to reflect the novel dangers posed by terrorism. They also reflect the belief that this adjustment must be embedded in durable institutions that uphold Western conceptions of justice. How far this convergence goes will depend on many unknowns, including the location and scope of the next terror attack. But it is wrong to think of the gap as unbridgeable. Quietly, almost unnoticed, the blueprint for the bridge is coming into focus. For the sake of transatlantic collective security, our politicians should recognize this fact and succor it. Exaggerating these differences for political reasons will only undermine the joint fight.

    --The writer teaches law at Harvard University and is a member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law.


    A *Newsweek* investigation

    By Daniel Klaidman, Stuart Taylor Jr. and Evan Thomas

    ** They were loyal conservatives, and Bush appointees. They fought a quiet battle to rein in the president's power in the war on terror. And they paid a price for it. **

    February 6, 2006

    James Comey, a lanky, 6-foot-8 former prosecutor who looks a little like Jimmy Stewart, resigned as deputy attorney general in the summer of 2005. The press and public hardly noticed. Comey's farewell speech, delivered in the Great Hall of the Justice Department, contained all the predictable, if heartfelt, appreciations. But mixed in among the platitudes was an unusual passage. Comey thanked "people who came to my office, or my home, or called my cell phone late at night, to quietly tell me when I was about to make a mistake; they were the people committed to getting it right -- and to doing the right thing -- whatever the price. These people," said Comey, "know who they are. Some of them did pay a price for their commitment to right, but they wouldn't have it any other way."

    One of those people -- a former assistant attorney general named Jack Goldsmith -- was absent from the festivities and did not, for many months, hear Comey's grateful praise. In the summer of 2004, Goldsmith, 43, had left his post in George W. Bush's Washington to become a professor at Harvard Law School. Stocky, rumpled, genial, though possessing an enormous intellect, Goldsmith is known for his lack of pretense; he rarely talks about his time in government. In liberal Cambridge, Mass., he was at first snubbed in the community and mocked as an atrocity-abetting war criminal by his more knee-jerk colleagues. ICY WELCOME FOR NEW LAW PROF, headlined the *Harvard Crimson*.

    They had no idea. Goldsmith was actually the opposite of what his detractors imagined. For nine months, from October 2003 to June 2004, he had been the central figure in a secret but intense rebellion of a small coterie of Bush administration lawyers. Their insurrection, described to NEWSWEEK by current and former administration officials who did not wish to be identified discussing confidential deliberations, is one of the most significant and intriguing untold stories of the war on terror.

    These Justice Department lawyers, backed by their intrepid boss Comey, had stood up to the hard-liners, centered in the office of the vice president, who wanted to give the president virtually unlimited powers in the war on terror. Demanding that the White House stop using what they saw as farfetched rationales for riding rough-shod over the law and the Constitution, Goldsmith and the others fought to bring government spying and interrogation methods within the law. They did so at their peril; ostracized, some were denied promotions, while others left for more comfortable climes in private law firms and academia. Some went so far as to line up private lawyers in 2004, anticipating that the president's eavesdropping program would draw scrutiny from Congress, if not prosecutors. These government attorneys did not always succeed, but their efforts went a long way toward vindicating the principle of a nation of laws and not men.

    The rebels were not whistle-blowers in the traditional sense. They did not want -- indeed avoided -- publicity. (Goldsmith confirmed public facts about himself but otherwise declined to comment. Comey also declined to comment.) They were not downtrodden career civil servants. Rather, they were conservative political appointees who had been friends and close colleagues of some of the true believers they were fighting against. They did not see the struggle in terms of black and white but in shades of gray -- as painfully close calls with unavoidable pitfalls. They worried deeply about whether their principles might put Americans at home and abroad at risk. Their story has been obscured behind legalisms and the veil of secrecy over the White House. But it is a quietly dramatic profile in courage. (For its part the White House denies any internal strife. "The proposition of internal division in our fight against terrorism isn't based in fact," says Lea Anne McBride, a spokeswoman for Vice President Dick Cheney. "This administration is united in its commitment to protect Americans, defeat terrorism, and grow democracy.")

    The chief opponent of the rebels, though by no means the only one, was an equally obscure, but immensely powerful, lawyer-bureaucrat. Intense, workaholic (even by insane White House standards), David Addington, formerly counsel, now chief of staff to the vice president, is a righteous, ascetic public servant. According to those who know him, he does not care about fame, riches, or the trappings of power. He takes the Metro to work, rather than use his White House parking pass, and refuses to even have his picture taken by the press. His habitual lunch is a bowl of gazpacho, eaten in the White House Mess. He is hardly anonymous inside the government, however. Presidential appointees quail before his volcanic temper, backed by assiduous preparation and acid sarcasm.

    Addington, 49, has worked as an adviser to Dick Cheney off and on since Cheney was a member and Addington a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee in the mid-'80s. When Cheney became secretary of Defense in the Bush 41 administration, Addington served at the Pentagon as general counsel. When Cheney became vice president to Bush 43, he brought Addington into the White House as his lawyer. Counsel to the vice president is, in most administrations, worth less than the proverbial bucket of warm spit, but under Prime Minister Cheney, it became a vital power center, especially after 9/11.

    Like his boss, Addington has long believed that the executive branch was pitifully weakened by the backlash from Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. Fearful of investigative reporters and congressional subpoenas, soldiers and spies had become timid -- "risk averse" in bureaucratic jargon. To Addington and Cheney, the 9/11 attacks -- and the threat of more and worse to come -- were perfect justification for unleashing the CIA and other long-blunted weapons in the national-security arsenal. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who disdains lawyers, was ready to go. So, too, was CIA Director George Tenet -- but only if his spooks had legal cover, so they wouldn't be left holding the bag if things went wrong.

    Addington and a small band of like-minded lawyers set about providing that cover -- a legal argument that the power of the president in time of war was virtually untrammeled. One of Addington's first jobs had been to draft a presidential order establishing military commissions to try unlawful combatants -- terrorists caught on the global battlefield. The normal "interagency process" -- getting agreement from lawyers at Defense, State, the intelligence agencies and so forth -- proved glacial, as usual. So Addington, working with fellow conservative Deputy White House Counsel Timothy Flanigan, came up with a solution: cut virtually everyone else out. Addington is a purist, not a cynic; he does not believe he is in any way ignoring or twisting the law. It is also important to note that Addington was not sailing off on some personal crusade; he had the full backing of the president and vice president, who shared his views. But, steeped in bureaucratic experience and clear in his purpose, Addington was a ferocious infighter for his cause. (Addington declined to comment. But McBride, the vice president's spokeswoman, said, "David Addington has a long, distinguished record of public service. He's committed to the president's agenda.")

    Inexperienced in national-security law, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales was steered by more-expert lawyers like Addington and Flanigan. Others, like John Bellinger, the National Security Council's top lawyer, were simply not told what was going on. Addington and the hard-liners had particular disregard for Bellinger, who was considered a softie -- mocked by Addington because he had lunch once a month or so with a pillar of the liberal-leaning legal establishment, the late Lloyd Cutler. When Addington and Flanigan produced a document -- signed by Bush -- that gave the president near-total authority over the prosecution of suspected terrorists, Bellinger burst into Gonzales's office, clearly upset, according to a source familiar with the episode. But it was too late.

    [More on this episode was recently revealed by the *Washington Post* in a series of articles on Vice President Dick Cheney, the first of which ( dealt with the maneuvering to get the president to approve an order authorizing military commissions without other high officials being consulted. --Mark Jensen]

    Addington was just getting started. Minimizing dissent by going behind the backs of bureaucratic rivals was how he played the game. A potentially formidable obstacle, however, was the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. The OLC is the most important government office you've never heard of. Among its bosses -- before they went on the Supreme Court -- were William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia. Within the executive branch, including the Pentagon and CIA, the OLC acts as a kind of mini Supreme Court. Its carefully worded opinions are regarded as binding precedent -- final say on what the president and all his agencies can and cannot legally do.

    Addington found an ally in an OLC lawyer whose name -- John Yoo -- would later become synonymous with the notion that power is for the president to use as he sees fit in a time of war. Shortly after 9/11, Yoo wrote, in a formal OLC opinion, that Congress may not "place any limits on the President's determinations as to any terrorist threat, the amount of military force to be used in response, or the method, timing, and nature of the response."

    The brainy, pleasant, and supremely self-confident Yoo became Addington's main man at Justice, a prolific author of legal opinions granting the president maximum power during wartime. In the winter of 2002, the CIA began catching top Qaeda terrorists -- so-called High Value Targets --like Abu Zubaydah. These hard-case jihadists proved resistant to normal methods of interrogation. In the fevered atmosphere of the time, the Bush administration feared a "second wave" attack from Qaeda sleeper cells still inside the United States. The CIA wanted legal permission to use "coercive methods."

    An August 2002 OLC memo, signed by the then head of the OLC -- Jay Bybee -- but drafted by Yoo, gave the agency what it needed. The controversial document, which became famous as the "torture memo" when it leaked two years later, defined torture so narrowly that, short of maiming or killing a prisoner, interrogators had a free hand. What's more, the memo claimed license for the president to order methods that would be torture by anyone's definition -- and to do it wholesale, and not just in specific cases.
    A very similar Yoo memo in March 2003 was even more expansive, authorizing military interrogators questioning terror suspects to ignore many criminal statutes -- as well as the strict interrogation rules traditionally used by the military. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld put some limits on interrogation techniques, and they were intended to be used only on true terror suspects. Perhaps inevitably, however, "coercive interrogation methods" spread from Guantanamo Bay, which housed terror suspects, into prisons like Abu Ghraib, where detainees could be almost anyone. (Poor leadership in the chain of command and on the ground was partly to blame, as well as loose or fuzzy legal rules.) The result: those grotesque images of Iraqis being humiliated by poorly trained and sadistic American prison guards, not to mention prisoners who have been brutalized and in some cases killed by interrogators in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
    [This account, which is far from adequate and ignores the historical background described in Alfred W. McCoy's *A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror* (Metropolitan Books, 2006), which describes the CIA's secret fifty-year effort to develop new forms of torture, is a fine example of what Noam Chomsky calls the "Doctrine of Good Intentions," according to which "[o]ccasionally U.S. policy is marred by the proverbial 'bad apples' and 'tragic mistakes,' but basically the record of our goodness continues unimpeded" (*Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World* (Metropolitan Books, 2005), p. 115). --Mark Jensen]

    In the summer of 2003, Yoo, who stands by his body of work, left the Justice Department and returned to teaching law. His departure came in the midst of a critical power struggle. Addington and Gonzales had both wanted to make Yoo head of the OLC when Bybee went off to take a federal judgeship in March 2003, but Attorney General John Ashcroft balked. Ashcroft's reasons were apparently bureaucratic. (He declined to speak for this story.) According to colleagues, he resented Yoo's going behind his back to give the White House a private pipeline into the OLC. Yoo denied circumventing Ashcroft. "OLC kept the attorney general or his staff fully informed of all of its work in the war on terrorism," he said.

    Jack Goldsmith, a law professor who was working in the general counsel's office at the Pentagon, was the eventual compromise choice to head the OLC. Goldsmith seemed like a natural fit. He was brilliant, a graduate of Oxford and Yale Law School, and he was conservative. Like Yoo, he was tagged a "New Sovereigntist" for his scholarly argument that international laws including prohibitions on human-rights abuses should not be treated as binding law by the U.S. courts.

    But somehow, in the vetting of Goldsmith, one of his important views was overlooked. Goldsmith is no executive-power absolutist. What's more, his friends say, he did not intend to be a patsy for Addington and the hard-liners around Cheney. Goldsmith was not the first administration lawyer to push back against Addington & Co. At the CIA, general counsel Scott Muller had caused a stir by ruling that CIA agents could not join with the military in the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners. But Goldsmith became a rallying point for Justice Department lawyers who had legal qualms about the administration's stance.

    Goldsmith soon served notice of his independence. Shortly after taking over the OLC in October 2003, he took the position that the so-called Fourth Geneva Convention -- which bars the use of physical or moral coercion on prisoners held in a militarily occupied country -- applied to all Iraqis, even if they were suspected of belonging to Al Qaeda.

    Addington soon suffered pangs of buyer's remorse over Goldsmith. There was no way to simply ignore the new head of the OLC. Over time, Addington's heartburn grew much worse. In December, Goldsmith informed the Defense Department that Yoo's March 2003 torture memo was "under review" and could no longer be relied upon. It is almost unheard-of for an administration to overturn its own OLC opinions. Addington was beside himself. Later, in frequent face-to-face confrontations, he attacked Goldsmith for changing the rules in the middle of the game and putting brave men at risk, according to three former government officials, who declined to speak on the record given the sensitivity of the subject.

    Addington's problems with Goldsmith were just beginning. In the jittery aftermath of 9/11, the Bush administration had pushed the top-secret National Security Agency to do a better and more expansive job of electronically eavesdropping on Al Qaeda's global communications. Under existing law -- the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, adopted in 1978 as a post-Watergate reform -- the NSA needed (in the opinion of most legal experts) to get a warrant to eavesdrop on communications coming into or going out of the United States. Reasoning that there was no time to obtain warrants from a secret court set up under FISA (a sometimes cumbersome process), the Bush administration justified going around the law by invoking a post-9/11 congressional resolution authorizing use of force against global terror. The eavesdropping program was very closely held, with cryptic briefings for only a few congressional leaders. Once again, Addington and his allies made sure that possible dissenters were cut out of the loop.

    There was one catch: the secret program had to be reapproved by the attorney general every 45 days. It was Goldsmith's job to advise the A.G. on the legality of the program. In March 2004, John Ashcroft was in the hospital with a serious pancreatic condition. At Justice, Comey, Ashcroft's No. 2, was acting as attorney general. The grandson of an Irish cop and a former U.S. attorney from Manhattan, Comey, 45, is a straight arrow. (It was Comey who appointed his friend -- the equally straitlaced and dogged Patrick Fitzgerald -- to be the special prosecutor in the Valerie Plame leak-investigation case.) Goldsmith raised with Comey serious questions about the secret eavesdropping program, according to two sources familiar with the episode. He was joined by a former OLC lawyer, Patrick Philbin, who had become national-security aide to the deputy attorney general. Comey backed them up. The White House was told: no reauthorization.

    The angry reaction bubbled up all the way to the Oval Office. President Bush, with his penchant for put-down nicknames, had begun referring to Comey as "Cuomey" or "Cuomo," apparently after former New York governor Mario Cuomo, who was notorious for his Hamlet-like indecision over whether to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1980s. A high-level delegation -- White House Counsel Gonzales and chief of staff Andy Card --visited Ashcroft in the hospital to appeal Comey's refusal. In pain and on medication, Ashcroft stood by his No. 2.

    A compromise was finally worked out. The NSA was not compelled to go to the secret FISA court to get warrants, but Justice imposed tougher legal standards before permitting eavesdropping on communications into the United States. It was a victory for the Justice lawyers, and it drove Addington to new levels of vexation with Goldsmith.

    Addington is a hard man to cross. Flanigan, his former White House colleague, described his M.O.: "David could go from zero to 150 very quickly. I'm not sure how much is temper and how much is for effect. At a meeting with government bureaucrats he might start out very calm. Then he would start with the sarcasm. He could say, 'We could do that, but that would give away all of the president's power.' All of a sudden here comes David Addington out of his chair. I'd think to myself we're not just dancing a minuet, there's a little slam dancing going on here." But Addington "usually had the facts, the law, and the precedents on his side," says Flanigan. He had another huge advantage. He never needed to invoke Cheney's name, but everyone knew that he spoke for the vice president.

    Addington was particularly biting with Goldsmith. During a long struggle over the legality of the August 2002 torture memo, Addington confronted Goldsmith, according to two sources who had heard accounts of the conversation: "Now that you've withdrawn legal opinions that the president of the United States has been relying on, I need you to go through all of OLC's opinions [relating to the war on terror] and let me know which ones you still stand by," Addington said.

    Addington was taking a clever dig at Goldsmith -- in effect, accusing him of undermining the entire edifice of OLC opinions. But he was not making a rhetorical point. Addington began keeping track of opinions in which he believed Goldsmith was getting wobbly -- carrying a list inside his suit pocket.

    Goldsmith was not unmoved by Addington's arguments, say his friends and colleagues. He told colleagues he openly worried that he might be putting soldiers and CIA officers in legal jeopardy. He did not want to weaken America's defenses against another terrorist attack. But he also wanted to uphold the law. Goldsmith, known for putting in long hours, went to new extremes as he reviewed the OLC opinions. Colleagues received e-mails from him at all hours of the night. His family -- his wife, 3-year-old son and newborn baby boy -- saw him less and less often. Sometimes he would take his older boy down to the Justice Department's Command Center on Saturdays, just to be near him.

    By June 2004, the crisis came to a head when the torture memo leaked to the *Washington Post*. Goldsmith was worn out but still resolute. He told Ashcroft that he was formally withdrawing the August 2002 torture memo. With some prodding from Comey, Ashcroft again backed his DOJ lawyers -- though he was not happy to engage in another battle with the White House. Comey, with Goldsmith and Philbin at his side, held a not-for-attribution background briefing to announce that the Justice Department was disavowing the August 2002 torture memo. At the same time, White House officials held their own press conference, in part to counter what they saw as Comey's grandstanding. A fierce behind-the-scenes bureaucratic fight dragged on until December, when the OLC issued a new memo that was hardly to the taste of human-rights activists but contained a much more defensible (and broader) definition of torture and was far less expansive about the power of the president to authorize coercive interrogation methods. The author of the revised memo, senior Justice Department lawyer Daniel Levin, fought pitched battles with the White House over its timing and contents; yet again, Comey's intervention was crucial in helping Levin and his allies carry the day.

    By then, Goldsmith was gone from Justice. He and his wife (who is a poet) and two children had moved to Cambridge, where Goldsmith had taken a job on the Harvard Law faculty. Other dissenting lawyers had also moved on. Philbin, who had been the in-house favorite to become deputy solicitor general, saw his chances of securing any administration job derailed when Addington, who had come to see him as a turncoat on national-security issues, moved to block him from promotion, with Cheney's blessing; Philbin, who declined to comment, was planning a move into the private sector. Levin, whose battles with the White House took their toll on his political future as well, left for private practice. (Levin declined to comment.) Comey was working for a defense contractor.

    But the national security/civil liberties pendulum was swinging. Bellinger, who had become legal adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, began pushing, along with lawyers in the Pentagon, to roll back unduly harsh interrogation and detention policies. After the electronic eavesdropping program leaked in the *New York Times* in December 2005, Sen. Arlen Specter announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee would hold hearings that will start next week. The federal courts have increasingly begun resisting absolutist assertions of executive authority in the war on terror. After Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, pleaded not guilty to perjury charges in the Plame leak case, Addington took Libby's place. He is still a force to be reckoned with in the councils of power. And he still has the ear of the president and vice president; last week Bush was out vigorously defending warrantless eavesdropping. But, thanks to a few quietly determined lawyers, a healthy debate has at last begun.


    To TOP    of PAGE

    "How do we leave Iraq?" Gen. Wesley Clark, Ret.

    [added 9'07]

    How do we leave Iraq?
    by Wes Clark
    Wed Aug 08, 2007 at 07:52:31 AM PDT

    It was great to meet many of you at YearlyKos this past weekend. Many thanks to Gina, Nolan, and all the volunteers for putting together a great conference.

    I wanted to continue the discussion we began after my remarks Friday morning. (You can watch highlights here or the entire speech here [].) As I said on Friday, we need to reshape the international institutions that provide the framework for the global economy and addressing the problems of mankind that are too big for any one nation to handle -- poverty, health, disease, global warming, the prevention of war, the protection of human rights. We need to rebuild American so we can compete more effectively in this global economy - healthcare, education, infrastructure, the environment, new technology, a better business environment, new relations with labor.

    We can't do these things until we find a way out of Iraq.

    * Wes Clark's diary :: ::

    But we have to get out the right way, because unlike Vietnam, when we leave Iraq, we'll still be left with significant interests in the region. We'll still have concerns about Iranian nuclear potential, the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, our friends in the Arab Gulf, and yes, the security of the world's principal supply of oil. These interests won't go away simply by pulling U.S. troops out.

    Over the next few weeks, there will much discussion over the September report on Iraq, and General Dave Petraeus will be at the center of the debate. I admire Dave Petraeus. He's doing his best to make the surge work. That's his duty, and I think you can see by the results that where you put American troops, they do their duty, and of course, they make a difference. Unfortunately, it's transitory, and at what cost?

    We need to stop arguing over the troops or their tactics but raise the debate to the administration's strategies and policies in this region. Here's why. We can't succeed in Iraq with more troops, no matter how good they are, because we can't succeed in this war just by killing people or intimidating the opposition.

    Dave Petraeus would be the first one to tell you that. The military is part of the solution. It's not the answer. The answer is the politics. We have to work it at the diplomatic level and that means we've got to stop isolating people we disagree with and start engaging those people.

    The administration doesn't want to talk about this. They want to talk about troops. They want to say they support our troops, and if we question the numbers of troops or their effectiveness, they want to say we don't support our troops. That we're not patriotic, and if we're not patriotic, then we don't have a voice.

    When we argue about troops, what we're doing is we're playing on George Bush's home court. We're not going to change the policy by arguing about the troop strength. We've done it. We're on record. We want the troops home, but we must raise the dialogue. Take it away from George Bush's safe ground of troops and people in uniform and "How dare you question these Generals and these people in uniform that are so patriotic," and say, "No, we're not questioning the Generals. Mr. President, we are questioning you."

    The only person who can make a difference is the person who controls the overall strategy in the region. We must make the debate about George Bush and his failure of leadership.

    I need your help. I need you to hammer on the theme of the strategy and the policies. Stop isolating people we disagree with. Start engaging. We need real American leadership instead of simply leading by sending men and women in uniform into combat.

    Please join me to continue this discussion in the comments below. I look forward to your comments and questions.

    Update [2007-8-8 12:33:7 by Wes Clark]: 11:30 am CT: I have to get on a phone call. We had some technical glitches that prevented me from getting to as many questions and comments as I would like. I hope to be back soon. -Wes

    Update [2007-8-8 13:30:7 by Wes Clark]: I think there was some confusion from my update above. I won't be able to get back online today. Thank you for joining in the discussion. -Wes


    To TOP    of PAGE

    V.F.W. is coming out (now get this:) as *PRO*-war! (Aug '07+)

    [added 9'07]

    [for html, see email: "FLASH: The V.F.W. is coming out (now get this:) as *PRO*-war! (the media NOW calls this NEWS). more..."]

    Flash, as in, "Wowie, is this ever News!":

    The V.F.W. is coming out (now get this:) as *PRO*-war!

    uhmm... whadya mean, you're not surprised since the VFW (Veterans for Foreign Wars) is the most well known, not to mention oldest, non-military pro-military pro-war organization in the United States?

    Well, hey, how about this big news for the media: "Ford is Selling Cars!"

    Your eyebrows probably raised then, but how come Ford is not getting the (Free Advertising) big news interview - when the V.F.W. *IS* getting coverage about what is NO NEWS ? (See further below for "Other news about V.F.W that might well be called news")

    And all this is going on in the face of the ever-increasing number of military personnel coming out against this war, including brass (in the Pentagon as well as retired), as well as the ever-increasing number of Iraq War veterans, of military desertions (compared to during any previous war), of members in organizations such as the Appeal for Redress signers *in* the military, the Service Academy Graduates Against the War, not to mention the Veterans for Peace. Now THAT list is actually a sound (read resounding) basis for a most glaring irony The glaring irony that this war continues in spite of so much resistance by those who have traditionally been the mainstay of pro-military, pro-war support. THAT should be the NEWS. That should be obvious as news for the media to report - on a continuing basis.
    ***For a summary and collection of news articles for back-up on this, see the "Brass Resistance" web page.

    Ok, so WHY is the VFW getting the news coverage. KUOW (public radio, Seattle) just announced the big interview coming up tomorrow. I know these VFW guys are old and some of them a little slow, but this is four years after the Iraq War began!

    EG: Think TIMING:
    This is a Rove-type media strategy (but hey, the Bushies just stopped taking Rove's advice, right? Yeah, right.)
    So, is it the Hezzbulah uprising? Siria now in the cross-hairs? Is it another revival of the case for attacking Iran?

    Whatever it is, Something is up, me thinks - we best be paying attention.

    Thanks for your thoughts,

    Chris Pringer (incl. "permit2chris" in body of message)
    VFP92, "Seattle12" of SNOW, vUSPA Web-Admin
    * Virtual us Peace Academy
    * Political Psychology, Art, & Activism
    * Organized Summary of it ALL in Annotated Ref/Links!
    * (and more)
    * PolyPsy List Archives at

    == Other news about V.F.W that might well be called news: ==

    VFW sides with Iraq war veteran protesters | North ...
    The nation's largest combat veterans' group is standing up for a group of Iraq war veterans who wore their uniforms during anti-war protests. Metro: Anti-Iraq war veterans pulled from parade ...
    Welcome to the Florida Times-Union Online News Service.

    VFW To Marine Corps: "Exercise A Little Common Sense," Drop Probe ...

    No Iraq Vets join local VFW as membership continues to decline ...
    "We didn't get the Gulf War veterans," said Calef, acknowledging that Iraq war veterans have yet to come to the post for membership either and the VFW does

    Iraq war debated in ''Alamo City'': VFW''s national convention ...
    Goliath Industry and Business News includes thousands of articles from journals, newspapers, newswires, and magazines, covering a wide range of industries ...

    t r u t h o u t - Thousands Protest Bush, Iraq War in Salt Lake City
    "They have the right to protest," said Bruno Dyszczakowski, a VFW conventioneer from Wisconsin ... No Proof Found of Iran Arms Program, Iraq: The Unseen War ...

    VFW members speak out on Iraq war - Now hear this: brief news ...
    VFW members speak out on Iraq war - Now hear this: brief news items of interest to veterans and their families - Veterans of Foreign Wars - Brief Article ...


    To TOP    of PAGE

    Gen. Wesley Clark, Ret, Securing America's Future (on MySpace.Com)

    [added 9'07]

    A retired Four Star General, Wes Clark is the most highly decorated officer to serve in the United States Army since Dwight Eisenhower. He is a Rhodes scholar in Economics, Philosophy and Politics and graduated first in his class at West Point. As Supreme Allied Commander for NATO, he led Operation Allied Force, which saved 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

    General Clark currently serves as a financial adviser to, and on the board of directors for, many companies in the United States and around the world, and is a policy analyst for MSNBC.

    General Clark ran for President in 2004 to remove and replace President George W. Bush from office.

    General Clark's new book, *A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country* will hit bookstores around the country on Sept 4. 2007

    Message at his My Space .Com (09/01/07)

    All Americans want to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons and interfering on the ground inside Iraq.

    Yet, President Bush's continued saber rattling gives the US little additional leverage to engage and dissuade Iran, and, more than likely, simply accelerates a dangerous slide into war. The United States can do better than this.

    Whatever the pace of Iran's nuclear efforts, in the give and take of the Administration's rhetoric and accusations, we are approaching the last moments to head off looming conflict. Surely, it is past time to urge President Bush to exercise leadership and start to work now to avoid a widening of the conflict in the Middle East.

    That's why we joined Jon Soltz, Chairman of, the preeminent organization representing Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, to launch

    Visit today and sign the petition to President Bush. War is not the answer. is a one-stop resource for all Americans to help stop the looming conflict with Iran. With the latest news on Iran and online tools to contact President Bush, lobby your members of Congress, and write letters to the editor to local and national print media, will help us create the groundswell of support needed to stop another dangerous war in the Middle East.

    Americans and their elected officials in Congress must work together to demand that President Bush stop the rush to war with Iran. The United States must use every option available to defuse tensions with Iran -- diplomatic, political, and economic -- before even considering military force. Military force must be viewed as the last resort -- not the first option.

    Cannot the world's most powerful nation deign speak to the resentful and scheming regional power that is Iran? Can we not speak of the interests of others, work to establish a sustained dialogue, and seek to benefit the people of Iran and the region? Could not such a dialogue, properly conducted, begin a process that could, over time, help realign hardened attitudes and polarizing views within the region? And isn't it easier to undertake such a dialogue now, before more die, and more martyrs are created to feed extremist passions?

    Visit today and sign the petition to President Bush. War is not the answer.

    War with Iran is not the answer. We must work with our allies, talk with Iran, and use all diplomatic, political, and economic options at our disposal. Military force against Iran is not the solution now, and if we adopt the right strategy, perhaps it need never be.


    Wes Clark


    To TOP    of PAGE

    Brig. Gen. John Johns (USA, ret.), and Lt. Gen. Robert Gard (USA, ret.) advocate responsible exit strategies from Iraq

    [added 9'07]

    Council for a Livable World

    Andrews, Johns, and Gard in New Hampshire
    Former Rep. Tom Andrews, Brig. Gen. John Johns (USA, ret.), and Lt. Gen. Robert Gard (USA, ret.)

    After the damage wrought by the Bush administration over the past six and a half years, the time has finally come to think about what the world will look like on January 20, 2009 ? the day we swear in a new President of the United States of America.

    That is why last week, Council for a Livable World and other activist organizations sent Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard, Jr. (USA, ret.) and Brigadier General John Johns (USA, ret.) to New Hampshire to advocate responsible exit strategies from Iraq.

    Watch the Generals' appearance on Political Chowder, a political talk show set to run on C-Span's "Road to the White House," by clicking here and skipping to minute 6:50 on the video.

    Help us continue to spread the anti-war message to key states in the 2008 presidential election. Please consider a contribution of $25, $50, or $100 to Council for a Livable World to help us keep sending the Generals to critical battleground states.

    The Generals spoke at packed town hall meetings in Manchester and Keene, met with editorial boards of local newspapers, and were interviewed on several radio and television shows.

    You can also listen to a podcast recording of General John Johns's appearance on WSMN radio's Woody Woodland Show by clicking here.

    The trip resulted in newspaper articles in many of the major regional newspapers, including the Concord Monitor, Foster's Daily Democrat, Nashua Telegraph, Knox County Times, and Boston Globe. The message presented by the Generals, both of whom are affiliated with the Council for a Livable World and its sister organization, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, could not have been stronger.

    "These troops are not expendable commodities to fulfill the pipe-dream vision of a group of people trying to remake the world in our image," General Gard said. "It's time for us to get the hell out of there."

    We couldn't agree more with General Gard, a decorated combat veteran with 31 years of military service. But we need your help to spread our message of post-George W. Bush renewal to the key primary and caucus states of New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina.


    To TOP    of PAGE

    === 1 ===

    August 30, 2007 · An article in Foreign Affairs magazine says conflict is growing between U.S. civilian and military leaders. Still, there is a chance the two groups will be able to work out their differences. Michael Desh, who wrote the article, talks with Alex Cohen.


    === 2 ===

    GAO Sees Lagging Progress in Iraq


    Listen to this story... by Tom Bowman and Alex Chadwick

    Day to Day, August 30, 2007 · The Government Accountability Office is releasing an extremely negative assessment of military and political progress in Iraq, according to The Washington Post. Other reports have suggested dissatisfaction among the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the Bush administration's handling of the war.

    === 3 ===

    Pentagon Officials Ask GAO to Revise Iraq Report

    Iraq Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari speaks during a news conference in Baghdad Thursday. Zebari said his government has made good progress in responding to U.S. goals for improved security and political cohesion. AP, August 30, 2007 · Pentagon officials are asking Congressional auditors to revise some of the negative findings on a report about Iraq, a military spokesman said Thursday.

    Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said policy officials "made some factual corrections" and "offered some suggestions on a few of the actual grades" in a Government Accountability Office report that has not yet been made public.

    The GAO report concludes that at least 13 of the 18 benchmarks set to judge the Iraqi government's performance in the political and security arenas have not been met, according to The Associated Press.

    "We have provided the GAO with information which we believe will lead them to conclude that a few of the benchmark grades should be upgraded from `not met' to `met,"' Morrell said. He would not say which of the grades the Pentagon disputed.

    White House officials said the GAO report, which was required by legislation President Bush signed last spring, was unrealistic because it assigned "pass or fail" grades to each benchmark. They contend auditors should simply have assessed whether the Iraqis have made progress toward reaching the goals.

    White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said the report does not take into consideration some positive steps, such as the Sunni tribes' cooperation in the fight against al-Qaida. However, the administration agreed that Iraq has not reached some objectives.

    GAO officials are scheduled to give lawmakers a classified briefing of their findings on Thursday.

    It is not yet clear when the unclassified report will be released, but it is due Saturday along with a series of assessments. The assessments were called for in the January legislation that authorized President Bush's plan to send 30,000 more troops to Iraq.

    President Bush will get reports from the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Defense Secretary Robert Gates; the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus; the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker; and others.

    President Bush is supposed to give a detailed accounting of the situation in Iraq to Congress by Sept. 15.

    The GAO, Congress' investigative arm, is expected to find that the Iraqis have met only modest security goals for Baghdad and none of the major political aims — for example, passage of an oil law.

    The White House declined to comment on the specific findings of the GAO report, which one official said would put the Iraqi government's success rate at about 20 percent.

    "While we've seen progress in some areas, it would not surprise me that the GAO would make this assessment given the difficult congressionally mandated measurement they had to follow," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the National Security Council.

    An internal White House memorandum, prepared to respond to the GAO findings, says the report will claim the Iraqis have failed on at least 13 benchmarks. It also says the criteria lawmakers set for the report allow no room to report progress, only absolute success or failure.

    The memo argues that the GAO will not present a "true picture" of the situation in Iraq because the standards were "designed to lock in failure," according to portions of the document read to the AP by an official who has seen it.

    By contrast, the memo says, a July interim report on the surge called for the administration to report on "progress" made toward reaching the wide-ranging benchmarks.

    The July report said the Bush administration believed the Iraqis had made satisfactory progress on eight of the 13 benchmarks. It graded six as unsatisfactory and said two were mixed. It said it was too early to judge the remaining two.

    From NPR reports and The Associated Press

    Related NPR Stories

    === 4 ===

    Back from Iraq

    Warrant Officer: 'It's Just a No-Win Situation'

    Officer Ron-Michael Pellant recalls the poverty and violence around Balad Air Base, near Baghdad.


    Trying Diplomacy in Person, in Iraq

    Horatio Ureta worked as a political officer for the State Department based in Anbar province.


    Security Contractor Lives Life on Edge in Iraq

    Scott Schneider has spent the last three years working for private security firms in Iraq.


    NGO Worker: 'Iraq Is Going to Fall Apart'

    Karen Diop of America's Development Foundation just returned from Iraq on June 23.


    Soldier Recounts Year Spent Training Iraqi Police

    Lt. Col. Robbins spent nearly nine months helping to train Iraqi National Police Brigades.



    To TOP    of PAGE

    - Abizaid: World could abide nuclear Iran 9/17/07

    [added 11'07]

    By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

    Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:38 PM ET

    Retired Army Gen. John Abizaid is shown in Cambridge, Mass., in this November file photo. Every effort should be made to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but failing that, the world could live with a nuclear-armed regime in Tehran, a recently retired commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East said Monday. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, file)
    AP Photo: Retired Army Gen. John Abizaid is shown in Cambridge, Mass., in this November file photo

    Every effort should be made to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but failing that, the world could live with a nuclear-armed regime in Tehran, a recently retired commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East said Monday.

    John Abizaid, the retired Army general who headed Central Command for nearly four years, said he was confident that if Iran gained nuclear arms, the United States could deter it from using them.

    "Iran is not a suicide nation," he said. "I mean, they may have some people in charge that don't appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon."

    The Iranians are aware, he said, that the United States has a far superior military capability.

    "I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear," he said, referring to the theory that Iran would not risk a catastrophic retaliatory strike by using a nuclear weapon against the United States.

    "There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran," Abizaid said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank. "Let's face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we've lived with a nuclear China, and we're living with (other) nuclear powers as well."

    He stressed that he was expressing his personal opinion and that none of his remarks were based on his previous experience with U.S. contingency plans for potential military action against Iran.

    Abizaid stressed the dangers of allowing more and more nations to build a nuclear arsenal. And while he said it is likely that Iran will make a technological breakthrough to obtain a nuclear bomb, "it's not inevitable."

    Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for energy resources, not to build weapons.

    Abizaid suggested military action to pre-empt Iran's nuclear ambitions might not be the wisest course.

    "War, in the state-to-state sense, in that part of the region would be devastating for everybody, and we should avoid it — in my mind — to every extent that we can," he said. "On the other hand, we can't allow the Iranians to continue to push in ways that are injurious to our vital interests."

    He suggested that many in Iran — perhaps even some in the Tehran government — are open to cooperating with the West. The thrust of his remarks was a call for patience in dealing with Iran, which President Bush early in his first term labeled one of the "axis of evil" nations, along with North Korea and Iraq.

    He said there is a basis for hope that Iran, over time, will move away from its current anti-Western stance.

    Abizaid's comments appeared to represent a more accommodating and hopeful stance toward Iran than prevails in the White House, which speaks frequently of the threat posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions. The administration says it seeks a diplomatic solution to complaints about Iran's alleged support for terrorism and its nuclear program, amid persistent rumors of preparations for a U.S. military strike.

    Abizaid expressed confidence that the United States and the world community can manage the Iran problem.

    "I believe the United States, with our great military power, can contain Iran — that the United States can deliver clear messages to the Iranians that makes it clear to them that while they may develop one or two nuclear weapons they'll never be able to compete with us in our true military might and power," he said.

    He described Iran's government as reckless, with ambitions to dominate the Middle East.

    "We need to press the international community as hard as we possibly can, and the Iranians, to cease and desist on the development of a nuclear weapon and we should not preclude any option that we may have to deal with it," he said. He then added his remark about finding ways to live with a nuclear-armed Iran.

    Abizaid made his remarks in response to questions from his audience after delivering remarks about the major strategic challenges in the Middle East and Central Asia — the region in which he commanded U.S. forces from July 2003 until February 2007, when he was replaced by Adm. William Fallon.

    The U.S. cut diplomatic relations with Iran shortly after the 1979 storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Although both nations have made public and private attempts to improve relations, the Bush administration labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil," and Iranian leaders still refer to the United States as the Great Satan.

    (This version SUBS 9th graf, Iran says ..., to CORRECT word to 'program,' sted 'problem'))


    To TOP    of PAGE

    Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater 9/23/07

    [added 11'07]

    [This article names LOTS of names of all ranks, service branches, security services, halls of congress, you name it.
    I am NOT sure this article is totally for real. The article is "fantastic" in the original meaning - almost beyond belief.
         On the one hand, it seems consistent within itself. And we have Mark Jensen's posts to the SNOW-news list to compare it too (links and his summaries included below).  I've added a short Bio of Wayne Madsen following the article. On the other hand, one has to wonder how so much detailed information could've been found out about so many things that "should've" been kept so secret. Including names of Mossad agents (who, due to their outing, "should" probably be dead by now).
    and yet...
            I know there is more truth to it than not. And it does fit with what I/we know of the administration's directions and intentions. Still, this article may fall under the heading of "conspiracy" theories. So I'm kind of putting this at the top of a wait'n-see list.
            And for these considerations, I have written "Getting Real About Conspiracies (& belief system of the power elite)," & includes "Handling Conspiracy Theories & Questionable News, Unfamiliar Internet Sources, etc." ( -Chris Pringer 09/27/07]

    Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater
    By Wayne Madsen
    Sept. 24, 2007
    Author's website

    WMR [Wayne Madsen Report] has learned from U.S. and foreign intelligence sources that the B-52 transporting six stealth AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missiles, each armed with a W-80-1 nuclear warhead, on August 30, were destined for the Middle East via Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

    However, elements of the Air Force, supported by U.S. intelligence agency personnel, successfully revealed the ultimate destination of the nuclear weapons and the mission was aborted due to internal opposition within the Air Force and U.S. Intelligence Community.

    Yesterday, the /Washington Post/ attempted to explain away the fact that America's nuclear command and control system broke down in an unprecedented manner by reporting that it was the result of "security failures at multiple levels." It is now apparent that the command and control breakdown, reported as a BENT SPEAR incident to the Secretary of Defense and White House, was not the result of a command and control chain-of-command "failures" but the result of a revolt and push back by various echelons within the Air Force and intelligence agencies against a planned U.S. attack on Iran using nuclear and conventional weapons.

    The /Washington Post/ story on BENT SPEAR may have actually been an effort in damage control by the Bush administration. WMR has been informed by a knowledgeable source that one of the six nuclear-armed cruise missiles was, and may still be, unaccounted for. In that case, the nuclear reporting incident would have gone far beyond BENT SPEAR to a National Command Authority alert known as EMPTY QUIVER, with the special classification of PINNACLE.

    Just as this report was being prepared, /Newsweek/ reported that Vice President Dick Cheney's recently-departed Middle East adviser, David Wurmser, told a small group of advisers some months ago that Cheney had considered asking Israel to launch a missile attack on the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz. Cheney reasoned that after an Iranian retaliatory strike, the United States would have ample reasons to launch its own massive attack on Iran. However, plans for Israel to attack Iran directly were altered to an Israeli attack on a supposed Syrian-Iranian-North Korean nuclear installation in northern Syria.

    WMR has learned that a U.S. attack on Iran using nuclear and conventional weapons was scheduled to coincide with Israel's September 6 air attack on a reputed Syrian nuclear facility in Dayr az-Zwar, near the village of Tal Abyad, in northern Syria, near the Turkish border. Israel's attack, code named OPERATION ORCHARD, was to provide a reason for the U.S. to strike Iran. The neo-conservative propaganda onslaught was to cite the cooperation of the George Bush's three remaining "Axis of Evil" states -- Syria, Iran, and North Korea -- to justify a sustained Israeli attack on Syria and a massive U.S. military attack on Iran.

    WMR has learned from military sources on both sides of the Atlantic that there was a definite connection between Israel's OPERATION ORCHARD and BENT SPEAR involving the B-52 that flew the six nuclear-armed cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale. There is also a connection between these two events as the Pentagon's highly-classified PROJECT CHECKMATE, a compartmented U.S. Air Force program that has been working on an attack plan for Iran since June 2007, around the same time that Cheney was working on the joint Israeli-U.S. attack scenario on Iran.

    PROJECT CHECKMATE was leaked in an article by military analyst Eric Margolis in the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper, the /Times of London/, is a program that involves over two dozen Air Force officers and is headed by Brig. Gen. Lawrence Stutzriem and his chief civilian adviser, Dr. Lani Kass, a former Israeli military intelligence officer who, astoundingly, is now involved in planning a joint U.S.-Israeli massive military attack on Iran that involves a "decapitating" blow on Iran by hitting between three to four thousand targets in the country. Stutzriem and Kass report directly to the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Michael Moseley, who has also been charged with preparing a report on the B-52/nuclear weapons incident.

    Kass' area of speciality is cyber-warfare, which includes ensuring "information blockades," such as that imposed by the Israeli government on the Israeli media regarding the Syrian air attack on the alleged Syrian "nuclear installation." British intelligence sources have reported that the Israeli attack on Syria was a "true flag" attack originally designed to foreshadow a U.S. attack on Iran. After the U.S. Air Force push back against transporting the six cruise nuclear-armed AGM-129s to the Middle East, Israel went ahead with its attack on Syria in order to help ratchet up tensions between Washington on one side and Damascus, Tehran, and Pyongyang on the other.

    The other part of CHECKMATE's brief is to ensure that a media "perception management" is waged against Syria, Iran, and North Korea. This involves articles such as that which appeared with Joby Warrick's and Walter Pincus' bylines in yesterdays /Washington Post/. The article, titled "The Saga of a Bent Spear," quotes a number of seasoned Air Force nuclear weapons experts as saying that such an incident is unprecedented in the history of the Air Force. For example, Retired Air Force General Eugene Habiger, the former chief of the U.S. Strategic Command, said he has been in the "nuclear business" since 1966 and has never been aware of an incident "more disturbing."

    Command and control breakdowns involving U.S. nuclear weapons are unprecedented, except for that fact that the U.S. military is now waging an internal war against neo-cons who are embedded in the U.S. government and military chain of command who are intent on using nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive war with Iran.

    CHECKMATE and OPERATION ORCHARD would have provided the cover for a pre-emptive U.S. and Israeli attack on Iran had it not been for BENT SPEAR involving the B-52. In on the plan to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran involving nuclear weapons were, according to our sources, Cheney, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley; members of the CHECKMATE team at the Pentagon, who have close connections to Israeli intelligence and pro-Israeli think tanks in Washington, including the Hudson Institute; British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, a political adviser to Tony Blair prior to becoming a Member of Parliament; Israeli political leaders like Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu; and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who did his part last week to ratchet up tensions with Iran by suggesting that war with Iran was a probability. Kouchner retracted his statement after the U.S. plans for Iran were delayed.

    Although the Air Force tried to keep the B-52 nuclear incident from the media, anonymous Air Force personnel leaked the story to /Military Times/ on September 5, the day before the Israelis attacked the alleged nuclear installation in Syria and the day planned for the simultaneous U.S. attack on Iran. The leaking of classified information on U.S. nuclear weapons disposition or movement to the media, is, itself, unprecedented. Air Force regulations require the sending of classified BEELINE reports to higher Air Force authorities on the disclosure of classified Air Force information to the media.

    In another highly unusual move, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked an outside inquiry board to look into BENT SPEAR, even before the Air Force has completed its own investigation, a virtual vote of no confidence in the official investigation being conducted by Major General Douglas Raaberg, chief of air and space operations at the Air Combat Command.

    Gates asked former Air Force Chief of Staff, retired General Larry Welch, to lead a Defense Science Board task force that will also look into the BENT SPEAR incident. The official Air Force investigation has reportedly been delayed for unknown reasons. Welch is President and CEO of the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA), a federally-funded research contractor that operates three research centers, including one for Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President and another for the National Security Agency. One of the board members of IDA is Dr. Suzanne H. Woolsey of the Paladin Capital Group and wife of former CIA director and arch-neocon James Woolsey.

    WMR has learned that neither the upper echelons of the State Department nor the British Foreign Office were privy to OPERATION ORCHARD, although Hadley briefed President Bush on Israeli spy satellite intelligence that showed the Syrian installation was a joint nuclear facility built with North Korean and Iranian assistance. However, it is puzzling why Hadley would rely on Israeli imagery intelligence (IMINT) from its OFEK (Horizon) 7 satellite when considering that U.S. IMINT satellites have greater capabilities.

    The Air Force's "information warfare" campaign against media reports on CHECKMATE and OPERATION ORCHARD also affected international reporting of the recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution asking Israel to place its nuclear weapons program under IAEA controls, similar to those that the United States wants imposed on Iran and North Korea. The resolution also called for a nuclear-free zone throughout the Middle East. The IAEA's resolution, titled "Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East," was passed by the 144-member IAEA General Meeting on September 20 by a vote of 53 to 2, with 47 abstentions. The only two countries to vote against were Israel and the United States. However, the story carried from the IAEA meeting in Vienna by Reuters, the Associated Press, and Agence France Press, was that it was Arab and Islamic nations that voted for the resolution.

    This was yet more perception management carried out by CHECKMATE, the White House, and their allies in Europe and Israel with the connivance of the media. In fact, among the 53 nations that voted for the resolution were China, Russia, India, Ireland, and Japan. The 47 abstentions were described as votes "against" the resolution even though an abstention is neither a vote for nor against a measure. America's close allies, including Britain, France, Australia, Canada, and Georgia, all abstained. Suspiciously, the IAEA carried only a brief item on the resolution concerning Israel's nuclear program and a roll call vote was not available either at the IAEA's web site -- -- or in the media.

    The perception management campaign by the neocon operational cells in the Bush administration, Israel and Europe was designed to keep a focus on Iran's nuclear program, not on Israel's. Any international examination of Israel's nuclear weapons program would likely bring up Israeli nuclear scientist Mordechai Vanunu, a covert from Judaism to Christianity, who was kidnapped in Rome by a Mossad "honey trap" named Cheryl Bentov (aka, Cindy) and a Mossad team in 1986 and held against his will in Israel ever since.

    Vanunu's knowledge of the Israeli nuclear weapons program would focus on the country's own role in nuclear proliferation, including its program to share nuclear weapons technology with apartheid South Africa and Taiwan in the late 1970s and 1980s. The role of Ronald Reagan's Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Ken Adelman in Israeli's nuclear proliferation during the time frame 1983-1987 would also come under scrutiny. Adelman, a member of the Reagan-Bush transition State Department team from November 1980 to January 1981, voiced his understanding for the nuclear weapons programs of Israel, South Africa, and Taiwan in a June 28, 1981 /New York Times/ article titled, "3 Nations Widening Nuclear Contacts." The journalist who wrote the article was Judith Miller. Adelman felt that the three countries wanted nuclear weapons because of their ostracism from the West, the third world, and the hostility from the Communist countries. Of course, today, the same argument can be used by Iran, North Korea, and other "Axis of Evil" nations so designated by the neocons in the Bush administration and other governments.

    There are also news reports that suggest an intelligence relationship between Israel and North Korea. On July 21, 2004, New Zealand's /Dominion Post/ reported that three Mossad agents were involved in espionage in New Zealand. Two of the Mossad agents, Uriel Kelman and Elisha Cara (aka Kra), were arrested and imprisoned by New Zealand police (an Israeli diplomat in Canberra, Amir Lati, was expelled by Australia and New Zealand intelligence identified a fourth Mossad agent involved in the New Zealand espionage operation in Singapore). The third Mossad agent in New Zealand, Zev William Barkan (aka Lev Bruckenstein), fled New Zealand -- for North Korea.

    New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff revealed that Barkan, a former Israeli Navy diver, had previously worked at the Israeli embassy in Vienna, which is also the headquarters of the IAEA. He was cited by the /Sydney Morning Herald/ as trafficking in passports stolen from foreign tourists in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. New Zealand's One News reported that Barkan was in North Korea to help the nation build a wall to keep its citizens from leaving.

    The nuclear brinkmanship involving the United States and Israel and the breakdown in America's command and control systems have every major capital around the world wondering about the Bush administration's true intentions.

    NOTE: WMR understands the risks to informed individuals in reporting the events of August 29/30, to the present time, that concern the discord within the U.S. Air Force, U.S. intelligence agencies, and other military services. Any source with relevant information and who wishes to contact us anonymously may drop off sealed correspondence at or send mail via the Postal Service to: Wayne Madsen, c/o The Front Desk, National Press Club, 13th Floor, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, DC, 20045. == --------------------------

    Washington Post reports six missiles flown across America (From msnbc article...)

    This is G o o g l e's cache of as retrieved on 23 Sep 2007 14:29:10 GMT.

    The saga of a ?Bent Spear?

    6 nukes fly across U.S.; no one notices for 36 hours ? how could it happen?

    The Washington Post

    By Joby Warrick and Walter Pincus Updated: 11:11 p.m. ET Sept. 22, 2007

    Just after 9 a.m. on Aug. 29, a group of U.S. airmen entered a sod-covered bunker on North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base with orders to collect a set of unarmed cruise missiles bound for a weapons graveyard. They quickly pulled out a dozen cylinders, all of which appeared identical from a cursory glance, and hauled them along Bomber Boulevard to a waiting B-52 bomber.

    The airmen attached the gray missiles to the plane's wings, six on each side. After eyeballing the missiles on the right side, a flight officer signed a manifest that listed a dozen unarmed AGM-129 missiles. The officer did not notice that the six on the left contained nuclear warheads, each with the destructive power of up to 10 Hiroshima bombs.

    That detail would escape notice for an astounding 36 hours, during which the missiles were flown across the country to a Louisiana air base that had no idea nuclear warheads were coming. It was the first known flight by a nuclear-armed bomber over U.S. airspace, without special high-level authorization, in nearly 40 years.

    The episode, serious enough to trigger a rare "Bent Spear" nuclear incident report that raced through the chain of command to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and President Bush, provoked new questions inside and outside the Pentagon about the adequacy of U.S. nuclear weapons safeguards while the military's attention and resources are devoted to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Three weeks after word of the incident leaked to the public, new details obtained by The Washington Post point to security failures at multiple levels in North Dakota and Louisiana, according to interviews with current and former U.S. officials briefed on the initial results of an Air Force investigation of the incident.

    The warheads were attached to the plane in Minot without special guard for more than 15 hours, and they remained on the plane in Louisiana for nearly nine hours more before being discovered. In total, the warheads slipped from the Air Force's nuclear safety net for more than a day without anyone's knowledge.

    "I have been in the nuclear business since 1966 and am not aware of any incident more disturbing," retired Air Force Gen. Eugene Habiger, who served as U.S. Strategic Command chief from 1996 to 1998, said in an interview.

    A simple error in a missile storage room led to missteps at every turn, as ground crews failed to notice the warheads, and as security teams and flight crew members failed to provide adequate oversight and check the cargo thoroughly. An elaborate nuclear safeguard system, nurtured during the Cold War and infused with rigorous accounting and command procedures, was utterly debased, the investigation's early results show.

    The incident came on the heels of multiple warnings ? some of which went to the highest levels of the Bush administration, including the National Security Council ? of security problems at Air Force installations where nuclear weapons are kept. The risks are not that warheads might be accidentally detonated, but that sloppy procedures could leave room for theft or damage to a warhead, disseminating its toxic nuclear materials.

    A former National Security Council staff member with detailed knowledge described the event as something that people in the White House "have been assured never could happen." What occurred on Aug. 29-30, the former official said, was "a breakdown at a number of levels involving flight crew, munitions, storage and tracking procedures ? faults that never were to line up on a single day."

    [===] === ===[ On Wayne Madsen  ]=== === [===]

       Some Research results (he is a prolific writer, that much I'm sure of, has his own site which articles are not free):
    * Wayne Madsen is
        ...a Washington DC-based investigative journalist, author, syndicated columnist,  ...covers intelligence, national security, and foreign affairs. ... a long-time advocate for privacy and civil liberties. ...testified before Cynthia McKinney's hearing on the genocide in the DRC in May 2001 and has worked with Bob Barr on privacy legislation in the past. ...a Senior Fellow of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, DC and author of "Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993-1999" (Mellen Press).  ...Special to From The Wilderness...
       * Author, book, "KARL ROVE: THE KING OF DIRT, The Turd Blossom's Chickens May Come To Roost"
       * Author, book, "Jaded Tasks: Big Oil, Black Ops & Brass Plates.":
       * Author, articles (a very few selections):
       * "Homeland Security, Homeland Profits," By Wayne Madsen, Special to CorpWatch, December 21, 2001
      * "Making a Buck off of Government Spying," Excerpt from "Homeland Security, Homeland Profits," By Wayne Madsen, Special to CorpWatch, December 21, 2001  (
      * King [Republican Rep. Peter King (NY)], who illegally supported the IRA, wants The New York Times prosecuted for doing its job, Jun 29, 2006, 00:51: (
      * "Smoking gun" evidence uncovered in Ohio of massive vote fraud in 2004 election Sep 8, 2006, 01:09 (

    [===] === ===[ Previous Jensen Reports ]=== === [===]

    BACKGROUND: Minot nuke shipment the result of 'simple error' & 'missteps
    at every turn'

    Mark Jensen Summary, 9/25/2007:
    [According to an investigative piece published on the front page of Sunday's *Washington Post*, nuclear weapons were flown in U.S. airspace for the first time in forty years because "a group of U.S. airmen" attached themto the wings of a B-52 bomber and "a flight officer signed a manifest that listed a dozen unarmed AGM-129 missiles" without "notic[ing] that the six on the left contained nuclear warheads, each with the destructive power of up to 10 Hiroshima bombs."[1]  --  "That detail would escape notice for an astounding 36 hours, during which the missiles were flown across the country to a Louisiana air base that had no idea nuclear warheads were coming," Joby Warrick and Walter Pincus reported.  --  "It was the first known flight by a nuclear-armed bomber over U.S. airspace, without special high-level authorization, in nearly 40 years.  --  The episode, serious enough to trigger a rare 'Bent Spear' nuclear incident report that raced through the chain of command to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and President Bush, provoked new questions inside and outside the Pentagon about the adequacy of U.S. nuclear weapons safeguards while the military's attention and resources are devoted to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."  --  The sources used by Pincus and Warrick were "current and former U.S. officials briefed on the initial results of an Air Force investigation."  --  "An elaborate nuclear safeguard system, nurtured during the Cold War and infused with rigorous accounting and command procedures, was utterly debased, the investigation's early results show." --  A former NSC staff member spoke of "a breakdown at a number of levels involving flight crew, munitions, storage, and tracking procedures --faults that never were to line up on a single day."  --  After the missiles were attached to the plane, "The plane then sat on the tarmac ]at Minot AFB] overnight without special guards, protected for 15 hours by only the base's exterior chain-link fence and roving security patrols.  --Air Force rules required members of the jet's flight crew to examine all of the missiles and warheads before the plane took off.  But in this instance, just one person examined only the six unarmed missiles and inexplicably skipped the armed missiles on the left."  --  "'[T]he more you look at it, the stranger it is,' said Joseph Cirincione, director for nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress think tank and the author of a history of nuclear weapons.  'These weapons -- the equivalent of 60 Hiroshimas -- were out of authorized command and control for more than a day.'"  --Mark]

    [===] === ===[  ]=== === [===]

    KFYR,KTBS,AP,WSWS, ATS: On the 5 (or 6?) nuclear weapons from Minot AFB

    Mark Jensen Summary, 9/14/2007:
    [A North Dakota TV station reported Friday that Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne "visited the Minot Air Force Base today to go over procedures for handling nuclear weapons" in the aftermath of the shipment of nuclear warheads from that base last month.[1]  --  A TV station in NW Louisiana near Barksdale AFB, where the nukes were flown, said Friday that on Aug. 30 a B-52 with six nuclear warheads "sat on a runway at Barksdale for 10 hours before it was discovered that six of the cruise missiles under its wings had nuclear warheads attached, Pentagon officials told members of Congress."[2]  --  Pentagon officials said it was an "isolated mistake," and "Air Force officials said the warheads were not activated and never posed a public threat."  --  The incident led the Air Combat Command to order "a command-wide stand down Friday to review procedures in response to the Aug. 30 incident," AP reported on Thursday.  --  In news that may or may not be related to the Aug. 30 incident, AP reported that a 20-year-old airman from the base stationed at Minot since about a year ago died on Monday "while on leave in Virginia . . . while visiting with family members in Wytheville, Va.  The statement did not say how he died but said the incident is under investigation."[4]  --  BACKGROUND: Commenting on the silence in the mainstream media about this story, the WSWS web site said on Friday:  "The media blackout cannot be explained by any objective standard of the newsworthiness of this story.  According to what is publicly known, it marked the first time that an American bomber armed with nuclear weapons has taken to the air in nearly 40 years. . . . The silence of the press has the earmarks of self-censorship in the face of what was in all likelihood a sharp admonition from the White House and the Pentagon that any public discussion of the event could endanger national security."[5]  --  After examination of expert commentary about the impossibility of such an event happening "by accident," Bill Van Auken concluded:  "The silence of the media and the politicians is aimed at concealing the dire implications of this event from the people of the U.S. and the world."  --  Defense expert Philip Coyle of CDI said "the accident appears to have been the most complete and dangerous breakdown in the command and control of nuclear weapons in U.S. history.  Reportedly Defense Secretary Gates and President Bush are both receiving daily briefings on what is being learned about how the accident happened and the status of the investigation.  This is not surprising, given the utter seriousness of the matter."[6]  --  "What made the accident so shocking is that the safety and security procedures around nuclear weapons are supposed to make it impossible for such an accident to happen," Coyle wrote.  --  "Every step is spelled out in exacting detail, rehearsed again and again, and examined in on-site inspections."  --  One expert commentator on the Military Times Web site wrote:  "Having spent many years as an Air Force Munitions Troop both overseas and CONUS, working both locations with conventional and special weapons, I don't see how this could have happened.  Everyone involved, and their chain of command, should be fired."  --  Coyle noted that "The accident is so bizarre, something that is not supposed to ever happen, that it has spawned conspiracy theories that those six nuclear weapons were part of a secret plan to bomb Iran, especially since Barksdale Air Force Base is a staging place for deployment to the Middle East."  --  SPECULATION:  The net is abuzz with speculation.  --  One of the most elaborate interpretations was posted on Tuesday (Sept. 11) by Chuck Simpson on the web site Above Top Secret.[7]  --  Simpson agreed that "the mistake of loading nuclear weapons on a combat aircraft in combat-ready position is simply not possible to make."  --  His article asserts that "Raytheon has publicly announced the AGM-129 missiles are to be modified to accomplish a 'classified cruise missile mission.'  This has widely been interpreted to mean conversion to bunker-busters, most likely for use in Iran.  This widely accepted explanation is being used to explain why armed cruise missiles are being flown in American airspace."  --  Simpson's hypothesis: that the explanation of the incident indicates its conversion into a "deliberate leak" intended to be "a veiled warning to Iran.  This deliberately misleading explanation is evidently intended to lead the public or Iran or both to logically conclude the missiles are bound for Iran.  Bluntly, State and the CIA converted a whistleblower leak by true American patriots into a deliberate leak by official Washington, to scare Iran."  --  Moreover, according to Simpson "At Barksdale, the missiles were considered to be unarmed items headed for modernization or the scrap heap, and of no particular importance.  They were left unguarded for almost ten hours. . . . Which leads to my chilling conclusion:  Someone, operating under a special chain of command within the United States Air Force, just stole a nuclear weapon."  --  He added:  "On September 7, dressed in full military uniform, [CIA Director and General Michael] Hayden told assembled members of the Council of Foreign Relations:  'Our analysts assess with high confidence that al-Qaida's central leadership is planning high-impact plots against the U. S. homeland.  We assess with high confidence that al-Qaida is focusing on targets that would produce mass casualties, dramatic destruction, and significant aftershocks.'  An eye for an eye.  Use of nukes will justify use of nukes.  A perfect excuse to wage nuclear war against Iran."  --Mark]

    Article sources & links:

    KFYR-TV (Bismarck, ND)
    September 14, 2007

    KTBS (Shreveport, LA)
    September 14, 2007

    Associated Press
    September 13, 2007

    Associated Press
    September 12, 2007

    5. News & analysis
    North America
    By Bill Van Auken
    World Socialist Web Site
    September 14, 2007

    By Philip Coyle
    ** Defense expert Philip Coyle wants to know why these weapons were being moved in the first place, why they were sent to Barksdale Air Force Base, how long it was before the error was discovered and how many other such errors have there been. **
    Center for Defense Information
    September 10, 2007

    By Chuck Simpson
    ** Someone, operating under a special chain of command within the United
    States Air Force, just stole a nuclear weapon. **
    September 11, 2007


    To TOP    of PAGE

    - Will U.S. Military Halt an Iran Attack? 10/10/07

    [added 11'07]

        Will U.S. Military Halt an Iran Attack?

    Will the Military Halt an Iran Attack? By Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith, Posted on October 10, 2007, Printed on October 11, 2007

    Sometimes history -- and necessity -- make strange bedfellows. The German general staff transported Lenin to Russia to lead a revolution. Union-buster Ronald Reagan played godfather to the birth of the Polish Solidarity union. Equally strange -- but perhaps equally necessary -- is the addressee of a new appeal signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Cindy Sheehan, Ann Wright and many other leaders of the American peace movement:

    "ATTENTION: Joint Chiefs of Staff and all U.S. Military Personnel: Do not attack Iran."

    The initiative responds to the growing calls for an attack on Iran from the likes of Norman Podhoretz and John Bolton, and the reports of growing war momentum in Washington by reporters like Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker and Joe Klein of Time. International lawyer Scott Horton says European diplomats at the recent United Nations General Assembly gathering in New York "believe that the United States will launch an air war on Iran, and that it will occur within the next six to eight months." He puts the likelihood of conflict at 70 percent.

    The initiative also responds to the recent failure of Congress to pass legislation requiring its approval before an attack on Iran and the hawk-driven resolution encouraging the President to act against the Iranian military. Marcy Winograd, president of Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, who originally suggested the petition, told The Nation:

    If we thought that our lawmakers would restrain the Bush Administration from further endangering Americans and the rest of the world, we would concentrate solely on them. If we went to Las Vegas today, would we find anyone willing to bet on this Congress restraining Bush? I don't think so.

    Because our soldiers know the horrors of war -- severed limbs, blindness, brain injury -- they are loath to romanticize the battlefield or glorify expansion of the Iraq genocide that has left a million Iraqis dead and millions others exiled.

    Military Resistance

    What could be stranger than a group of peace activists petitioning the military to stop a war? And yet there is more logic here than meets the eye.

    Asked in an online discussion September 27 whether the Bush Administration will launch a war against Iran, Washington Post intelligence reporter Dana Priest replied, "Frankly, I think the military would revolt and there would be no pilots to fly those missions."

    She acknowledged that she had indulged in a bit of hyperbole, then added, "but not much."

    There have been many other hints of military disaffection from plans to attack Iran -- indeed, military resistance may help explain why, despite years of rumors about Bush Administration intentions, such an attack has not yet occurred. A Pentagon consultant told Hersh more than a year ago, "There is a war about the war going on inside the building." Hersh also reported that Gen. Peter Pace had forced Bush and Cheney to remove the "nuclear option" from the plans for possible conflict with Iran -- in the Pentagon it was known as the April Revolution.

    In December, according to Time correspondent Joe Klein, President Bush met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a secure room known as The Tank. The President was told that "the U.S. could launch a devastating air attack on Iran's government and military, wiping out the Iranian air force, the command and control structure and some of the more obvious nuclear facilities." But the Joint Chiefs were "unanimously opposed to taking that course of action," both because it might not eliminate Iran's nuclear capacity and because Iran could respond devastatingly in Iraq -- and in the United States.

    In an article published by Inter Press Service, historian and national security policy analyst Gareth Porter reported that Adm. William Fallon, Bush's then-nominee to head the Central Command (Centcom), sent the Defense Department a strongly worded message earlier this year opposing the plan to send a third carrier strike group into the Persian Gulf. In another Inter Press analysis, Porter quotes someone who met with Fallon saying an attack on Iran "will not happen on my watch." He added, "You know what choices I have. I'm a professional. ... There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box."

    Military officers in the field have frequently refuted Bush Administration claims about Iranian arms in Iraq and Afghanistan. Porter says that when a State Department official this June publicly accused Iran of giving arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the US commander of NATO forces there twice denied the claim.

    More recently, top brass have warned that the United States is not prepared for new wars. Gen. George Casey, the Army's top commander, recently made a highly unusual personal request for a House Armed Services Committee hearing in which he warned that "we are consumed with meeting the demands of the current fight and are unable to provide ready forces as rapidly as necessary for other potential contingencies." While this could surely be interpreted as a call for more troops and resources, it may simultaneously be a warning shot against adventures in Iran.

    An October 8 report by Tim Shipman in the Telegraph says that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has "taken charge of the forces in the American government opposed to a US military attack on Iran." He cites Pentagon sources saying that Gates is waging "a subtle campaign to undermine the Cheney camp" and that he is "encouraging the Army's senior officers to speak frankly about the overstretch of forces, and the difficulty of fighting another war." Shipman reports Gates has "forged an alliance with Mike McConnell, the national director of intelligence, and Michael Hayden, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, to ensure that Mr. Cheney's office is not the dominant conduit of information and planning on Iran to Mr. Bush."

    Every indication is that the "war about the war" is ongoing. Hersh recently reported that the attack-Iran faction has found a new approach that it hopes will be more acceptable to the public -- and presumably to the Pentagon brass. Instead of broad bombing attacks designed to eliminate Iran's nuclear capacity and promote regime change, it calls for "surgical strikes" on Revolutionary Guard facilities; they would be justified as retaliation in the "proxy war" that General Petraeus alleges Iran is fighting "against the Iraqi state and coalition forces in Iraq." According to Hersh, the revised bombing plan is "gathering support among generals and admirals in the Pentagon." But Israeli officials are concerned that such a plan might leave Iran's nuclear capacity intact.

    Appeal to Principle

    The appeal for military personnel to resist an attack is primarily based on principle. It asserts that any pre-emptive US attack on Iran would be illegal under international law and a crime under US law. Such an attack would violate Article II, Section 4, of the UN Charter forbidding the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. Since Iran has not attacked the United States, an attack against it without authorization by the Security Council would be a violation of international law. Under the US Constitution and the UN Charter, this is the law of the land. Under the military's own laws, armed forces have an obligation to refuse orders that violate US law and the Constitution. And under the principles established by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal after World War II, "just obeying orders" is no defense for officials who participate in war crimes.

    But the petition also addresses some of the practical concerns that have clearly motivated military officers to oppose an attack on Iran. It would open US soldiers in Iraq to decimation by Iranian forces or their Iraqi allies. It would sow the seeds of hatred for generations. Like the attack on Iraq, it would create more enemies, promote terrorism and make American families less safe.

    The petitioners recognize the potential risks of such action to military personnel. "If you heed our call and disobey an illegal order you could be falsely charged with crimes including treason. You could be falsely court martialed. You could be imprisoned."

    But they also accept risks themselves, aware that "in violation of our First Amendment rights, we could be charged under remaining section of the unconstitutional Espionage Act or other unconstitutional statute, and that we could be fined, imprisoned, or barred from government employment."

    In ordinary times, peace activists would hardly be likely to turn to the military as allies. Indeed, they would rightfully be wary of military officers acting on their own, rather than those of their civilian superiors -- in violation of the Constitution's provisions for civilian oversight of the military. But these are hardly ordinary times. While the public is highly dubious of getting into another war in the Middle East, there now appear to be virtually no institutional barriers to doing so.

    Military-Civilian Alliance

    Is there a basis for cooperation between the military brass and citizens who believe an attack on Iran would be criminal and/or suicidal? Perhaps. The brass can go public with the truth and ask Congress to provide a platform for explaining the real consequences of an attack on Iran. They can call for a national debate that is not manipulated by the White House. (They can also inform other players of the consequences: tell Wall Street the effects on oil and stock prices and tell European military and political leaders what it is likely to mean in terms of terrorism.) The peace movement has already forged an alliance with Iraq War veterans who oppose the war and with high military officials who oppose torture; a tacit alliance with the brass to halt an attack on Iran is a logical next step.

    Such an approach puts the problem of civilian control of the military in a different light. The purpose of civilian control, after all, is not to subject the military to the dictatorial control of one man who may, at the least, express the foolishness and frailty that all flesh is heir to. The purpose is to subject the military to the control of democratic governance, which is to say of an informed public and its representatives.

    What contribution can the peace movement make to this process? We can cover military officials' backs when they speak out -- no one is better placed than the peace movement to defend them against Bushite charges of defying civilian control. We can help open a forum for military officers to speak out. Many retired officers have spoken out publicly on the folly of the war in Iraq. We can use our venues in universities and communities to invite them to speak out even more forcefully on the folly of an attack on Iran. We can place ads pointing out military resistance to an attack on Iran and featuring warnings of its possible consequences from past and present military officials. And we can encourage lawmakers to reach out to military officials and offer to give them cover and a forum to speak out. Says petition initiator Marcy Winograd, "I'd like to see peace activists and soldiers sit down, break bread, march together, testify together and force a powerful union to end the next war before the bloodletting begins."

    The peace movement leaders who appealed to the military had to break through the conventional presumption that the brass were their enemies in all situations. Such an unlikely alliance could be a starting point for a nonviolent response to the Bush Administration's pursuit of a permanent state of war.

    © 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved. View this story online at:


    To TOP    of PAGE

    "Pentagon believes striking Iran at this point would be a strategic mistake"

    Summary of 4 articles with links, Oct-Nov '07

    NEWS: 'Pentagon believes striking Iran at this point would be a strategic mistake' (FT)

    Summary by Mark Jensen of UFPPC.ORG:
    [In an unusual interview with the *Financial Times* of London, CentCom head Adm. William Fallon said that no U.S. strike on Iran was "in the offing."[1]  --  Demetri Sevastopulo, Daniel Dombey, and Andrew Ward said that "his comments served as a shot across the bows of hawks who are arguing for imminent action" and "also echoed the views of the senior brass that military action is currently unnecessary, and should only be considered as an absolute last resort."  --  The diplomatic correspondent of the London *Telegraph* called Adm. Fallon's statement one of "[a] series of public statements" that along with the decision to free nine of twenty Iranians the U.S. is holding captive in Iraq "suggest that America is trying to send conciliatory signals" to Iran.[2]  --  Agence France-Presse ( also reported on the interview.  --  MSNBC ran the *Financial Times* story.  --It was not reported in the *New York Times*, but the *Times* did post on its web site a long AP story by Robert Burns that concluded:  "At the moment, there are few indications of U.S. military leaders either advising offensive action against Iran or taking new steps to prepare for that possibility."[3]  --  With respect to disagreement inside the military, the question of what U.S. military personnel ought to do should the Bush administration proceed with plans to attack Iran was discussed about a month ago on Slate's "War Stories" blog.[4]  --  "The appropriateness of military dissent is a hot topic among senior officers these days in conferences, internal papers, and backroom discussions, all of which set off emotional arguments and genuine soul-searching," Fred Kaplan said, calling attention to "a widely circulated article titled 'Knowing When To Salute,' published in the July 2007 newsletter of the Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute, retired Lt. Col. Leonard Wong and retired Col. Douglas Lovelace laid out nine options short of disobedience that a senior officer might take when political leaders resist military advice." ]

    1. World U.S. STRIKE ON IRAN 'NOT BEING PREPARED' By Demetri Sevastopulo, Daniel Dombey, and Andrew Ward Financial Times (UK) November 12, 2007

    2. U.S. SOFTENS STANCE ON IRAN STRIKES By David Blair Telegraph (London) November 13, 2007

    3. U.S.: IRAN ATTACK PLANS READY IF NEEDED By Robert Burns Associated Press November 8, 2007

    4. War stories; RESIGN, RETIRE, RENOUNCE By Fred Kaplan ** What should generals do if Bush orders a foolish attack on Iran? ** Slate October 17, 2007

    To TOP    of PAGE

    "A rumor is going about that we won't bomb Iran" (Oct 31 through Nov 12, 2007

    There's some useful commentary from 'Doug' (Part I) on an article from the Financial Times/London, "US strike on Iran 'not being prepared" (Part II). And there's another article, following that, "Attacking Iran for Israel?" (Part III) which is amazingly comprehensive review of the big personalities behind much of the decision making.
    Most interesting. IMHO: it's *still* touch and go - we *still* need to encourage the less hawkish brass to maintain at least the resistance they've shown up to now. And Doug's Sum-up and recommendations are worth noting.

          [ PART I ]      

    "A rumor is going about that we won't bomb Iran"

    From: To:
    Cc: Austin Against War
    Sent: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 8:48 am
    Subject: [iraq-meet] Re: [austinagainstwar] A rumor is going about that we won't bomb Iran

    Doug's ( Commentary:

    Much of the military leadership has been opposed to an attack on Iran for some time. It's the chicken-hawks in the Administration that are pushing for it. This article is Admiral William Fallon, head of Central Command, saying that an attack on Iran is not "in the offing". He's even saying that "the bellicose comments [by the administration!] are not particularly helpful".

    It's not Bush whose been pushing for war on Iran, but Cheney. Bush seems to be swaying in the breeze. Cheney tries to get him to say something bellicose, but Condi & the military try to push him the other way. Meanwhile, the interogators in Iraq are complaining that they are being told to get the internees to say that Iran is behind their attacks.

    The Administation totally revamped the military leadership in Iraq / Centcom this year because the generals in charge opposed an attack on Iran. Now retired, Generals Zinni & Abizaid (Fallon's predecessor) are arguing in public against a war on Iran. Fallon, is not able to be as forthright, being on active duty, but this article shows that even this lapdog they put in place is standing up to the pressure.

    General David Petraeus is still going along with the administration hawks, claiming Iran is behind attacks by the resistance in Iraq; that it is aiding Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, and the Taliban in Afghanistan -- both of which are violently anti-Shiite and are thus opposed by the Iranian government.

    Plans have been made in the Pentagon at various levels over the past year regarding attacks on Iran, and they keep on being leaked to the press -- a strong indication that some people in the military are trying to sabotage the plans.

    There is a high-stakes games between Cheney & his crew who are pushing for a war on Iran, and many others in the administration who strongly oppose one. It's hard to say whose going to win. That does not seem to be settled yet.

    Because of this division of opinion in the Administration, those outside the administration can have some effect on the outcome. This not only means Congress and the media, but also the antiwar movement.

    * Congress and the general public need to be constantly informed of the dangers of a war on Iran.

    * Those in the know need to be encouraged to leak information about possible plans for any attack preparations, not merely any attack.

    * Service members at all levels need to inform their superiors that they could not in conscience engage in any attack on Iraq.

    * The similarity of this campaign for war on Iran to the 2002-2003 campaign for a war on Iraq needs to be constantly presented to the general public.

    * The media needs to be criticized whenever it provides a biased presentation of the situation in Iran.

    + Ameninajad said that Israel should be wiped off the map like the USSR was -- i.e., peacefully through actions of its own people. He has never been reported to say that it should be militarily wiped off the map.

    + Reports on Iran's nuclear effort should ALWAYS distinguish their claim that they want low-enriched nuclear fuel for reactors from "Western" claims that they want highly enriched uranium for nuclear bombs.

    + Such reports should always note that the IAEA has found no evidence of either a program for highly enriched uranium nor any nuclear weapons program.

    + Any report repeating charges that Iran is supporting terrorists should also report claims, e.g. by Sy Hersh, that the US is supporting gr oups engaged in terrorism within and against Iran.

    + The fact that Iranian nuclear activities are being inspected on a regular basis by the IAEA should be contrasted with the fact that Israeli nuclear activities have never been inspected by the IAEA.

    + The charge that Iran might be able to build one nuclear weapon in some number of years should always be contrasted with the fact that Israel has had hundreds of nuclear weapons for several decades. Whenever such balance is not presented, the media outlet's ombudsman should be complained to, letters to the editor should stream in (for a print outlet), and comments should be left on web posted articles if permitted.

    [] More than demonstrations, what is needed now is a constant media drumbeat against war and the "reasons" for war. There should be numerous letters to the editor in every newspaper every week on the matter. Every member of Congress needs to be reminded daily why many of their constituents oppose an attack on Iran. Any federal government representative that addresses any public group on any subject should be confronted with the public's opposition to a third Bush war.

    [] It is not time now either to think that the danger is past and to let up on pressure, nor to think that the decision has been made and all is lost. On the contrary, we are at a very dangerous time -- but also a time when there is a possibility that we can change the future course of history.

    The Bush administration had decided on a war on Iraq by the summer of 2002. Even though we got millions of people on the streets to oppose it in Feb. 2003, there was no chance of preventing the war. The situation is different now. There is a struggle within the Administration -- reaching extremely high levels in t he military and in the civilian side of the executive branch -- as the referred-to article demonstrates.

    We do have a chance now to prevent an assault on Iran --preventing a calamity for US forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf; possible missile attacks on Israel; a possible collapse of the nuclear-armed government of Pakistan; greatly heightened danger of terrorism against US persons at home and abroad; deaths of numerous Iranian citizens; further supression of what liberties we still have; and further destruction of the Constitution.

    Please do everything you can over the next 14 months to prevent a war on Iran and to get strong public opposition to such a war --realizing that certain extreme actions would turn significant sectors of the public against us and our cause, which would ease the way for the war hawks to push their program through.

          [ PART II ]      

    US strike on Iran 'not being prepared'
    By By Demetri Sevastopulo, Daniel Dombey and Andrew Ward in Washington
    Sunday Nov 11 2007 19:05

          [ PART III ]      

    10/31/07 - Attacking Iran for Israel?

    Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is at her mushroom-cloud hyperbolic best, and this time Iran is the target.

    By Ray McGovern

    10/31/07 "ICH' -- -- Her claim last week that “the policies of Iran constitute perhaps the single greatest challenge to American security interests in the Middle East and around the world” is simply too much of a stretch...

    To TOP    of PAGE

    3/17/08 - General William Odom Says Congress Should Impeach and Stop Funding the Occupation

    AUDIO: General William Odom Says Congress Should Impeach and Stop Funding the Occupation
    Interview with David Swanson

    To TOP    of PAGE

    4/08/08 Iraq on verge of new maelstrom as Petraeus, Crocker talk of 'progress'

    While U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker "play[ed] down Iran's sometimes positive role in the Iraqi dynamics" in their Senate testimony Tuesday, they "seemed to overplay the political progress in Iraq during the period when 'surged' U.S. forces and a new U.S. counter-insurgency strategy had contributed to a drop in overall violence," McClatchy Newspapers reported Tuesday.[1]  --  Iran continues to act to restrain the parties in the intra-Shiite violence, Leila Fadel said.  --  But AFP reported that on Tuesday, as U.S.-backed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki promised a continuing campaign against militias in Iraq, Moqtada al-Sadr was threatening to end his eight-month-long ceasefire.[2]  --Mark]


    By Leila Fadel

    McClatchy Newspapers
    April 8, 2008



    Agence France-Presse
    April 8, 2008

    To TOP    of PAGE

    4/17/08 - ANALYSIS: Iraq war 'major debacle,' new Pentagon assessment says

    [An important Pentagon study of the Iraq war was released Thursday by the National Defense Institute, McClatchy Newspapers reported.[1]  --  The 60-page study, entitled *Choosing War: The Decision to Invade Iraq and Its Aftermath*, ( is by Joseph Collins, a former senior Pentagon official who holds a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia, and published by the National Institute for Strategic Studies, and it opens with this sentence:  "Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle."  --  Like economist Joseph Stiglitz in his recent book, Collins noted that "No one as yet has calculated the costs of long-term veterans' benefits or the total impact on service personnel and matériel." --  "[T]he outcome of the war is in doubt," said the report.  --  Collins writes that "For many analysts (including this one), Iraq remains a 'must win,' but for many others, despite obvious progress under General David Petraeus and the surge, it now looks like a 'can't win.'"  --  Neither the *New York Times* nor the *Washington Post* took immediate notice of the study.  --  A Google News search indicated that as of late Thursday McClatchy was the only mainstream media outlet to cover it.  --Mark]

    By Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott

    McClatchy Newspapers
    April 17, 2008

    To read the report noted in the article:

    To TOP    of PAGE

    4/24/08 PTSD (political) VA lied about vets' suicide attempt (12,000 a year vs. "800")

    Murray: VA lied about vets' suicide attempts
    By Les Blumenthal
    McClatchy Newspapers
    Thursday, April 24, 2008 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

    WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs has lied about the number of veterans who have attempted suicide, Sen. Patty Murray said Wednesday, citing internal e-mails that put the number at 12,000 a year while the department was publicly saying it was fewer than 800.

    "The suicide rate is a red alarm bell to all of us," said Murray, D-Wash., adding that the VA's mental-health programs are being overwhelmed by Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans as the department seeks to downplay the situation. "We are not your enemy, we are your support team, and unless we get accurate information, we can't be there to do our jobs."

    Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gordon Mansfield apologized during a Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing, saying he did not think there was a deliberate attempt to mislead Congress or the public.

    But Murray was skeptical, saying the VA has shown a pattern of misleading Congress when it comes to the increasing number of soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan seeking help and putting a strain on Department of Defense and VA facilities and programs.

    Murray said she spoke with VA Secretary James Peake and demanded that he fire the man in charge of the department's mental-health programs, Dr. Ira Katz. The senator said Peake has not responded to the request.

    "I used to teach preschool, and when you bring up a 3-year-old and tell them they have to stop lying, they understand the consequences," Murray said. "The VA doesn't. They need to stop hiding the fact this war is costing us in so many ways."

    The e-mails, uncovered as part of a class-action lawsuit filed against the VA in San Francisco, was reported by CBS News on Monday.

    "Our suicide-prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among the veterans we see in our medical facilities," Katz wrote in a Feb. 13 e-mail to Ev Chasen, the department's communication director. "Is this something we should [carefully] address ourselves in some sort of release before someone stumbles on it?"

    Chasen responded: "I think this is something we should discuss among ourselves, before issuing a press release. Is the fact we are stopping them good news, or is the sheer number bad news? And is this more than we have ever seen before?"

    CBS reported that the VA earlier had provided it with data showing 790 attempted suicides in all of 2007.

    A definition of what constituted a suicide attempt was not offered.

    Murray said she was "angry and upset" with the VA. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said he, too, was troubled. Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, earlier had called for Katz's resignation.


    "How do we trust what you are saying when every time we turn around we find out that what you are saying publicly is different from what you are saying privately?" Murray asked Mansfield. "How can we trust what you are saying today?"

    Mansfield responded that the situation was unfortunate and did not "send the right message" to Congress or the public.

    "I know Dr. Katz is a dedicated public servant," he said. "There isn't a lot the VA should be keeping secret."

    Murray pointed to a RAND Corp. study released last week that showed 320,000 troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan reported a probable traumatic brain injury and 300,000 troops have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression.

    Of those with PTSD or depression, Murray said, about half have sought treatment and only half of those have received treatment that was "minimally" adequate.

    "I think we ought to be worried," Murray said. As with Vietnam War-era vets, she noted that some of the violent symptoms might not show up for many years.

    "They can be walking time bombs for decades," Murray said. "I hope everyone in the VA understands this."

    Mansfield said the VA is spending $3 billion on mental-health programs this fiscal year and has 17,000 mental-health workers.

    "We want to make sure we take care of these individuals," he said.

    To TOP    of PAGE

    4/26/08 - Pentagon 'suspends' propaganda system using retired military 'analysts'

    NEWS: Pentagon 'suspends' propaganda system using retired military 'analysts'

    Summary by Mark Jensen After the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said in a speech Thursday that it "hurt [him] to the core" that retired military officers who were rewarded with special access for pushing the Pentagon's line in media, as revealed ( last week by the *New York Times*, were "essentially prostitut[ing] themselves on the basis of their previous positions within the Department of Defense," the principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs announced Friday that he had "directed my staff to halt, to suspend the activities that may be ongoing with retired military analysts to give me time to review the situation," *Stars and Stripes* reported Saturday.[1] --  Introducing a new book on the military-industrial complex, Tom Engelhardt wrote:  "It's hardly surprising that taxpayer dollars in amounts that would have staggered Croesus have led to a revolving-door system of rampant corruption; more surprising is just how much that system is linked into your everyday life."[2]  --  Nick Turse's *The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives* ( a "new military-industrial-technological-entertainment-academic-scientific-media-intelligence-homeland security-surveillance-national security-corporate complex that has truly taken hold of America."  --Mark]



    Stars and Stripes April 26, 2008


    2. THE REAL MATRIX By Nick Turse

    ** The Pentagon Invades Your Life ** April 24, 2008

    [Introduction by Tom Engelhardt]


    3. THE REAL MATRIX By Nick Turse

    ** The Pentagon Invades Your Life ** April 24, 2008

    To TOP    of PAGE

    5/06/08 - With little notice, a military insider critiques what went wrong in Iraq

    U.S. soldiers sit on top of their tanks near the southern Iraqi city of Karbala in 2003. A new report by a military insider says the war in Iraq "has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle."

    REUTERS/Peter AndrewsU.S. soldiers sit on top of their tanks near the southern Iraqi city of Karbala in 2003. A new report by a military insider says the war in Iraq "has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle."

    By Frank Wright

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    For decades Joseph J. Collins was the model military insider — but no longer.

    He served in the U.S. Army for almost 28 years, retiring as a colonel in 1998. Along the way he earned a bachelor's degree, two masters and, from Columbia, a doctorate in political science. When he failed to make general he quietly went off to do research as a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, one of Washington's most highly regarded, somewhat right-of-center think tanks. After 9/11 he was recalled to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, this time as the deputy assistant secretary for stability operations.

    Assignment: the invasion of Iraq. He did that job until 2004, winning the department's Medal for Distinguished Public Service, its highest civilian award.

    Obviously good at his work, he now teaches future generals and senior civilian officials as a professor at the Pentagon's War College.

    Collins is quiet no more, however. Now that Rumsfeld is gone as his boss, Collins has gone public with an extensively researched and footnoted paper — titled "Choosing War: The Decision to Invade Iraq and Its Aftermath" (PDF) — that is the strongest and most thorough critique yet of the invasion and its aftermath from a senior Bush administration official.

    He pulls no punches. In the opening sentence he says, "Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle."

    You get the picture. Not something you would expect from a veteran who sees himself as one of those analysts for whom Iraq remains a "must win" in contrast to others who, he says, view the war as a "can't win." But there it is.

    Collins never lets up, flaying the administration for faulty assumptions in deciding to invade, flawed planning and continuing failure despite progress during the surge to create satisfactory conditions for stabilizing, reconstructing and governing the society under Iraqi control.

    "It is arguable whether the Iraqis will develop the wherewithal to create ethnic reconciliation and build a coherent national government. It is clear, however, the United States and its partners have not done enough to create conditions in which such a development could take place," he says.

    "With the best of intentions, the United States toppled a vile, dangerous regime but has been unable to replace it with a stable entity. Mistakes in the Iraq operation cry out for improvements in U.S. decision-making and policy execution systems. These improvements will require major changes in the legislative and executive branches, as well as in interagency processes."

    Despite these criticisms, Collins favors no abrupt pullout from Iraq. "...[T]he only thing worse than an Iraq with an American army may be an Iraq after the rapid withdrawal of that army."

    Collins describes in great detail U.S. shortcomings and follows with a series of recommendations on how to do it better next time.

    Unfortunately, his study attracted little mainstream media attention when it was released in April. But if it came to the attention of the candidates running for president this year it could provide a blueprint for that next time, which many believe is a certainty in this day of rogue states, failed nations and so-called terrorist organizations.

    Joseph J. Collins

    Defense Department photo by Helene C. StikkelThen Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability Operations Joseph J. Collins shows reporters a new vinyl wrapper for humanitarian daily rations at a Pentagon news briefing Feb. 25, 2003.

    Meanwhile, just days after Collins' paper surfaced with little notice, national media were giving front-page coverage to the latest Bush administration effort to rev the "military option" against Iran. Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation's top military officer, was saying that the Pentagon is planning for "potential military courses of action." He told a press conference that while it would be "extremely stressing" to start another war, "it would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability."

    As if to underscore those comments, the Pentagon almost immediately sent a second aircraft carrier into the Persian Gulf, offshore from Iran.

    The decision to invade Iraq
    Collins, the insider who watched it happen, confirms many of the claims by outside critics.

    After 9/11, when the new President Bush embraced his pre-emptive war doctrine and described Iraq, along with North Korea and Iran, as the "axis of evil," the stage was being set. "The doorway to war was wide open," Collins says. Planning for regime change had been underway at the Pentagon since November 200l by the president's direct order to Rumsfeld. Collins was there, drafted to help make it happen.

    By then, everyone who mattered in the decision-making, especially Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld believed that Saddam Hussein had arsenals and stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and an active nuclear weapons program and that the tyrant had to go, in Collins' view.

    Rumsfeld took tight hands-on control of invasion planning, unique for a defense secretary. He wanted "a quick, lightning-like operation in Iraq, followed by a swift handover of power to the Iraqis" and a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces. He wanted a small force that could get the job done quickly and get out.

    As a result, he placed little emphasis on what would happen after Saddam was toppled, in effect ignoring Collins' specialty as an after-shooting planner. "Long, costly, manpower-intensive postcombat operations were anathema to Rumsfeld."

    To pressure his military commander, Gen. Tommy Franks, to do it his way, Rumsfeld required frequent face-to-face briefings at which he constantly reinforced his demands and, between briefings, sent a constant storm of memos, known in the Pentagon as Rumsfeld's "snowflakes."

    The secretary regularly pushed aside those, including Franks, who felt more troops would be needed to take charge of Iraq after its military was defeated and Saddam was no more. The final plan, for 140,000 troops, was one-third the size of the force on the military's normal contingency-planning shelf when Bush came to power.

    Bush and the Joint Chiefs readily bought into Rumsfeld's cut-rate plan. "None of them brought up any misgivings."

    Two wars, not one
    Toppling Saddam was easy, as we all know. It took just a few weeks, starting in March 2003. Some in the Pentagon were saying that by August the invasion force could be down to 25,000 or so, according to Collins. But then ...

    "In May 2003, war A was ending, but war B was about to begin. We had a complex, flexible plan for war A but no such plan for war B." The military "had not prepared for insurgency and took more than a year to adjust well in the field." Collins goes on. "Political development and progress continue to lag behind military efforts." From 2003 to 2007 "reconstruction and stabilization activities made even slower progress than military operations."

    To this day, Collins says, "there remains ... a very limited capacity to execute meaningful reconstruction. Many projects never left the drawing board because of lack of security or capacity. Corruption and inefficiency also complicate everything. Billions have been spent with little return.

    "Iraqi capacity to even accept and operate and maintain completed projects has been pathetic."  He cites a recent U.S. government report showing that after the U.S. spent nearly $6 billion and completed nearly 3,000 projects, the new government of Iraq took possession of "just 435 of them worth only half a billion dollars." The rest remain idle or have been turned over to weak local governments.

    Why it went wrong
    In hindsight, Collins says, the bad decisions and bad execution included:

    • The problems of occupying a fractious Muslim country the size of California were underestimated.

    • U.S. civilian and military plans for stabilizing the country and reconstructing it were ineffective.

    • U.S. military forces on the scene were too small and reacted poorly to the rioting and looting in the "immediate postconflict environment," encouraging lawlessness and insurgency.

    • Occupation forces were inadequate to secure Iraq, further encouraging insurgency.

    • Civil and military response to the insurgency was too slow.

    • U.S. funding for reconstruction was too problematic and too slow.

    • Disbanding of the Iraqi military and outlawing of the Baath political party alienated the Sunni minority.

    • Development of new Iraqi security forces was too slow and often ineffective.

    • The inability to provide enough trained U.S. diplomats, civilian officials and aid workers to conduct effective reconstruction and stabilization activities.

    Underlying all these mistakes, according to Collins, was a series of flawed assumptions — "one of the most significant factors in our postwar policy." They were based on wishful thinking, stress, predispositions and bad intelligence, among other factors.

    "The core assumption held by many leaders in the national security establishment was that the war would be difficult, the peace relatively easy and the occupation short and inexpensive." Given that assumption, "the amount of time and effort spent on the major combat operation war plan was impressive; the amount of time and effort placed on postwar planning was relatively slight in comparison."

    It was assumed there would be huge numbers of refugees and displaced persons, dispersing the population and making organized civilian resistance difficult. Didn't happen.

    It was assumed the invaders would be seen short-and-long-term as liberators, not occupiers. Didn't happen.

    It was assumed the Iraqi people were so hungry for human rights and democracy that they would uniformly put aside the urge to settle old scores or divide along ethnic or sectarian terms. Not so.

    It was widely believed that without Saddam Iraq could come together and with its vast oil reserves fund its own reconstruction. Not so.

    It was assumed that the Iraqi army, police and ministries would be professional, capable, malleable and able to assist in the birth of a new Iraq. "None of these things turned out to be true."

    "Sadly," Collins says, "much of the postinvasion state of affairs had been predicted. Many government and civilian experts had spoken well and loudly about the dangers of postwar Iraq, but their warnings were not heeded." His among them? The good soldier does not say.

    Collins puts much of the blame for the continuing problems in Iraq on the failure to provide enough troops on the ground — U.S., allied or Iraqi — to control the country and create the security needed for governance and reconstruction.

    The United States, he says, "still does not have the ground troops in its base force to support the kind of troop rotations and in-country force levels necessary to create an appropriate level of security that, in turn, could help to move us in the direction of political success in the insurgency."

    Despite the military progress shown by the addition of the 30,000 surge troops, Collins says, "We still await political progress — the ultimate goal and one that is entirely in Iraqi hands."

    Collins is also highly critical of the Bush administration's failure to attract partners for the Iraq adventure, except for Britain. "This can be laid at the feet of the president and the people who dominated the national security apparatus," meaning Cheney and Rumsfeld, according to Collins.

    In relations with Congress and allies, "senior U.S. national security officials exhibited in many instances an imperious attitude, exerting power and pressure where diplomacy and bargaining might have had a better effect. The U.S. executive branch "was often seen as trying to be lord and master, instead of primus inter pares (first among equals).

    "In the end, the failure to partner successfully increased friction among Defense, State and CIA, increased partisan bickering with an already fractious Congress, complicated the detainee policy, lowered allied participation in Iraq and hurt U.S. standing abroad."

    Recommendations for next time
    Collins proposes numerous changes, some of them costing a lot of money:

    • Develop a new national charter broadly outlining how contingency plans for possible future complex military confrontations are to be put together and by whom. The United States does not have one. Early in Bush's administration the National Security Council staff drafted a proposal, only to have it blocked by the Pentagon in the interests of preserving cabinet officer's (read that Rumsfeld) freedom of action and retaining military control.

    • Improve planning between agencies. Too little is shared these days.

    • Improve execution of plans for postwar reconstruction and humanitarian assistance, including creation of a new corps of civilian specialists that would largely replace the military in this task. This would require making postwar planning as important as war planning and make the State Department and its Agency for International Development more important in implementing postwar projects.

    • Turn allies into full partners. Meaning we no longer can do Iraqs all on our own. "In Iraq the United States continues to pay a stiff price for its decisive, nearly unilateral action in 2003. the future bringing the allies in before the takeoff may make for a more complicated flight but a smoother landing."

    Collins councils caution about future wars of choice. The U.S. record in such wars — Vietnam and Iraq — "contains more than a few defeats or Pyrrhic victories. In the greater war on terror, the United States cannot forswear wars of choice or disregard conflicts...."

    However, he urges, we should listen first to Winston Churchill, who said: "Let us learn our lessons. Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events."

    In other words, beware of the war you wish for. You may not get it.

    Frank Wright, former managing editor and foreign correspondent for the Star Tribune, writes about foreign and national affairs.

    [===] ===[  ]=== [===]

    The NY Times  May 4, 2008  Op-Ed Contributor

    Time to Cut the Cord  



    THE most important thing we can do to help the Iraqis and ourselves is to recognize - and reverse - the seminal mistake that followed the quick destruction of Saddam Hussein's murderous regime: the foolish (however well-meaning) and arrogant belief that we know better than the Iraqis how to rebuild their devastated society.  Some of our technical assistance has certainly been useful, but for five years, we have been telling the Iraqis how to construct a political and legal system, how to elect their leaders, who should occupy which cabinet posts, who should be their prime minister, how to develop and allocate their resources, how to organize and regulate their economy. We have been telling Iraqi Shiites how they should deal with Iraqi Kurds and Sunnis, how an independent Iraq should relate to the Arab world, how Iraqis should reconcile sectarian differences, when to negotiate, when to fight and how to measure progress.

    Stop! Iraqis know far better than we what makes sense for them. When administration officials and members of Congress, with their diplomatic, intelligence and political advisers - whose knowledge of Iraq is often recent, shallow and wrong - hector and lecture the Iraqis who are struggling to find a way forward, I wonder whether we have

    learned anything from our past mistakes.    

    RICHARD PERLE was an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and  is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

    To TOP    of PAGE

    Sept-Oct 2009 - Summarys & Links, McChrystal, Obama, Afghanistan Policy precipitates 'crisis'

    September 11, 2009 to October 5, 2009

    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: [snow-news] AP,WP,NYT,AW: 'Long-war mafia' ganging up on Obama in AfPak debate
    Date: Tue, 6 Oct 2009 00:12:53 -0700
    From: Mark Jensen <>

    NEWS & COMMENTARY: 'Long-war mafia' ganging up on Obama in AfPak debate

    [The White House, which in other contexts likes to say that all options are on the table, on Monday ruled out "the option to leave" Afghanistan, AP reported.[1]  --  Also on Monday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in a speech at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army that "it is imperative that all of us taking part in these deliberations -- civilians and military alike -- provide our best advice to the president candidly but privately," the *Washington Post* reported.[2]  --  But this remark came on the same day AP reported Gate's advice:  "The Taliban has the momentum in Afghanistan now because of the inability of the United States and its allies to put enough troops into the country, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Monday."[3]  --  Also on Monday, the *New York Times* reported "speculation in Washington about whether General Petraeus [whom it referred to as "the face of the Iraq troop surge"] might seek the presidency in 2012."[4]  --  The *New York Times* pretending it is unaware of the civilian-military dissension, referring to Gen. Stanley McChrystal as President Obama's "handpicked . . . public face for the war in Afghanistan."  --  But in an commentary on Tuesday, Jeff Huber said the obvious:  "[Gen. McChrystal] and his allies in the long-war mafia [are] waging information warfare against President Barack Obama, a campaign that has led to a call from the right-wing fringe for a military coup to solve 'the Obama problem.'"[5]  --  Scott Wilson reported in a blog on the *Washington Post* website that Obama will "spend most of his week" on "what to do in Afghanistan," with "meetings scheduled for Wednesday and Friday at the White House, where Obama will meet with senior national security advisers and military leaders."[6]  --Mark]

    By Ben Feller
    ** White House spokesman says Obama not considering withdrawal from Afghanistan **
    Associated Press
    October 5, 2009

    By Ann Scott Tyson and Scott Wilson
    Washington Post
    October 6, 2009

    By Alan Elsner
    Associated Press
    October 5, 2009

    4. Military memo
    By Elisabeth Bumiller
    New York Times
    October 4, 2009

    By Jeff Huber
    October 6, 2009

    44: The Obama presidency
    National security
    By Scott Wilson
    Washington Post
    October 5, 2009

    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: [snow-news] T,NYT: Obama 'furious' at McChrystal's high-profile insubordination
    Date: Mon, 5 Oct 2009 00:38:27 -0700
    From: Mark Jensen <>

    NEWS: Obama 'furious' at McChrystal's high-profile insubordination

    [The London *Telegraph* reported Monday that "Some commentators regarded [Gen. Stanley McChrystal's] London comments [last week] as verging on insubordination," and said that "sources closes to the administration" said that President Obama was "furious," confronting him directly in a one-on-one interview aboard Air Force One.[1]  --  The *Washington Post* quoted Bruce Ackerman, a Yale constitutional law expert, who said:  "As commanding general, McChrystal has no business making such public pronouncements."  --  The *New York Times* noted late Sunday that the president's national security advisor called McChrystal's recommdation "his opinion" but refrained from conveying Obama's ire at the general's insubordinate behavior.[2]  --Mark]

    By Alex Spillius

    By Joseph Berger
    New York Times
    October 4, 2009

    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: [snow-news] NYT,IPS: McChrystal precipitates 'crisis in US Afghan policy' but denies rift with Obama
    Date: Wed, 23 Sep 2009 21:54:40 -0700
    From: Mark Jensen <>

    NEWS COMMENTARY: McChrystal precipitates 'crisis in US Afghan policy' but denies rift with Obama

    [On Wednesday Gen. Stanley McChrystal gave an interview to the *New York Times* in order, he said, to quell rumors of a rift between military commanders and the Obama administration.[1]  --  McChrystal said "unequivocally that I have not considered resigning at all," as has been suggested ( in many commentaries, some citing high military sources.  --  McChrystal said "that he was committed to carrying out whatever mission Mr. Obama approved," Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt reported.  --  But commentator Gareth Porter was not convinced.  --  Writing for Inter Press Service, he argued that the leak of McChrystal's assessment in the *Washington Post* "was part of an obvious effort to force the hand of a reluctant President Barack Obama to agree to a significant increase in U.S. troops."[2]  --  Porter's analysis discussed "fundamental socio-political realities that raise serious questions about the feasibility of the counter-insurgency program," relying on a copy of the "Integrated Civilian-Military Campaign Plan for Afghanistan" the IPA had obtained, which is even more frank and pessimistic than the assessment leaked to Bob Woodward.  --  Porter called the "degree of realism" in both reports "highly unusual, if not unparalleled, in U.S. military policymaking" and said they have precipitated "a crisis in U.S. Afghan policy."  --Mark]

    By Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt
    New York Times
    September 23, 2009
    Only url for this given (sorry): (

    By Gareth Porter
    Asia Times Online
    September 24, 2009

    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: [snow-news] F,CBS: McChrystal has requested 30-40k more troops in Afghanistan
    Date: Sat, 19 Sep 2009 08:10:41 -0700
    From: Mark Jensen <>

    NEWS: McChrystal has requested 30-40,000 more troops in Afghanistan -- Fox, CBS

    [Citing "sources," Fox News reported Wednesday that "Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is privately requesting between 30,000 and 40,000 more troops."[1]  --  Other media did not cite Fox's report, but CBS News did report that McChrystal's request is for "tens of thousands more troops," which "would push the total number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan over 100,000."[2]  --Mark]

    Fox News
    September 16, 2009,2933,551120,00.html

    By Katie Couric and David Martin
    CBS News
    September 16, 2009

    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: [snow-news] ATO: NATO's real goal in Afghanistan is to stay in Afghanistan
    Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2009 17:47:19 -0700
    From: Mark Jensen <>

    ANALYSIS: NATO's real goal in Afghanistan is to stay in Afghanistan

    [The central issue in the current conjuncture of U.S. Afghanistan policy is "whether the U.S. really wants a credible central government in Kabul, which is bound to act independently, lest that undermine Washington's hidden agenda in the war," former Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar wrote in analysis published by Asia Times Online Saturday.[1]  --  There are signs that "NATO's continuance in Afghanistan is an objective in itself" that trumps the various justifications given by U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama:  strengthing Afghan security, fighting al-Qaeda, helping Afghan society, etc.  --  It "would seem," Bhadrakumar wrote, that NATO's presence in Afghanistan is an end, not a means.  --  NATO's new secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said this week:  "The public discourse has started to go in the wrong direction . . . We must stay in Afghanistan as long as necessary, and we will stay as long as necessary.  Let no one think that a run for the exits is an option.  It is not."  --  However, wrote Bhadrakumar, "Old Europeans see no reason why their youth should go and die in the Hindu Kush mountains to subserve the geopolitical agenda regarding NATO expansion.  Rasmussen's outburst shows the hour of truth has come."  --Mark]

    By M.K. Bhadrakumar
    Asia Times Online
    September 12, 2009

    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: [snow-news] AP: McChrystal contradicts Adam Smith, says no large al-Qaeda presence in Afghanistan
    Date: Sat, 12 Sep 2009 00:07:20 -0700
    From: Mark Jensen <>

    NEWS: McChrystal contradicts Adam Smith, says no large al-Qaeda presence in Afghanistan

    [Confirming Chris Dowd's view ( that "Everything that appears in our mainstream media about foreign policy is blather," on the same day that Adam Smith (D-WA 9th) told the *News Tribune* ( (Tacoma, WA) that "[Afghanistan] is ground zero for al-Qaida.  They are still there, they are still plotting against the West," and that "we have to give General McChrystal what he needs to get the job done,’ Gen. McChrystal told the Associated Press:  "I do not see indications of a large al-Qaida presence in Afghanistan now."  --  Smith made his remark shortly after his return from Afghanistan, where McChrystal had briefed him personally.  --  McChrystal had the gall to compare Afghanistan, which has been devastated by U.S. foreign policy decisions with deaths numbering in the millions, to a used car owned by the U.S.:  "My position here is a little bit like a mechanic.  We've got a situation with a vehicle and I've been asked to look at it and tell the owner what the situation is and what it will cost to make the vehicle run correctly and I will provide that.  Now I understand that the vehicle owner then has to make a decision on what the car is worth, how much longer he intends to drive it.  Whether he wants it to look good or just run."  --Mark]

    By Mike Corder
    ** U.S. commander McChrystal sees no signs of major al-Qaida presence in Afghanistan **
    Associated Press
    September 11, 2009

    [emailed same day:]

    NEWS: Adam Smith, 'rising force in nat'l security,' says 'give McChrystal what he needs to get job done'

    [Faced with growing doubts within Democratic ranks to his failing Afghanistan policy, President Obama is delaying a decision on further troop increases there, the *New York Times* reported Friday.[1]  --  A delay offers "the political advantage of pushing down the road a split within Mr. Obama´s party while he is trying to build coalitions for overhauling the health care system," Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger said.  --  But the expressions of opposition are tentative and tepid; Adam Smith (D-WA 9th), for example, told the *Times* he had not yet decided, but then added:  "But my general position is we have to give General McChrystal what he needs to get the job done.’  --  Remarks by Smith to the *News Tribune* (Tacoma, WA) left little doubt that the Washington State member of both the House Armed Services and Intelligence Committees would support troop increases; he told Les Blumenthal that "[Afghanistan] is ground zero for al-Qaida.  They are still there, they are still plotting against the West.  We have to deal with that threat.  As much as we would like to avoid it, we can´t.’[2]  --  Such statements have earned Smith favor:  "As a member of the House Intelligence Committee and the chairman of the House armed service subcommittee that oversees special operations forces, Smith has become a rising force in national security issues on Capitol Hill," the *News Tribune* said.  --  Smith told the Tacoma paper that "We don´t want to occupy or control" Afghanistan.  --  Perhaps he meant something like:  'We don't need to occupy or control Afghanistan, since, in accordance with U.S. policy throughout the post-WWII period, we aim to ensure access to markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources for American economic interests without undertaking occupation; but if necessary, we are prepared to do so.'  --  In any case, it's hard to hear much doubt in Smith's remarks.  --Mark]

    By Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger
    New York Times
    September 11, 2009 (posted Sept. 10)

    [PHOTO ( CAPTION: American soldiers fired mortar shells at Taliban fighters on Thursday in Kandagal, Afghanistan.]

    By Les Blumenthal
    News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)
    September 11, 2009

    Les Blumenthal: 202-383-0008

    To TOP    of PAGE

    6/22/10 - Rolling Stone: THE RUNAWAY GENERAL - Stanley McChrystal ...has seized control of the war...

    Mark Jensen Commentary
    BACKGROUND: Has McChrystal, 'highly intelligent badass' turned 'runaway general,' gone too far?

    [A pungent personal profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal in the latest number of *Rolling Stone* (sporting a cover photograph of an all-but-nude Lady Gaga) revealed Tuesday that the staff of the commanding U.S. officer in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is "a handpicked collection of killers, spies, geniuses, patriots, political operators, and outright maniacs" who refer to themselves as "Team America, taking the name from the South Park-esque sendup of military cluelessness, and they pride themselves on their can-do attitude and their disdain for authority."  --  They are shown getting "completely shitfaced" in a Paris pub as "[t]wo officers do an Irish jig mixed with steps from a traditional Afghan wedding dance, while McChrystal's top advisers lock arms and sing a slurred song of their own invention.  'Afghanistan!' they bellow.  'Afghanistan!'  They call it their Afghanistan song."  --  At this point in the account, Hastings writes:  "McChrystal steps away from the circle, observing his team.  'All these men,' he tells me.  'I'd die for them.  And they'd die for me.'"  --  McChrystal is a demigod for warmongers (in Pepe Escobar's words), and is "adored" by his most aggressive troops, Hastings said.  --  "Where Gen. Petraeus is kind of a dweeb, a teacher's pet with a Ranger's tab, McChrystal is a snake-eating rebel, a 'Jedi' commander, as *Newsweek* called him. He didn't care when his teenage son came home with blue hair and a mohawk."  --  When McChrystal was at West Point in the early 1970s, he published fiction about a character who "appears to be trying to stop a plot to assassinate the president.  It turns out, however, that the narrator himself is the assassin, and he's able to infiltrate the White House."  --  According to Hastings, McChrystal's 'Team America is "the most powerful force shaping U.S. policy in Afghanistan," but members like to "talk shit about many of Obama's top people on the diplomatic side."  --  Only Hillary Clinton gets good marks from McChrystal's staff, because she says that "If Stan wants it, give him what he needs."  --  NOTE:  McChrystal is said to be presently "gear[ing] up for an offensive in southern Afghanistan."  --  COMMENT: This article is not a serious analysis of the situation in Afghanistan, cast as it is in terms of "Afghans" and "the Taliban" and never mentioning Afghanistan's ethnic make-up.  --  As a rule of thumb, one can dismiss analyses that fail to use the word "Pashtun."  --  As for celebrity journalism featuring military officers, politically it is profoundly unhealthy.  --Mark]

     By Michael Hastings

     ** Stanley McChrystal, Obama's top commander in Afghanistan, has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House **

     Rolling Stone
     June 22, 2010
     Pages 90-97 & 120-21

     --This article appears in RS 1108/1109 from July 8-22, 2010, on newsstands Friday, June 25.

     "How'd I get screwed into going to this dinner?" demands Gen. Stanley McChrystal.  It's a Thursday night in mid-April, and the commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan is sitting in a four-star suite at the Hôtel Westminster in Paris.  He's in France to sell his new war strategy to our NATO allies -- to keep up the fiction, in essence, that we actually have allies.  Since McChrystal took over a year ago, the Afghan war has become the exclusive property of the United States.  Opposition to the war has already toppled the Dutch government, forced the resignation of Germany's president, and sparked both Canada and the Netherlands to announce the withdrawal of their 4,500 troops.  McChrystal is in Paris to keep the French, who have lost more than 40 soldiers in Afghanistan, from going all wobbly on him.

     "The dinner comes with the position, sir," says his chief of staff, Col. Charlie Flynn.

     McChrystal turns sharply in his chair.

     "Hey, Charlie," he asks, "does this come with the position?"

     McChrystal gives him the middle finger.

     The general stands and looks around the suite that his traveling staff of 10 has converted into a full-scale operations center.  The tables are crowded...

    My Commentary:

    Hi Mark,

        re: "...This article is not a serious analysis..."
            You know, actually, this article has everything a strategist/analyst needs to determine who's doing what and why, from the president on down through the ranks in Afghanistan. I mean, from a psychological point of view... it's personalities who express - in their physical actions and words, what they are doing "on the ground." When you compare what they say, how they say it to whom and when, you can gleen, come to understand the contradictions within, and you also can see the trends over time of interractions between aspects of authority and basic action.
         That can be pretty much all you need to determine where someone is headed.  McChrystal is a learner, a surviver, a thinker (philosophically astute) and a gut-feeler, someone developing an awareness that creates a great degree of inner conflict - and he consciously deals with paradox. A veritable genius in terms of 'how many kinds of smart' he has (and I think Obama recognises & appreciates this). How many lives he is willing to sacrifice to accomplish what he believes are the ideals of *the America he wants to believe in* is what separates him from the non-violence-based peace-makers. -Of Course.- However... how well Petraeus handles the complexity (with an Obama campaign in Afghanistan) that McCrystal has recognized and revealed in his own words...
        I mean, we ARE there, and (so said, official PR, corporate confluence aside to some degree) in a transition between where we've been in the Middle East, and where Obama says we want to go (a relatively terrorist-free peace-based relationship with the MiddleEast AND Pakistan/India), Obama wants to create a *world view* -via his policy/approach in Afghanistan- that the Taliban can't win the populous by/with their extremist demands on the people that foster relationships with terrorists, thereby winning over the Pakistani's and bridging their 'gap' with India as well. Of course this would have an impressive yet intimidating effect on neighboring Iran - and others in a Muslimworld which would still very much seem to believe in the rule of autocratic authoritarianism.
         Compare that to the Bushies approach, not that Project for a New American Century still doesn't have it's influence - again per the personalities of those still in positions of influence, thanks to PNAC and crew. Which fact, I believe, IS part of what influences Obama's decisions when dealing with the Pentagon and intel branches, not to mention the courts. With great respect for someone who is prolific in his reading and most useful summaries (which I still brag about in posts to my own list), yet spreads his energies over a great many realms of peace & justice political activism, I invite you to re-read or re-think (as applicable to your style of analysis) this article again with that in mind. [This is not to side-step the peace-maker's role, the organizers of which apparently are decided  on (or given in to) an approach that simplifies all the above (trying to recover the burnt-out and Obamatized) into a relatively few approaches to the insidiously societally-permiating military/ corporate-economic/ political world.]

    Chris Pringer
    PS: don't be surprised you see some version of the above added to the essays at the "HEARTS & MINDS Strategy for Afghani/Pakistan" web page. (Since, other than a quick note at facebook last night, I developed my thoughts about this as I was writing to you above. And so I consider you a collaborator in this little brain-storm. <smile>) On the other hand, to the degree I'm accurate, maybe I'm giving away the farm (?)

    To TOP    of PAGE

    6/22/10 - Obama's Real McChrystal Problem: Afghanistan Plan in Trouble

     Published on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 by
    Obama's Real McChrystal Problem: Afghanistan Plan in Trouble
    by Glenn Thrush

    Gen. Stanley McChrystal's MacArthur Moment was more than an embarrassment for the White House - it was a reminder of just how badly Barack Obama's "good war" in Afghanistan is going. The challenge facing Obama in responding to Gen. Stanley McChrystal has an obvious parallel in Harry Truman´s firing of Douglas MacArthur at the height of the Korean War.

    But it may actually be more comparable to a more chronic presidential leadership crisis...

    To TOP    of PAGE

    6/23/10 - Obama sacks McChrystal; Petraeus will lead US troops in Afghanistan

    ------- Original Message --------
    Subject: [snow-news] WP,AP,P: Obama sacks McChrystal; Petraeus will lead US troops in Afghanistan
    Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2010 16:22:03 -0700
    From: Mark Jensen <>

    NEWS: Obama sacks McChrystal; Petraeus will lead US troops in Afghanistan

    [The *Washington Post* reported Wednesday that President Barack Obama was "genuinely saddened, but resolute" in deciding to cashier Gen. Stanley McChrystal, his top military commander in Afghanistan, after a shocking *Rolling Stone* profile entitled "The Runaway General" ( revealed insubordination, divisiveness, and, in our opinion (though we haven't read yet anything about contemplated disciplinary action) conduct unbecoming an officer that was widespread and frequent among McChrystal's staff.[1]  --  The decision to replace McChrystal with politically ambitious Gen. David Petraeus was made with a view to ensuring "strategic continuity" in applying an Afpak policy that by most accounts is failing, though the administration insists that its "war strategy in Afghanistan is working," Michael Shear said.  --  Opinion about the decision among U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan is "split," the *Post* said in a separate article.[2]  --  In a retrospective analysis, AP's Steven Hurst presented the decision as inevitable, and said that "The real surprise Wednesday was that Obama persuaded four-star Gen. David Petraeus, who steered U.S. military fortunes in Iraq out of a dark place, to take over from McChrystal."[3]  --  Hurst said that in making the announcement of the change, Obama spoke "as emphatically as at any time in his presidency."  --  COMMENT:  Unmentioned in any of these articles is the astonishing report from publisher *Rolling Stone* that McChrystal had been informed of the quotes in the article as part of its ordinary fact-checking process and "the general did not object to or dispute any of the reporting."[4]  --Mark]

    1. Politics
    By Michael D. Shear

    Washington Post
    June 23, 2010 -- 1512 PDT

    After he spent more than 15 hours flying from his post on the other side of the world, it took less than 30 minutes Wednesday morning for Gen. Stanley McChrystal to find out...

    By Ernesto Londoño
    Washington Post
    June 23, 2010 -- 1507 PDT

    KABUL -- Among U.S. troops on Wednesday, opinion was split into three camps:  those who were rooting for Gen. Stanley McChrystal; those who were eager to see him ousted; and those who were too deep in the trenches to follow the scandal.

    "We have too many things going on here," said 1st. Lt. James Rathmann, a platoon leader deployed in Kandahar.  "As a soldier, you just follow orders."

    The Internet had been temporarily shut down at Rathmann's base because ...

    3. Analysis
    By Steven R. Hurst
    Associated Press
    June 23, 2010

    WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama had little choice.  Already weakened by the seemingly insolvable Gulf oil spill and his party's dicey prospects in the coming congressional election, Obama could not afford to give his Afghanistan commander a pass for his inflammatory public words.

    In essence, Gen. Stanley McChrystal fired himself.  It fell to Obama to make the announcement.

    The real surprise Wednesday was that Obama persuaded four-star Gen. David Petraeus, who steered U.S. military fortunes in Iraq out of a dark place, to take over from McChrystal.  Petraeus was instrumental in...

    By Andy Barr
    June 22, 2010

    *Rolling Stone*´s executive editor on Tuesday said that Gen. Stanley McChrystal did not raise any objections to a new article that repeatedly quotes him criticizing the administration. ...

    Read more:

    To TOP    of PAGE

    11/16/10 - Pentagon seeking to overturn Obama's July 2011 Afghan drawdown date'

    -------- Original Message [ most text cut; summary and links left in ] --------

    Subject: [snow-news] R,WP,McC: Pentagon seeking to overturn Obama's July 2011 Afghan drawdown date
    Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2010 00:29:32 -0800
    From: Mark Jensen <>
    To: Jensen, Mark <>

    NEWS & COMMENT: Pentagon seeking to overturn Obama's July 2011 Afghan drawdown date [Through anonymous briefings to the corporate press, someone in the administration is taking advantage of the president's absence to signal an intention to soft-pedal the promised December 2010 "review" of "progress" in Afghanistan and to downplay the decision reached a year ago by President Obama to begin withdrawing U.S. forces in July 2011.[1] -- That decision is the chief subject of Bob Woodward's recent bestseller, *Obama's Wars*. ( -- The *Washington Post*, Woodward's paper, framed the development in a way that highlighted its absurdity: "A White House review of President Obama's Afghanistan strategy next month will judge 'how this current approach is working' but will not suggest alternatives if aspects of the policy are found to be failing, a senior administration official said Tuesday."[2] -- Meanwhile, a senatorial delegation in Afghanistan that included John McCain and Joe Lieberman urged the president to abandon the July 2011 date altogether and to "focus on 2014."[3] -- On Wednesday, though, "Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, said there's been no change in policy. 'The president has been crystal clear that we will begin drawing down troops in July of 2011. There is absolutely no change to that policy,' Vietor said in a statement." -- COMMENT: Got that? "No change in policy." -- "No change in policy." -- Woodward's *Obama's Wars* (see our synopsis at the link above) would lead one to believe that stories like these are indicators that another effort is underway by Adm. Mike Mullen's Pentagon to roll the commander in chief at a moment when he has been greatly weakened by the 2010 midterm elections. -- From *Obama's Wars*: "Obama thought he had been clear, so he made it clearer and talked to Gates about 7 P.M. 'I thought we'd straightened this out on Wednesday,' he said, obviously bewildered. But [Deputy National Security Adviser Thomas E.] Donilon and [Senior Adviser and Coordinator for Afghanistan-Pakistan Lt. Gen. Douglas E.] Lute wanted absolute clarification. How many times did he have to say it?" (*Obama's Wars*, p. 316). --Mark]">

    By Ross Colvin
    November 9, 2010">


    By Karen DeYoung and Joshua Partlow
    Washington Post
    November 10, 2010">


    By Warren P. Strobel
    McClatchy Newspapers
    November 10, 2010">

    === My Commentary on the above, including w/post on VFP92 Speak List ===

    Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2010 15:47:49 -0800
    Subject: [vfp92speak] Fwd: Pentagon seeking to overturn Obama's July 2011 Afghan drawdown date

            As much as many would like to say Obama has been "with them all along", I think the below post ("Pentagon seeking to overturn Obama's July 2011 Afghan drawdown date") is pretty good evidence of how much resistance Obama has been getting *all along* - to his original plans (remember Karl Rove and Ashcroft's "hiring policy" wasn't just with Attorney's General.)
            And, if I understand it correctly, there is a great deal of cultural and other resistance to his saying anything but "As president, it's my responsibility" But where are the leftists that would understand and honor this? Yes, I get frustrated at the lack or dragging speed of his promise-keeping, but a little balance of consideration here and there, now and then, might be due as well.
           Which reminds me:
            The destruction of hope in our remaining progressive voters - especially with certain PR approach of some the remaining activists doesn't help. Am speaking of the "I'm still here, loud, and heavy on the shock value in your face - which you are least likely be prepared to believe, but am going to push it hard anyway" approach. Which approach is why so few show up for events, and which approach does help Karl Rove and crew, who still have plenty of installed folks at the Pentagon (among other key places, remember Ashcroft's tactics?) - taking us back to the problem noted in the article posted below.
            Overall, this highlights the point of my hints and suggestions (for last 8 years on lists, my PolyPsyArts web pages, and to our PR folk) for our (Activists') approach to the public, at least to other left-leaning folks (- not referring to risking tic'ing off a few hard-core uber-patriotic militarists who don't like our Peace Flag as we remind them we still give a damn.)
            We *ain't* gonna do it alone - we need the people behind us. And not in front us - as if enough leftists could be convinced (of that strategy) to help elect all the *wrong* people -> just to anger the populace enough -> as if they would forgo all their cultural training -> and do [what they, and most other folks, would consider VERY rash acts]. Look who the Tea-Party's acts scared up- just the crackpots. No help for a socialist program there folks.

         Thanks for letting me sound off.
    -Chris Pringer

    === 2-post Email Exchange on the above between Howard Welsh & myself ===

    Howard Welsh wrote:

    The Pentagon is now acting like a multinational corporation instead of like a government agency under the direct control of the President.  

    If we allow this kind of resistance to continue we will end up with a self serving military junta like the one that persists in Myanmar. This is a guaranteed route to the disposal of the United States Constitution and the fundamental principle of civilian control over the military itself,
    The conflict of interest is unmistakeable and huge. The United States military brass wants to continue the current level of military spending with all the payroll perks and special privileges that go along with it for THEM! Petraeus, for example, thinks he can outflank Obama like he does to Karzai. The brass wants to ignore all the cuts recommended by Secretary Gates and pretend that he did not know what he was talking about.
    We need to concentrate on ending the offensive deployments of our conventional forces overseas and proceed to redirect our military resources to the defense of this country. All of the cuts recommended by Gates need to be made immediately. Any officer who refuses to follow the orders of the President in these matters needs to be fired just like Mc Arthur in WWII and more recently Mc Chrystal. Not firing these malcontents will really cause problems for this country!
       Howard Welsh

    [My Response:]

    Good points, Howard,
        Interesting that some notables among the brass also became resistant to Bush's war strategy, including Petraeus, but also some respectable retiree's. Am sure you remember. (Was so intrigued by it all that I created the "Brass Resistance" web pages around that -
        Since then we've had an interesting confab between Obama, McCrystal, and now Petraeus. Most, not all, of those fights were for different reasons, particular to the events of the time. Perhaps if were not for Rumsfeld's impressing the brass with so much ignorance and impudence, and Cheney's doing so with the security re-organization (and related creations), and the Bush administration's misplaced/so-called patriotism in general, the office of the presidency would have a little more respect from the Pentagon. Which relationship never was a honeymoon, except maybe with Nixon and Reagan.
        But yeah, firing Petraeus about now would definitely set a tone, wouldn't it!


    To TOP    of PAGE

    1/03--07/13 - NEWS: Two former Obama insiders speak out against US drone policy*

    3 articles here.
                The 1st two regard US drone policy, including as per Gen. Stanley McChrystal, as well as per Michael Boyle, former security adviser to President Obama. The 3rd regards a rather disturbing court order (relative to civil liberty).
                I've forwarded a number of pieces on the McChrystal controvery back when it was hot (and relative to the "Brass Resistance" web pages at my site since 2006 or before).
                 I've posted a number of times (on this list & at facebook) about my hopes for the leadership in the Pentagon and Intelligence agencies would be switched out if/when President Obama was re-elected, removing Rumsfeld's & Cheney's installations ("Neo-Con-stallations"? ;-), with their foreign policy and domestic surveliance-oriented policy. I'm not sure that's happened, but there's no mistaking that some interesting events have come about in those realms.
                All this relates to the use of drones domestically as a technical façade - for facillitating the virtual legalization of court-use of N$A technology-gained data - extensive, sensitive, & sophisticated, but necessarily only covertly employed, and for many years now (per my "theory" as elaborated at the Political Ref's Page, Civil Liberties section).
                How much of this "intelligence" do we really need to prevent terrorism, considering how much our paranoia has increased about who's listening to what, when, and where, and that's not just since 911, but in addition since we've become so "protected" by our hyper-intensified security measures (paranoid = terrorized does it not ?) -Chris

    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: R,G: Two former Obama insiders speak out against US drone policy
    Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 01:45:08 -0800
    From: Mark Jensen <>

    NEWS: Two former Obama insiders speak out against US drone policy
    [Two more former U.S. officials are speaking out against U.S. drone policy.  --  On Monday, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, while promoting his new book, told Reuters that the use of drones exacerbates a "perception of American arrogance that says, 'Well we can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.'"[1]  --  "The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes . . . is much greater than the average American appreciates," he said.  --  Meanwhile, Michael Boyle, a former Obama counterterrorism official, published an article in a prestigious journals saying that through its current drone policy, the U.S. is "encouraging a new arms race that will empower current and future rivals and lay the foundations for an international system that is increasingly violent," the London *Guardian* reported.[2]  --  "In his study, Boyle said Obama pledged to end the 'war on terror' and to restore respect for the rule of law in U.S. counter-terrorism policies.  'Instead, he has been just as ruthless and indifferent to the rule of law as his predecessor . . . while President Bush issued a call to arms to defend "civilization" against the threat of terrorism, President Obama has waged his war on terror in the shadows, using drone strikes, special operations and sophisticated surveillance to fight a brutal covert war,'" Nick Hopkins said.  --  COMMENT:  These informed comments corroborate the views UFPPC expressed in its Oct. 18, 2012, statement, "On the world's first drone war and its consequences, known and unknown." ( )  --  "Drones will ultimately prove to be counterproductive," UFPPC said.  --Mark]

    ------------ 1. -----------
    By David Alexander
    January 7, 2013

    Aerial reconnaissance and attack drones have had a liberating effect on U.S. military forces, but they are deeply hated by many people and their overuse could jeopardize Washington's broader objectives, retired General Stanley McChrystal said on Monday.

    McChrystal, who authored the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, said use of drones had enabled him to carry out missions with smaller groups of special operations forces because the "eye in the sky" provided backup security.

    "What scares me about drone strikes is how they are perceived around the world," he said in an interview.  "The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes . . . is much greater than the average American appreciates.  They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who've never seen one or seen the effects of one."

    McChrystal said the use of drones exacerbates a "perception of American arrogance that says, 'Well we can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.'" ...

    ========= 2. ========
    By Nick Hopkins
    ** U.S. reliance on drones to target terrorists undermines rule of law, is ineffective and has strategic drawbacks, argues Michael Boyle **

    The United States' use of drones is counter-productive, less effective than the White House claims, and is "encouraging a new arms race that will empower current and future rivals and lay the foundations for an international system that is increasingly violent", according to a study by one of President Obama's former security advisers.
    Michael Boyle, who was on Obama's counterterrorism group in the run-up to his election in 2008, said the U.S. administration's growing reliance on drone technology was having "adverse strategic effects that have not been properly weighed against the tactical gains associated with killing terrorists".
    Civilian casualties were likely to be far higher than had been acknowledged, he said.
    Last week, a judge in New York rejected an attempt by the *New York Times* to force the US government to disclose more information about its targeted killing of people that it believes have ties to terrorism, including American citizens.
    Colleen McMahon, a district judge in Manhattan, said the Obama administration did not violate the law by refusing the newspaper's request for the legal justifications for targeted killings.
    She said the government was not obliged to turn over materials the *Times* had sought under the federal Freedom of Information Act, even though it had such materials in its possession. ...

    [Detail on that amazingly scary bit of news included in next article -cp]

    To TOP    of PAGE


    [More about this in above article/Refs -cp]

    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: UFPPC statement: 'Off with their heads!' and the procession moved on...
    Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2013 22:58:48 -0800
    From: Mark Jensen <>

    UFPPC STATEMENT:  “Off with their heads!’ and the procession moved on…
    [This week´s ruling by a federal judge that she had no power to order the publication of the classified memo that supposedly justifies the apparent violation of a Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process to U.S. citizens killed by their government in a drone attack on Sept. 30, 2011, led UFPPC to adopt the statement as its regular meeting on Jan. 3, 2013.[1]  –Mark]
    [UFPPC statement]
    United for Peace of Pierce County
    January 3, 2013

    "No break with the traditions of America's past has been so complete, so drastic, as the one that has resulted in the growth of the present military-industrial complex."  --Fred Cook, The Warfare State (Macmillan, 1962), p. 35.  
    You could hear another snap of that break this week, when Federal District Court Judge Colleen McMahon ruled that members of "we the people" can be killed extrajudicially by the government without anyone being allowed to know the reason why.
    This week a federal judge ruled she had no power to order the publication of the memo.[4]  
    In a truly Kafkaesque 71-page ruling, Judge Colleen McMahon said that "under the law, I can only conclude that the Government has not violated FOIA [the Freedom of Information Act] by refusing to turn over the documents sought in the FOIA requests, and so cannot be compelled by this court of law to explain in detail the reasons why its actions do not violate the Constitution and laws of the United States.  The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful and extensive consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules -- a veritable Catch-22.  I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret."[5]  

    Even part of the court's decision is secret.   "Certain issues requiring discussion in order to make this opinion complete," Judge McMahon ruled, are "the subject of a separate, classified Appendix to this opinion, which is being filed under seal and is not available to Plaintiffs' counsel."
    * * *
    [1] The full text of the clause in the "Authorization for Use of Military Force," or AUMF, voted on Sept. 14, 2001:  "That the President is authorized 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." ( )

    [2] The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported that the number of homicides by firearm in the U.S. in 2003 was 11,040; in 2004, 10,660; in 2005, 11,360; in 2006, 11,730; in 2007, 11,630; in 2008, 11,030; in 2009, 10,300; in 2010, 9,960. ( )
    [3] United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1 (1953). ( )
    [4] Adam Liptak, "Secrecy of Memo on Drone Killing Is Upheld," New York Times (January 3, 2012; posted online Jan. 2). ( )

    [5] The New York Times, Charlie Savage, and Scott Shane v. United States Department of Justice and American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation v. U.S. Department of Justice, including its component the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Defense, including its Component U.S. Special Operations Command, and Central Intelligence Agency, United States District Court, Southern District of New York, 11 Civ. 9336 and 12 Civ. 794, p. 3. ( )

    [6] "Pervasive Secrecy: The Way We Live Now," United for Peace of Pierce County (June 7, 2012) ( )

              END of Page 1 Article Set          
    You Will Find Accompanying "IN CONTEXT" SET at

    To TOP    of PAGE

    Related Links & Political Reference Page Set

       ISIS / ISIL, Syria & Iraq
    [NEW September 2014] Essays, links (& a few maps) compiled based on questions like, "Where did ISIS/ISIL come from, and what's that got to do with anything (like Sykes-Picot, Syria 2012-13 issues, Dick Cheney), let alone a reason for yet more war with foreign tribes with a 'new' name?" 1st 3 section titles (of 9 sections, so far): "World News Article Links & Summaries from Mark Jensen & others," "ISIS/ISIL "±Official± Perspectives & Related Commentary," and "ISIS/ISIL & 'Sykes-Picot'"
       the Poly-Psy Citizen Momentum page
    for Posts on Current Events, with dated, ref-linked commentary on the Obama Administration's Middle-East Policy as well as domestic security policy, copied from a selection of applicable posts (by the editor of this page, Christopher Pringer) at facebook and on the Poly-Psy Spirit Mailing List. The latter links to the list archives which include posts and commentary on many other current topics as well. This page also includes the section,
          "HEARTS AND MINDS for An *Exitable* Strategy for Afghanistan/Pakistan"

              Support Winter Soldier II: Iraq & Afghanistan
              On March 13-16, 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War members gathered near Washington DC to disclose the realities of U.S. war policy, to share eyewitness stories that have been censored from the American public about the true human cost of these occupations. They need your support! There are many ways to help. There will continue to be live audio/video feeds from the Washington DC hearings available to present at your local event. Listen to Audio Clips from Participating Veterans! Read and sign the Winter Soldier Statement of Support here, and encourage friends, family, coworkers and members of your group to sign it as well. "...We Support the Troops Who Oppose the War: Truth, honesty and integrity are essential components to a functioning democracy...".

              Besides the IVAW: Iraq Veterans Against The War, more new groups we are so happy to see formed are Veterans Against The Iraq War, and West Point Grads Against The War .Org! Another new outfit is the World Veterans Federation. And lastly, but actually FIRST among the veterans of questioning authority, are the much appreciated VVAW- Vietnam Veterans Against The War!

              *Iraq Veterans Against the War* Speak Out, VIDEOs (Google Src Results -LOTS)

              Military/War/Anti-War/Sexual VIDEOs (Google Src Results): Probably one of the most powerful of these is of April Fitzimmons, Intelligence Analyst, USAF. A Comment at YouTube: "Thank you for posting this. It is truly amazing. She has real courage. 'My biggest enemy was my own company', just what Suzanne Swift said. This is something that anyone even considering joining the military needs to see, especially women.

    Winter Soldier II promotional postcards are now available without charge.

              Lt. Ehren Watada
    Lt. Ehren Watada became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the unlawful war and occupation in Iraq (with the Fort Lewis-based 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division). While doing this on June 22, 2006, Watada said, "As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must refuse that order." Watada's commander added a seventh count to the six he already faced for remarks Watada made in a speech Aug. 12 at the Veterans for Peace national convention in Seattle. see Watada Speech at Veterans for Peace convention August 2006 and related articles ("Iraq combat vets explain support for Lt. Watada," "GI resistance is a growing trend," and "We were conditioned to hate them") at the 'Thank You Lt. Watada web site'
                    PepperSpray Productions announces the release of "He Stood UP" a DVD about the mistrial of Lt. Ehren Watada. To get more info, or to order the DVD online, go to
    (is Also available at Alliance for Democracy video Lending Library- check out the library at -- click on “lending library” in Left Column)

              CITIZENS' HEARING ON THE LEGALITY OF U.S. ACTIONS IN IRAQ: Hearing held over January 20-21, 2007, more than 600 citizens joined a distinguished tribunal panel in listening to testimony about the legality of the US invasion of Iraq. The Citizens' Hearing was convened to present evidence that Lt. Ehren Watada would have presented in his February 5 court martial on the question that the military ruled barred from entry on Jan. 16 - the question of the Iraq War's legality. Testifiers included experts in military policy, international law and war crimes: * Daniel Ellsberg Military analyst who released the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam War; * Denis Halliday Former UN Assistant Secretary-General, coordinated Iraq humanitarian aid; * Richard Falk Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University; * Antonia Juhasz Policy-analyst and author on U.S. economic policies in Iraq; * John Burroughs Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy Executive Director; * Benjamin G. Davis Assoc. Prof. of Law, University of Toledo; expert on law of war; * Francis Boyle Professor of international law at Univ. of Illinois (video). * Marjorie Cohn National Lawyers' Guild President; Thomas Jefferson law school (video)
    If the slot below is blank, please see

      "History Repeats Itself Clear and Present Danger, Analysis of CPD and PNAC"
    by Candi Crider (2/4/07) -- A comparative analysis between four different groups that arose within the US government and had the purpose of influencing foreign policy in this country, incl. Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) and Project for a New American Century (PNAC)      (at
       "THE FRAUDULENT WAR," by Richard W. Behan provides another primary and complementary perspective: on PNAC and it's Role in the Mid-East war policy is (a 5.5 mb pdf)

    A T     T H E     A N N O T A T E D
    P O L I T I C A L       R E F E R E N C E       P A G E

    Elaborated Descriptions of Links whereby you can get "the jist of the story" right here! ---
    This page is here to say how the current situation came about and why each citizen needs to to give that 5 minutes a week.
    (See Christopher's Political Reference Page for specifics as needed)

    So far the Sections at the Reference Page include:

        I.    A HISTORY of High Crime - The Bush Cabal's Agendas & Relationships   
    (The same folks into Drugs, Oil, Arms, Power, & Mercenaries ("contractors") - "the DOAPM Mafia" since the 60's)

        II.    LIARS WARS (Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Lebanon, Caspian Basin ("Base"), Etc   

       The Case for Impeachment   

        IIa. DEPLETED URANIUM Weaponry ("DU")   

        III.    Civil Liberties Changes & Implications,   
    including "The Original Homeland Security" and
        === Lots of Links on the CRITICAL VOTING situation, REFORM, etc ===   

        IV.    Media Issues   

        V.    Recovering Democracy, Peace Education, Related Attitudinal Change & Healing    

        VI.    Responsible Shopping & Investment, Corporate Reform, & Economic Fairness Issues   
    (Other ref/links on this page likely: Word search/Find using keywords "econ," "cost," "spending" via your browser's edit or file menu).

        VII.     Veterans For Peace, More Alternatives to War, etc   

      Main Political Page Links (Essays, Etc) including "The Four Governments" regarding our beliefs about our government - myths, fantasies, & realities - working & not, "Getting Real About Conspiracies" & belief system of the power elite, and "Handling Conspiracy Theories" & Questionable News, Unfamiliar Internet Sources, etc

    L E T T E R S     &     P E T I T I O N S

      Demand Accountability
    for Bush, Cheney, & Rove
    Act NOW (with H.Res. 1531) To Stop The Bush Pardons (Before Jan 19, 2009)

    We Can Have Them In Jail By End of 2010
    Find Link-loaded Messages for quickly getting your sigs on petitions and sending letters to Elected Officials
    via PolyPsyList Archives: Use "Impeach" in its efficient Search Engine, sort by latest, etc. For Rove, include "Mike Connell" (yep, another plane crash)

    Related: Impeachment Resource Links;   For a quick read to dispel doubt of need, see Myths About Impeachment

    PolyPsy List Archives
    Provides the most long-term applicable, if not most recent postings on what's going on (as regards peace & justice, & citizen effectiveness, including action resources) - Planetary in scope: you can join the list or just peruse the Archives without joining. The list was created in the effort to help us better see and UTILIZE opportunities to jump in and make things better when we can - while maintaining our psychological and spiritual capacity to do so - and to help keep the PolyPsyArts web site current.
    Poly-Psy Arts Logo © 10'08 Christopher Pringer
    This list is a "Newsletter" style list; NOT the kind that allows members to send email to other members. (It does NOT make member email addresses available to anyone, So members do NOT receive email from anyone but myself.) List Description is elaborated at To subscribe, send email to: You can type the same in the subject and body areas of your message. Thank you, -Chris Pringer, ListOwner/Mgr

    Facebook Postings

    Below is a sample Facebook posting. The links WORK for the noted articles by Karen Vlahos, as well as for most of the fcbk tabs, the Share link, etc.
    (Usually these postings are not repeated via the Poly-Psy Mailing List.)
    At Right is a WORKING mock-up of my fcbk *NOTES* block [May'10].

    FcBk Links Pg for Christopher Pringer to FcBk Login Page (Anyone's) -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy FcBk NOTES PAGE for Christopher Pringer -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy Links to FcBk PHOTO ALBUM Pg for Christopher Pringer -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy to FcBk LINKS PAGE for Christopher Pringer -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy Subscribe to Christopher Pringer's FcBk Links Tab -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy to FcBk Pg for Christopher Pringer -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy to FcBk Pg for Christopher Pringer -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy to FcBk Pg for Christopher Pringer -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy Links to FcBk Pg for Christopher Pringer -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy to FcBk Pg for Christopher Pringer -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy to FcBk Pg for Christopher Pringer -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy FcBk Links Pg for Christopher Pringer -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy PTSD Killer-Cocktail article -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy Link to Rand-Paul article -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy Link to Bring Home National-Guard article -FcBkLnkPic-PPsy
    CP's Notes @ FcBk Armor by Definition and 'Slight of Heart' (?); Apr 21, 2010 -FcBkLnkPic2-PPsy Something new for medicine?; May 8, 2010 -FcBkLnkPic2-PPsy A Kind of Summary For Pragmatic Balance; Dec 26 2009 -FcBkLnkPic2-PPsy Discussion on Evolution - Is Humanity ONLY 'at the Animal Level'; Jan 1 2010 -FcBkLnkPic2-PPsy Teach The Truth, And Change Will Come From Within; Jan 17 2010 -FcBkLnkPic2-PPsy Feelings, Emotions, Beliefs, Desires, Needs...; Jul 13 2009 -FcBkLnkPic2-PPsy Hearts And Minds for An *Exitable* Strategy for Afghanistan/Pakistan; Mar 28 2010 -FcBkLnkPic2-PPsy Syndicate in Pakistan; Apr 23 2009 -FcBkLnkPic2-PPsy Re: Obama Should Avoid Bush's Iraq Errors in Dealing With Afghanistan; Apr 13 2009 -FcBkLnkPic2-PPsy
    My Comment on the above Facebook Posting     [At my fcbk page, 6-07-10]

             [Quoting from the article:] "The number of Guard and reserves as a percentage of the total force in Iraq and Afghanistan has fluctuated over the years. Official estimates in 2005 were at 28 percent; it was about 7 percent in Iraq and 15 percent in Afghanistan at the end of 2008. Manski estimates it's closer to one-third today. ..."
              Remember the report on increased military sign-ups? And we were wondering where our priorities went (and other political psych-outs)... Well, check these stats (from Karen Vlahos's article): "So here is the situation. The secretary of defense ordered, and Congress authorized, an expansion in the size of the Army. But the Army reduced the recruitment goal – and reduced the retention goal. The size of the Army is in fact shrinking. It may look as if it's growing – the Pentagon report gives the impression it's growing – but it's growing only in comparison with the officially set goals."
              Ahhhhhhh! Karl Rove & students are still at work in the smoke & mirrors factory (just in case we forgot).

       The virtual U.S. Peace Academy @Seattle
    Is here and now to inspire the creation of the *real* UNITED STATES PEACE ACADEMY. Courses are now being set up to be taught in the Seattle area [Spring '07]. In the interim the vUSPA is here for students choosing alternatives in peace, to facilitates resources and connections to institutions of higher learning for lasting global peace. In utilizing this site, young people can also create a vital and permanent record of their sincere desire and choice to learn and wage the arts of peace, rather than the art of war as taught at the military academies - as well as establish Conscientious Objector Status.
    Sun 04/06/08 6:19:24 AM  

    To TOP  of PAGE

    Thumbnail EmBody-Mind-Chalice-Synthesis in (AChaliToruSphere) by Chris Pringer
    "The Body-Mind & The Chalice"
          Click here to go to the "About Page" (Author/Artist/Site Info)  
      Or  to the "2nd About Page" Or *The Story* of "The Body-Mind & The Chalice"
                      Or   here for What's NEW at ChaliceBridge
                                      Or  the ChaliceBridge.Com Index Page

    Where You Are Now smile :
    Thumbnail of ChaliceBridge.Com Organization Chart
    Site Map & Organization Chart

    Sample Artwork by yours truly:

    Animated gif of selection of my work at Fine Art America, as of Dec'12

    Above is a selection from my gallery at
    ArtistWebsites.Com of Fine Art America (or Pixels.Com) viewable at full resolution, and is available in framed or canvas prints, greeting cards, & more.
    A slideshow presentation at this site is at the Chalice Art & Holiday Card Slideshow Pages.
    'Karma-learning-Love Shield' - 'What is Sown is Reaped, What is stolen is paid for; Karma is Learning is Justice is Love; The Tree of Life Bears the Flower of Life Bears the Tree of Life...' Shared by Chris Pringer 2010
    "Karma Learning Love Shield" Chris Pringer 2010



    site search by freefind

    VISITS to ChaliceBridge.Com

    The "HITS" count would be many times this number according to Google Stats. Below is an older chart of summarized results - according to Webalizer Stats.

    All writing and artwork at Chalicebridge.Com (unless otherwise noted) is by the author/editor, Christopher Pringer of Ballard, WA

    Hit Stats Pic

    Web site/page © Chris Pringer, 1997 to Present (see individual articles and graphics for © dates by the author/artist)