by Chris Floyd
Well, Karl Rove got the banner headline he wanted for all the final Sunday papers before the ele ction: Saddam Hussein Is Sentenced to Death.
The political impact of the story will probably be neglible. Saddam has been a dead man walking for three years; and the fate of this former Bush Family protÃ©gÃ© has nothing to do with the anti-war sentiment across the country.
However, in regard to the Iraqi insurgency as a whole, I think we can safely say that Saddam' s conviction will prove to be a major turning point, every bit as momentous and transformative as all the other major turning points, such as the death of al-Zaqarwi, the various Iraqi elections, the destruction of Fallujah, the capture of Saddam, the killing of his two sons, or Bush's glorious announcement of "Mission Accomplished" on that golden day in May 2003.
Yep, there's no doubt about it: we've definitely turned the corner now. Why, in six months' timeâ€¦..
(Robert Fisk has more on the verdict -- especially the fact that some of the Saddam's chief co-conspirators somehow escaped justice: This was a Guilty Verdict on America as Well. Not sure how long the article will remain freely available from The Independent, so copious excerpts are provided here after the jump.
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Bush's Carnival of Blood
by Mike Whitney
This is a dark day for Americans and Iraqis alike.
Killing Saddam Hussein isnâ€™t justice; its vengeance. Only Bush believes the two are the same.
How are we supposed to feel now that we know that Saddam will be hanged for his crimes?
Elated? Energized? Jubilant?
Will it wash away the oceans of blood that Bush generated with his misguided and tragic war?
The administration clings to the foolish notion that killing Saddam will somehow justify their unprovoked invasion and slaughter of 650,000 Iraqis.
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On Monday, an editorial is scheduled to appear in the â€œArmy Timesâ€ which will call for Donald Rumsfeldâ€™s resignation as Secretary of Defense. The article will run simultaneously in the â€œAir Force Timesâ€, â€œNavy Timesâ€ and â€œMarine Corps Timesâ€ and will be available to every active member in the United States Military.
The editorial â€œTime for Rumsfeld to goâ€ provides a brief summary of Rumsfeldâ€™s role in engineering the greatest strategic defeat in American history. It says that the â€œrosy reassurancesâ€ made by the administration (like â€œMission accomplishedâ€ and that the insurgency â€œwas in its last throesâ€) were in stark contrast to the militaryâ€™s â€œmisgivings about the warâ€™s planning, execution and prospects for successâ€.
Note: The â€œArmy Timesâ€ has traditionally been about as critical of the government as their Soviet equivalent, Pravda. They have never publicly bashed the civilian leadership even in the worst days of the Vietnam War. This is entirely unprecedented. The military has clearly lost its faith in Rumsfeldâ€™s ability to lead.
Rumsfeldâ€™s inability to learn from his mistakes or follow the advice of his subordinates has caused him to underestimate the challenges of military occupation or â€œthe problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity.â€
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by Mickey Z.
Warning: This article has not been approved by the Department of Homeland Security. Read at your own risk.
Thomas Jefferson sez: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
In his most recent book, a two-volume set called 'Endgame,' author Derrick Jensen tells of a discussion he had with a longtime activist. "She told me of a campaign she participated in a few years ago to try to stop the government and transnational timber corporations from spraying Agent Orange, a potent defoliant and teratogen, in the forests of Oregon," Jensen writes.
All too predictably, the dedicated demonstrators assembled to protest the toxic spraying were, "like clockwork," ignored by the helicopter pilots.
Both humans and landscape ended up thoroughly doused with Agent Orange-time and time again. The protest campaign obviously had no effect, so a different approach was taken. "A bunch of Vietnam vets lived in those hills," the activist told Jensen, "and they sent messages to the Bureau of Land Management and to Weyerhauser, Boise Cascade, and the other timber companies saying, 'We know the names of your helicopter pilots, and we know their addresses' "You know what happened next?" she asked.
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by Will Durst
Oh for crumâ€™s sake, people. It was a joke! â€œIf you
donâ€™t study in school youâ€™ll end up getting stuck in
Iraq.â€ Get it? LIKE THE PRESIDENT! He canâ€™t get out of
Iraq. He didnâ€™t study. Heâ€™s stuck. John Kerry was
talking about George Bush. He wasnâ€™t talking about our
troops. John Kerry was a troop. Anybody who canâ€™t
figure that out is either a cynical oaf hiding their
scurrilous ass behind the troops or pretending theyâ€™re
dumber than they already are, and from all
appearances, the President falls into one of those
categories, and if its the latter, thatâ€™s a very scary
Right before Senator John Kerry blew the joke about how dumb people get stuck in Iraq, he blew another about how President Bush comes from the state of Texas but now lives in the state of denial. See, its a pattern. Thatâ€™s ostensibly a joke too. Didnâ€™t get much of a laugh on that one either. In the â€œstuck in Iraqâ€ joke, he left out the word â€œus.â€ it was supposed to be â€œyouâ€™ll end up getting US stuck in Iraq,â€ which is funnier on paper especially if you read the â€œusâ€ as â€œU.S.â€ making it work on a couple of different levels.
Both of which are way beyond the cognitive range of most college students in Pasadena. Which is why only dogs think John Kerry is funny.
by Anwaar Hussain
Crashing on the rocks of hubris, the ship Neocon is finally going down and small little furry creatures, commonly known as rats but which once acted onboard like Goliaths, are falling over each other in their mad scurry to jump the ship.
The Neocon propped Bush Administration is preparing to cut and run from Iraq. The most convincing sign of this came when it emerged that Bechtel Corp, one of the biggest construction firms in the world, was leaving the country for good with no new contract to continue the job.
As America prepares to slink out of Iraq, leaving behind legions of demons let lose on Iraqi streets and more than half a million corpses, the discredited Neocons too are jumping the ship taking along with them their myopic vision of U.S. foreign policy that they had used to steer not just America but the whole world into perilous waters.
The stampede was started by William F. Buckley, Jr., that diehard conservative and the pied piper for the American establishments. In a February 2006 piece in his Right wingâ€™s mouth piece journal, National Review, he conceded;
"One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. â€¦ Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans."
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By Seth Sandronsky
U.S. economic growth rose at an annual rate of 1.6 percent in
Julyâ€“September, the slowest in more than three years, the Commerce
Department recently reported. By way of comparison, the nationâ€™s rate of
growth was 2.6 percent in the second quarter. What is happening to nearly
slice the growth rate by half in an $11 trillion economy?
In brief, growth in residential housing dropped 17.4 percent in the third quarter. Housingâ€™s fall was 11.1 percent in the second quarter. This downward trend has been underway for the past 12 months in the U.S. economy.
Economists have a word for two straight quarters of declining growth: recession. Is the housing dip forecasting a 2007 recession? That is unclear.
Clearly though, a recession is very bad news for the U.S. working class. On that note, housing has been a motor for employment in the building, financing and furnishing of existing and new homes. â€œLast year, housing could be credited for creating over 15 percent of the year's new jobsâ€; reports the Economic Policy Institute, â€œthis year housing-related jobs will account for less than 5 percent of the economy's new jobs.â€
by Jeremy R. Hammond
The debate over what to do about the crisis in Iraq has, on one hand, those who argue for immediate withdrawal and, on the other, those who argue, justification (or lack thereof) of the initial invasion aside, that the US must remain lest the country descend further into chaos. Among the latter, the focus is on finding a "timetable for withdrawal", which would be dictated by how quickly "Iraqization" could be successfully implemented to a degree that Iraqi forces could take over the job currently being done by US troops. That this needs to occur seems to be the general consensus. This view is predicated upon a number of assumptions that are in need of serious questioning if any real solutions to the ongoing crisis are to be found.
One assumption is that the US has intended to withdraw from Iraq from the onset. The US has an enormous number of strategic military bases scattered around the globe. It never completely withdrew from either Germany or Japan after WWII. It maintains a military presence in South Korea. As a result of the war in Afghanistan, the US acquired a number of military bases in Central Asia, not only in Afghanistan but also in several neighboring former Soviet republics. It is well known, and was easily demonstrable prior to the invasion, that the principle justification for war, namely the threat of weapons of mass destruction, was a fabricated pretext. Although chosen as the selling point for public consumption, it is self-evident that the "threat" of Iraq was simply not the true motive for the invasion. Rather, if we assume the historical norm is being followed, and if we trust documents expressing the views of policymakers within the US government, the goal of the invasion was hegemony over what has been long been regarded as a region of the utmost strategic importance, primarily due to its rich resources in oil and gas. There is little reason to believe that US has any intention whatsoever of abandoning the bases in Iraq it has acquired as a result of the invasion.
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by Mike Whitney
Don Rumsfeld is not a good leader. In fact, he is a very bad leader. Leadership is predicated on three basic factors: Strong moral character, sound judgment, and the ability to learn from oneâ€™s mistakes. None of these apply to Rumsfeld. As a result, every major decision that has been made in Iraq has been wrong and has cost the lives of countless Iraqis and American servicemen. This pattern will undoubtedly continue as long as Rumsfeld is the Secretary of Defense.
Hereâ€™s a simple test: Name one part of the occupation of which has succeeded?
Security? Reconstruction? De-Baâ€™athification? Dismantling the Iraqi military? Protecting Saddamâ€™s ammo-dumps? Stopping the looting? Body armor? Coalition government? Abu Ghraib? Falluja? Even oil production has been slashed in half.
Every facet of the occupation has been an unmitigated disaster. Nothing has succeeded. Everything has failed.
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by Paul Balles
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost. --Thomas Jefferson
Thereâ€™s no such thing as objectivity.
Everything is seen through conditioned eyes. What we love or hate depends on the kind of
washing our brains have been subjected to. That theory is verifiable. The practical evidence can be seen in the
The Western mind looks at the world through the familiar eyes of CNN, BBC, Fox News, CBS, MSNBC, ABC, Reuters or the Associated Press and Rupert Murdoch. To the Eastern and Middle Eastern mind, much of the controlled Western perspective of the world doesnâ€™t make sense. The Middle East TV channel Al Jazeera, broadcasting in Arabic out of Doha, Qatar, makes sense to 40 million viewers.
The channel has been the object of personal vendettas, agency closures, assassinations and vilification by a number of regimes and government organizations. The real reason for the hatred and attacks? Al Jazeera is the only completely free public broadcasting organization in the world.
Al Jazeera should be a lesson for journalists from other news organizations. Not that restrained journalists could do much to free themselves from the controls that inhibit and restrict them worldwide, but a few might realize the possibilities of truly working as the professionals that journalists should be. Because it exercises freedom from political restraints, here are some of the results experienced by Al Jazeera:
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For an example of shameless partisanship and promotion of one candidate in the news pages, it would be hard to find a case more over the top than the Philadelphia Inquirer's handling of John Kerry's botched joke.
Although it offered absolutely no evidence to support the claim that the joke incident had induced a single Pennsylvania voter to change sides in the Senate race from Democratic challenger Bob Casey to Republican incumbent Rick Santorum, the once-proud paper ran a banner headline on its front page on Nov. 2 saying "Kerry's gaffe jolts Santorum, Casey," with a subhead that said, "Santorum uses the remark to put Casey on the offensive."
Anonymous "analysts" were said near the top of the article to be claiming that Kerry's remark to students implying that those who didn't hit the books in college would end up "stuck in Iraq" had "cracked a small window of opportunity for Santorum's struggling campaign." No mention was made of the fact that Santorum is in trouble precisely because the majority of Pennsylvania's voters have concluded that his war-mongering (he wants war with Iran, too) and uncritical support of Bush's war in Iraq mean he has to go.
The truth is that Kerry's remark, which was characteristic of this Boston blue-blood snob, was nothing but a meaningless blip on the electoral terrain, where the vast majority of Americans have already concluded that they've been lied to big time by the Bush administration, and ill-served by a Republican Congress that has turned into nothing but an unthinking cheering section for Bush administration war-mongering. The only way Kerry's comments could have any impact on this election--nationally or in Pennsylvania--would be if they were hyped and blown up in the media into something they were not. But then, that is precisely what the Inquirer attempted to do by making them page-one banner material.
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by Chris Floyd
While the American election campaign thrashes toward the finish line with the usual spasms of witless diversion and hyper-mendacity â€“ an echo chamber of utter bullshit roaring in a media bubble murderously detached from reality â€“ in the actual world of flesh and blood, the destruction of Iraq engineered by George W. Bush is entering a new phase that could make the previous three years of all-devouring hell look like a sojourn in paradise.
Baghdad is under siege, as Patrick Cockburn reports in the Independent; the city has been encircled by Sunni militias who have cut almost all the roads leading into the capital. Inside the city, "the scale of killing is already as bad as Bosnia at the height of the Balkans conflict," says Cockburn. And it will inevitably, inexorably grow worse, as Shiite militias consolidate their hold within Baghdad while trying to break the blockade from outside. Already, "food shortages are becoming severe" in some parts of the city, he reports, while almost a thousand Iraqis are being slaughtered each week, mostly in Baghdad. Meanwhile, at least 1.5 million internal refugees have fled the ethnic cleansing by both Sunni and Shiite militias, joining the hundreds of thousands who have fled the country altogether. Again, these numbers dwarf those in the Bosnian and Kosovo wars â€“ while the total dead from Bush's war, a very credible estimate of at least 650,000, is approaching the level of the Rwandan genocide.
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