Eat At Joes

Just a regular Joe who is angry that the USA, the country he loves, is being corrupted and damaged from within and trying to tell his fellow Americans the other half of the story that they don’t get on the TV News.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Thursday, September 30, 2004

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." -George Orwell

30 Vietnam Veterans Barred From Bush Rally - Why? They Support Kerry. Who cares if they served their country!

On line article here

By BRAD CAIN, Associated Press Writer

SALEM, Ore. - About 30 Oregon veterans who support Democrat John Kerry for president were rebuffed Tuesday when they showed up at a Republican rally in hopes of delivering a letter to first lady Laura Bush criticizing the war in Iraq.

Bush spoke to about 3,500 of her husband's supporters at Chemeketa Community College here and, as with other Bush-Cheney events in the state, admission was by ticket only and was limited to supporters of the administration.

Before the rally, the group of pro-Kerry veterans asked Secret Service agents at the site to deliver a letter to Bush, but were told they would have to mail the letter to the White House.

Terry Kirsch, a Vietnam veteran from Canby, Ore., said he later tried to use a ticket to get into the event, but was told the fire marshal had closed the site.

"It was very disheartening to me as someone who fought in the war and was wounded in the war, and now I'm not allowed to hear my government speak," Kirsch said.

Kevin Mannix, chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, said the decision to close the event had to do with safety, not politics. He also dismissed complaints by Kirsch and other Kerry backers about access to the rally.

The line in red is key! Let me see if I got this straight. A group of mostly wounded Vietnam Veterans who fought in the US Military seeing combat while George W blew off his duty in the National Guard are a danger to the Bushies? Our War Heroes threaten the safely of Bush, his family and supporters? Those who bravely served while Cheney had "better things to do" are unsafe to be around if you are Bush or one his group? You bet!!! These mutha's would kick George and Dick's asses from here to Hanoi. You better be scared George and Dick. The Vets are gonna getcha! Booo!!!

What Would Jesus Do?

Love your enemies

Jesus says:

You have heard it said, "Love your friends, hate your enemies." But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the sons of your Father In heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on those who do good and to those who do evil. Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that! And if you speak only to your friends, have you done any" thing out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that! You must be perfect—just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48).

Paul says:

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. (Romans 12:20)


Jesus says:

You have heard that It was said, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." But now I tell you: do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too. (Matthew 5:38-39)

Paul says:

Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God’s anger do it. For the scripture says: "I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord." (Romans 12:19)

If we do not love our enemies and give them food and drink and other necessities when they need it we are disobeying the commands of Christ Jesus.

If we take revenge on those who oppose us we are not only disobeying the commands of Christ Jesus, but we are also saying that God is not powerful enough to pay back those who deserve it as He said He would, or that God is not a good enough judge to determine who should receive punishment, and that we are better judges than He, so we should do it ourselves in direct disobedience and insult to Him.


What did Jesus say about War? Did he say, “Blessed are those who make war?” No, he said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they are God’s children” (Matthew 5:9)

Does this fly in the face of what common sense would tell us? Absolutely! It is perfectly natural to want to take vengeance on someone who has wronged you or others you care about. It is natural to be angry, and for that anger to drive you to a violent response. But Jesus did not want his followers to behave as natural men. A term that Paul used to describe someone before they have become Christians, and therefore new creations. Jesus told his followers to “ be perfect—just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” It is very difficult to be a True Christian. That is a True Follower of the Teachings of Jesus Christ. Few people who call themselves Christians even come close to following His teachings especially on these matters. How do the Moral Majority who support George W. Bush’s rush to war with Iraq in response to 9/11 even though President Bush himself and others in his administration admit that we have no evidence whatsoever that Saddam Hussein was behind the September 11 attacks or had anything to do with them square their support for W with the Teachings of JC? I guess they decided to go with the newer guy on that one. Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It appears that the rich are not the only one who have difficulties following Christ’s path to Heaven.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Top 10 Secrets They Don't Want You to Know About the Debates

Online article here:

The Tavis Smiley Show, September 29, 2004 · After weeks of political wrangling, Sen. John Kerry and President Bush will square off for the first of three key presidential debates. Both camps have agreed to an elaborate, 32-page contract that spells out everything from the size of the dressing rooms to permitted camera angles.

But the controversy over the debates threatens to overshadow the events themselves. Some citizen groups complain that the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) isn't as non-partisan as it should be, and that Kerry and Bush won't be pressed on urban issues. Commentator Connie Rice says that's just the tip of the iceberg, and she's got another Top 10 list -- this time: Top 10 Secrets They Don't Want You to Know About the Debates.

(10.) They aren't debates!

"A debate is a head-to-head, spontaneous, structured argument over the merits of an issue," Rice says. "Under the ridiculous 32-page contract that reads like the rules for the Miss America Pageant, there will be no candidate-to-candidate questions, no rebuttal to your opponent's points, no cross questions or cross answers, no rebuttals, no follow-up questions -- that's not a debate, that's a news conference."

(9.) The debates were hijacked from the truly independent League of Women Voters in 1986.

"The League of Women Voters ran these debates with an iron hand as open, transparent, non-partisan events from 1976 to 1984," Rice says. "The men running the major campaigns ended their control when the League defiantly included John Anderson and Ross Perot, and used tough moderators and formats the parties didn't like. The parties snatched the debates from the League and formed the Commission on Presidential Debates -- the CPD -- in 1986."

(8.) The "independent and non-partisan" Commission on Presidential Debates is neither independent nor non-partisan.

"CPD should stand for 'Cloaking-device for Party Deceptions' -- it is not an independent commission on anything. The CPD is under the total control of the Republican and Democratic parties and by definition bipartisan, not non-partisan. Walter Cronkite called CPD-sponsored debates an 'unconscionable fraud.'"

(7.) The secretly negotiated debate contract bars Kerry and Bush from any and all other debates for the entire campaign.

"Under what I call the Debate Suppression and Monopolization Clause of the contract, it is illegal for the candidates to debate each other anywhere else during the campaign," Rice says. "We need a new criminal law for reckless endangerment of democracy."

(6.) The debate contract effectively excludes all other serious presidential candidates from participating in the debates.

"This is what I call the Obstruction of Democratic Debate Rule, which sets an impossibly high threshold for third-party candidates... Where are we, Russia? Isn't Vladimir Putin wiping out democracy in Russia by excluding all opposing candidates from the airwaves during his re-election campaigns? Most new ideas come from third parties -- they should be in the debates."

(5.) All members of the studio audience must be certified as "soft" supporters of Bush and Kerry, under selection procedures they approve.

"It's not enough to rig the debate -- they have to rig the audience, too? The contract reads: 'The debate will take place before a live audience of between 100 and 150 persons who... describe themselves as likely voters who are soft Bush supporters or soft Kerry supporters.' We should crash this charade and jump up in the middle to declare ourselves hard opponents of this Kabuki dance."

(4.) These "soft" audience members must "observe in silence."

"Soft and silent... In what I'm calling the Silence of the Lambs Clause of this absurd contract, the audience may not move, speak, gesture, cough or otherwise show that they are alive and thinking."

(3.) The "extended discussion" portion of the debate cannot exceed 30 seconds.

"Other than the stupidity of the debate contract, what topic do you know that can be extendedly discussed in 30 seconds?"

(2.) Important issues are locked out by the CPD debate rules and party control.

"Really important but sticky or tough issues get axed, because the parties control the questions and topics," Rice says. "For example, in 2000, Gore and Bush mentioned the following issues zero times: Child poverty, the drug war, homelessness, working-class families, NAFTA, prisons, corporate crime and corporate welfare."

(1.) Fortune 100 corporations are the main funders of the CPD-sponsored debates, and the CPD's co-chairs are corporate lobbyists.

The CPD is run by Frank Fahrenkopf, a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist, and Paul Kirk, a top gambling lobbyist," Rice says. "And the biggest muliti-national corporations write the checks that fund the CPD -- Phillip Morris, Anheuser-Busch and dozens more. The audience may have to be silent and motionless, but the corporate sponsors can have banners, beer tents, Budweiser girls handing out pamphlets protesting beer taxes -- a corporate-sponsored circus to go along with the Kabuki Debates. Could we get a more fitting description of our democracy?"

Southern born & raised Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong comments on the correlation between Christian churchgoers and supporters of the War in Iraq

A reader of his column writes:

"I am dismayed by poll results that show consistently that people who attend church regularly are more likely to support the war in Iraq and the people conducting it, than people who are not associated with a religious organization. How can this be? What message are they hearing? Where do they hear it or read it?"

Bishop Spong responds:

You touch a strange dilemma but everything I see agrees with your finding. It is also true that people who attend church regularly are more racially prejudiced, prejudiced against equality for women and prejudiced against homosexual persons. Since all of these things seem inconsistent with the Gospel that I understand, I find this reality embarrassing. But that does not mean that I do not seek to understand it.

Perhaps the clue lies in the fact that people in the South and non-urban parts of the Midwest and the West tend to be churchgoers more than people who live in the Northeast and on the West coast. These regions of our country also tend to be more conservative and perhaps this is reflected in their churches and their church going people.

I was raised in Charlotte, NC, in a very conservative Episcopal Church. That church was not only segregated, its leaders taught me that segregation was the will of God and quoted the Bible to prove it. That church taught me that women were second-class citizens who could not possibly be priests or bishops and its leaders quoted the Bible to prove that patriarchy was the will of God. That church taught me that homosexuality was either a mental illness that needed to be cured or a moral depravity that needed to be converted, and of course, its leaders quoted the Bible to prove that homophobia was blessed by God.

Religious figures have frequently taken very prejudiced stands. Early in his life, Jerry Falwell started a segregated academy and called Nelson Mandela a communist, who ought to be imprisoned. He championed Apartheid South Africa as a bulwark against communism in the continent of Africa.

Television evangelist Pat Robertson regularly attacks the feminist movement as family breakers and suggests a high correlation between feminists and lesbians. Some of his anti homosexual rhetoric surely feeds the prejudices that are abroad.

The South has always had a strong military tradition. Southern senators have historically used their seniority to locate military installations in the South. Military schools like Virginia Military Academy and the Citadel are admired Southern institutions. Every old line Southern democrat from Richard Russell to Huey Long to George Wallace to Lyndon Johnson to Strom Thurmond (he was once a democrat) combined racism with patriotism to build a political majority. Religion under girded both. Remember that even the KKK was a semi-religious organization who had official chaplains, that they always spelled 'khaplains' and whose major symbol was a burning cross.

Historically, Christianity has been a barrier breaking religion. In Christ, Paul once asserted, there is neither Jew nor Greek, male or female, bond or free. Yet Christians throughout the ages have encouraged tribalism with its blessing of war, patriarchy with its denigration of women and slavery and segregation of the races. We have also participated in and blessed wars of religious intolerance despite the fact that Jesus enjoined us "to love our enemies and to bless those who persecute us."

Perhaps the old adage is correct. Christianity has not failed. It simply hasn't yet been tried.

-- John Shelby Spong

Bruce Springsteen says the Press Has "Let the Country Down" -- You tell 'em Boss

By Greg Mitchell
Editor & Publisher

Monday 27 September 2004

New York - On the eve of the Vote for Change tour, which has sparked controversy in newsrooms where reporters have been ordered not to attend the pro-Kerry fundraisers, Bruce Springsteen, one of the stars of the concerts, has a few words for the press.

In a wide ranging interview in the just-published Oct. 14 issue of Rolling Stone, Springsteen says, "The press has let the country down. It's taken a very amoral stand, in that essential issues are often portrayed as simply one side says this and the other side says that....The job of the press is to tell the truth without fear or favor. We have to get back to that standard."

Most of his criticism, however, is aimed at TV coverage, and he reveals that as "a dedicated" New York Times reader he has gained "enormous sustenance" from columnists Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman.

The problem, according to Springsteen, is that "Fox News and the Republican right have intimidated the press into an incredible self-consciousness about appearing objective and backed them into a corner of sorts where they have ceded some of their responsibility and righteous power." In this regard, he finds The Washington Post and The New York Times admitting mistakes in their initial reporting about Iraq "very revealing."

Overall, while there has been some great reporting in the press, it has fallen far short, Springsteen tells Rolling Stone founder Jann S. Wenner: "Real news is the news we need to protect our freedoms. You get tabloid news, you get blood-and-guts news, you get news shot through with a self-glorifying façade of patriotism, but people have to sift too much for the news that we need to protect our freedoms....The loss of some of the soberness and seriousness of those institutions has had a devastating effect upon people's ability to respond to the events of the day."

But Springsteen mainly aims barbs at cable news, mocking the "enormous amount of Fox impersonators among what you previously thought were relatively sane media outlets across the cable channels."

He also knocks the media for allowing the White House to get away with the "disgraceful" policy of refusing "to allow photographs of the flag-draped coffins of the returning dead."

Even the scripted political conventions deserved more coverage than they got, especially since they were often upstaged by reality TV shows. "No matter how staged they are," Springsteen says, "I think they're a little more important than people eating bugs," although he hastens to add, "If you want to watch people eating bugs, that's fine, I can understand that, too."

Bruce has the guts to say what many real American Patriots who decry the loss of an objective News Media in the United States have been saying for some time now, but without any hearing among our fellow citizens. Maybe his celebrity will permit the message to get out to the common man, if the Corporate Owned News Outlets don’t squelch the message first. If the Corporate Owned News Outlets don’t start doing their duty to adequately inform the American Public, we are going to have to have another American Revolution to take back our Nation, but this time an economic revolution instead of an armed one. We the People of United States of America OWN THE AIRWAVES. The Corporate Owned News Outlets are only granted a license to use those airwaves if they do so in the PUBLICS BEST INTEREST. Which they are not!!! If the FCC will not do its duty to enforce that, then we the people will have to organize boycotts of the advertisers of stations that will not do their job and report the truth to the people. Only when their bottom line is threatened will these Media Moguls sit up and listen to the people. We are the ones who buy the products that keep them on the air. Together we can force into bankruptcy any station, newspaper or network that will not do right by the American People!!!! Together we CAN TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY!!!

Operation American Repression? An Army officer in Iraq who wrote a highly critical article on the administration's conduct of the war is being investigated for disloyalty -- if charged and convicted, he could get 20 years

Online article here

By Eric Boehlert

Sept. 29, 2004 An Army Reserve staff sergeant who last week wrote a critical analysis of the United States' prospects in Iraq now faces possible disciplinary action for disloyalty and insubordination. If charges are bought and the officer is found guilty, he could face 20 years in prison. It would be the first such disloyalty prosecution since the Vietnam War.

The essay that sparked the military investigation is titled "Why We Cannot Win" and was posted Sept. 20 on the conservative antiwar Web site Written by Al Lorentz, a non-commissioned officer from Texas with nearly 20 years in the Army who is serving in Iraq, the essay offers a bleak assessment of America's chances for success in Iraq.

"I have come to the conclusion that we cannot win here for a number of reasons. Ideology and idealism will never trump history and reality," wrote Lorentz, who gives four key reasons for the likely failure: a refusal to deal with reality, not understanding what motivates the enemy, an overabundance of guerrilla fighters, and the enemy's shorter line of supplies and communication.

Lorentz's essay contains no classified information but does include a starkly critical evaluation of how the Bush administration has conducted the war. "Instead of addressing the reasons why the locals are becoming angry and discontented, we allow politicians in Washington DC to give us pat and convenient reasons that are devoid of any semblance of reality," Lorentz wrote. "It is tragic, indeed criminal, that our elected public servants would so willingly sacrifice our nation's prestige and honor as well as the blood and treasure to pursue an agenda that is ahistoric and un-Constitutional."

The essay prompted a swift response from Lorentz's commanders. In an e-mail this week to Salon, Lorentz, declining to comment further on his piece, noted, "Because of my article, I am under investigation at this time for very serious charges which carry up to a 20-year prison sentence." According to Lorentz, the investigation is looking into whether his writing constituted a disloyalty crime under both federal statute (Title 18, Section 2388, of the U.S. Code) and Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

According to the UCMJ, examples of punishable statements by military personnel "include praising the enemy, attacking the war aims of the United States, or denouncing our form of government with the intent to promote disloyalty or disaffection among members of the armed services. A declaration of personal belief can amount to a disloyal statement if it disavows allegiance owed to the United States by the declarant. The disloyalty involved for this offense must be to the United States as a political entity and not merely to a department or other agency that is a part of its administration."

Under UCMJ guidelines, the maximum punishment in the event of a conviction would be a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for three years.

Prosecutions are rare, however, says Grant Lattin, a military lawyer and retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, because members of the military "have the constitutional right to express their opinions pertaining to the issues before the public. Short of there being classified material and security issues, people can write letters about military subjects. If you look at the Army Times, you'll see letters from people on active duty complaining about this and that."

For instance, in September 2003, Tim Predmore, an active-duty soldier with the 101st Airborne Division, based in northern Iraq, wrote a scathing letter to his hometown newspaper, the Peoria Journal Star in Illinois. "For the past six months, I have been participating in what I believe to be the great modern lie: Operation Iraqi Freedom," Predmore's letter began. "From the moment the first shot was fired in this so-called war of liberation and freedom, hypocrisy reigned," he continued, labeling the war "the ultimate atrocity" before concluding, "I can no longer justify my service on the basis of what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies."

Going beyond the UCMJ and prosecuting disloyalty as a federal crime is "extraordinarily rare," Lattin says, noting that the last published case was in 1970, in U.S. vs. William Harvey. Under Title 18, Section 2388, it's a crime, punishable up to 20 years in prison, "when the United States is at war, [and a person] willfully causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or willfully obstructs the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to the injury of the service or the United States."

In the Harvey case, a Vietnam-era soldier was accused of making disloyal statements by urging a fellow soldier not to fight in Vietnam. "Why should the black man go to Vietnam and fight the white man's war and then come back and have to fight the white man," Harvey told the soldier, adding that he "was not going to fight in Vietnam and neither should [you]." The case was brought before the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, which noted "the language of the comments were on the line between rhetoric and disloyalty," as well as the fact that "disagreement with, or objection to, a policy of the Government is not necessarily indicative of disloyalty to the United States." The court alternately upheld and reversed portions of Harvey's conviction for disloyalty.

As for Lorentz's case, Lattin, who served as a Marine judge advocate, says it's not uncommon for commanders to threaten soldiers with legal action in order to make a point: "If they know there's an offense for a disloyal statement, I wouldn't be surprised if he said, 'Knock it off.'" Lattin doubts that in the end Lorentz will face prosecution for his writings. "After this gets to lawyers and prosecutors who think about the consequences and the First Amendment, I don't think this will go anywhere."

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Prewar Assessment on Iraq Saw Chance of Strong Divisions

online article here

September 28, 2004

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 - The same intelligence unit that produced a gloomy report in July about the prospect of growing instability in Iraq warned the Bush administration about the potential costly consequences of an American-led invasion two months before the war began, government officials said Monday.

The estimate came in two classified reports prepared for President Bush in January 2003 by the National Intelligence Council, an independent group that advises the director of central intelligence. The assessments predicted that an American-led invasion of Iraq would increase support for political Islam and would result in a deeply divided Iraqi society prone to violent internal conflict.

One of the reports also warned of a possible insurgency against the new Iraqi government or American-led forces, saying that rogue elements from Saddam Hussein's government could work with existing terrorist groups or act independently to wage guerrilla warfare, the officials said. The assessments also said a war would increase sympathy across the Islamic world for some terrorist objectives, at least in the short run, the officials said.

The contents of the two assessments had not been previously disclosed. They were described by the officials after two weeks in which the White House had tried to minimize the council's latest report, which was prepared this summer and read by senior officials early this month.

Last week, Mr. Bush dismissed the latest intelligence reports, saying its authors were "just guessing'' about the future, though he corrected himself later, calling it an "estimate.''

The assessments, meant to address the regional implications and internal challenges that Iraq would face after Mr. Hussein's ouster, said it was unlikely that Iraq would split apart after an American invasion, the officials said. But they said there was a significant chance that domestic groups would engage in violent internal conflict with one another unless an occupying force prevented them from doing so.

Senior White House officials, including Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, have contended that some of the early predictions provided to the White House by outside experts of what could go wrong in Iraq, including secular strife, have not come to pass. But President Bush has acknowledged a "miscalculation'' about the virulency of the insurgency that would rise against the American occupation, though he insisted that it was simply an outgrowth of the speed of the initial military victory in 2003.

The officials outlined the reports after the columnist Robert Novak, in a column published Monday in The Washington Post, wrote that a senior intelligence official had said at a West Coast gathering last week that the White House had disregarded warnings from intelligence agencies that a war in Iraq would intensify anti-American hostility in the Muslim world. Mr. Novak identified the official as Paul R. Pillar, the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, and criticized him for making remarks that Mr. Novak said were critical of the administration.

The National Intelligence Council is an independent group, made up of outside academics and long-time intelligence professionals. The C.I.A. describes it as the intelligence community's "center for midterm and long-term strategic thinking.'' Its main task is to produce National Intelligence Estimates, the most formal reports outlining the consensus of intelligence agencies. But it also produces less formal assessments, like the ones about Iraq it presented in January 2003.

One of the intelligence documents described the building of democracy in Iraq as a long, difficult and potentially turbulent process with potential for backsliding into authoritarianism, Iraq's traditional political model, the officials said.

The assessments were described by three government officials who have seen or been briefed on the documents. The officials spoke on condition that neither they nor their agencies be identified. None of the officials are affiliated in any way with the campaigns of Mr. Bush or Senator John Kerry. The officials, who were interviewed separately, declined to quote directly from the documents, but said they were speaking out to present an accurate picture of the prewar warnings.

The officials' descriptions portray assessments that are gloomier than the predictions by some administration officials, most notably those of Vice President Dick Cheney. But in general, the warnings about anti-American sentiment and instability appear to have been upheld by events, and their disclosure could prove politically damaging to the White House, which has already had to contend with the disclosure that the National Intelligence Estimate prepared by the council in July presented a far darker prognosis for Iraq through the end of 2005 than Mr. Bush has done in his statements.

The reports issued by the intelligence council are of two basic types: those that try to assess intelligence data, like the October 2002 document that assessed the state of Iraq's unconventional weapons programs, and broader predictions about foreign political developments.

The group's National Intelligence Estimate about Iraqi weapons has now been widely discredited for wildly overestimating the country's capabilities. Members of the intelligence council have complained that they were pressured to write the document too quickly and that important qualifiers were buried.

The group's recent National Intelligence Estimate, prepared in July this year, with its gloomy picture of Iraq's future, was described by White House officials in the past two weeks as an academic document that contained little evidence and little that was new.

"It was finished in July, and not circulated by the intelligence community until the end of August,'' said one senior administration official. "That's not exactly what you do with an urgent document.''

Mr. Pillar, who has held his post since October 2000, is highly regarded within the C.I.A. But he has been a polarizing figure within the administration, particularly within the Defense Department, where senior civilians who were among the most vigorous champions of a war in Iraq derided him as being too dismissive of the threat posed by Mr. Hussein.

A C.I.A. spokesman said Monday that Mr. Pillar was not available for comment and that his comments at the West Coast session had been made on the condition that he not be identified. An intelligence official said Mr. Pillar had supervised the drafting of the document, but the official emphasized that it reflected the views of 15 intelligence agencies, including the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the State Department's bureau of Intelligence and Research.

A spokesman for the National Security Council, Sean McCormack, said Monday that "we don't comment on intelligence and classified reports," and he would not say whether Mr. Bush had read the January 2003 reports. But he said "the president was fully aware of all the challenges prior to making the decision to go to war, and we addressed these challenges in our policies."

"And we also addressed these challenges in public," he added.

A senior administration official likened Mr. Bush's decision to a patient's decision to have risky surgery, even if doctors warn that there could be serious side effects. "We couldn't live with the status quo," the official said, "because as a result of the status quo in the Middle East, we were dying, and we saw the evidence of that on Sept. 11."

Officials who have read the July 2004 National Intelligence Estimate have said that even as a best-case situation, it predicted a period of tenuous stability for Iraq between now and the end of 2005. The worst of three cases cited in the document was that developments could lead to civil war, the officials have said. Some Democratic senators have asked that the document be declassified, but administration officials have called that prospect unlikely.

The White House has also sought to minimize the significance of the estimate, with Mr. Bush saying that intelligence agencies had laid out "several scenarios that said, life could be lousy, life could be O.K. or life could be better, and they were just guessing as to what the conditions might be like.'' Mr. Bush later corrected himself, saying that he should have used the word estimate.

Democrats have contrasted the dark tone of the intelligence report with the more upbeat descriptions of Iraq's prospects offered by the administration. The White House has defended its approach, saying that it is the job of intelligence analysts to identify challenges, and the job of policy makers to overcome them. But administration officials have also emphasized that the White House was not given a copy of the document until Aug. 31, only about two weeks before it was made public by The New York Times.

In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell acknowledged that "we have seen an increase in anti-Americanism in the Muslim world'' since the war began. Mr. Powell also said the insurgency in Iraq was "getting worse'' as forces opposed to the United States and the new Iraqi leadership remained "determined to disrupt the election'' set for January.

Viewers of Jon Stewart's show "The Daily Show" are more likely to have completed four years of college than people who watch "The O'Reilly Factor

(AP) The folks at Comedy Central were annoyed when Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly kept referring to "The Daily Show" audience as "stoned slackers."

So they did a little research. And guess whose audience is more educated?

Viewers of Jon Stewart's show are more likely to have completed four years of college than people who watch "The O'Reilly Factor," according to Nielsen Media Research.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Here’s the piece that ‘60 Minutes’ killed for its report on the Bush Guard documents

Someone snookered 60 Minutes so that they did not run the Niger-Gate story that expose how Bush mislead Congress and the American People, and instead ran a story about Bush's Vietnam days based on unauthenticated documents. Now CBS is afraid to air the real story about the Forged Niger Documents. On line article here.

By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
Updated: 5:24 p.m. ET Sept. 22, 2004

Sept. 22 - In its rush to air its now discredited story about President George W. Bush’s National Guard service, CBS bumped another sensitive piece slated for the same “60 Minutes” broadcast: a half-hour segment about how the U.S. government was snookered by forged documents purporting to show Iraqi efforts to purchase uranium from Niger.

The journalistic juggling at CBS provides an ironic counterpoint to the furor over apparently bogus documents involving Bush’s National Guard service. One unexpected consequence of the network’s decision was to wipe out a chance—at least for the moment—for greater public scrutiny of a more consequential forgery that played a role in building the Bush administration’s case to invade Iraq.

A team of “60 Minutes” correspondents and consulting reporters spent more than six months investigating the Niger uranium documents fraud, CBS sources tell NEWSWEEK. The group landed the first ever on-camera interview with Elisabetta Burba, the Italian journalist who first obtained the phony documents, as well as her elusive source, Rocco Martino, a mysterious Roman businessman with longstanding ties to European intelligence agencies.

Although the edited piece never ended up identifying Martino by name, the story, narrated by “60 Minutes” correspondent Ed Bradley, asked tough questions about how the White House came to embrace the fraudulent documents and why administration officials chose to include a 16-word reference to the questionable uranium purchase in President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union speech.

But just hours before the piece was set to air on the evening of Sept. 8, the reporters and producers on the CBS team were stunned to learn the story was being scrapped to make room for a seemingly sensational story about new documents showing that Bush ignored a direct order to take a flight physical while serving in the National Guard more than 30 years ago.

The story has since created a journalistic and political firestorm, resulting in a colossal embarrassment for CBS. This week, the network concluded that its principle source for the documents, a disgruntled former Guard official and Democratic partisan named Bill Burkett, had lied about where he got the material. CBS anchor Dan Rather publicly apologized for broadcasting the faulty report. Today, CBS named a two-person team comprised of former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former Associated Press chief Louis Boccardi to investigate the network’s handling of the story. .

“This is like living in a Kafka novel,” said Joshua Micah Marshall, a Washington Monthly contributing writer and a Web blogger who had been collaborating with “60 Minutes” producers on the uranium story. “Here we had a very important, well-reported story about forged documents that helped lead the country to war. And then it gets bumped by another story that relied on forged documents.”

Some CBS reporters, as well as one of the network’s key sources, fear that the Niger uranium story may never run, at least not any time soon, on the grounds that the network can now not credibly air a report questioning how the Bush administration could have gotten taken in by phony documents. The network would “be a laughingstock,” said one source intimately familiar with the story.

Although acknowledging that it was “frustrating” to have his story bounced, David Gelber, the lead CBS producer on the Niger piece, said he has been told the segment will still air some time soon, perhaps as early as next week. “Obviously, everybody at CBS is holding their breath these days. I’m assuming the story is going to run until I’m told differently.”

The delay of the CBS report comes at a time when there have been significant new developments in the case—although virtually none of them have been reported in the United States. According to Italian and British press reports, Martino—the Rome middleman at the center of the case—was questioned last week by an Italian investigating magistrate for two hours about the circumstances surrounding his acquisition of the documents. Martino could not be reached for comment, but his lawyer is reportedly planning a press conference in the next few days.

Burba, the Italian journalist, confirmed to NEWSWEEK this week that Martino is the previously mysterious “Mr. X” who contacted her with the potentially explosive documents in early October 2002—just as Congress was debating whether to authorize President Bush to wage war against Iraq. The documents, consisting of telexes, letters and contracts, purported to show that Iraq had negotiated an agreement to purchase 500 tons of “yellowcake uranium from Niger, material that could be used to make a nuclear bomb. (A U.S. intelligence official told NEWSWEEK that Martino is in fact believed to have been the distributor of the documents.)

Burba—under instructions from her editor at Panarama, a newsmagazine owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi—then provided the documents to the U.S. Embassy in Rome in an effort to authenticate them. The embassy soon passed the material on to Washington where some Bush administration officials viewed it as hard evidence to support its case that Saddam Hussein’s regime was actively engaged in a program to assemble nuclear weapons.

But the Niger component of the White House case for war quickly imploded. Asked for evidence to support President Bush’s contention in his State of the Union speech that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa, the administration turned over the Niger documents to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Within two hours, using the Google search engine, IAEA officials in Vienna determined the documents to be a crude forgery. At the urging of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the FBI launched an investigation into the Niger documents in an effort to determine if the United States government had been duped by a deliberate “disinformation” campaign organized by a foreign intelligence agency or others with a political agenda relating to Iraq.

So far, the bureau appears to have made little progress in unraveling the case. “The senator is frustrated by the slow pace of the investigation,” said Wendy Morigi, the press secretary for Senator Rockefeller, who was recently briefed on the status of the FBI probe.

One striking aspect of the FBI’s investigation is that, at least as of this week, Martino has told associates he has never even been interviewed by the bureau—despite the fact that he was publicly identified by the Financial Times of London as the source of the documents more than six weeks ago and was subsequently flown to New York City by CBS to be interviewed for the “60 Minutes” report.

A U.S. law-enforcement official said the FBI is seeking to interview Martino, but has not yet received permission to do so from the Italian government. The official declined to comment on other aspects of the investigation.

The case has taken on additional intrigue because of mounting indications that Martino has longstanding relationships with European intelligence agencies. Martino recently told the Sunday Times of London that he had previously worked for SISMI, the Italian military-intelligence agency, a potentially noteworthy part of his resume given that the conservative Italian government of Berlasconi was a strong supporter of the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq. A French government official told NEWSWEEK that Martino also had a relationship with French intelligence agencies. But the French official rejected suggestions from U.S. and British officials that French intelligence may have played a role in creating the documents in order to embarrass Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The French never disseminated the documents because they could not establish their authenticity, the French official said.

Martino has told Burba and others that he obtained the phony documents from an Italian woman who worked in the Niger Embassy in Rome. He was in turn put in touch with the woman by yet another middleman who, according to Burba’s account, had directed Martino to provide the documents to “the Eygptians.” Some press reports have suggested the still unidentified middleman who put Martino in touch with his Niger Embassy source was in fact a SISMI officer himself.

Burba, who has twice been interviewed by the FBI but never gave up Martino’s name, said she had been cooperating with the CBS team on the story in hopes of getting to the bottom of the matter. But now, with the “60 Minutes” broadcast postponed, she is no longer confident that can ever happen. Meanwhile, she said she is fed up with Martino who has “lied” to her and provided contradictory accounts to other journalists.

“I’m disappointed,” she told NEWSWEEK. “In this story, you don’t know who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. The sources have been both discredited and discredited themselves.”

Barbie Nadeau contributed to this report from Rome.

© 2004 Newsweek, Inc.

Charade: In Return for Profits, the Media Shortchanges the Truth

On line article here
By David Podvin

In the wake of the Federal Communications Commission fining Viacom more than five hundred thousand dollars for broadcasting a glimpse of Janet Jackson’s socially corrosive right nipple, Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone has endorsed George W. Bush for president. “From a Viacom standpoint, the election of a Republican administration is a better deal,” said Redstone. “Because the Republican administration has stood for many things we believe in, deregulation and so on. The Democrats are not bad people… but from a Viacom standpoint, we believe the election of a Republican administration is better for our company."

The corporate media is so closely allied with Bush that the occasional FCC fine or public rebuke constitutes nothing more than a meaningless charade. There is little practical significance to a huge conglomerate being penalized a half-million dollars, especially when literally billions of dollars will be gained if Bush has another four years during which to deregulate further the broadcasting industry. From Redstone’s perspective, the fine is just a nominal cost of doing business.

The Redstone announcement follows by several months the proclamation by Disney/ABC honcho Michael Eisner that his company would not distribute Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 out of concern that doing so would alienate Disney’s benefactors in the Bush family. Earlier this year, Chairman Rupert Murdoch of News Corp/Fox publicly endorsed Bush as the man who is best for America and Murdoch’s bank account, not necessarily in that order. Jeffrey Immelt, who runs General Electric/NBC, is also a Bush supporter. The “liberal television media” is strictly red state territory: at all four major networks, the guys who sign the paychecks support Bush, and their journalistic employees are keenly aware of this fact.

Redstone’s endorsement destroys the conservative theory that Dan Rather and CBS were out to get Bush by highlighting his insubordination in the National Guard. When viewing the machinations of amoral manipulators, it is important to focus on the result instead of fixating on the process. The result of the CBS News investigation was to inoculate Bush from further criticism of his absence without leave in Alabama, thereby strengthening his political position.
More importantly, CBS News has announced that as a result of the mishandled National Guard story, it is postponing a verified report that reveals Bush was brandishing phony documents when he claimed Iraq had tried to buy a lightly processed form of Nigerian weapons-grade uranium known as yellowcake. This is the story that could have really hurt Bush because it is tangible proof that the American people were deceived into supporting the invasion of Iraq, but now the facts will be withheld until after the election.

The bungled National Guard report and the suppressed yellowcake story have provided a double boost for Bush’s electoral chances. Redstone’s endorsement confirms that helping Bush stay in office is exactly what he desires, and he is the man who pays the salaries of the very people who have just given this windfall to the former Texas governor.

It is no coincidence that after years of obsessing about the nonexistent scandals of a president who opposed further media deregulation, the corporate press has repeatedly botched reporting about the real scandals of a president who has lavished big media with lucrative deregulation and tax cuts. The broadcast networks and major metropolitan newspapers just cannot get their acts together when it comes to reporting about the California energy plunder or the sweetheart deals with campaign contributors or any of the other iniquities that have emanated from the Bush kleptocracy.

Absent the huge monetary gains provided by Bush’s media deregulation, none of the broadcast networks would currently be profitable. Without the federal subsidies from the Bush administration for its Kaplan, Inc., subsidiary, the Washington Post would be a money-losing operation. The New York Times wants to expand its business in broadcasting, and Bush is the only presidential candidate advocating the necessary rule changes. The Tribune Corporation owes its growth to Bush regulatory policies, as does radio powerhouse Clear Channel Communications.

These organizations are teeming with experienced professional journalists, but they have been unable to report competently about a single Bush scandal. Even on those rare occasions when someone has actually hand-delivered incriminating information about Bush to them, the mainstream media has consistently screwed up the story.

Journalists have had Bush dead to rights several times, including catching him in multiple lies about his association with Enron and his whopper for the ages regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Repeatedly, reporters have served the financial ends of the media conglomerates by letting Bush off the hook. There has been a seemingly improbable series of blunders, the most outrageous of which was the “misinterpretation” of the data from the major media’s own Consortium study that confirmed Bush had stolen the 2000 election but was reported to the public as proving exactly the opposite.

And then there is the matter of Halliburton, which may be the most egregious example of a government kickback to private industry that has ever existed. While serving in the executive branch, Dick Cheney has received two million dollars from the company he used to run, and in return Halliburton has been awarded seven billion taxpayer dollars in the form of noncompetitive-bid contracts. This is a slam dunk story of brazen corruption for which there is ample documentation. Even so, the mainstream media continues to fumble and stumble with the facts, demonstrating a degree of haplessness that stands in stark contrast to the laser-like focus journalists applied to a tiny failed land deal in Whitewater, Arkansas.

The right wing is now whimpering that the Rather incident confirms the liberal bias of the news media but, as usual, conservatives have inverted reality. Given the subsequent political endorsement by Redstone, the comedy of errors at CBS confirms that the illicit alliance between George W. Bush and the communications conglomerates remains alive and well.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Republicans Admit Mailing Campaign Literature Saying Liberals Will Ban the Bible and Force Gay Marriage

online article here

The Republican Party acknowledged yesterday sending mass mailings to residents of two states warning that "liberals" seek to ban the Bible. It said the mailings were part of its effort to mobilize religious voters for President Bush.

The mailings include images of the Bible labeled "banned" and of a gay marriage proposal labeled "allowed." A mailing to Arkansas residents warns: "This will be Arkansas if you don't vote." A similar mailing was sent to West Virginians.

A liberal religious group, the Interfaith Alliance, circulated a copy of the Arkansas mailing to reporters yesterday to publicize it. "What they are doing is despicable,'' said Don Parker, a spokesman for the alliance. "They are playing on people's fears and emotions."

In an e-mail message, Christine Iverson, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, confirmed that the party had sent the mailings.

"When the Massachusetts Supreme Court sanctioned same-sex marriage and people in other states realized they could be compelled to recognize those laws, same-sex marriage became an issue,'' Ms. Iverson said. "These same activist judges also want to remove the words 'under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance."

The mailing is the latest evidence of the emphasis Republicans are putting on motivating conservative Christian voters to vote this fall. But as the appeals become public, they also risk alienating moderate and swing voters.

An editorial on Sept. 22 in The Charleston Gazette in West Virginia, for example, asked, "Holy Moley! Who concocts this gibberish?"

"Most Americans see morality more complexly," the editorial said. "Many think a higher morality is found in Christ's command to help the needy, prevent war and pursue other humanitarian goals. Churchgoers of this sort aren't likely to believe childish allegations that Democrats want to ban the Bible."

In statement, Senator John Edwards, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, said President Bush "should condemn the practice immediately and tell everyone associated with the campaign to never use tactics like this again."

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, called the mailings an ugly contrast to Mr. Bush's public statements. Although the president has called for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, he often emphasizes the need for tolerance as well.

"The president takes more or less the high road and his henchman and allies on the right have been let loose to conduct these ugly, divisive smear campaigns," Mr. Foreman said. "It is wedge politics at its worst."

In any event, the Bush campaign appears confident about its religious appeal.

The mailing seeks to appeal to conservative evangelical Protestant pastors and political leaders who say they worry that legal rights for same-sex couples could lead to hate-crimes laws that could be applied against sermons of Bible passages criticizing homosexuality.

Conservative Christian political commentators often cite the case of Ake Green, a minister in Sweden who was jailed in June for a month for a sermon denouncing gays as sinful.

Mr. Parker, of the Interfaith Alliance, said, "I think it is laughable to think that someone could be arrested for reading out loud from the Bible.''

But Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, argued, "We have the First Amendment in this country which should protect churches, but there is no question that this is where some people want to go, that reading from the Bible could be hate speech."

Still, Mr. Land questioned the assertion that Democrats might ban the whole Bible. "I wouldn't say it," he said. "I would think that is probably stretching it a bit far."

Human rights groups say US & UK have failed their duty to catalogue the deaths, giving the impression that ordinary Iraqis' lives are worth less

Counting the civilian cost in Iraq
By Matthew Davis
BBC News Online

More than 1,000 US soldiers have been killed since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Other coalition allies are mourning dozens of their own fighting men and women.

Thousands of Iraqi civilians have also died as a result of conflict and its bloody aftermath - but officially, no one has any idea how many.

Human rights groups say the occupying powers have failed in a duty to catalogue the deaths, giving the impression that ordinary Iraqis' lives are worth less than those of soldiers.

Unofficial estimates of the civilian toll vary wildly, from at least 10,000 to more than 37,000.

But the view famously expressed by US General Tommy Franks that "we don't do body counts" still resonates in government circles.

Imagine the US not investigating exactly who died on September 11, it is unthinkable
John Sloboda
Iraq Body Count

America and Britain say the chaos of war-torn Iraq makes it impossible to get accurate information.

And while Iraq's health and interior ministries now record non-military deaths, resources for this are tiny in a country rebuilding after war.

Iraq Body Count

The UK-based Iraq Body Count - run on a shoestring by about 20 academics and peace activists - is one of the most widely-quoted sources of information on the civilian toll.

It says 13-15,000 ordinary Iraqis have died since the invasion in March 2003, figures compiled from media reports of thousands of incidents.

Civilian toll estimates at 09/04
Iraq Body Count: 13-15,000
Brookings Inst: 10-27,000
UK foreign secretary: >10,000
People's Kifah >37,000

Where sources report differing figures, a minimum and a maximum are given.

Professor John Sloboda, a co-founder of Iraq Body Count, told BBC News Online: "Everyone can agree that there are good reasons why our count can never be complete, but there is not as much confusion as you think.

"Since the end of hostilities was declared, we are confident in the figures."

The IBC wants to see an independent commission set up in Iraq to give the best estimate of civilian deaths and full details of how each person died.

Prof Sloboda said: "No country could hold its head up high without looking back to investigate the deaths of thousands of its people.

"Imagine the United States not investigating exactly who died on September 11, it is unthinkable."

It should be recognised that there is no reliable way of estimating the number of civilian casualties caused during major combat operations
British defence ministry

Other sources for casualty figures include the Washington-based Brookings Institution, which combines IBC's figures with projections for deaths caused by violent crime in Iraq.

It says that from May 2003 to the end of August 2004, between 10,000 and 27,000 Iraqis were killed through acts of war or other violence.

In August, an Iraqi group calling itself the People's Kifah said it had documented more than 37,000 civilian deaths from March to October 2003.

But there has been no independent scrutiny of these figures, and the group could not be contacted.

'Precision bombing'

The Pentagon, like the UK MoD, maintains US forces do all they can to minimise civilian casualties in one of the "most precisely targeted campaigns" in history, but it has said it does not produce figures on those killed.

In the chaos of Iraq, people die, they are quickly buried and nothing more may be heard of them. Fighters dress in street clothes... indistinguishable from civilians
Ken Roth
Human Rights Watch

The US State Department told BBC News Online it had no policy input on the issue, which was "entirely a matter for the Defense Department".

An MoD spokesman said: "It should be recognised that there is no reliable way of estimating the number of civilian casualties caused during major combat operations.

"We would caution against taking the numbers quoted in media reports and else where at face value. No source or combination of sources can produce a reliable figure."

But in May, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told BBC radio that estimates by non-governmental organisations put the civilian death toll at about 10,000 in the year after the invasion. He said it was "odd that coalition forces have not kept consistent records".

The Foreign Office now says 10,000 was never an official figure, and doubts one will ever be obtained.

'Weigh cost of war'

Critics point to the fact that neither the British nor US forces have any difficulty in announcing they have killed a fairly exact number of "enemy" or "insurgents".

And some legal experts say it is the duty of occupying powers to keep track of civilian losses under the Geneva Conventions.

But in many incidents it is hard to get a true picture of what caused the attack, let alone how many people were killed.

Ken Roth, head of Human Rights Watch, told BBC News Online he doesn't think it will ever be possible to come up with anything better than a good guess at the final civilian cost.

"It's not like Yugoslavia where the Serbs kept detailed records of the civilian toll. In Iraq, the institutions that could have compiled them have broken down.

"In the chaos of Iraq, people die, they are quickly buried and nothing more may be heard of them. Fighters dress in street clothes, so in hospitals they are indistinguishable from civilians."

Producing a final toll can be useful in that we can weigh the cost of war against the number of innocent lives, Mr Roth said.

"But what is more important is what lessons can be learned by investigating how and why people were killed."

'Decapitation strikes'

Human Rights Watch says the invasion of Iraq saw a dramatic fall in the number of US Air Force strikes using cluster bombs in populated areas - a consequence of lessons learned in Afghanistan.

Nobody can stop themselves being drawn into the blind violence that continues to sweep the country
Nada Doumani
Red Cross

But it says the US Army - which had not fought a major war for 10 years - continued to use the controversial bombs in abundance.

A recent HRW report also criticised what it said was the "imprecise targeting" of decapitation strikes against figures in Saddam Hussein's regime.

Out of 50 strikes, none were hit, says HRW, but 40 civilians were killed because planners relied on rough Global Positioning System locations from mobile phones.

"Any attacking force has a duty to do this kind of analysis," said Mr Roth. "What is amazing is that the US does nothing of the sort."

In the meantime, Iraq's precarious security situation sees dozens of people killed every day.

"Nobody can stop themselves being drawn into the blind violence that continues to sweep the country," said Nada Doumani, of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

"Civilians are those who pay the greatest price."

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Bruce Springsteen - why I'm on fire over the election

Online article here
Thursday, September 23rd, 2004

On the day he turns 55, Bruce Springsteen is making some fans wish he'd never been born in the USA.

In a scathing interview in the Oct. 14 issue of Rolling Stone, on newsstands today, Springsteen's birthday, New Jersey's bard of the common man discusses why he's playing the anti-Bush Vote for Change concerts in the swing states and supporting Democrat John Kerry — the first time he's ever endorsed a specific candidate.

"I don't want to watch the country devolve into an oligarchy, watch the division of wealth increase and see another million people beneath the poverty line this year," Springsteen tells Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner.

"These are all things that have been the subtext of so much of my music," he adds. "And to see the country move so quickly to the right, so much further to the right than what the President campaigned on — these are the things that removed whatever doubt I may have had about getting involved."

The invasion of Iraq was the turning point. "I felt we had been misled," he says. "I felt they had been fundamentally dishonest and had frightened and manipulated the American people into war. And as the saying goes, 'The first casualty of war is truth.'

"The press has let the country down," too, he says. by taking "an amoral stand" and giving in to the ratings-grabbing tendencies of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

The singer's stance on the election has outraged many of his fans, who posted comments at

"It deeply saddens me that you use music to further your own motives to overthrow President Bush," wrote a Texas-based fan who signed an open letter as William Colley, Jr.

"Regardless of my personal choice of President, I feel using music to promote your propaganda (either truthful or fictitious) is just as wrong as music censorship."

For those who don't agree with Springsteen's newfound interest in partisan politics, the singer has a suggestion: Think of the Boss the way he thinks of the Duke.

"The example I've been giving is that I've been an enormous fan of John Wayne all my life, although not a fan of his politics," Springsteen says. "I've made a place for all those different parts of who he was. I find deep inspiration and soulfulness in his work."

Republican Senators tell unpleasant truths about Iraq War

Read Joe Conason's column
Joe Conason
The New York Observer

If you don’t want to hear a Democrat say that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating dangerously, listen to a Republican

09.22.04 - In a Sept. 20 speech that was long overdue, John Kerry outlined the deceptions and failures of George W. Bush’s policy in Iraq. Because he is the Democratic nominee for President, and because he hasn’t expressed his view of the war with such clarity and cogency before, many voters may remain deaf to Mr. Kerry’s realistic warnings about the price of Mr. Bush’s "stubborn incompetence."

Partisan though his speech at New York University surely was, however, much the same message is being delivered by the most respected figures in the ruling party.

So if you don’t want to hear a Democrat say that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating dangerously, listen to a Republican Senator instead. "The worst thing we can do is hold ourselves hostage to some grand illusion we’re winning," said Chuck Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska. "Right now, we are not winning. Things are getting worse …. The fact is, we’re in deep trouble in Iraq."

If you don’t want to hear a Democrat tell how the Bush administration botched the mission that is further from being accomplished today than a year ago, listen to another Republican Senator. "We made serious mistakes right after the initial successes by not having enough troops there on the ground, by allowing the looting, by not securing the borders," said Arizona’s John McCain, still a fervent supporter of the war. "There were a number of things that we did. Most of it can be traced back to not having sufficient numbers of troops there."

If you don’t want to hear a Democrat criticize the President and his associates for their delusional approach to Iraq, listen to a very senior Republican Senator.

"Our committee heard blindly optimistic people from the administration prior to the war and people outside the administration -- what I call the ‘dancing in the street’ crowd -- that we just simply will be greeted with open arms," said Richard Lugar of Indiana, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "The nonsense of all that is apparent. The lack of planning is apparent."

Those three Senators are speaking out because they believe the President isn’t being candid about the crisis in Iraq, and because they fear that he has no plan to stabilize the country and extricate our troops.

They’re rightly outraged when Mr. Bush, the would-be Woodrow Wilson, declares himself pleased by the "progress" toward "democracy" in Baghdad, where nobody can travel without bodyguards. They’re furious that his administration cannot account for billions spent, and cannot even spend the billions they authorized. While the President complains constantly about Mr. Kerry’s vote against the $87 billion supplemental appropriation last year, the sad fact is that his appointees so far have found no way to use that money wisely -- and are now asking Congress to allow them to "reprogram" the funds they failed to spend.

The three Republican Senators are appalled as well by the evident influence of politics on military strategy, as American commanders struggle to pacify an increasingly alienated population. While Islamist and Baathist insurgents consolidate, the administration hesitates to act -- because a sudden spike in U.S. casualties would endanger Mr. Bush’s electoral prospects.

And although they politely avoided the topic, those honest Republicans may well wonder how Mr. Bush can pretend ignorance of the grim assessment delivered by U.S. intelligence agencies last July. That estimate warns that Iraq will remain unstable at best for the foreseeable future, and at worst will descend into civil war.

That is a sickening prospect -- not only for the continuous suffering it would cause the Iraqi people, but for the opportunity such internecine strife would afford our most determined enemies. There is already reason to worry that the Shiite rebellion has created an opening for Iranian agents to extend their influence in Iraq -- and for terrorists linked to Al Qaeda to find refuge there.

The American occupation already seems to have inspired new cooperation between Shiite and Sunni Islamists, despite their religious antipathy. A chaotic "failed state" is the perfect environment for terror to flourish, posing a worse threat to our security than Saddam Hussein ever did.

Actually, as a timely leak from the C.I.A.’s Iraq Survey Group reiterated last week, Mr. Hussein had no "weapons of mass destruction" and no way to manufacture such weapons in meaningful amounts. That isn’t Democratic propaganda, or an outtake from a Michael Moore movie. It is merely factual information, gathered over many months by Mr. Bush’s own appointees, that explodes any justification for war.

Having made war anyway, Mr. Bush eventually will be forced to confront its unsustainable realities. This could mean a series of horrifically violent confrontations in Iraq’s cities, a postponement of the January elections, a wider call-up of National Guard and Reserve units, or even a renewed military draft.

Dissembling now may preserve Mr. Bush’s advantage for the next six weeks. But should he win a second term, beware the "November surprise" that will begin to bring home the true costs of his feckless adventure.


Bishop John Spong on Why Geroge W. Bush Does NOT Deserve a Second Term as President

Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong puts out a column covering religious and political issues. In this one he addresses the concerns of a Bush supporter. Bishop Spong’s response should be shared far and wide:

Donald from Nyack, New York, writes:

"I agree with most of what you have set forth about the war in Iraq. However, I support George Bush because I believe him to be an honest man who has, unfortunately, been grossly misled by our 'intelligence' services. His only mistake, in my mind, is that he has not publicly announced this fact and sacked those responsible. We are now committed to Iraq. We must conclude with honor the job we have undertaken and withdraw as quickly as possible. It is unfortunate that our beloved 'press' views its political agendas as more important than that of reporting facts. I remember when this was not so and long for the return of those honest days. I respect you, Dr. Spong, but must in all honesty ask how you can state without equivocation that the president is carrying out a 'personal vendetta' against Saddam of Iraq because of his father's decisions, wise or unwise? How correct is your 'intelligence' source?"
Dear Donald,

I have quoted your letter in its entirety because I think you make such cogent observations and offer a perspective that so many Americans share, including a number of subscribers to this newsletter. I am pleased to allow you to speak for them and thus to enhance the public dialogue which is of course the primary purpose of this column.

The points I would make to keep this dialogue going are these. I do not mean to attack the integrity or the honesty of President Bush. I do mean, however, to raise questions about his competency and ability. You say it better than I do. Do you really want "an honest man who has unfortunately been grossly misled by our intelligence sources?" Is he not responsible for intelligence? Do not the heads of the CIA, the FBI and the Department of Defense serve at the pleasure of the President? Has he dismissed anyone for these gross intelligence failures? Does that bespeak of competence or does it suggest an unannounced agenda?

I see in this president one who resisted the appointment of the 9/11 Commission until public pressure forced the formation of that Commission on him. Then he appointed Henry Kissinger to head it, a choice that was to me inconceivable having read of Henry Kissinger's clandestine operations in China prior to the opening of diplomatic relationships with that nation by Richard Nixon. When Dr. Kissinger declined because it would create a conflict with some of his Saudi business clients, he then accepted former Governor Thomas Kean of New Jersey as a necessary evil. Next, he refused to allow National Security Advisor Condaleeza Rice to testify under oath before that Commission, once again relenting only after massive political pressure. Then he refused to testify himself except in the company of Vice-President Cheney. [Editor's note: Bush and Cheney only testified on condition that their testimony would not be under oath, and would not be recorded or transcribed. Why would they refuse to state legally that their testimony was the truth or have it recorded? Bush was unwilling to testify even under these conditions without Cheney right beside him. Why? What was he afraid of?] Next he opposed extending the time the Commission needed and requested to complete its work until once again being forced to do so. Finally, when the report was made public, he expressed no urgency to implement its findings until once again political pressure made at least the appearance of cooperation necessary. He then opposed the primary conclusion of a centralized Intelligence Czar to be over all intelligence gathering. That does not sound to me like a person who has a great desire to get to the truth.

The Republican Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Pat Roberts of Kansas, has now forced his hand by making a proposal even more sweeping than the 9/11 Commission had recommended. That would surely not have been done if there had been anything other than foot dragging from the White house. Certainly, Donald Rumsfeld has publicly opposed making intelligence in the Department of Defense subject to the authority of that proposed office.

It looks to me as if this president has supported those responsible for his being "grossly misled" as you suggest. When I put these things together, only two conclusions are possible. 1) He did not think he was misled because he had a different agenda than the one he has publicly announced. 2) He does not understand how poorly he was served. Either way, I have no confidence in his leadership.

I carry no brief for the accuracy of the press but its freedom, even with all its excesses, is the best defense we have in this country to protect and to pursue truth. [Editor's note: It is sad with the Corporate bias that exists in the US News Media that they are the “best defense we have in this country to protect and to pursue truth .”]

Finally, it is abundantly clear to me that the stated reasons this administration gave for entering the war were wrong. The 9/11 Commission found no weapons of mass destruction and turned up no link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. This war has been a costly mistake causing the dead and the wounded to be numbered in the thousands. We have not yet pacified the nation of Iraq. We have alienated one billion Muslims in the world. We are hated and feared throughout the world. I agree with a former Middle East ambassador who said in my presence last month in Denver, "Terrorism is the war of the powerless, war is the terrorism of the powerful." I am willing to appeal to the court of history to determine how correct my sources of intelligence are and I welcome further dialogue with other readers.

- John Shelby Spong

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Forged Documents Must Be Investigated -- Unless They Are From The Bush Administration

Josh Marshall has a good post on his blog
In Newsweek this afternoon, Mike Isikoff and Mark Hosenball have a piece that touches on the fact that the FBI still hasn't managed to interview Rocco Martino, the guy at the center of the forged Niger uranium documents story. They put the question to the FBI and were told by a "U.S. law-enforcement official ... [that] the FBI is seeking to interview Martino, but has not yet received permission to do so from the Italian government."


The Bureau may well be looking to interview Martino now that they've been put on the spot.

But are they really willing to take 'no' for an answer from the Italians?

And more to the point, if it's really a jurisdictional issue, why didn't they try to interview Martino last month when he was in New York?

Or if not then, how about when he flew here in June?

The White House is now saying that it's imperative to get to the bottom of who's behind the CBS Memo forgeries. And they're right. But the US government has never made any serious effort to find out who is behind the Niger uranium forgeries.

Why not?

-- Josh Marshall

The claim that Iraq was buying Uranium from Niger for building Nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction was a key point in convincing Congress and the Nation to go to War with Iraq, and found it's way into President Bush's State of the Union Address to Congress and the Nation. When it was pointed out that this whole argument was based on forged documents the Bush Administration said, "Oh, well. We were fooled. Silly us." And let the matter drop. Forged Documents were passed onto the Bush Administration allegedly (if they didn't already know they were forgeries -- it took the UN a couple of hours to figure out that they were forgeries, but the Bush Administration had them for over a year, and couldn't figure that out -- right!) causing it to demand a War in Iraq, and no attempt is made to find out who is responsible, and punish them. But documents about Bush's Stateside Vietnam War Years that the secretary who wrote the real documents says contained much the same information as the real documents --- these must be found out and NOW!!!!!!! Did the Bush Vietnam memos cause us to go to war? NO! Did the Forged Niger Documents cause us to go to war? YES!!!! Cheney, the big imbecile, still thinks they are legitimate. Actually, he knows they are Forgeries, but he's hoping that by continually claiming that they are real he can fool the American People who Cheney thinks are dumb as a box of rocks. We'll see if a majority of the Americans are as dumb as Cheney thinks they are in November. Right now it's a toss-up.

Bush Administration’s FDA Lying to Physicians and Public about Antidepressants Used on Children

The Bush Administration’s Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly urged antidepressant manufacturers NOT to disclose to physicians and the public that some clinical trials of the medications in children found the drugs were no better than sugar pills!!!

Online article here

Makers Were Dissuaded From Labeling Drugs as Ineffective in Children

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 10, 2004; Page A02

The Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly urged antidepressant manufacturers not to disclose to physicians and the public that some clinical trials of the medications in children found the drugs were no better than sugar pills, according to documents and testimony released at a congressional hearing yesterday.

Regulators suppressed the negative information on the grounds that it might scare families and physicians away from the drugs, according to testimony by drug company executives. For at least three medications, they said, the FDA blocked the companies' plans to reveal the negative studies in drug labels, and in one case the agency reversed a manufacturer's decision to amend its drug label to say that the drug was associated in studies with increased hostility and suicidal thinking among children.

"Why would FDA require a company to remove stronger labeling?" demanded an incredulous Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) yesterday, at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations. "FDA should want to encourage a company to do that kind of thing."

Janet Woodcock, FDA's deputy commissioner for operations, responded that regulators believe the jury is still out on the drugs. The negative trials, she said, did not mean the medications were ineffective.

Several representatives noted that the study results were obtained at tremendous cost to the American public because Congress granted companies profitable patent extensions as an incentive to conduct the trials.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), a member of the subcommittee, said it was absurd to give companies profitable patent extensions on their drugs to encourage the trials and then limit dissemination of the results. He said his staff had estimated that a patent extension given to Pfizer Inc. was worth $1 billion dollars. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, he said, made $500 million.

The hearing was prompted by widespread complaints that crucial information about the safety and effectiveness of antidepressant medications had not been communicated to physicians and the public. More than two-thirds of all studies of antidepressant use among depressed children have failed to show the drugs are effective.

Prozac is the only medicine to be specifically approved to treat children's depression, but a number of other drugs are widely prescribed.

Most physicians have not had access to the negative data and are prescribing the drugs to millions of American children largely because the drugs have proved effective among adults. Two internal FDA analyses recently concluded that the class of medications is associated with an increased risk of suicidal behavior among children.

At the hearing, Pfizer Vice President Cathryn M. Clary testified that FDA had told the company that existing language in the label for Zoloft, which suggested "that efficacy has not been established" for depressed children, was sufficient. Pfizer had planned to add that two studies of Zoloft found the medication was no better than sugar pills.

"We do not feel it would be useful to describe these negative trials in labeling," FDA officials wrote in a letter to the company, "since these may be misinterpreted as evidence that Zoloft does not work."

FDA's Woodcock said agency officials had told Wyeth to scale back a label change that warned that the drug Effexor had been linked to suicidal thoughts, hostility and self-harm.

"It was not very understandable," Woodcock said in an interview when asked why the FDA had found the Wyeth label objectionable.

Wyeth and other companies were instead asked to insert a general caution that physicians should carefully monitor the risk of suicide among all patients with depression. Agency officials said at the time that the caution was a reiteration of good clinical practice.

Joseph S. Camardo, senior vice president at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, said company scientists had disagreed with the FDA on how to interpret the data in its labeling.

"We thought our proposal was reasonable, so it was a bit of a surprise," he said of the FDA ruling that substituted a less pointed warning.

In the agency's most recent internal review of the antidepressant studies, FDA scientist Tarek Hammad concluded in August that children taking Effexor had 8.84 times the risk of suicidal behavior or thinking compared with children taking sugar pills.

British authorities warned physicians last year not to prescribe a range of antidepressants to children. The FDA has called for a more cautious interpretation of the data, which an agency advisory committee is expected to discuss at a meeting next week.

Yesterday's hearings, which included testimony from officials from seven pharmaceutical companies, grappled with ways to make negative study results about drugs more accessible to the public. Recent proposals by manufacturers, medical journal editors and members of Congress have called for various schemes for publicly registering all drug trials and, in some cases, disclosing the results.

Remember that the Pharmaceutical Industry is one of Bush’s biggest Campaign Contributors. That’s why he is trying to block Senior Citizens from being able to buy cheaper medications from Canada!!!! Remember also that many people in the Bush Administration as well as his Campaign Donors are heavily invested in Pharmaceutical Industry Stocks, and would loose a lot of money if it came out that these drugs actually hurt American Children. So Bush’s FDA squelches the information from doctors and the American Public. Disgusting!!! Once again putting profit above protecting the American people. We are chattel as far as Bush and his cronies are concerned. Our deaths and our children’s deaths are nothing compared with making profit!!!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Forced Contributions to GOP!!!! Employees of the Republican-controlled Philadelphia Parking Authority said they were told by their superiors to contribute to the GOP, or risk losing their jobs!!!!

Online article here

Employees of the Republican-controlled Philadelphia Parking Authority said they were told by their superiors to contribute to the GOP, or risk losing their jobs, a newspaper reported.

Five employees said they were pressured on the job to contribute $275 per year, the Philadelphia Daily News reported for Tuesday editions. Campaign finance records show dozens of $100 contributions this year from workers making $25,000 or less.

State law forbids demanding political contributions from public employees or contractors.

"It's extortion," said Michael J. Vecchione, who was hired two years ago to work in the authority's impoundment lots. The four other employees spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity.

Vecchione, 38, said he had been on the job about a month when his supervisor asked him to buy a $100 ticket to the Republican City Committee's fall dinner.

"I told her, "I'm not really a political person.' Then she told me, 'You should understand, this is a patronage job and you have to buy three tickets a year.' At that time, I refused to pay, but two days later another supervisor came up and said I was still under probation. If I didn't buy the tickets they could fire me."

Vecchione said he got another call from a woman in the office of state House Republican leader John Perzel. Perzel, now the House speaker, engineered the Republican Party's takeover of the Parking Authority from the Democratic-controlled city in 2001.

"I told her, no one ever told me before I was hired about buying these tickets. And she said, 'I'm telling you now,"' Vecchione said.

Prompted by an inquiry from the newspaper, the Parking Authority's executive director, Joseph M. Egan Jr., sent a memo to all 823 authority employees last week warning them that they could be fired for soliciting money on the job or threatening workers who refuse to contribute.

"Employees must be free from any pressure, real or perceived, to contribute to any activity or group," Egan said.

Parking Authority employees also said they had been asked to work the polls. Several said the political activity appeared to be organized by Vincent J. Fenerty, Egan's top deputy and a Republican ward leader.

Fenerty denied pressuring employees to make a political contribution, but acknowledged accepting a $100 donation from Vecchione on authority time. Fenerty, however, described Vecchione as a "disgruntled employee" and said Vecchione approached him with the $100.

Vecchione said Fenerty had pressured him for the money.

(Copyright 2004 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Last Updated: Sep 14, 2004

Back to their old tricks Bush Admin strong arming veterans and underreporting casualties

Earlier in 2004 it came out that the Bush Administration’s Department of Defense was telling vets who have already seen combat that if they didn’t reenlist in the military they would be reactivated and sent to Iraq. This was happening all across the country. The Bush Administration claimed that this was a misunderstanding on the part of military recruiters (in states all across the country – yeah, right!) and that it had been corrected. Now the GAO is reporting that the US may run out of guard and reserve troops for war on terrorism. Also has just come out that the US News outlets reported number of U.S. casualties are about 17,000 short of the true figure. 17,000 service members who have been medically evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan are absent from public Pentagon casualty reports commonly cited by newspapers. 17,000 more injured and evacuated military service members than the Pentagon has been telling us. Now we are getting reports of the Bush Administration’s Department of Defense again telling recently returned combat vets that if they didn’t reenlist in the military for three more years they would be reactivated and sent to Iraq . Also the Bush Administration has been putting together plans for renewal of the Military Draft, but they won’t announce that until after the election (if they win).

US media covers up U.S. war crimes in Iraq

I share a disturbing article from reprinted from Silicon Investor

By Barry Grey

09/15/04 "Silicon Investor"
-- Every day, US military forces in Iraq are attacking civilian populations in a calculated effort to drown a growing popular insurgency in blood. But one would hardly know the dimensions or brutality of the atrocities being carried out in the name of the American people from the sparse and sanitized coverage provided by the major press and broadcast outlets that purport to disseminate “the news.”

The US media—owned and controlled by a handful of huge corporate conglomerates—play an indispensable role in the mass murder of Iraqi men, women and children. Together with the Bush administration and the two major parties of US imperialism—the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate John Kerry, no less than their Republican rivals—the media are complicit in a crime against humanity of immense proportions, one that dwarfs any crimes committed by the various political leaders who have been targeted for destruction by the American ruling elite in recent years: from Panama’s Noriega, to Serbia’s Milosevic, to Saddam Hussein himself.

One can stare at the 24-hour cable news networks from sunup to sundown and get no sense of the carnage in towns and cities from Baghdad, to Fallujah, to Ramadi, to Hilla in the south and Tal Afar in the north that is left in the wake of US rockets, bombs, tank shells and sniper rounds. The evening news reports of the major networks provide at most a fleeting image of the death and destruction, inevitably hedged with absurd avowals from the US military that “precision” attacks were carried out against “terrorist” and “anti-Iraqi” targets.

As for the press, one day’s front-page report of US helicopter attacks on unarmed civilians or air strikes against urban centers is eclipsed the next day by the latest hurricane threat or new poll numbers on the upcoming election—an election in which no discussion of the legitimacy of the US subjugation of Iraq or the real war aims behind the bogus ones used to promote the war is permitted.

No country’s media is more cowardly, or more artful in churning out the official line and excluding any serious criticism or analysis, than that of the USA. It would be absurd to hold up the British media as a model of conscientious and objective reporting, but even there, articles occasionally appear that provide some insight into the reality of the situation in Iraq.

The Guardian newspaper, for example, on Tuesday carried an eyewitness account on its front page of the American helicopter attack on unarmed Iraqis that occurred Sunday in central Baghdad. Thirteen Iraqis were killed and dozens were wounded when US copters repeatedly fired rockets into a crowd that had gathered around a disabled American armored vehicle on Haifa Street, near the Green Zone that houses the US and British embassies and the offices of Washington’s puppet government.

For the benefit of our readers around the world, and especially in the US, we give here some excerpts from the chilling and tragic account provided by Guardian columnist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, who was himself wounded while covering the US assault.

Abdul-Ahad describes at least four separate rocket strikes by American helicopters against the unarmed Iraqis—documenting that the helicopters returned several times to fire on those seeking to remove the dead and wounded from the first missile strike.

“When I was 50 m away I heard a couple of explosions and another cloud of dust rose across the street from where the first column of smoke was still climbing,” he writes. “People started running towards me in waves. A man wearing an orange overall was sweeping the street while others were running. A couple of helicopters in the sky overhead turned away.”

He runs for cover, and then: “A few seconds later, I heard people screaming and shouting—something must have happened—and I headed towards the sounds, still crouching behind a wall. Two newswire photographers were running in the opposite direction and we exchanged eye contact.

“About 20 m ahead of me, I could see the American Bradley armoured vehicle, a huge monster with fire rising from within. It stood alone, its doors open, burning. I stopped, took a couple of photos and crossed the street towards a bunch of people. Some were lying in the street, others stood around them. The helicopters were still buzzing, but further off now.”

The reporter continues: “I felt uneasy and exposed in the middle of the street, but lots of civilians were around me. A dozen men formed a circle around five injured people, all of whom were screaming and wailing.”

Abdul-Ahad’s belief that the presence of so many unarmed civilians afforded protection from a further US strike was shattered in short order. “I had been standing there taking pictures for two or three minutes when we heard the helicopters coming back. Everyone started running, and I didn’t look back to see what was happening to the injured men. We were all rushing towards the same place: a fence, a block of buildings and a prefab concrete cube used as a cigarette stall.

“I had just reached the corner of the cube when I heard two explosions. I felt hot air blast my face and something burning on my head. I crawled to the cube and hid behind it. Six of us were squeezed into a space less than two metres wide. Blood started dripping on my camera but all that I could think about was how to keep the lens clean. A man in his 40s next to me was crying. He wasn’t injured, he was just crying.

“I was so scared I just wanted to squeeze myself against the wall. The helicopters wheeled overhead, and I realised that they were firing directly at us.”

The helicopters moved away, and the reporter went back onto the street to record the carnage and help the wounded and dying. Then: “More kids ventured into the street, looking with curiosity at the dead and injured. Then someone shouted ‘Helicopters!’ and we ran. I turned and saw two small helicopters, black and evil. Frightened, I ran back to my shelter where I heard two more big explosions.... I reached a building entrance when someone grabbed my arm and took me inside. ‘There’s an injured man. Take pictures—show the world the American democracy,’ he said.”

It is hardly necessary to point out that no major US media outlet has taken note of the Guardian’s damning account of Sunday’s bloodletting in the center of Baghdad. Most US newspapers on Tuesday relegated to their inside pages news reports of yet another round of US air and artillery attacks on Fallujah, carried out Monday.

The Iraqi Health Ministry said 20 were killed and 39 wounded in the strikes. Aljazeera reported that those killed included the driver of an ambulance and six passengers, whose vehicle was struck by a jet-fired missile near the northern gate of the city. “Every time we send out an ambulance, it gets targeted,” the director of the Fallujah hospital told the Arab newspaper.

Aljazeera also reported that US missiles destroyed three homes in the city’s al-Shurta neighborhood, American shells hit a market place, and US tanks fired on homes in the al-Jughaivi neighborhood near the city’s northern gate.

The Washington Post, in a page-19 article, noted the attacks on Fallujah neighborhoods and the ambulance fatalities, but reported without comment the official US line that the attacks were directed against a “suspected hideout” of associates of Abu Musab Zarqawi. It printed the Goebells-like handout from the US military: “Based on the analysis of these [intelligence] reports, Iraqi Security Forces and multi-national forces effectively and accurately targeted these terrorists while protecting the lives of innocent civilians.”

The New York Times ran a front-page commentary focused not on the death and suffering being inflicted on the Iraqi people, but rather on the danger that the US military’s bloodletting against insurgent towns could backfire. It warned of the “classic dilemma faced by governments battling guerrilla movements: ease up, and the insurgency may grow; crack down, and risk losing the support of the population.”

This description is itself a cynical deception, as the Times well knows. The very fact that the US feels obliged to step up the slaughter and target civilian populations testifies to the fact that Washington and its stooge government are hated and despised by the Iraqi masses. Talk of a risk of “losing the support of the population” is an attempt to maintain the myth that the anti-US resistance is the work of a small minority of Baathist “hard-liners” and foreign terrorists, and the equally absurd claim that the US is in Iraq to establish “democracy.”

In reality, the US media’s disinformation operation is among the most striking and significant expressions of the collapse of American democracy.