[Editor’s note: Since the 9/11 attacks on US soil, in Iraq and in Afghanistan, torture has often been the first choice when questioning terror suspects. That sad fact hasn’t changed under a new administration, just kept better hidden. It makes no difference whether we are administering torture ourselves or farming out the task to other brutal regimes through euphemistically named programs like “extraordinary rendition” or simply turning our heads while the Iraqis do the job, we are complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In the video below The Real News pries the lid back a bit and allows a glimpse into the savage and brutal world of state sanctioned torture. Bob Higgins]
Released US military files reveal an instruction to ignore detainee abuse by Iraqi authorities
How the newly released US military files reveal an instruction to ignore detainee abuse and torture by Iraqi authorities; what that meant on the ground; and just how far up the chain of command the order went.
I read a piece last night by Jason Linkins at Huff Post in which he describes the experience of CNN correspondent Michael Ware and Ware’s difficulty in dealing with the memory of the death of a presumably innocent young Iraqi shot execution style by US troops in 2007.
Mr Ware tells of the alleged incident he says he witnessed and filmed in 2007 when working for US news giant CNN, but claims the network decided the footage was too graphic to go to air.
He alleges that a teenager in a remote Iraqi village run by the militant Islamist group, al-Qaeda was carrying a weapon to protect himself.
“(The boy) approached the house we were in and the (US) soldiers who were watching our backs, one of them put a bullet right in the back of his head. Unfortunately it didn’t kill him,” he tells Australian Story.
“We all spent the next 20 minutes listening to his tortured breath as he died.” (more…)
We lied our way into Iraq traveling north on a highway paved with the lies of a corrupt executive abetted by a corrupt intelligence agency and an opportunistic congress.
Now, we are leaving, traveling south, over the same ugly terrain, covering our retreat with a protective smokescreen of convenient lies from a politically desperate executive and the same congress.
The "mission" in Iraq, declared "accomplished" just over seven years ago, by a strutting little clown on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, 50 miles off the coast of San Diego (just about as far as you can get from Iraq and remain on our actual planet) has now been declared "really accomplished."
I didn't believe the flake in the flight suit then and I don't believe Obama or Biden today.
There is no way to paint a pretty face on the ugliness we have created in Iraq in the last seven and a half years. There is nothing that we can do that will lend nobility to a "cause" that began in the secret cellars of corporate greed, was incubated in public deception and will live on in historic ignominy.
Nothing can erase the fact of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, the obliteration of much of their history and culture, the destruction of their infrastructure and of every institution that constitutes a society.
The deaths of more than 4400 of our young people, the physical and emotional crippling of tens of thousands more, the destruction of our economy, the mortgaging of our future, the decimation of American liberty on the alter of war, none of these lend nobility to this "cause," this "crusade."
We leave behind in Iraq nothing to be proud of. We destroyed a country. We stripped an entire country of more than fifty million people, of their professional class, of their doctors and teachers, of their lawyers and artists and left in place a group of contentious and corrupt power mongers feeding at the trough of American tax dollars which will continue to fund a now thoroughly privatized war.
Hell, we "Americanized" the place and in the process of making their country more like ours we managed to make our country look more like theirs.
In the board rooms and executive suites I think that's what they call a "win-win situation."
Before I had a chance to finish my first cup of coffee this morning I was swatted with the news (from Al Jazeera) that Iraq says we “must stay until 2020.”
This shocking news came from Lieutenant General Babaker Zerbari and therein lies the crux of the problem. Zerbari is a Lieutenant General and Iraq’s most senior military officer.
We send Lieutenant Generals out for coffee and donuts in the morning. We have Bird Colonels sharpening pencils and Major Generals escorting defense lobbyists to strip clubs.
The Iraqis obviously know nothing about running a military operation and haven’t been paying attention these last seven years.
Why they would expect to get significant results, the record of victories that our military leadership is known for with such junior people running the show is beyond me.
Zerbari says that his forces aren’t ready to take over, this in spite of our years of rigorous training and the payment of countless billions of dollars to every level of Iraq’s military just to get them to fall in at roll call in the morning. (more…)
When we evaluate the facts, the use of private military contractors appears to have harmed, rather than helped, the counterinsurgency efforts of the U.S. mission in Iraq, going against our best doctrine and undermining critical efforts of our troops. Even worse, the government can no longer carry out one of its most basic core missions: to fight and win the nation’s wars. Instead, the massive outsourcing of military operations has created a dependency on private firms like Blackwater that has given rise to dangerous vulnerabilities.
The dark truth about Blackwater
The idea of privatization of American public and governmental functions has been at the center of the neo conservative movement and over the last decade has been presented as the cure for everything that ails us from Social Security to Medicare, prison administration to public education, law enforcement and even the waging of war.
The progress being made in our 4 1/2 year war of terror on Iraq is phenomenal. So impressive are our recent gains that the “top tier” Democratic candidates who have lined up in competition to become the heirs of this great struggle for freedom, for Middle Eastern democracy, for oil and gas rights for western corporations and of course for lucrative contracts in arms sales and private security for campaign contributors, last night went way out on a limb and declared their goal of removing our troops from the quagmire in Mesopotamia by the end of their first term in office in 2013.
Despite their boldness, they did not report whether or not they could guarantee the colonization of Mars, a cure for cancer, or flying pigs within that time frame.
The Congress of the United States of America, a legislative body established by the American Constitution over two centuries ago has declared itself to be toothless, spineless and ultimately meaningless. Yesterday they condemned a reputable political organization for running a completely truthful newspaper ad and voted to declare the military of a sovereign nation a terrorist organization in order to present their Fuhrer with a gift wrapped excuse for his next adventure.
They were asked by Bush’s Defense Secretary for an additional 190 billion ($190,000,000,000) dollars to continue their criminal enterprises in Iraq and Afghanistan and despite the fact that a sizable majority of the people of our country want to end this war, the cowardly swine will approve it. That will bring the total publicly reported expenditures to 800 billion dollars ($800,000,000,000). Most of this has been spent, squandered, swindled, bamboozled away since our chief arrogant little asswipe stood on the deck of an aircraft carrier and declared that the mission had been accomplished.
Illustration: Kollwitz, The Propeller
Having shown over the last seven months, since taking control of the legislative branch that they are at least equal to the Republicans when it comes to avarice, the Democrats set out this past weekend to demonstrate that, when it comes to cowardice, to blatant, unmitigated, ass covering politics they are every bit a match for Republicans.
Who impeaches the Congress? What in our Constitution protects the citizens of this country from a completely rogue government? When all three branches have abrogated their constitutional obligations, who will stand up for, who will represent the people of the United States?
Where must we search, to whom do we go for protection from the power of the wealthy corporate classes who are stealing our wealth, our livelihoods, and our future, who are spitting on our laws and our history as they sacrifice our Children and Grandchildren on the profane altar of their greed, in their eternal wars for profit and power?
Where is the opposition? Where do we go for redress of grievances when every institution of government is in the hands of the enemies of the people?
After suffering through five long years of watching a rogue executive blow it’s nose on the American Constitution and wipe it’s feet on our laws and bill of rights, it was with some relief and a glimmer of hope that I watched the election results last November as the Democratic party was returned to control of the legislative branch of the federal government. The pendulum is returning to the center I told myself, surely it will soon move to the left and show benefits to the working people of this country again.
I discovered this morning that the Bush presidency is a success.
Boy, was I surprised.
Bill Kristol explains it all in an article at The Washington Post that gets my recommendation for the Fatuous Nonsense of the Week Award.
He opens by admitting that such an assertion may expose him to some “harmless ridicule” and proceeds to offer two pages of proof as to why such ridicule might be justified.
“Let’s step back from the unnecessary mistakes and the self-inflicted wounds that have characterized the Bush administration. Let’s look at the broad forest rather than the often unlovely trees. What do we see? First, no second terrorist attack on U.S. soil — not something we could have taken for granted. Second, a strong economy — also something that wasn’t inevitable.”
Sure Bill let’s examine the Bush presidency by not looking too closely at the “unlovely trees” by which I assume that you refer to the death and destruction that follows everything this administration has touched or even glanced at in the last seven years. Every time I hear that bromide about “no second attack on US soil,” I’m reminded of the old elementary school joke about keeping the elephants away, and the punchline, “you don’t see any elephants around here, do you?
Preaching to the choir yesterday in Martinsburg, W Va, Bush recited the same sermon he and his handlers reserve for these carefully controlled and completely choreographed appearances before the faithful.
“We give thanks for all the brave citizen-soldiers of our Continental Army who dropped pitchforks and took up muskets to fight for our freedom and liberty and independence,” Bush said. He added: “You’re the successors of those brave men. . . . Like those early patriots, you’re fighting a new and unprecedented war.”
I wonder if anyone else noticed that our Revolution against the tyrannical rule of that earlier George, the occupation of our cities and provinces by British troops, his interference in what we regarded as our affairs, and the general mistreatment of our citizenry was, in fact, the polar opposite of our invasion and occupation of Iraq and the mistreatment, maiming and murder of their citizenry.
We have been at war in Iraq for over four years, in Afghanistan for nearly six, at the same time we have conducted and continue to conduct covert operations in other countries throughout the Middle East including Iran and Pakistan, as well as in several African countries.
Twice a week I have a physical therapy session at the Dayton VA Hospital. I had a heart attack last March 15, (beware the ides?) in October they referred me to cardio pulmonary therapy to build me up for whatever years may lie ahead. They have done an excellent job and I am pleased with my future prospects.
I have been treated at the Dayton VA several times over the years, have volunteered there performing Veteran’s memorial services as part of an honor guard, and three years ago said good bye to my father who died in the VA hospice at the age of 80.
My experiences with VA medical care have been almost entirely positive. The medical staff has been competent caring and willing to communicate with me. My physical therapist (Kinesiologist) whom I refer to as Ms Torquemada has enabled me to return to a relatively normal life and I love her for it. The hospice ward is amazing, they treated my Dad with the dignity and respect he deserved in his final days on this planet and were equally wonderful with my family. The people in the ER and Cardiac Intensive Care wards saved my life which fact may leave me with some bias on the issue at hand.
I have personally witnessed the operations of this facility during the current federal administration as well as during the Clinton years and I have seen a noticeable decline in the state of the physical plant and the attitudes of some employees during the Cheney/Bush era.
What once was a well funded and squeaky clean facility has deteriorated noticeably and budget cutting has caused serious staffing problems. I believe that this decline is due to the penny pinching policies of the knuckle heads who are passing themselves off as our government.
The blame for conditions at Walter Reed and other problems throughout the veterans health system must be placed firmly at the feet of those who set the policies. For the last six years those feet have belonged to George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. To lay the blame on anyone below the the level of policy maker and budget controllers would be wrong.
After nearly four years of bombings, from the air and from roadside ditches, after four years of blood, death, murder, torture, rape, beheadings, and a host of other unspeakable acts perpetrated on a daily basis by one faction, or militia or clan, or sect upon a rival clan or sect or militia, the Iraq study group is talking of threatening the Iraqi Government with….Ready?…Sanctions?
This from the Iraqi Study Group’s “Executive Summary:”
“If the Iraqi government does not make substantial progress toward the achievement of milestones on national reconciliation, security, and governance, the United States should reduce its political, military, or economic support for the Iraqi government,” the report’s executive summary says.
This, in a country where the electric power is on for maybe six hours a day, clean water is sometimes available, three thousand people a month are being slaughtered, major portions of the physical and social infrastructure have been destroyed , remain unrepaired and the National Regatta is a Sunny Saturday spent watching bloated corpses drifting lazily down the Tigris.
I believe that this is where I came in, where we all began four years ago, with Sanctions.
“Mister Manners,” George Will (pictured above in the second grade) asks:
“Can’t We Wage Aggressive War, Kill Thousands of Innocent People,
Destroy American Liberty And Still Be Civil?
By now everyone has heard all about the “Teapot Tempest” surrounding Senator-Elect James Webb’s alleged rude treatment of the President of the United States at their recent meeting.
Webb, who was awarded the Navy Cross for valor under fire and two Purple Hearts for wounds received in Vietnam has a son serving in Iraq. When President Chicken-Hawk asked Webb how his son was doing, Webb replied that he wished that the troops would soon be leaving Iraq. When the president responded with the comment “that’s not what I asked you,” “how’s your boy?” Webb replied, “that’s between me and my boy Mr. President.”
George Will, our “Mr. Manners,” remarked on this event in the Washington Post a couple of days ago, writing:
“Webb certainly has conveyed what he is: a boor. Never mind the patent disrespect for the presidency. Webb’s more gross offense was calculated rudeness toward another human being- one who, disregarding many hard things Webb had said about him during the campaign, asked a civil and caring question, as one parent to another.”
The nearly always erudite, often boring and constantly pompous Mr. Manners, who has been described as a “wax figure” and who, I suspect, carried a briefcase to school in the second grade, seems to have gotten his shorts in more of a wad than usual over this incident.
I don’t remember having heard heard that expression since Myrna Loy used it in describing someone to William Powell in an old “Thin Man” movie from the ’40s.
My fellow Americans
After spending nearly 400 billion dollars ousting Saddam and the Taliban, eradicating al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations and creating a Model for future Middle East Democracies in Iraq, after vastly improving the lives of the Iraqi people by turning on their electricity and water service, creating a safe and secure environment for them to pursue their lives, rebuilding their schools and hospitals and other critical infrastructure and after getting their oil flowing freely to the export markets, to enable their return to national solvency, you might think that they would be grateful.
But no, last week they returned to their old ways, proving that Iraq is still the center of the axis of evil just as Dick and Rummy and Wolfie and Me and Turd Blossom have said from the beginning.
Now this is hard work, in other words we’ve been working hard to defeat the haters, the evil ones, I like to call them the Islamo-fascists. The ones who hate freedom.