UK's official use of torture policy.
For MI5 & MI6, special renditions: when to proceed knowing torture would be used during the interrogation. [more inside]
“You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas."
A Vanity Fair
reporter investigates the chain of command that tossed out the Geneva Conventions and instituted coercive interrogation techniques -- some might call them torture or even war crimes
-- in Bush's Global War on Terror. UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo's now-obsolete 81-page memo to the Pentagon in 2003 [available as PDFs here and here
] was crucial, offering a broad range of legal justifications and deniability for disregarding international law in the name of "self-defense."
that Yoo was just making "a clear point about the limits of Congress to intrude on the executive branch in its exercise of duties as Commander in Chief." [previously here
Who's soft on terrorism? Surely not the Democrats, who are about to enable the National Security Agency to extend its secret domestic wiretapping program
after saying otherwise for months. Surely not the Republican White House, determined to rush out a new Osama bin Laden video even if it burns an intelligence connection spying on Al Qaeda
that has been carefully cultivated for years.
The "same people who attacked us on 9/11"?
It may be the very latest talking point from the Administration
, but it's actually true--altho it's not Al Qaeda in Iraq, but Saudis. Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia ...
A historical note: 15 of the 19 hijackers
on 9/11 were Saudis.
"War Czar" -- another term for "highly paid radio operator"?
So the Decider in Chief wants to have a War Czar*
in the White House. He appointed Douglas Lute
after three other general officers turned him down
. Note that Lute, a three-star general, is actually inferior in rank to David Petraeus
, the four-star who's commanding the Multi-National Force in Iraq. Black Five had some thoughts on this, as did Jules Crittenden
Was I a good American in the time of George Bush?
"Before the current administration, it had always been easy to condemn the "good Germans" who did nothing while Jews, Gypsies and others were rounded up for extermination." Uh, is this just a little over the top?
I am sullied -- no more
. Colonel Ted Westhusing was a soldier's soldier -- a multilingual West Point graduate, tough as nails, who was committed to the ancient Greek warrior's ideal of ἀρετή
("arete," excellence). He volunteered to go to Iraq, where he was commanded by another outstanding
rising-star officer, counterinsurgency expert David Petraeus
. (Westhusing's widow, Michelle, recalls that her husband thought his country was doing "a great thing" there.) After working with one of the shadowy contractors the US has relied on to train Iraqi security forces, USIS
, Westhusing became increasingly despondent. In May 2005, investigators say, he put a 9mm bullet in his brain after writing a note that said, "Reevaluate yourselves, cdrs [commanders]. You are not what you think you are and I
know it." Westhusing died, as was previously discussed here
, and his former "cdr" is now running the war
. Lots of new information in this article from the Texas Observer
Now they tell us.
Neocon hindsight is 20/20. War architect Richard Perle
on invading Iraq, 2002: "We have no time to lose, and I think the president understands that and it's probably taken too long already, but I don't think it'll be much longer... Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder.... Now, it isn't going to be over in 24 hours, but it isn't going to be months either
." Four years later: "If I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies'... Could we have managed that threat by means other than a direct military intervention? Well, maybe we could have."
"I'm not here for the Iraqis. I'm here for George Bush."
How the reconstruction of Iraq was bungled by inexperienced staffers and officials who passed the GOP's loyalty test -- including their views on Roe v. Wade. A WashPost excerpt from Rajiv Chandrasekaran's new exposé Imperial Life in the Emerald City
. (Corruption in Iraq previously discussed here.)
Suicide Bombing: Just Say No.
Hollywood-style anti-suicide bombing PSA now in heavy rotation on Iraqi TV. Previously discussed here
before the spot was finished.
The Smell of War
-- the Institute for Creative Technologies preps Quake-happy teens to become first-person shooters in the non-virtual war on terror. Now in Odorama.
"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on
in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," writes former CIA official Paul Pillar, coordinator of U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until 2005, in an article soon to appear in Foreign Affairs
, hardly a radical rag. More confirmation that Seymour Hersh was right about the administration "cherry-picking" intelligence
to justify a foregone conclusion to go to war in Iraq.
Q - Mr. Secretary, on Iraq, how much money do you think the Department of Defense would need to pay for a war with Iraq?
Rumsfeld - Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question.
The estimated cost to US taxpayers of the Iraq war to date is $250 billion and rising, or $100,000 per minute. Total cost of the Bush doctrine of spreading "democracy" since September 11th -- half a trillion dollars
, or nearly the cost of the 13 years of the Vietnam War, adjusted for inflation. What else could we have done with that kind of money
? Also see here
Osama bin Laden, littérateur and new-media star
. A thought-provoking analysis of bin Laden's adept use of Koranic language and the Internet by Bruce B. Lawrence, an Islamic scholar at Duke who edited a new anthology of bin Laden's public statements called Messages to the World
. The Western media -- says the millionaire mass-murderer formerly trained as a useful ally by the CIA
via Pakistan's ISI
-- "implants fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media are doing!" Know thy enemy. [via Arts and Letters Daily.]
In case of emergency, nuke Iran.
From the folks
who brought you Operation Iraqi Freedom
and the "last throes"
of the insurgency, the latest strategy for enhancing homeland security and US global standing is to launch a nuclear first-strike against Iran in the event of another 9/11-style attack -- whether Iran has ties to the attackers or not. As Juan Cole points out, turning a Shiite Muslim nation into the next Hiroshima could have disagreeable consequences
. (First reported by the American Conservative
, not your typical liberal rag, and via DailyKos
President Bush pledged in 2003 that "A free Iraq will not be a training ground for terrorists... A free Iraq will not destabilize the Middle East.
" This past January, the CIA's National Intelligence Council observed that Iraq had become "a training ground, a recruitment ground
" for jihadists. Now the senior Marine commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. James Conway -- in a statement that has not yet been picked up by the media -- acknowledges that the war is furnishing a new "a training ground" for foreign fighters trained in urban warfare who will export terror all over the world, saying, "But there's not much we can do about it at this point in time.
Join the Army for just fifteen months!
Visit exciting foriegn lands! Now with "ultra-lite" benefits! (Warning: Requires an additional two years of service in the Army Reserve / National Guard, may contain additional deployments overseas, stop-loss, 4 1/2 years in the inactive reserve, and possible devil's bargains.)
Over a thousand U.S. soldiers have died in the War on Terror.
As of today, 872 soldiers have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and 129 in Operation Enduring Freedom
. Time for a moment of silence, perhaps, before sharing your reflections on the subject.
confirms denies confirms link between Iraq and terrorism! " The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction."
In other news, we're at war with Eastasia. We've always been at war with Eastasia... Food rations have jumped by 10%! Doubleplusgood!
A case on Iraq - Rumsfeld's testimony to Senate Armed Services Committee
The National Security Strategy of the United States of America
GAO e-Government Proposal
Senator Byrd on the Department of Homeland Security
Today's bumper crop of limited audience
government info links.
"Maybe only 50,000 people want to know what's going on in Libya, but those 50,000 people are really important. You don't want to have more planes blow up. But maybe six million people want to watch Jerry Springer. Well, who owns the airwaves? Basically we do." Do you think that unprocessed, source texts are getting filtered effectively to the public?
Saddam Hussein Trained Al Qaeda Fighters - Report
Blair's evidence to convince the Brits that attacking Iraq is going after Saddam is needed because he has been directly involved with Qaeda network.
Why Aren't U.S. Journalists Reporting From Iraq?
"This notion that the Iraqi leader is in cahoots with Osama will be easy to feed the American people. To the American people, one bad Arab is the same as the next, and Osama equals Saddam. People who wonder about the Bush war-urgency only need to think about this: there’s a blind spot that needs to be exploited now, before too many journalists get the idea to go inside Iraq and find out what’s really happening. As long as the Condi Rices, Dick Cheneys and other hawks are talking to journalists with no experience inside Iraq, they won’t get a raised eyebrow about this notion that the secular dictator is in bed with the jihadis
-- even though [reports indicate]....the CIA has found no link between the Iraqi dictator and Al Qaeda."
"Who you gonna believe — me or your own eyes?"
NYT's. Safire projects some troubling future.