Archive for category Neocons

What’s the worst that can happen?

This is a question that must have been asked 12 years ago when the US invaded Iraq. Well the initial predictions were positive. The war will be quick, cheap, we will be hailed as liberators, there will be peace, so on and so forth. Of course none of that happened. They were dead wrong, but even me when I witnessed the reports of chaos in Iraq, I could not comprehend that this would happen. What is the worst that can happen? ISIS can happen. The relatively new Islamic terrorist group is different from other organizations because they are successful. They have the oil fields, they are surrounding Baghdad, they have both Iraqi and American weapons in their inventory and they are gaining more ground. This is made worse by their tendency to be very destructive. So far, over 1,700 Iraqi troops have been executed. So yes, that is the worst that can happen and the Bush administration is completely at fault no matter how indirectly this is. Maybe this is a question Obama should consider, especially with an upcoming midterm and a country filled with pissed off liberals.

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The Problems in Iraq are Just More of Bush’s Toxic Legacy

Ed Kilgore has a good rant on Bush’s Toxic Legacy:

The mess in Iraq right now, along with the remarkably limited options for any constructive U.S. action to avoid humanitarian and political disaster, and the hostility of American public opinion to doing anything at all, provide fresh reminders that Barack Obama will leave office as he entered it: dealing with the unfinished business and toxic legacy of the George W. Bush administration. From Iraq, to Gitmo, to the NSA, to the housing sector, to the banking sector, to a completely fouled up non-system of campaign finance, to an out-of-control fossil fuel industry, to a long-range structural budget deficit, to a politicized judiciary, and to a radicalized Republican Party: the trouble never ends, and all created by a swaggering crew that inherited peace and prosperity and a budget surplus after the most dubious ascension to power in American history.

It’s worth pondering isn’t it?

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the UN, NATO, and the trip-wire

I’m so sorry to write this missive as a lead article (for 15 minutes) but I don’t remember how to find the comments and respond to them. The lonely little side-bar response to my article I’ve not seen, except for half a sentence. It seemed to be saying that the old days are gone now, and so we need NATO and the JN. I agree. With NATO, it is the trip-wire provision that we go to war, automatically if any NATO nation is attacked, regardless of who the attacker is. This takes not only the United States Congress, but the president, as Commander in Chief, from the decision to go to war. I support both the UN and, if handled correctly, NATO. But President J. Reuben Clark and I oppose the automatic going to war. Just like the fools, the ancient general staffs of all sides in WW I. No one wanted that war. There was no Adolph Hitler in that war that destroyed the entire 20th century. Better to have shot the general staffs, who came to deserve exactly that. What President Clark called for, and I, are what the United States has always done, before NATO. That is, to have treaties of peace and friendship with our allies and then, should hostilities commence, such treaties would call for all parties to go to war, or not, as their constitutions provide. In this way, we don’t declare war against a nation, and surely all the people, have not yet been born. How, pray tell, do we justify going to war against, and for, people not, or no longer, live on earth. With a few caveats, ditto for the UN. No provision of law allows the UN to overreach Congress in the decision for war or peace. For anyone interested, read my book with the late Francis Wormuth, To Cain the Dog of War. It is by odds the best book ever written on the way we go to war. Every single war we’ve ever fought, including our wars against the Indian tribes, is there analyzed. Francis did not live to see this book in print. I worked two years after his death to finish it. And I updated it 4 or 5 times, alone. I still put my dear friend’s name first, because I am honored to be linked, now, forever. Something like Mormon marriage through time and eternity. ed firmage xoxo

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The War Power, The Sergeant, the Senator: Treason or Heroism

The Sergeant who some years ago left his post in that unnecessary and unwinnable war in
Afghanistan is either a hero, a traitor, or just a terribly young man in the wrong war at the wrong time. He spent terrible years of torture and probably said things he didn’t really mean.

Some years ago in Vietnam, Senator McCain was shot down over Vietnam, another unconstitutional war, and equally unwinnable war, confessed repeatedly to things he later recanted, once safely in the United States, and is, quite rightly regarded, despite his confessions to American war crimes, a hero. The two cases are not quite completely on all fours, as we say in the law. But the similarity is sufficient to compare with each other and with the undergirding of law.

Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, who are visited by war, either their own or, like Obama, inherited from another (in Obama’s case two other) fools who preceded them, have always had this power. While not yet president, and without this act may well not have become president, Ronald Reagan communicated with Iran, telling them, in effect, just to refuse to deal with Carter on releasing our citizens from the U. S. Embassy in Iran, and await his presidency. Their deal (which killed Jimmie Carter’s hope for a second term and by the way was treason, meriting a firing squad.)

The 30, 60, 90 day notification of Congress is also unconstitutional, but not for the reasons the Republicans and Democrats alike, trumpet. Saint Paul, as I recall, said “this trumpet has an uncertain sound.” And I know he said that some leaders have “zeal without knowledge.” This is Republican and Democratic leaders on steroids, just like my former wife.

The reason the War Powers Act is unconstitutional is not what is now said by either Republicans or Democrats, as I told Joe Biden when he was both Minority Senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and when he was chair. I testified before his committee a few times, and he called me at the law school sometimes to chat about this. The reason is simple. Due to both a few but very senior Democrats and almost all Republicans, Congress forced the Demo’s to give the president 30, 60, or 90 days to play with Congress’ army while he picked his nose. War has not been officially declared since FDR did it in WW2. George Bush (the first) and Colin Powell, in my opinion, got it right, constitutionally, by voting 50-50 in the Senate, and then the Dark Lord, Vice President Cheney, broke the tie and we went to war in Iraq the right way by law; and they had the smarts to stop when their limited mission was accomplished. And until this time, the President, as Commander in Chief, has no constitutional power to use the United States armed forces, save self-defense.

In the Framers’ mind that means only when the United States of America, not our allies, are attacked. For Utahns, the reason J. Reuben Clark, my hero and a great patriot, a rock-ribbed Republican who served under many Republican presidents, served variously as chief legal adviser to the Department of State (then, as an deputy Attorney General on loan from Justice to State,,,,,,now called Legal Adviser to the State Department; and Vice Secretary of State, and Ambassador to Mexico; and advised many presidents between world wars one and two, on all arms control treaties between those to dreadful wars) opposed NATO was because it delegated the war power to a generation not yet born and for the defense of people, and nations, not yet born. Neither the United Nations (Korean War) nor NATO (Ukraine?) can declare war for the United States of America. This is the statement of law, the War Clause, that makes this beyond debate. Remember, that it is also the sole right of Congress: not the President of the United States, nor NATO, nor the United Nations, that decides what constitutes International law, as well. So, both Constitutional Law and International Law, save an attack on the United States, inform us that Congress, not the president or these international bodies, who determines for war or peace.

So screw the people and the Congress and president now living. When the president, any president, has this army to use, that army will never return to Congress’ care. This is unconstitutional because it is an illegal attempt to delegate to the President a plenary power, given exclusively, textually, to the Congress. Like the power over interstate commerce (the road by which most civil rights legislation is constitutional), along with the equal protection and due process of law clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments. It’s as if Congress were to say to Obama, “Say, friend, we’re so damned tired of life in Washington, despite the cherry blossoms, we will do what the Supreme Court does, and reconvene when good weather returns. We’re going to go to Balboa Island, California, where it’s nice and sunny, in ocean or on the beach, and pick our nose and scratch our butts. And better yet, we have one in eight chances not to pick both with the same finger. Even though we’ve proven, time out of mind, that we in Congress cannot chew gum and pick our nose, simultaneously (a great blessing). So, pres., you now have the taxing and the spending power, and we’ll sweeten the loaf by throwing into the pot, since you do have to stick around in this shitty weather, and give you the power also to fund and provide for the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. And don’t sweat it about financing things by the provision in the Constitution that spending bills begin in the House. Since you already have the taxing and spending power, do all this in the White House. P.S. please instruct the Treasury Department to deliver our checks, our salaries, and all the REALLY big bucks from the armaments industry and all those other lobbyists. We really have earned this right by selling our souls to the devil. Have a good life.

I say that both Senator and Soldier are bona fide heroes. Ed Firmage xoxox

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Ten Years Ago Today . . . And No It Was Not Worth It

I hate looking back.  Ten years ago today the US invastion of Iraq began. 

The push for war with Iraq felt like a time of public madness.  The American media has never been less absolutely incompetent than in those months.  Yeah, the media pretty much sucks now, but back then they were awful beyond the telling of it.  The largest peace rallies in history got no coverage.  American media has spent the last decade hoping no one reminds them how bad they were, how gullible, how insanely biased for the Bush administration they were and how they mindlessly lapped up any lie they were told. Read the rest of this entry »

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Watch Bill O’Reilly Steam and Explode

This is from a long time ago, but that is insignificant in the scheme of things.

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Shut Up! Is all they got.

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Top Romney Advisor Calls Obama ‘Lazy.’ Racists Defend Statement as NOT Racist!

You’d have to be an asshole to defend Mitt Romney’s John Sununu’s statement calling our first Black President ‘lazy,’ as anything more than pure racism in its ugliest form.

Mitt Romney ratcheted his racist campaign up to a new level on October 4th, in an interview with veteran journalist Andrea Mitchell.   Romney’s top advisor, former racist governor of New Hampshire, John Sununu was Romney’s top pick to all but call Barack Obama ‘Nigger.’

 

You are a racist IF these ideas are lurking your head right now:

Hey! He didn’t actually use the word “Nigger.”  Besides, even some White people are lazy. All I have to do is defend the “lazy” word. Hmmm. EASY!

‘Wait no! Bush was lazy. All I have to do is find where someone called Bush “lazy” and I’m golden. Even better; if I can find where a Black man called Bush lazy, I can call REVERSE RACISM! …Shit, too much work.

I know, Sununu proved Obama is lazy because he didn’t want to pick up the pizza. Anyone could feel like not getting the pizza, even ME! I AM LAZY TOO AND I AM WHITE!  Hell, I know a Black guy and never gets ME pizza.’

If these or any similar thoughts are running through your head, your are a racist. And yes, even if you thought about dating a Black chick (or guy) once, you are still a racist.

It might help to consider other clues. This racist (John Sununu) wasn’t your average Joe Blow racist shootin’ the shit in some parking lot in Nashua. Mr. Sununu is no dumb ass racist. He is a smart bitchy racist…just like Romney.

Romney and Sununu planned HOW to call Obama ‘lazy’ and on which day and on which national TV station. They knew they would be accused of being racist. That is why they did it. They knew you would get that tingling feeling on the back of your neck when you got inspired enough to defend them. And they know how important the tingles are in your decision making process.

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The Consequences of the Invasion of Iraq – Exactly the Opposite of What the Bushies Proposed

In a devastating article, Dan Froomkin observes:

Ten bloody and grueling years later, Iraq is finally emerging from its ruins and establishing itself as a geopolitical player in the Middle East — but not the way the neocons envisioned.

Though technically a democracy, Iraq’s floundering government has degenerated into a tottering quasi-dictatorship. The costs of the war (more than $800 billion) and reconstruction (more than $50 billion) have been staggeringly high. And while Iraq is finally producing oil at pre-war levels, it is trying its best to drive oil prices as high as possible.

Most disturbing to many American foreign policy experts, however, is Iraq’s extremely close relationship with Iran. Today, the country that was formerly Iran’s deadliest rival is its strongest ally.

In other words, the Neo Cons were not just wrong but absolutely 100% wrong, their predictions turned out exactly 180 degrees from what actually happened.

Predicting what’s next in Iraq is next to impossible. In virtually no scenario, however, do things turn out how the neocons intended.

“Whatever [the war] was about, which was never entirely explained, it hasn’t worked out terribly well,” said Freeman, “and in fact Iraq continues to evolve in ways that are, if not fatal to American interests, certainly negative.”

At this point, I’m even more certain the Iraq war was not worth what it cost.  It was a colossal waste of time, resources, lives – an exercise in imperial vanity and posturing that was so destructive in every imaginable way, more costly, more ruinous than anyone  predicted.

We need a national truth and reconciliation commission.  We need it now.

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Evolution and the GOP (Again)

I don’t know why nobody can post in the old topic. I can’t even access it. I’ll make a new one.
I know it isn’t just me when I say that the republicans have become more intellectually challenged lately. In 2008, there were 3 GOP candidates who did not believe in evolution. Ron Paul, Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee. And much to their irony, they were the first to be taken out of the pool. But in this race, the exact opposite has occurred. All but 2 republicans believe in evolution. Mitt Romney and John Huntsman. On top of that, only Huntsman believes in climate change. The exception possibly is Herman Cain because he refused to comment.
But the rest, Perry, Bachman, Paul, Santorum, Pawlenty, Gingrich, they don’t believe in evolution. You guys are probably wondering why this matters. How is it important? To put it simply, the theory of evolution is a scientific truth that has been studied, confirmed and fine-tuned for over 150 years. There have been countless arguments ranging from personal attacks to outright lies to discredit evolution and yet it is so sound that all of those arguments helped strengthen it. And if you deny evolution, then that can mean only 1 out of 2 things:
1. You are ignorant
2. You are willing to toss away facts and pretend something else is going on

In either situation, that makes for a bad president who has to make decisions based off of facts every day. And if a president can deny facts or they are too uneducated to understand those facts, then that harms the nation.

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You Decide

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Rocky Anderson vs Sean Hannity. Live Debate at University of Utah – Entire Show – Fox News

University of Utah, May 4, 2007. Two Hours. Moderated by Ken Verdoia.

Rocky laid out a bullet-proof prima-facie case for the impeachment of George W. Bush.

Hannity retreated into his hallmark pandering strategy refusing to address the facts in the case for impeachment of Bush. Not one word about Bush, the Constitution, illegal rendition, torture, wiretapping US citizens illegally, or the suspension of Habeas Corpus. Just personal attacks on Rocky as if labeling Rocky will somehow make the fact that Bush is impeachable go away.

Some still support Bush. They need to ask themselves:

Is your patriotism strong enough to hold a president you love accountable for his crimes and impeachable offenses? Or are you making an exception? Are you a full time American Patriot, or does it “depend?”

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Full Show Broadband (137mg) / Smaller Dial-up (37mg) version here
Play or download full high quality MP4 (525MG) here.

Thanks as always to Norm at OneGoodMove for providing this video.

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The Failure of the Western Way War

Hat Tip to the HuffPo for this powerful piece from Andrew Bacevich.

Reality, above all the two world wars of the last century, told a decidedly different story.  Armed conflict in the industrial age reached new heights of lethality and destructiveness.  Once begun, wars devoured everything, inflicting staggering material, psychological, and moral damage.  Pain vastly exceeded gain.  In that regard, the war of 1914-1918 became emblematic: even the winners ended up losers.  When fighting eventually stopped, the victors were left not to celebrate but to mourn.  As a consequence, well before Fukuyama penned his essay, faith in war’s problem-solving capacity had begun to erode.  As early as 1945, among several great powers — thanks to war, now great in name only — that faith disappeared altogether.

Among nations classified as liberal democracies, only two resisted this trend.  One was the United States, the sole major belligerent to emerge from the Second World War stronger, richer, and more confident.  The second was Israel, created as a direct consequence of the horrors unleashed by that cataclysm.  By the 1950s, both countries subscribed to this common conviction: national security (and, arguably, national survival) demanded unambiguous military superiority.  In the lexicon of American and Israeli politics, “peace” was a codeword.  The essential prerequisite for peace was for any and all adversaries, real or potential, to accept a condition of permanent inferiority.  In this regard, the two nations — not yet intimate allies — stood apart from the rest of the Western world.

And this passage:

Events made it increasingly evident that military dominance did not translate into concrete political advantage.  Rather than enhancing the prospects for peace, coercion produced ever more complications.  No matter how badly battered and beaten, the “terrorists” (a catch-all term applied to anyone resisting Israeli or American authority) weren’t intimidated, remained unrepentant, and kept coming back for more.

And this one:

If any overarching conclusion emerges from the Afghan and Iraq Wars (and from their Israeli equivalents), it’s this: victory is a chimera.  Counting on today’s enemy to yield in the face of superior force makes about as much sense as buying lottery tickets to pay the mortgage: you better be really lucky. [snip]

By 2007, the American officer corps itself gave up on victory, although without giving up on war.  First in Iraq, then in Afghanistan, priorities shifted.  High-ranking generals shelved their expectations of winning — at least as a Rabin or Schwarzkopf would have understood that term.  They sought instead to not lose.  In Washington as in U.S. military command posts, the avoidance of outright defeat emerged as the new gold standard of success. 

And this devastating conclusion:

Nearly 20 years ago, a querulous Madeleine Albright demanded to know: “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”  Today, an altogether different question deserves our attention: What’s the point of constantly using our superb military if doing so doesn’t actually work?  

In his books, Bacevich has strongly condemned the bipartisan madness of American politics unquestioned belief in our military greatness.  The cost of war has vastly outstripped any possible rewards of victory.  The real battles are not fought with guns and bombs and tanks; they are fought with words and are fought not on fields or city streets but in hearts and minds.  That is a battle we can win but we have to show up and thus far we haven’t.

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