Archive for category Proof Bush Lied

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?

11 Comments

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

2 Comments

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

3 Comments

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 »

47 Comments

An Exercise in Truth-Telling

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tonight’s must-see TV is on MSNBC at 7 pm: “Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War” uses the occasion of the upcoming tenth anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq for an unusual exercise in media truth-telling, hosted by Rachel Maddow. The documentary is based on a book co-authored by Michael Isikoff and David Corn.

In the documentary, many of those who were sources for the book “Hubris” appear on camera for the first time. One of them, Mark Rossini, was then an FBI counter-terrorism agent detailed to the CIA. He was assigned the task of evaluating a Czech intelligence report that Mohammed Atta, the lead 9/11 hijacker, had met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague before the attack on the World Trade Towers. Cheney repeatedly invoked the report as evidence of Iraqi involvement in 9/11. “It’s been pretty well confirmed that he [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April,” Cheney said on Meet the Press on Dec. 9, 2001. But the evidence used to support the claim–a supposed photograph of Atta in Prague the day of the alleged meeting—had already been debunked by Rossini. He analyzed the photo and immediately saw it was bogus: the picture of the Czech “Atta” looked nothing like the real terrorist. It was a conclusion he relayed up the chain, assuming he had put the matter to rest. Then he heard Cheney endorsing the discredited report on national television. “I remember looking at the TV screen and saying, ‘What did I just hear?’ And I–first time in my life, I actually threw something at the television because I couldn’t believe what I just heard,” Rossini says.

50 Comments

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.

1 Comment

Yes, Iraq Definitely Had WMD, Vast Majority Of Polled Republicans Insist

To this day, the U.S. government has not come up with a credible reason why our military was ordered to invade Iraq in March 2003. One thing is certain, the invasion had nothing to do with so-called “weapons of mass destruction,” also known as nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. President Bush was informed unequivocally, well in advance of the invasion, that there were no such weapons in Iraq. The claim that the Iraqis posed an immediate threat to U.S. national security has been called “one of the greatest lies in modern American political history.”Oops no WMDs

How potent a lie was it? A recent foreign policy poll (PDF) by Dartmouth government professor Benjamin Valentino and conducted by YouGov from April 26 to May 2, found that fully 63 percent of Republican respondents still believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded in 2003. Even 27 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats still buy the story about the nonexistent WMDs, eight years after it was disproved.

President Bill Clinton had the best explanation of how Americans get fooled. “When people are insecure, they’d rather have somebody who is strong and wrong than someone who’s weak and right.”

Also: 55.6% of Republicans agree with the statement, “I have always believed President Obama was born in another country,” while 14.7% say they don’t know. Another 8% of Republicans say, “I used to think President Obama was born in the United States, but now I think he was born in another country.” That adds up to 78.3 percent.

The entire poll is worth reading. It asks a lot of interesting questions, such as whether we want to be the world’s number one military power (Yes), and whether we’re willing to pay more taxes to keep the United States military the strongest in the world (Not so much).

h/t Dan Froomkin, HuffPo.

UPDATE: According to the Gallup Poll, 18% of Republicans believe President Obama is a Muslim, 24% say Christian and 47% don’t know.

75 Comments

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.

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

32 Comments

Sorry, False Alarm: ‘Curveball’ Confesses He Lied About Iraq WMD

45 minutes from attack!

From The Guardian (why don’t we see these stories in the U.S. media?)

The defector who convinced the White House that Iraq had a secret biological weapons program has admitted for the first time that he lied about his story, then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war.

Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed “Curveball” by German and American intelligence officials who dealt with his claims, has told the Guardian that he fabricated tales of mobile bioweapons trucks and clandestine factories in an attempt to bring down the Saddam Hussein regime, from which he had fled in 1995.

Eight years ago, then Secretary of State Colin Powell relied heavily on “Curveball’s” lies in a high-stakes presentation to the United Nations. He should have been more skeptical of a guy named “Curveball,” don’t you think? U.S. intelligence had far better sources, including none other than Hussein Kamel Hassan al-Majid, the top official who had been in charge of all of Iraq’s weapons programs until they were dismantled. “All weapons—biological, chemical, missile, nuclear—were destroyed,” Kamel told the CIA.

“Curveball’s” bioweapons allegations were subsequently proven to be false by the Iraq Survey Group’s final report published in 2004.

UPDATE: From FDL: Truth finally puts on its dockers, few notice.

3 Comments

Iraq Pre-Invasion Lies: Will the Media Apologize?

45 minutes from doomVia Glenn Greenwald:

An Iraqi taxi driver may have been the source of the discredited claim that Saddam Hussein could unleash weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, a Tory MP claimed today.

Adam Holloway, a defense specialist, said MI6 obtained information indirectly from a taxi driver who had overheard two Iraqi military commanders talking about Saddam’s weapons.

The 45-minute claim was a key feature of the dossier about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction that was released by Tony Blair in September 2002. Blair published the information to bolster public support for war.

Once the British PM said it, the media was off to the races. Just one example among many:

CNN’s David Ensor, December 7, 2002:

British and U.S. intelligence officials believe Saddam Hussein has continued to produce a variety of chemical and biological agents with at least some of those weapons capable of being deployed in as little as 45 minutes.

Greenwald:

The people who mindlessly passed on claims like Tony Blair’s “45-minute” hysteria did it without regard to whether it was true. At best, they didn’t care. They wanted the invasion and were willing to say anything to justify it. The ones who were most unquestioning were “journalists” whose only ostensible function is to question… What’s most remarkable about all of it is that virtually none has even acknowledged wrongdoing and none has suffered any consequences of any kind. This British investigation is underscoring just how extreme all of this was.

Really they will never apologize. But perhaps the media could try and find out what was the real reason we attacked Iraq in 2003. I’m still curious.

9 Comments

How Much of the ‘Holy Grail’ Torture Report Will We Get to Read?

We thought it might happen last Friday, but we’re still waiting. The Obama administration is preparing to declassify much of the 150-page top secret May 7, 2004 CIA inspector general’s report on torture. This report, written by now-retired CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson, is the subject of an ACLU lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act. A heavily redacted version was released by the Bush administration last year.

CIA headquarters

Some of the findings and information from the inspector general’s report has appeared in other documents, but the report itself is known as the “Holy Grail.” Based on more than 100 interviews, a review of torture videotapes (since illegally destroyed) and 38,000 pages of documents, it contains unprecedented details about the torture of detainees, and reveals that no valuable intelligence was obtained through the use of torture.

Helgerson concluded in his report that CIA-approved interrogation procedures constituted cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as defined by the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ratified by the United States in 1994. This finding of illegality, even in an internal document, caused alarm in the Bush administration. Helgerson was summoned repeatedly to meet privately with Vice President Cheney, then was ordered to cease his investigation.

In October 2007, CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden ordered an unusual internal inquiry into Helgerson’s office, focusing on complaints that Helgerson was on “a crusade against those who have participated in controversial detention programs.”

If we get to read most of it, the “Holy Grail” report ought to definitively (if not for the first time) expose the lies told by former President Bush and former VP Cheney. What the report won’t do is send anyone to prison– for that, we need the Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor.

It’s important to remember that the CIA torture program was only one part of the Bush torture regime. The Department of Defense also tortured detainees at Guantanamo, at various Iraqi prison camps, at Bagram air base in Afghanistan, and various other installations.

UPDATE: The CIA says no report today, but it will be provided “soon.”

UPDATE: Spencer Ackerman reports that the judge has granted the CIA an extension until August 24 to release the report.

2 Comments

Accountability for Torture: Restore the Rule of Law

Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched a new website dedicated to forcing accountability from our government.

American gulagThe ACLU campaign is devoted principally to the restoration of the rule of law and the appointment by the DOJ of a Special Prosecutor to prosecute Bush administration torture and war crimes.

Glenn Greenwald has more, including a podcast with international human rights lawyer Philippe Sands (author of Torture Team) and ACLU litigator Amrit Singh (co-author of Administration of Torture).

The ACLU has led the way on lawsuits that have revealed secret memos and other evidence pointing to grave breaches of U.S. and international law regarding the treatment of “war on terror” detainees and prisoners in Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan and CIA secret “black sites.”

We are finally beginning to learn the full scope of the Bush administration’s torture program. Government documents show that hundreds of prisoners were tortured in the custody of the CIA and Department of Defense, some of them killed in the course of interrogations. Justice Department memos show that the torture policies were devised and developed at the highest levels of the Bush administration.

The ACLU is committed to restoring the rule of law. We will fight for the disclosure of the torture files that are still secret. We will advocate for the victims of the Bush administration’s unlawful policies. We will press Congress to appoint a select committee that can investigate the roots of the torture program and recommend legislative changes to ensure that the abuses of the last eight years are not repeated. And we will advocate for the appointment of an independent prosecutor to examine issues of criminal responsibility.

We can’t sweep the abuses of the last eight years under the rug. Accountability for torture is a legal, political, and moral imperative.

Just the other day, in a floor speech, former U.S. attorney Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) explained that we have been lied to extensively. What we think we know about the Bush torture regime is only a small fraction of the truth (emphasis added):

[T]here has been a campaign of falsehood about this whole sorry episode. It has disserved the American public. As I said earlier, facing up to the questions of our use of torture is hard enough. It is worse when people are misled and don’t know the whole truth and so can’t form an informed opinion and instead quarrel over irrelevancies and false premises. Much debunking of falsehood remains to be done but cannot be done now because the accurate and complete information is classified.

…At the heart of all these falsehoods lies a particular and specific problem: The “declassifiers” in the U.S. Government are all in the executive branch. No Senator can declassify, and the procedure for the Senate as an institution to declassify something is so cumbersome that it has never been used.

There is another big question that isn’t being discussed enough. Can the guilty parties (and their protectors in the Obama administration) employ secrecy and lies to run out the clock on the eight-year federal statute of limitations for torture? This is open to debate. According to Elizabeth de la Vega, the USA PATRIOT Act amended the U.S. Code (18 U.S. C. 3286) so as to eliminate the statute of limitations entirely in the case of terrorism offenses that “resulted in, or created a foreseeable risk of, death or serious bodily injury to another person.” And violation of the federal anti-torture statute is in included on the list of terrorism offenses.

No Comments

%d bloggers like this: