Archive for category Rumsfeld

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?


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


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


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 »


You Decide


Rumsfeld’s November 2001 Question About Iraq War: ‘How Start?’

SecDef Rumsfeld and Gen. Franks
Former SecDef Donald Rumsfeld and former CENTCOM Commander General Tommy Franks

Via Think Progress. Through a Freedom of Information Act request, the George Washington University National Security Archive has obtained a newly declassified top secret document that details talking points that emerged from a meeting between Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and CENTCOM Commander General Tommy Franks on November 27, 2001.

Under a section titled “How start?” participants in the Rumsfeld-Frank meeting discussed possible ways to provoke a conflict with Iraq, including an attack by Saddam Hussein against the Kurdish north, the U.S. discovering a “Saddam connection” to 9/11 or the anthrax attacks, or a dispute over WMD inspections. It appears from the language of the talking points that the Bush administration had already decided to go to war with Iraq and was looking for an excuse to invade.

How start?

It’s up to historians to connect the dots. For example, the Bush administration’s torture regime was instituted because they were desperately trying to get detainees to say there was a connection between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda.


Pentagon Thinking About Ludicrously Expensive Weapon System


This headline may seem like all the others, but get a load of the details:

The Pentagon’s plan to fire ballistic missiles at terrorists isn’t just a nuclear Armageddon risk. It’s a ludicrously expensive way to accidentally start World War III: each weapon could cost anywhere from a few hundred million to $1 billion.

Not surprisingly, this is a Donald Rumsfeld idea. Surprisingly, the Obama administration wants to move ahead with it.

Randy Newman said it better than any politician:

Rachel Maddow highlights a cheaper alternative missile system that terrorists can afford.


Bush Moves Bin Laden Goalposts

Experts agree

For many months after leaving Washington DC in disgrace, former President Bush refrained from public statements. Now he’s speaking out, reminding us of his administration’s multiple catastrophes.

Via Think Progress:

Eight years ago, President Bush asserted with great bravado that al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden would be taken “dead or alive.” “I don’t care, dead or alive — either way,” Bush said at the time. This weekend, while attending a conference of business leaders in New Delhi, India, Bush struck a different tone:

Asked whether al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden could be alive, Bush said “I guess he is not dead.”

He, however, noted that Laden is hiding and “not leading victory parades” or “espousing his cause” on TV.

He expressed confidence that Laden will be brought to justice which “he deserves to be” and it was a matter of time.

After failing to make good on his threat, Bush now says it’s enough that bin Laden is off TV. Which he is, sort of. The al-Qaeda leader’s last known videotape was aired in September 2007, and his most recent audiotape was in September 2009.

Sadly, U.S. intelligence seems to know nothing more about Osama bin Laden than what Donald Rumsfeld told us in 2002: “He’s alive or dead. He’s in Afghanistan or somewhere else.”

During her recent visit to Pakistan, Secretary of State Clinton made an interesting statement about the al-Qaeda leadership:

“I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to,” Clinton said in an interview with Pakistani journalists in Lahore. “Maybe that’s the case. Maybe they’re not gettable. I don’t know.”

UPDATE: George W. Bush isn’t leading victory parades either, observes BarbinMD on DailyKos.


Desiree Fairooz and Medea Benjamin: Two of the Greatest American Hero’s of Our Time

Thank you Desiree Fairoo, Medea Benjamin and Code Pink for your unflinching pursuit of justice and you guardianship of the highest American principles.

It is utterly surreal that any of the Bush administration, especially Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush are walking around free men.  This is our national embarrassment.

All of them are directly responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis as well as the deaths of over 4000 American soldiers, victims of Iraqi terrorists fathers and sons protecting their homes and families.

The sickening, uncomfortable smile on Rummy’s face as he is confronted by these great Americans betrays the underlying truth that Rumsfeld remains a free man only by virtue of our collective national shock and the broken and still paralyzed culture of justice and law in the homeland.

Code Pink is become a great American institution producing brave heros of the peace movement on the order of  the Tim DeChristopher.

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Bush/Cheney Republican Loyalists Confirmed Nazi Appeasers

As much as even the least cynical among us can accept that other great democracies may have committed war crimes in modern times, Churchill did not.

And yet, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Republican Nazi appeasers  torture sympathizers led by Faux News and Bill O’Reilly continue to deliberately deceive the American public and like little children believe that “he did it first” somehow excuses their own war crimes.

In this most excellent historical review of those darn facts, Olbermann also parallels for us the same tensions between the would be Nazi appeasers in the British government and our own.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Do not miss this piece. It is not only an excellent review of history but, and perhaps more importantly, solid proof that Fox News is absolutely and unequivocally, a propaganda arm of its benefactors.

Most troubling of course is that the twenty-percenters whose tribal convictions are informed and validated by Fox News as their primary source of information will continue to shame and embarrass our country in their bleating bluster and ignorance.

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Is The Salt Lake Tribune Covering for BYU Grad Jay Bybee?

A first time commenter posted this OneUtah today claiming a Salt Lake Tribune blog deleted it?s-bybee-large

A little background on Jay Bybee Says:

I posted this to Glen Warchol’s blog … it was deleted.

Bybee graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 1977. He earned his Juris Doctor cum laude[5] from BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1980. While in law school, he served on the editorial board of the BYU Law Review.

I couldn’t find a post on Glen Warchol’s SLC Crawler related to the recent revelations about Bybee or his torture memo, so it may well be that the comment was removed for being off subject. and probably by someone in a more administrative role at the paper.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. It is certainly their right, but it also reflects a policy of control that is at odds with the value and merit of blogging and open discussion. I will send this off to Glen so he has a chance to respond.

There is a story here though. Not only is it likely that Bybee will be impeachedwhich would be a serious black mark on BYU, but it seems that BYU Law School graduates made up a disproportionate number of Bush era appointees and hires. The Bush administration proved to be an unabashed recruiter of the most dependably right-wing collaborators whose greater value was not so much in their credentials, but rather in their loyalty and reliability in following order without regard for precedent or law.

It should surprise no one that the neocons looked to Utah County for their foot soldiers. After all, Utah County produced Chris Cannon and Jason Chavetz.

BYU Law School has produced some good lawyers, but it has produced at least one celebrated graduate who has subverted his teachings (legal training) for self-interest and promotion and in the process, participated in one of the ugliest episodes in American and World history.

Judge Bybee MUST be impeached and then indicted for his role in the administration’s violation of domestic and international law. He should also be ‘judged’ for not speaking out for his Country when he had the opportunity.

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