Professor Smartass

Sunday, December 24, 2006

CRONY DRAWDOWN instead of TROOP SURGE

Digg!

Marine Corps General and two time Medal of Honor winner said:
Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.


http://www.hackvan.com/pub/stig/anti-govt/war-is-a-rack...
so long as the Democrats and the mainstream media debate the war in the fairy tale propaganda terms of the far right, the war will not end.

If the Smedley Butler, naked reality dominates the debate, the right will have nothing left to say that will sound even remotely credible.

One way the Democrats could force this into the news, is if they don't have the courage to completely defund the war, they could cut off the profit motive.


This could have a couple of benefits:Even though they didn't particularly run on it, they won on a wave of revulsion against the war. If they do not take this kind of creative, aggressive action, Americans can only assume that our democracy is as much a sham as any Third World dictatorship that has show elections, and will conclude that merely voting and hoping that their elected representative won't screw them to please a corporate donor isn't enough and that more fundamental action is required instead.

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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 10:50 AM | link | (1) comments |

Bush censored UNclassified Iran info in CIA op-ed

A couple of CIA agents wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about Iran, and the submitted it to the agency for review. The CIA had no problem with it, but the Bush administration did. They wanted information about Iran make friendly overtures to us or cooperating in the "War on Terror" removed even though ALL of it had been published in newspapers and discussed in public by Bush administration officials.

The Bushies likely don't have the political clout or public support to launch their Iran war now, but they obviously will keep trying and working the angles.

It is an odd time in American history when the only thing preventing a world war from starting is not a political opposition party but instead the military and CIA, once considered the arms and legs of the military-industrial Frankenstein.


INTRO:

by the authors:

HERE is the redacted version of a draft Op-Ed article we wrote for The Times, as blacked out by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Publication Review Board after the White House intervened in the normal prepublication review process and demanded substantial deletions. Agency officials told us that they had concluded on their own that the original draft included no classified material, but that they had to bow to the White House.

Indeed, the deleted portions of the original draft reveal no classified material. These passages go into aspects of American-Iranian relations during the Bush administration’s first term that have been publicly discussed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; former Secretary of State Colin Powell; former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; a former State Department policy planning director, Richard Haass; and a former special envoy to Afghanistan, James Dobbins.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/22/opinion/22precede.html


FULL TEXT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/22/opinion/22leverett.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin

The New York Times

December 22, 2006
Op-Ed Contributors
Redacted Version of Original Op-Ed
By FLYNT LEVERETT and HILLARY MANN




iran

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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 10:39 AM | link | (0) comments |

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Joint Chiefs say Bush wrong on Iraq troop surge

Remember Gen. Ripper in DR STRANGELOVE, the crazy general who wanted to start a nuclear war? There has been a persistent theme in our popular culture about the trigger happy general, and there certainly have been cases of generals giving epically bad advice particularly in dealing with Cuba that could have started World War III. Most of the time though, the military itself has been apolitical and does the bidding of the guys in suits in Washington whose cronies are itching to fill their pockets with assets stolen on the public's dime, as Marine Corps general and double Medal of Honor winner Smedley Butler famously pointed out.

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
http://www.hackvan.com/pub/stig/anti-govt/war-is-a-racket.htm


Today we are seeing the exact opposite of the STRANGELOVIAN stereotype--the itchy trigger fingers are in the White House, and the military is the voice of reason and is actually closer to the public consensus than our supposed representative in the White House and even closer to the public than Democratic leader Harry Reid who supports the idea of sending MORE troops to Iraq. Something similar happened in South America. For decades if not longer, their military supported the interests of the business community no matter what. If an election produced a government that discomfited business, the military would simply end democracy until the people were "mature" enough to handle it. Now most prominently in Venezuela, their militaries have gotten sick of being the Pinochet-like thugs who kill their own people to benefit a very few, and when the local and international financial elite wanted to remove Hugo Chavez, who got overwhelming majorities in a couple of internationally-monitored elections, the majority of the military stayed loyal to Chavez and the democratic will of the people and reversed the coup as it was happening.

It is a measure of the corruption and weakness of our democracy that our unelected military is more in tune with voters and reality than their elected civilian bosses. We need serious, fundamental change to our system and if the Democrats don't take aggressive, concrete steps toward that in the next two years instead of simply being the business party without religious nuts, the American people will do to Washington what Washington has been doing to us so openly the last six years.


KEY EXCERPTS:
washingtonpost.com

White House, Joint Chiefs At Odds on Adding Troops

By Robin Wright and Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, December 19, 2006; A01

The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate.

***

At regular interagency meetings and in briefing President Bush last week, the Pentagon has warned that any short-term mission may only set up the United States for bigger problems when it ends. The service chiefs have warned that a short-term mission could give an enormous edge to virtually all the armed factions in Iraq -- including al-Qaeda's foreign fighters, Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias -- without giving an enduring boost to the U.S military mission or to the Iraqi army, the officials said.

The Pentagon has cautioned that a modest surge could lead to more attacks by al-Qaeda, provide more targets for Sunni insurgents and fuel the jihadist appeal for more foreign fighters to flock to Iraq to attack U.S. troops, the officials said.

The informal but well-armed Shiite militias, the Joint Chiefs have also warned, may simply melt back into society during a U.S. surge and wait until the troops are withdrawn -- then reemerge and retake the streets of Baghdad and other cities.

Even the announcement of a time frame and mission -- such as for six months to try to secure volatile Baghdad -- could play to armed factions by allowing them to game out the new U.S. strategy, the chiefs have warned the White House.

FULL TEXT:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/18/AR2006121801477.html




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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 8:06 AM | link | (4) comments |

Friday, December 15, 2006

Comparison to Bush Disgusts Chimps


Digg!

Comparison to Bush Disgusts Chimps

by Milo Cornelius Science Newswire staff writer

December 13, 2006

(Science Newswire) DES MOINES -- Conservatives howl when anyone compares George W. Bush to Hitler, and the left rolls their eyes when the right compares Bush to Winston Churchill or Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but no one has taken much offense when Bush is compared to a chimp—until now. Chimps who have been taught to communicate with humans have unanimously expressed anger and dismay at being compared with President Bush.

Over the last few decades, researchers have been able to teach primates to communicate with American Sign Language, lexigrams, and computers. Although their vocabulary is rudimentary, it is more than adequate not only for asking for basic needs to be met, but for expressing feelings and opinions.

Their distress was first discovered when a researcher was working on basic math with signing chimp Washoe, and she overheard another scientist refer to Bush as a “chimp faced moron.” She stopped her lesson to sign over and over “bush dirty bad stupid not chimp,” and persisted until the offending person told her that he agreed Bush was not a chimp, and that chimps are not dirty bad and stupid like Bush.

In another case, Lana, a chimp taught to use lexigrams on a computer, asked her trainer to show her pictures of other chimps on the internet. When websites like Smirking Chimp or Bush or Chimp came up instead, Lana gave a distress howl and defecated on her computer viewing stool, which is highly unusual for the otherwise potty trained chimp.

At other research centers and zoos, scientists believe overhearing similar comments has led chimps to withdraw from communicating with humans because they feel mocked and disrespected by them. At the Dubuque City Zoo, the primate enclosure was too small for chimp Zena to get out of earshot of Bush jokes, and the humiliation led her to take up smoking.

As a solution to the growing problem, the Primate Center at the University of Eastern Nevada have begun testing chimp reactions to references to Bush as a lower primate or other mammals.

“They seem to be offended by referring to him generically as a monkey, but don’t seem to mind if he is described as a specific lower primate like a lemur, macaque, or baboon,” said Dr. Natalie Trundy, director of the Primate Center.

“We hope that others replicate these results, so we can make recommendations to pundits, comedians, and cartoonist that will allow them to accurately lampoon the president without causing further harm to the self-esteem of these articulate, intelligent, and caring chimpanzees, who obviously have nothing in common with him apart from a physical resemblance that they can’t help.”






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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 3:04 PM | link | (4) comments |

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Iraq OIL privatization and democracy butt heads

The Iraq Study Group admitted what the public has suspected but few politicians or reporters have discussed: the war was about oil and specifically about giving Iraq's oil to our oil companies on terms those companies dictated.

The oil companies are even playing their hand in a way that could leave them with nothing--they are demanding provisions to the Iraqi constitution and a "hydrocarbon law" that allows foreign ownership of oil assets.

Ironically, to the degree that the Iraqis withhold this, it shows that they have a legitimate democracy. The Bush administration put off elections right after the invasion to have a clear path to implement this theft of their natural resources since they knew no real democratic government would sell out their own people like that. GOP strategist and one of the authors of the privatization plan, Grover Norquist, said, "The right to trade, property rights, these things are not to be determined by some democratic election."

Although he has never fired a shot or dropped a bomb on an Iraqi, Norquist is more of a war criminal than Lyndie England and all those hillbillies who followed the White House's orders at Abu Ghraib.

Gen. Jay Garner, appointed by Bush to run the occupation and who successfully ran the occupation of the Kurdish region for over a decade, said postponing elections and implementing these economic changes would incite violence. He was right. And fired.

Until the American public moves this from the back of their minds to the front of our debate on Iraq, we won't get out of Iraq because we won't know why Bush is holding onto it like a squirrel with his last nut.


KEY EXCERPTS:
Digg!




http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-juhasz8dec08,0,4717508.story

It's still about oil in Iraq

A centerpiece of the Iraq Study Group's report is its advocacy for securing foreign companies' long-term access to Iraqi oil fields.

By Antonia Juhasz

ANTONIA JUHASZ is a visiting scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of "The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time."

December 8, 2006

WHILE THE Bush administration, the media and nearly all the Democrats still refuse to explain the war in Iraq in terms of oil, the ever-pragmatic members of the Iraq Study Group share no such reticence. Page 1, Chapter 1 of the Iraq Study Group report lays out Iraq's importance to its region, the U.S. and the world with this reminder: "It has the world's second-largest known oil reserves." The group then proceeds to give very specific and radical recommendations as to what the United States should do to secure those reserves. If the proposals are followed, Iraq's national oil industry will be commercialized and opened to foreign firms.

***
For any degree of oil privatization to take place, and for it to apply to all the country's oil fields, Iraq has to amend its constitution and pass a new national oil law. The constitution is ambiguous as to whether control over future revenues from as-yet-undeveloped oil fields should be shared among its provinces or held and distributed by the central government.

This is a crucial issue, with trillions of dollars at stake, because only 17 of Iraq's 80 known oil fields have been developed. Recommendation No. 26 of the Iraq Study Group calls for a review of the constitution to be "pursued on an urgent basis." Recommendation No. 28 calls for putting control of Iraq's oil revenues in the hands of the central government. Recommendation No. 63 also calls on the U.S. government to "provide technical assistance to the Iraqi government to prepare a draft oil law."

This last step is already underway. The Bush administration hired the consultancy firm BearingPoint more than a year ago to advise the Iraqi Oil Ministry on drafting and passing a new national oil law.

Plans for this new law were first made public at a news conference in late 2004 in Washington. Flanked by State Department officials, Iraqi Finance Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (who is now vice president) explained how this law would open Iraq's oil industry to private foreign investment. This, in turn, would be "very promising to the American investors and to American enterprise, certainly to oil companies." The law would implement production-sharing agreements.

Much to the deep frustration of the U.S. government and American oil companies, that law has still not been passed.

In July, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman announced in Baghdad that oil executives told him that their companies would not enter Iraq without passage of the new oil law. Petroleum Economist magazine later reported that U.S. oil companies considered passage of the new oil law more important than increased security when deciding whether to go into business in Iraq.

FULL TEXT: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-juhasz8dec08,0,4717508.story





public relations

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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 5:56 PM | link | (4) comments |

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Iraq Study Group recommends privatizing (stealing) Iraq's OIL

Privatization sounds like a boring, abstract idea, but it wasn't to Gen. Jay Garner, the first guy Bush appointed to run Iraq. He thought it would incite a rebellion against the occupation, and the Bushies seemed to agree by postponing elections because no legitimate elected government would approve of giving away their natural resources. As Grover Norquist, GOP strategist and proud author of part of the privatization plan said:

"The right to trade, property rights, these things are not to be determined by some democratic election."
(quoted by Greg Palast and available on video too)
The Iraq Survey Group shows which side of the property rights vs. democracy, safety of our troops, and our reputation in the world debate they fall on when they support the privatization plan.

KEY EXCERPTS:






Oil for Sale: Iraq Study Group Recommends Privatization


By Antonia Juhasz, AlterNet. Posted December 7, 2006.
The Iraq Study Group may not have a solution for how to end the war, but it does have a way for its corporate friends to make money.

In its heavily anticipated report released on Wednesday, the Iraq Study Group made at least four truly radical proposals.

The report calls for the United States to assist in privatizing Iraq's national oil industry, opening Iraq to private foreign oil and energy companies, providing direct technical assistance for the "drafting" of a new national oil law for Iraq, and assuring that all of Iraq's oil revenues accrue to the central government.

President Bush hired an employee from the U.S. consultancy firm Bearing Point Inc. over a year ago to advise the Iraq Oil Ministry on the drafting and passage of a new national oil law. As previously drafted, the law opens Iraq's nationalized oil sector to private foreign corporate investment, but stops short of full privatization. The ISG report, however, goes further, stating that "the United States should assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise." In addition, the current Constitution of Iraq is ambiguous as to whether control over Iraq's oil should be shared among its regional provinces or held under the central government. The report specifically recommends the latter: "Oil revenues should accrue to the central government and be shared on the basis of population." If these proposals are followed, Iraq's national oil industry will be privatized and opened to foreign firms, and in control of all of Iraq's oil wealth.

The proposals should come as little surprise given that two authors of the report, James A. Baker III and Lawrence Eagleburger, have each spent much of their political and corporate careers in pursuit of greater access to Iraq's oil and wealth...
FULL TEXT


More resources on oil motive for Iraq War




public relations

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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 8:40 AM | link | (0) comments |

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Almost as many CONTRACTORS in IRAQ as TROOPS.

There are about 140,000 US troops in Iraq and 100,000 private contractors.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich has said the fastest way to end the war would be to defund it, as was finally done with Vietnam.

Unlike Nixon and Ford though, Bush might be tempted to leave the troops in place without bullets and supplies as hostages protecting what he thinks he has rightfully stolen.

A better approach would be to defund the private contractors, return support functions to the military and give rebuilding money directly to the Iraqis.

Even if this didn't bring an immediate end to the war, a lot of the torture and abuses of Iraqis have been done by private contractors, and seeing those guys pack up and leave might earn our troops some good will with the locals.

Althought the primary reason the Bushies love to use them is to fill their friends pockets, a secondary benefit is these guys aren't accountable under the UCMJ.

We should have a law that these parasites can be tried here for crimes they commit overseas on the taxpayer dime or if they don't work directly for the government for crimes they commit in our war zone or occuppied territory.

We need to cut off the blood flow to that tumor before the next war, preferably before this one is even over.


Here's a video of what are tax dollars are buying--assholes shooting at random Iraqis on the road (they shot this video themselves):



KEY EXCERPTS:

Census Counts 100,000 Contractors in Iraq
Civilian Number, Duties Are Issues

By Renae Merle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 5, 2006; D01

There are about 100,000 government contractors operating in Iraq, not counting subcontractors, a total that is approaching the size of the U.S. military force there, according to the military's first census of the growing population of civilians operating in the battlefield.

It is also 10 times the estimated number of contractors that deployed during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, reflecting the Pentagon's growing post-Cold War reliance on contractors for such jobs as providing security, interrogating prisoners, cooking meals, fixing equipment and constructing bases that were once reserved for soldiers. [note: we had three times as many troops there then]

In addition to about 140,000 U.S. troops, Iraq is now filled with a hodgepodge of contractors. DynCorp International has about 1,500 employees in Iraq, including about 700 helping train the police force. Blackwater USA has more than 1,000 employees in the country, most of them providing private security. Kellogg, Brown and Root, one of the largest contractors in Iraq, said it does not delineate its workforce by country but that it has more than 50,000 employees and subcontractors working in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. MPRI, a unit of L-3 Communications, has about 500 employees working on 12 contracts, including providing mentors to the Iraqi Defense Ministry for strategic planning, budgeting and establishing its public affairs office. Titan, another L-3 division, has 6,500 linguists in the country.

The Pentagon's latest estimate "further demonstrates the need for Congress to finally engage in responsible, serious and aggressive oversight over the questionable and growing U.S. practice of private military contracting," said Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who has been critical of the military's reliance on contractors.


FULL TEXT:

Census Counts 100,000 Contractors in Iraq





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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 6:58 AM | link | (1) comments |

Saturday, December 02, 2006

ASTONISHING: Rumsfeld's last Iraq memo echoes peace activists plans

The timing of Rumsfeld's resignation was something of a head scratcher since it was too late to help Republicans in the midterm elections, and Bush had just recently said Rummy would be in place until the end of his term.

This memo, delivered two days before he resigned, could be the reason.

While he divides the options into two groups, and puts withdrawal in the group of less desirable options, that's the same place he puts aggressively ramping up operations and going after insurgents in Baghdad.

Elements of his plan sound remarkably similar to Juan Cole's idea to pull troops out of populated cities, but still be in a position to guard access to oil (which Rummy is not honest enough to say).

The bottom line on his "desirable" options seems to be defining success downward. For example, he said whichever options are tried should be declared as tentative, so if they change it won't look like a loss, and that our goals and mission should be redefined in a "minimalist" way.

It's funny how people in the Bush administration always do their best work just as the Tard's boot is kicking their ass out the door.




KEY EXCERPTS:

The New York Times

December 3, 2006

Rumsfeld’s Memo of Options for Iraq War [from Nov. 6, 2006]

[more desirable]

  • Withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions — cities, patrolling, etc. — and move U.S. forces to a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) status, operating from within Iraq and Kuwait, to be available when Iraqi security forces need assistance.
  • Begin modest withdrawals of U.S. and Coalition forces (start “taking our hand off the bicycle seat”), so Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country.
  • Provide money to key political and religious leaders (as Saddam Hussein did), to get them to help us get through this difficult period.
  • Initiate a massive program for unemployed youth. It would have to be run by U.S. forces, since no other organization could do it.
  • Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing so on a trial basis. This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not “lose.”

[less desirable]

  • Continue on the current path.
  • Move a large fraction of all U.S. Forces into Baghdad to attempt to control it.
  • Set a firm withdrawal date to leave. Declare that with Saddam gone and Iraq a sovereign nation, the Iraqi people can govern themselves. Tell Iran and Syria to stay out.

FULL TEXT in New York Times





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