Monday, April 30, 2007

Edwards apologized with a lie

In an editorial in the Washington Post, John Edwards offered this version of his Iraq War vote apology:
The argument for going to war with Iraq was based on intelligence that we now know was inaccurate. The information the American people were hearing from the president -- and that I was being given by our intelligence community -- wasn't the whole story. Had I known this at the time, I never would have voted for this war.

John Edwards. "The Right Way in Iraq"
The Washington Post. Nov 13, 2005.

That's very nice.

The only problem is, Dick Durbin who served on the senate intelligence committee with Edwards said they had the information to know Bush was lying and exaggerating about the intelligence.

Senator Bob Graham was disturbed enough by the difference between the public rhetoric and what the committee was hearing that he asked CIA director George Tenet to draft a public letter summarizing the intel and analysis on Iraq.

Tenet slanted the letter toward Saddam being more dangerous than he was, but he had to admit that Saddam would not have used WMD against us or given them to terrorists who did unless his life and grip on power were in immediate jeopardy.

And anyone serving on the senate intelligence committee might have a passing knowledge of our ability to retaliate against a WMD attack would take fewer of our 10,000 nukes than we lose to spoilage every year, they might be old enough to remember Mutually Assured Destruction that kept the Soviets at bay when they had as many or more nukes than us, and they might know the rest of the world is acutely aware that we are the only nation that has ever used a nuclear weapon--that senator might wonder why Saddam would be a threat to us if he got nukes anyway, apart from the action movie level view of Arabs as bad guys who live to run in front of our guns and be shot.

Individuals may go on suicide missions, but nations do not, nor do thugs who worked hard to get and hold power like Saddam.

So in essence, what Edwards didn't know when he voted that he knows now is that the war would become unpopular, not that the intelligence was faulty, which was not the case. The same is true for any politician who uses the same excuse.

This shows a serious flaw in the approach of the Democrats: they want to tell lies that are less extreme and mean than the republican ones, and fewer of them if possible, but still want to keep the real reasons for doing things and deliberations behind closed doors where the "little people" like us can't interfere.

The Democrats on the intel committee who voted for the war have shown that's what they are doing, and even those who voted against the war are showing that loyalty to the good old boys is greater than loyalty to our country. If they were motivated by patriotism, they could broken their vow of secrecy and the courts likely would have backed them up as they did with Daniel Ellsberg when he leaked the Pentagon Papers. That leak would have been in the public interest and would have saved hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives.

Edwards says he wants to do things for poor people, and I believe him. I believe he would do them. LBJ did things for poor people too, but the deals he made with the corporate suits for war in Vietnam was a price we shouldn't have had to pay for the good things LBJ did. And if those same people show up at President Edwards door asking for a war in Iran or Venezuela, I'm not so sure he'd give them the boot in the ass they deserve.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

LA TIMES email defends token coverage of Cheney impeachment

What's missing from today's front page?

Articles of impeachment were filed on Dick Cheney, probably for the first time for a vice president in American history, and the Los Angeles Times could only muster two paragraphs buried on A15, while legalizing abortion in Mexico City merited front page coverage.

Kucinich's impeachment effort is important not just for Cheney's past sins, but for what he and Bush still want to do: bomb Iran. At best, this would lead to Iran unleashing terrorists on us and Israel. At worst, it could spark a nuclear war with China and Russia since they have told us to butt the hell out.

I haven't written these guys in a while, but I had an interesting exchange last time (I even got Greg Palast involved), so I thought it was worth a shot.

My past exchanges:

Arnold & Enron
Response on Arnold & Enron
The editor's mistakes on his own paper's coverage
Editor's mistake on pending Enron lawsuit
Greg Palast weighs in on LA Times, Enron, & Arnold
Same editor on electronic voting
Exchange with head editor on generally vapid content

Here's how it's gone so far this time:


FROM: Professor Smartass
(the managing editors and one layer below them)

SUBJECT: Why only token coverage of Cheney Impeachment?

Why did articles of impeachment filed against Dick Cheney by Dennis Kucinich only warrant two briefs paragraphs?

Your headlines above the fold today are on legalized abortion in Mexico City, another story on Virginia Tech that is more personal interest than news, and a power struggle in the Baath Party, who aren't a major player in Iraq anymore. Are those more important than articles of impeachment against Cheney? How many front page stories did you do on impeaching Clinton?

When was the last time a vice president was impeached?

When were such serious charges raised against a vice president or president?

Don't you think this warrants a little more coverage given the tax dollars and lives the actions of the Bush administration has cost us?


FROM: Leo Wolinsky (managing editor)
TO: Professor Smartass

SUBJECT: RE: Why only token coverage of Cheney Impeachment?

At this point there is no indication that this effort has substantial support. If it does gain momentum we will certainly write a great deal about it. But our job is to determine which stories have the most impact at the time they happen. I do appreciate your views on this and we'll watch the effort closely.

Leo Wolinsky


FROM: Professor Smartass
TO: Leo Wolinsky

SUBJECT: Whose support for impeachment of Cheney are you waiting for?

Whose support are you waiting for?

Public support for impeaching Bush is already nearly double what it was for impeaching and removing Clinton at the height of all that hype according to the Wall Street Journal.

Don't regular people like your readers count or do we have to be advertisers or major investors in the Tribune Group?



FROM: Leo Wolinsky
TO: Professor Smartass

RE: Whose support for impeachment of Cheney are you waiting for?

If the support of the public is there, this will become evident quickly and I can assure you we will cover the story.


Rather than berate the mainstream media, we should take this as a challenge to get this on their radar. So go to the post office, buy a pack of five postcards, and send one to your congressman with these three words on it:


You can find your congressman's address here:

Remember to put a return address on it, so they know you are a constituent.

Send the other four postcards to the managing editor of your local paper and any TV news you want with these three words:



Friday, April 20, 2007

Iraq's doubled OIL reserves & Cheney's 2001 map of Iraq's oil

The Financial Times of London is now reporting that Iraq's oil reserves may be double earlier estimates.

In addition to providing further confirmation that the war was about oil, one detail stood out--the location of the oil reserves that have been revised upward.

I went back and looked at the maps Cheney's Energy Task Force was pouring over in 2oo1 before the war and before even 9/11. They were looking at those same fields in Western Iraq, and had list of "foreign suitors" (read competitors) for those exploration blocks, shown in pink on Cheney's map (I added the color).

Cheney Energy Task Force Docs
Cheney's reluctance to give them up

So Cheney meets with oil companies and looks at maps of Iraq. Then Condi gets a memo telling her to “cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered melding two seemingly unrelated areas of policy.” The NSC was ordered to support “the review of operational policies towards rogue states such as Iraq and actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.”

Bush cancelled Saddam's oil contracts when we invaded, and now he is pushing the Iraqis to adopt a hydrocarbon law that will give up to 80% of Iraq's oil wealth to American oil companies.

BBC's Greg Palast on what happened

Palast reported on one reason for the war told to him by the former top CIA oil analyst: the war was to keep oil prices HIGH. This seemed far-fetched when I first read it, but there has been some independent confirmation. For one, in the Downing Street Minutes, Bush sends assurances to Putin that a successful invasion of Iraq would NOT result in lower oil prices. For another, many policy documents talk about Iraq being a "swing producer," meaning how much they produce could affect the price per barrel, but the Oil and Gas Journal said it explicitly: without the Iraq War, oil would be TOO CHEAP.

This war is not about getting oil for us. It is another way for Bush to use tax dollars to make his rich friends richer.

We have killed over half a million Iraqis, spent our tax dollars, soldiers lives, and goodwill in the Arab world to give the oil companies this gift worth tens of TRILLIONS of dollars.

What do you think they are going to do to repay us? ANYTHING?

It is time to tell our congressman and senators to cut the shit. We know what Bush is doing in Iraq, and if they don't start talking about it, we can only assume they disapprove of him failing, not his original oil theft mission.

Find your congressman & senators


Iraq may hold twice as much oil

By Ed Crooks in London

Published: April 18 2007 20:24 | Last updated: April 19 2007 09:08

Iraq could hold almost twice as much oil in its reserves as had been thought, according to the most comprehensive independent study of its resources since the US-led invasion in 2003.

The potential presence of a further 100bn barrels in the western desert highlights the opportunity for Iraq to be one of the world’s biggest oil suppliers, and its attractions for international oil companies – if the conflict in the country can be resolved.

If confirmed, it would raise Iraq from the world’s third largest source of oil reserves with 116bn barrels to second place, behind Saudi Arabia and overtaking Iran.

That would put Iraq in the top five oil-producing countries in the world, at current rates.


OIL motive for IRAQ WAR resources

public relations

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

REPORTER MUST ASK BUSH: If Dems cut off war money, will you leave troops in Iraq until last bullet?

I think there is a good chance Democrats are just worried if they cut off funding they will be blamed for "losing" the Iraq War for a couple of decades just as they are blamed for Vietnam.

But a worse scenario is he will leave the troops there until they are out of water, food, and bullets, let them be killed, then blame the Democrats.

He essentially implied a threat to the troops when he said something that made no sense the other day: if Democrats delay the money, troops will have to go sooner and stay longer in Iraq, saying in a speech to an American Legion post April 10:

bush threatens troops.jpg

In March, Congress was told that the military would need to take money from military personnel accounts, weapons and communications systems so we can continue to fund programs to protect our soldiers and Marines from improvised explosive devices and send hundreds of mine-resistant vehicles to our troops on the front lines. These actions are only the beginning, and the longer Congress delays, the worse the impact on the men and women of the Armed Forces will be...

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, recently testified that if Congress fails to pass a bill I can sign by mid-April, the Army will be forced to consider cutting back on equipment repair and quality of life initiatives for our Guard and Reserve forces. The Army will also be forced to consider curtailing some training for Guard and Reserve units here at home. This would reduce their readiness, and could delay their availability to mobilize for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan...

The bottom line is this: Congress's failure to fund our troops will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines. Others could see their loved ones headed back to war sooner than anticipated. This is unacceptable. It's unacceptable to me, it's unacceptable to our veterans, it's unacceptable to our military families, and it's unacceptable to many in this country.


How could he make the troops stay longer without funding? Likely what he meant was either:

  1. The troops are going to stay no matter what.

  2. He has the power to do what he likes with the troops and they will suffer if he is not catered to.
Oddly, he didn't mention anything about being forced to withdraw, or be late on payments to some of his defense contractor cronies, only that he would make the troops suffer if he was not obeyed.

This would almost be acceptable hardball politics if the war was about our safety and freedom.

It is not.

It is increasingly clear that the only measure of success for this war is the Hydrocarbon Law that puts most of Iraq's oil wealth in American oil company hands, and they have a poor track record of sharing the profits with us. If they did not control Iraq's oil, whoever did would be unlikely to cut us off since we use 25% of the world supply.

Ironically, one of the things that freaked out the Bushies about Saddam was not that he would cut off our oil, but that he would open the spigot wider and drive down profits for the Saudis and American oil companies who enjoy maximum profits for minimum work.

Our troops and tax dollars are being used to pad their bottom line, and Bush has no regard for the lives and dollars spent since it doesn't come out of the pockets or families of his friends.

Someone needs to call Bush's "support the troops" bluff.

I know he would leave the troops in Iraq until the last bullet, and won't pull them out until there's a government in place that will protect his oil deals or until the last drop of oil is sucked out of the ground.

OIL MOTIVE for Iraq War resources