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Archive for Bush’s War

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report

Unless you read the newspapers, you would not have heard that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a long awaited report subscribing to the notion that the administration engaged in a propaganda campaign that lead the country into an unnecessary war. 

 

If it were only that straight forward.  Eight of the democrats on the committee and two of the republicans arrived at the aforementioned conclusion.  The other republicans attached minority statements, rightly so, that reminded the committee of the democratic statements not mentioned in the report, that had also been made overstating the case for war. 

 

I am just an ordinary citizen and I am lost trying to figure out all of this double talk.  What is the point of this exercise in futility? 

 

Taking responsibility for one’s actions has always been associated for me, with integrity, sound ethics, and rational behavior.  Where have we gone?  I will let you be the judge.

  

You can find the report at http://intelligence.senate.gov.

 

The following conclusions were found on the MSNBC website:

 

  1. Most of the major key judgments in the Intelligence Community’s October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting. A series of failures, particularly in analytic trade craft, led to the mischaracterization of the intelligence.
  2. The Intelligence Community did not accurately or adequately explain to policymakers the uncertainties behind the judgments in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate.
  3. The Intelligence Community (1C) suffered from a collective presumption that Iraq had an active and growing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program. This “group think” dynamic led Intelligence Community analysts, collectors and managers to both interpret ambiguous evidence as conclusively indicative of a WMD program as well as ignore or minimize evidence that Iraq did not have active and expanding weapons of mass destruction programs. This presumption was so strong that formalized IC mechanisms established to challenge assumptions and group think were not utilized.
  4.  In a few significant instances, the analysis in the National Intelligence Estimate suffers from a “layering” effect whereby assessments were built based on previous judgments without carrying forward the uncertainties of the underlying judgments.
  5. In each instance where the Committee found an analytic or collection failure, it resulted in part from a failure of Intelligence Community managers throughout their leadership chains to adequately supervise the work of their analysts and collectors. They did not encourage analysts to challenge their assumptions, fully consider alternative arguments, accurately characterize the intelligence reporting, or counsel analysts who lost their objectivity.
  6. The Committee found significant short-comings in almost every aspect of the Intelligence Community’s human intelligence collection efforts against Iraq‘s weapons of mass destruction activities, in particular that the Community had no sources collecting against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after 1998. Most, if not all, of these problems stem from a broken corporate culture and poor management, and will not be solved by additional funding and personnel.
  7. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in several significant instances, abused its unique position in the Intelligence Community, particularly in terms of information sharing, to the detriment of the Intelligence Community’s prewar analysis concerning Iraq‘s weapons of mass destruction programs.
  8. OVERALL CONCLUSIONS – TERRORISM   Intelligence Community analysts lack a consistent post-September 11 approach to analyzing and reporting on terrorist threats

WHY THE HYPE ???? – scott mcclellen

A younger friend approached me last week and asked me what I thought about the Scott McClellen book.  My response was, “not much”.  This was information that I already had.  What was the hype about? 

There were those who thought it quite grandiose that we were observing someone in this administration acting as a true patriot and placing loyalty to the country above loyalty to the President. Unfortunately I was not one of those high minded individuals.  To me it looked like an opportunistic individual publicly stating the obvious and risking nothing from an embarrassed, incompetent, and impotent administration. 

 

With that said, I want to take the opportunity to THANK the people and institutions that did risk the title of “people who lacked patriotism”, but demonstrated the sound judgment, wisdom and true PATRIOTISM to stand against the authorization of war.  We need to take a look at these people and question our past stand and our current stand. 

 

HOW MUCH DO WE REALLY LOVE OUR COUNTRY AND THE IDEALS THAT WE WERE FOUNDED ON??????????

 

WE WERE NOT LISTENING OR PAYING ATTENTION THE FIRST TIME.  WHAT WILL WE DO NOW??????

 

DNay votes in the Senate (21 Democrats, 1 Republican, and 1 Independent):aniel Akaka (D-HI)

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM),        Barbara Boxer (D-CA),         Robert Byrd (D-WV),

Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)           Kent Conrad (D-ND)             Jon Corzine (D-NJ)

Mark Dayton (D-MN)          Richard Durbin (D-IL)           Russ Feingold (D-WI)

Bob Graham (D-FL) Daniel Inouye (D-HI)            James Jeffords (I-VT)

Edward Kennedy (D-MA)     Patrick Leahy (D-VT)            Carl Levin (D-MI)

Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)   Patty Murray (D-WA)           Jack Reed (D-RI)

Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)          Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Paul Wellstone (D-MN)        Ron Wyden (D-OR)

 

Nay votes in the House of Representatives (126 Democrats, 6 Republicans, and 1 Independent):

Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)      Thomas Allen (D-ME)           Joe Baca (D-CA)

Brian Baird (D-WA) John Baldacci (D-ME)           Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

Gresham Barrett (R-SC)       Xavier Becerra (D-CA)         Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

David Bonior (D-MI)             Robert Brady (D-PA)            Corinne Brown (D-FL)

Sherrod Brown (D-OH)         Lois Capps (D-CA)                Michael Capuano (D-MA)

Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)     Julia Carson (D-IN)               William Clay Jr. (D-MO)

Eva Clayton (D-NC)              James Clyburn (D-SC)          Gary Condit (D-CA)

John Conyers Jr. (D-MI)      Jerry Costello (D-IL)             William Coyne (D-PA)

Elijah Cummings (D-MD)     Susan Davis (D-CA)              Danny Davis (D-IL)

Peter DeFazio (D-OR)           Diana DeGette (D-CO)         Bill Delahunt (D-MA)

Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)          John Dingell (D-MI)              Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)

Mike Doyle (D-PA)               John Duncan, Jr. (R-TN)       Anna Eshoo (D-CA)

Lane Evans (D-IL)                 Sam Farr (D-CA)                   Chaka Fattah (D-PA)

Bob Filner (D-CA)                 Barney Frank (D-MA)          Charles Gonzalez (D-TX)

Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)            Alcee Hastings (D-FL)          Earl Hilliard (D-AL)

Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)      Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX)        Rush Holt (D-NJ)

Mike Honda (D-CA) Darlene Hooley (D-OR)        John Hostettler (R-IN)

Amo Houghton (R-NY)          Jay Inslee (D-WA)                 Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL)

Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)

Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH)        Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)

Dale Kildee (D-MI)               Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI)

Jerry Kleczka (D-WI)            Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)       John LaFalce (D-NY)

James Langevin (D-RI)         Rick Larsen (D-WA)             John Larson (D-CT)

Jim Leach (R-IA)                   Barbara Lee (D-CA) Sandy Levin (D-MI)

John Lewis (D-GA)                Bill Lipinski (D-IL)                Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

James Maloney (D-CT)        Robert Matsui (D-CA)          Karen McCarthy (D-MO)

Betty McCollum (D-MN)      Jim McDermott-D-WA)        Jim McGovern (D-MA)

Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)   Carrie Meek (D-FL)              Gregory Meeks (D-NY)

Robert Menendez (D-NJ)     Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA)

George Miller (D-CA)           Alan Mollohan (D-WV)         Jim Moran (D-VA)

Connie Morella (R-MD)*     Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)          Grace Napolitano (D-CA)

Richard Neal (D-MA)           Jim Oberstar (D-MN)           David Obey (D-WI)

John Olver (D-MA)               Major Owens (D-NY)            Frank Pallone Jr.(D-NJ)

Ed Pastor (D-AZ)                   Ron Paul (R-TX)                    Donald Payne (D-NJ)

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)             David Price (D-NC)               Nick Rahall (D-WV)

Charles Rangel (D-NY)         Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)         Lynn Rivers (D-MI)

Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX)          Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)          

Bobby Rush (D-IL)                Martin Olav Sabo (D-MN)   Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)

Bernie Sanders (I-VT)           Thomas Sawyer (D-OH)        Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Bobby Scott (D-Virginia)       Jose Serrano (D-NY)             Louise Slaughter (D-NY)

Vic Snyder (D-AR)                Hilda Solis (D-CA)                 Pete Stark (D-CA)

Ted Strickland (D-OH)          Burt Stupak (DMI)               Mike Thompson (D-CA)

Bennie Thompson (D-MS)    John Tierney (D-MA)            Edolphus Towns (D-NY)

Mark Udall (D-CO)               Tom Udall (D-NM)                Nydia Velaquez (D-NY)

Pete Visclosky (D-IN)           Maxine Waters (D-CA)         Diane Watson (D-CA)

Melvin Watt (D-NC)             Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)           David Wu (D-OR)

 

 

Then there were people like Scott Ritter and Brent Scowcroft who voiced loudly the warning against a pre-emptive road to war. 

 

The only news organization that we have left besides NPR and PBS, the McClatchy News Organization.

 

WAR – Quote of the day

The study of war should be a prince’s main goal, for war is a ruler’s only art. Knowledge of war is so vital that it not only keeps princes in power but can make princes out of private citizens. If princes become too refined to study this art, they lose their states.

 

Being unarmed makes others contemptuous of you. No one can expect an armed man to obey an unarmed one. Therefore a prince who does not understand military matters will not be able to work well with his soldiers. Even in peacetime, a prince must concentrate on war by exercises and by study.

 

Hunting is excellent exercise, because it strengthens the body and makes the prince more familiar with the surrounding terrain. A prince should always be asking himself how to make the best military advantage of the landscape.

A prince should also exercise his mind by reading the histories of great men and how they waged war, in order to imitate them.

 

 

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

 

 

 

A wise prince should never keep his word when it would go against his interest, because he can expect others to do the same. In order to pull it off, you must be a good liar, but you will always find people willing to be deceived.

To sum it up, it is useful to seem to be virtuous, but you must be ready to act the opposite way if the situation requires it. A prince should do good if he can, but be ready to do evil if he must.

 

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defining PATRIOTISM

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

 

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

“Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

“Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.”

Eisenhower, Farewell Address, 17 January 1961.

The choices that were made during this administration will have consequences that will out live most of us who are currently here on the planet.  So many of us are quick to move to the next topic and do not want to dwell in the past.  Even if the past is the last eight years.  It is imperative that we thoroughly look at how we arrived at this point in time.  How did an entire nation of people allow a few individuals to convince us to go invade another sovereign state.  Just a little common sense tells us that this was not because the leader of the country was a dangerous and unstable individual who had killed his own people and invaded another country.  We have several people on the world stage that fit that description and several countries that are committing genocide, engaging in nuclear weapons testing, and in reality are a much greater threat to our country. 

 

It will take soldiers, strategist, diplomats and a leader who understands that there can be no victory when there has been bloodshed, there can only be rebuilding and healing. 

 

We as Americans must decide what definition of PATRIOTISM we will take into the election booth in November and select another individual to make decisions and act in our name on the world stage.

 

Will we utilize a patriotism that we wear on our sleeve or will we utilize a PATRIOTISM that we carry in our hearts. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Candidates on Foreign Policy…..Let’s Re-Engage

I was against our invasion of IRAQ because I did not believe what I was being told about the reasons for going to war.  It goes without saying that our next president will have to possess strong foreign policy credentials.  But what exactly are those credentials?   

We have several candidates running with resumes that are filled with various experiences that could be quite advantageous for the times at hand.  We have senators, governors, representatives, actors, preachers, and mayors.  There are some who think that we should withdraw troops as soon as possible.  Then there are those who want to continue to surge.  And then there are those that want to surge and possibly take on a few more countries. 

There are those that say Americans have gotten the “war that we deserve” , because we as citizens have not been engaged.  We have been absent from the debate.  I just want to remind those of you out there that, just might not have remembered, that our foreign policy focus should be a lot wider in scope than “the war on terror” or IRAQ.  I don’t know if you have noticed lately about what is going on in Russia, the reluctant democracy or in the many other locations of the world that no longer simply embrace our wishes because we are bigger and have more weapons. 

We must begin to communicate with our neighbors respectfully. We in this country must remind ourselves that we are a young country.  Yes, we have been successful, but there are cultures that have been successful in there own right for thousands of years.  We must learn to respect the individuality of societies that have been where we are now; and usually, due to arrogance and hubris, have slid down the slippery slope of mediocrity and hypocrisy.   

What kind of foreign policy credentials am I looking for in the next president?  Here is my list: 

  • I will be looking for someone well versed in history.

  • Someone who has integrity and equally respects military capability and diplomacy, (the sticks and carrots of foreign policy).

  • I would hold in high esteem, those candidates that have served in our military and have diplomatic experience.

  • I will be looking for a candidate that places the security of this country first…. someone who will place human beings first, will act with wisdom and integrity and someone who has demonstrated strong judgment in dealing with foreign policy issues in the past. 

 How do they rank and where have they stood on this issue? 

  1. Bill Richardson

  2. John McCain 

  3. Joe Biden 

  4. Chris Dodd 

  5. John Edwards 

  6. Hillary Clinton 

  7. Barack Obama

Those that did not make this list, hold positions a little too far to the left or right for me.  Neighbors and friends, let us use a little judgment and wisdom here.  Let’s re-engage.

“The purpose of foreign policy is not to provide an outlet for our own sentiments of hope or indignation; it is to shape real events in a real world.”

 John Fitzgerald Kennedy

BLACKWATER, Military Privatization

“I say, therefore, that the arms with whch a prince defends his state are either his own, or they are mercenaries, auxiliaries, or mixed.  Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy.  The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you.”

THE PRINCE, Niccolo Machiavelli

What is all the hoopla surrounding the privatization of our military.  Well, there is a group that believe that privatization is the answer to all of our problems.  We should privitize education, the military, the government, ect.  What is the difference in private versus public and why exactly are we moving towards the private sector.

When organizations are public:

  1. They are accountable to the public
  2. They are there to serve all of the public, they can not be selective.
  3. They tend to be under government control, which in a very technical sense, they should be under yours and my control.  Because after all we are a part of that huge beauracracy, as the governed.

When organzations are private:

  1. Their missions become narrow.  This sounds good, right.  They become experts in their fields.
  2. They must profit or not exist.
  3. They are accountable to a smaller group of people, their board, or whoever has the power in their organization.  They do NOT serve the public at large.

I am not going into a lot of discussion on this.  I just wanted to bring this to your attention. Just imagine, a private group that has more power, better weaponary, more intelligence than our government and no allegience to you or I. 

 

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/New_Global_Economy/FireSaleEarth.html 

http://mountainrunner.us/2007/10/mercenaries_useless_and_danger.html

My Veterans Day week …Can’t keep quiet anymore

One of my readers brought to my attention that I have not written anything in a while.  I have been spending quite a bit of time in thought wrestling with numerous issues.  

 My Veterans Day and week was quite emotional this year.  I listened to many stories from vets from the current conflict and numerous conflicts past.  I shed many tears this week and said many prayers.  

 I grew up in a state with several major military installations and my own childhood town was a major marine and navy training base.  My neighbor and several church members were World War II vets and had numerous Viet Nam vets amongst other family and friends.  I grew up knowing many of these people who were dedicated, disciplined, hardworking and decorated American soldiers…many of which could not shut their eyes at night without having night sweats and nightmares… visions of scenes so horrific that I could never imagine.  These were also the quiet men, wise men who were constantly bringing me and my friends back to reality…..reminding us of things that were really important…..  I thank each of these men for the foundation that they gave me and the service they gave to this country.

It is this past that has caused me to be so incensed at some of the atrocities that have occurred over the last six years.  I don’t know if you have noticed but most of the people who have been the biggest defenders of this war, have never served.  They have not been injured, lost body parts, or experienced a single nightmare of fallen friends and enemies.  They tout support of our troops but do not provide necessary equipment for them to fight, do not provide enough medical benefits both physical and mental when they return home.And above all, have never listened to the knowledge and wisdom they provided before entering into this war.   

The one thing that I know about true soldiers is, you will never hear them complain.  They are duty driven and focused, no matter their politics.  They serve this country (its people and its values), not politicians.   

 I have said many times, that I am not a lover of war, but I do understand the necessity for reluctant conflicts at certain times.  I understood the need to go get Bin Laden, but am aghast at our actions in Iraq and the destabilization through out the Middle East partly due to past and present US policies.    

I have been one to remain quiet in the past… maybe it’s just age but I can do so no longer.   We do not support our troops by supporting wars, but by holding our politicians accountable for their actions.  

 http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/attack/consequences/2003/0228pentagoncontra.htm 

http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/

 http://www.vaiw.org/vet/index.php

 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/915742.html