Category Archives: war machine

Pooping out of Your Mouth (Netanyahu)

Netanyahu, you cruel ahole,
what your doing in Gaza is shameful,
you talk about cutting off the tunnels of terror,
when you kill civilians, you pretend you care,

you got so much poop inside of you,
you got to let it out out out,
so keep on poopin, poopin, poopin, out of your mouth!

Netanyahu, why all this killing,
Israelite, why are you so willing?
to commit crimes like blowing up a school,
Then you go on deny, what I say is true,

you got so much poop inside of you,
you got to let it out out out,
so keep on poopin, poopin, poopin, out of your mouth!Pooping out of Your Mouth (Netanyahu)

The Pundit Bunch

Hey everybody, there’s a civil war breaking out in war Iraq! you know what that means! lets get out the hypocrisy meter and welcome that same old crew of pundits! Ladies and gentlemen, its the Pundit bunch,

its the story of right wing pundits,
they helped start these very deadly wars,
on TV trotting out the same old liars,
spewing out the same crap as before,

its a story of the war on terror
they sell it just like the war on drugs,
justifying torture, surging, and all sorts of ways to act like thugs,

until the one day when these pundits have no platform,
but they get airtime for a reason, thats my hunch,
propaganda for the police state fascists pigs,
thats the way they all became the pundit bunch,

The pundit bunch, the pundit bunch,
its the same old right wing pundit bunch!
The Pundit Bunch (11 year Iraq war)

My View on Syria

Why do I listen to news/progressive talk radio? Its boring and most people find it nerdy and annoyingly saturated with the game of politics. I’ve become saturated on the Syria situation. I’d like to compare some the views I have heard on my favorite shows.

The Stephanie Miller Show: Stephanie keeps on framing Syria in terms of Obama is good, republicans are bad. It makes it hard to trust her judgement, or learn anything of interest. She sounds like a simple-minded Obama fan girl. Of course when everything comes around to deciding for no attack, I will join the Obama love fest, but until then, it is extremely annoying.

The Majority Report: Sam Seder is right on with regard to this issue. Bottom line: any attacks are not likely to accomplish the stated goal…and very likely to start an even worse chain reaction of events. Whether it makes us feel better to launch a few missiles is not part of the decision making process. The fantasy that we are going to punish Syria as if they were our child needs to be put to rest.

And I need to include our friend Pat Lamarche, who puts it very clearly Buy President Obama a History Book. While I embrace the idea of Syria giving up its weapons and signing a treaty with Russia, I don’t need to praise Obama’s warlike attitude. No one can know for sure that a treaty would not have occurred regardless of the threats. When the President spins a fantastical world, where the U.S. military acts as the world police outside of the United Nations, he puts our media and citizenry, indeed, our entire culture, in a war stance that we should never be in. Its just more Joe Sixpack brainwashing madness.

Ironically, once again, libertarians and progressives actually agree…at least we know not to believe what we see on TV. This classic Reefercake tune comes to mind.

libertarian paradise

Sowing the Seeds of War

The whole thing is sketchy and its always the way when evil events are used as excuses for more violence. I am sickened by the media and how deft they are at justifications for war. But that’s what they do constantly in sowing the seeds for hatred of other nations.

As a side note, I will go out on a limb and say that rich corporate influences were behind this latest horrible chemical weapons attack.

It has been determined by the powers that be that Syria is ripe for war. War is hell for most, but if you are in the business, this is the summer harvest. Obama was the voice of reason against invading Iraq. He was supposed to be level headed. Will he listen to the war mongers or will he fulfill the one reason that I felt he could be better than the other choices? 

Hypocrisy is known in many languages across the world. After littering the country of Iraq with dead bodies and spent uranium in our war crimes, how ironic and hypocritical is it for the United States to be the police with regard to war crimes? The hypocrisy really is stunning.

Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

After several months of obsessively studying American politics, it’s my carefully considered opinion that this country is run by worthless assholes. I never thought Bush was remotely in charge of things, I don’t know why I thought things would be any different with Obama.  They’re both pitchmen for the new fascism. Obama’s a hell of a lot better at it than W, which is in many ways terribly depressing.  

Was anyone else disturbed by yesterday’s speeches? Talk about your false dichotomy. Obama brilliantly explains all the ways we have to continue Bush Administration policy, then before you can object, here comes a fat slab of Cheney to make you count your blessings.  You tell me which one of them had this to say:

Now, finally, there remains the question of detainees at Guantanamo who cannot be prosecuted yet who pose a clear danger to the American people. And I have to be honest here—this is the toughest single issue that we will face. We’re going to exhaust every avenue that we have to prosecute those at Guantanamo who pose a danger to our country. But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, in some cases because evidence may be tainted, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States. Examples of that threat include people who’ve received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, or commanded Taliban troops in battle, or expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans. These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States.

Let me repeat: I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people. Al Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates are at war with the United States, and those that we capture—like other prisoners of war—must be prevented from attacking us again. Having said that, we must recognize that these detention policies cannot be unbounded. They can’t be based simply on what I or the executive branch decide alone. That’s why my administration has begun to reshape the standards that apply to ensure that they are in line with the rule of law. We must have clear, defensible, and lawful standards for those who fall into this category. We must have fair procedures so that we don’t make mistakes. We must have a thorough process of periodic review, so that any prolonged detention is carefully evaluated and justified. 

This preventive detention shit is intended to be the new policy. Here’s Diane Feinstein telling Andrea Mitchell all about it:

The laws of war very clearly say that you can keep a combatant in detention for the length of the conflict. Now this is a bit of an unusual war in that sense, but it is, in fact, a war and it is going to go on. 

Therefore, if somebody is judged to be an unlawful combatant, and they remain a threat to our national security, what needs to be evolved is a process whereby their detention is periodically reviewed, either by a court, which I would prefer, or by a military panel and a determination made as to whether the threat still continues.

Now this would happen, I would think, annually, in a lengthy detention, but there is no question in my mind that somebody who is classified as an unlawful combatant can, in fact, be kept in detention until the end of this conflict, which means terrorism, against the United States, against her allies, and in the world abates.

Oh, I see! So these guys who can’t be convicted of any crimes unless it’s in a kangaroo court, get to be released when the War Against Terror is officially over? When will that be? When the threat level drops to green?

UPDATE: Greenwald with (lots) more, natcherly.

If you really think about the argument Obama made yesterday — when he described the five categories of detainees and the procedures to which each will be subjected — it becomes manifest just how profound a violation of Western conceptions of justice this is.  What Obama is saying is this:  we’ll give real trials only to those detainees we know in advance we will convict.  For those we don’t think we can convict in a real court, we’ll get convictions in the military commissions I’m creating.  For those we can’t convict even in my military commissions, we’ll just imprison them anyway with no charges (“preventively detain” them). 

Giving trials to people only when you know for sure, in advance, that you’ll get convictions is not due process.  Those are called “show trials.”  In a healthy system of justice, the Government gives everyone it wants to imprison a trial and then imprisons only those whom it can convict. 

UPDATE II: Maddow with solid coverage too!

Daily Affirmations

Brought to you by Donald Rumsfeld.

There’s also an article associated with the slide show, which explains how these explicitly Christian jingoist messages came to be on the cover of Bush’s daily briefings in the run-up to and execution of the Iraq War. Talk about revelations that will inflame the Muslim world… I think Obama is suppressing the wrong pictures.

On the subject of inflammatory revelations, the article also sheds light on Rummy’s response to that whole New Orleans thing:

And three years later, when I asked a top White House official how he would characterize Rumsfeld’s assistance in the response to Hurricane Katrina, I found out why. “It was commonly known in the West Wing that there was a battle with Rumsfeld regarding this,” said the official. “I can’t imagine another defense secretary throwing up the kinds of obstacles he did.”

Though various military bases had been mobilized into a state of alert well before the advance team’s tour, Rumsfeld’s aversion to using active-duty troops was evident: “There’s no doubt in my mind,” says one of Bush’s close advisers today, “that Rumsfeld didn’t like the concept.”

The next day, three days after landfall, word of disorder in New Orleans had reached a fever pitch. According to sources familiar with the conversation, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff called Rumsfeld that morning and said, “You’re going to need several thousand troops.”

“Well, I disagree,” said the SecDef. “And I’m going to tell the president we don’t need any more than the National Guard.”

The problem was that the Guard deployment (which would eventually reach 15,000 troops) had not arrived—at least not in sufficient numbers, and not where it needed to be. And though much of the chaos was being overstated by the media, the very suggestion of a state of anarchy was enough to dissuade other relief workers from entering the city. Having only recently come to grips with the roiling disaster, Bush convened a meeting in the Situation Room on Friday morning. According to several who were present, the president was agitated. Turning to the man seated at his immediate left, Bush barked, “Rumsfeld, what the hell is going on there? Are you watching what’s on television? Is that the United States of America or some Third World nation I’m watching? What the hell are you doing?”

Ah yes, the glorious “United States of America”.  I remember it well!

Lest I leave the impression that Bush’s tirade got immmediate results, I should note that according to the article, it took Rummy another day to get the troop deployment order together, and he only handed it over after waiting for Bush to ask him again.  Nothing like passive-aggression at the top of the command chain.

Ultimately, Rumsfeld’s obfuscations about National Guard rotations, unity-of-command challenges, and the Insurrection Act did not serve his commander in chief, says one senior official intimately involved with the whole saga: “There’s a difference between saying to the president of the United States, ‘I understand, and let me solve it,’ and making the president figure out the right question to ask.”

Especially when the president is a fucking maroon.

Operation Junta

Somebody please explain to me why this isn’t a HUGE red flag:

Pentagon to Detail Troops to Bolster Domestic Security

The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.

The long-planned shift in the Defense Department’s role in homeland security was recently backed with funding and troop commitments after years of prodding by Congress and outside experts, defense analysts said.

There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military’s role in domestic law enforcement.

According to Wikipedia, the Posse Comitatus Act “generally prohibits federal military personnel and units of the National Guard under federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress.”  So to state that maintaining a troop presence in the US “may possibly undermine” the law is a bit rich.  Consider this article from the Army Times announcing the deployment a few months ago:

In the meantime, they’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.

Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.

The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

Naturally, this is all a response to the horrors of Katrina, when thousands of people suffered and died while federal and state troops went about the important business of securing property.  I find it deeply disturbing that the main lesson government authorities took away from that tragedy was the need for more and better “crowd control”.

Maybe I’m being irrational.  I’m sure when the next great horror is upon us, we’ll all be glad the Army is on hand to administer triage.  All I know is, Kurt Vonnegut, who grew up during the Great Depression in the years following World War I, once had this to say:

I was taught in the sixth grade that we had a standing army of just over a hundred thousand men and that the generals had nothing to say about what was done in Washington. I was taught to be proud of that and to pity Europe for having more than a million men under arms and spending all their money on airplanes and tanks. I simply never unlearned junior civics. I still believe in it. I got a very good grade.

Those days are long gone.

No one Everyone Expects the Spanish Inquisition

We haven’t kicked around the torture question on this website yet. Not whether we oppose it (I presume we all do), but whether or not we need to see some upcoming prosecutions, truth commissions, all of the above, none of the above. The US presidency has a pretty shameful history of absolving the previous administration’s criminal actions (see Watergate, Iran-Contra, et al.), so I am not particularly hopeful about prosecutions. As for the 9/11 style truth commissions… if everyone already has immunity and prosecutions are off the table, who exactly in the intelligence community is going to come forth and sully their reputation? The best we can hope for is probably a few declassified memos and a newfound condemnation of torture practices.

To me, the speculation on whether or not Bush will preemptively pardon those responsible for the torture regime is a joke. The power players would never allow the new administration to make that kind of trouble. (Indeed, the apologists love to claim that big name Democratic congressmen were always in the know). So why would he acknowledge the criminality of his people’s behavior with a pardon? Honestly, I would love to see those pardons, because it would not only be an effective admission of guilt, but would also signify a real fear that “change is gonna come”.

All of this is a somewhat long way of highlighting this op-ed article from today’s Washington Post by a US interrogator in Iraq who was opposed to the use of torture techniques.

I know the counter-argument well — that we need the rough stuff for the truly hard cases, such as battle-hardened core leaders of al-Qaeda, not just run-of-the-mill Iraqi insurgents. But that’s not always true: We turned several hard cases, including some foreign fighters, by using our new techniques. A few of them never abandoned the jihadist cause but still gave up critical information. One actually told me, “I thought you would torture me, and when you didn’t, I decided that everything I was told about Americans was wrong. That’s why I decided to cooperate.”

Torture and abuse are against my moral fabric. The cliche still bears repeating: Such outrages are inconsistent with American principles. And then there’s the pragmatic side: Torture and abuse cost American lives.

I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It’s no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me — unless you don’t count American soldiers as Americans.

This dude has evidently written a book about his experiences and the “false choice between torture and terror”. Sadly, he still feels the need to write under a false name for fear of reprisals. This truth stuff is serious business.

Propaganda, American-Style

Back in April, the New York Times published a lengthy exposé about the Pentagon’s propaganda machine in which retired military officers, acting as independent military analysts, had for years been appearing on network news broadcasts mouthing Pentagon talking points about Iraq, Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, etc.

To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration’s war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized.

The Times also has a nice video presentation that elucidates the story in a way that would make 60 Minutes envious.

Call it: Propaganda, American-style. On the one hand, these guys dutifully receive their talking points from the Pentagon and parrot them out into teevee land. If they fail to push the message their warlords desire, they have their precious “insider access” cut off – making them worthless to the networks. This in and of itself is illegal behavior, and the Pentagon was subsequently forced to “suspend” its program once the story broke. (I know, I too was shocked to learn that propaganda is officially outlawed in America… could have fooled me.)

On the other hand, these “independent analysts” are in fact gainfully employed by the war machine – “either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants”. So aside from their cushy teevee gigs, they have a vested interest in promoting and popularizing our various military efforts. In other words, the propaganda doesn’t merely Make Benefit Glorious Nation, it also lines the ex-generals’ pockets. (Like Joe Dirt says to the fireworks-selling veterinarian: “Someone shoves an M-80 up a bullfrog’s butt, blows him to pieces…he comes back to you to fix it. You win twice, brother. It’s good biz!”)

Again, this story broke in April. It is now seven months later and none of the major networks has come clean to its audience about its complicity (unwitting or otherwise) in this journalistic disgrace. As for the “independent military analysts” – the NY Times has another story out today, this time focusing in solely on one of the most egregious opportunists: Barry McCaffrey.

But it was 9/11 that thrust General McCaffrey to the forefront of the national security debate. In the years since he has made nearly 1,000 appearances on NBC and its cable sisters, delivering crisp sound bites in a blunt, hyperbolic style. He commands up to $25,000 for speeches, his commentary regularly turns up in The Wall Street Journal, and he has been quoted or cited in thousands of news articles, including dozens in The New York Times.

[…]

At the same time, General McCaffrey has immersed himself in businesses that have grown with the fight against terrorism.

The consulting company he started after leaving the government in 2001, BR McCaffrey Associates, promises to “build linkages” between government officials and contractors like Defense Solutions for up to $10,000 a month. He has also earned at least $500,000 from his work for Veritas Capital, a private equity firm in New York that has grown into a defense industry powerhouse by buying contractors whose profits soared from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, he is the chairman of HNTB Federal Services, an engineering and construction management company that often competes for national security contracts.

Sadly, none of this is news. The Nation did an article about Barry’s conflict of interest way back in 2003, and more recently, Glenn Greenwald has hammered both McCaffrey and Brian Williams over the same allegations. They reply that McCaffrey’s war wounds and patriotism somehow make him beyond reproach. Interestingly, McCaffrey defends himself by citing his harsh criticism of Rumsfeld. What was that criticism again? Oh yes, that he was trying to wage war “on the cheap”. In other words, not spreading enough money to his business interests. So sorry, General, how could we ever have doubted your integrity?

Bottom line: these clowns should not be allowed on television news broadcasts cheerleading the war. Let’s see how NBC ignores this report.