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WilliamPitt

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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 57,226

Journal Archives

"What kind of a peace do I mean, and what kind of a peace do we seek?"

What kind of a peace do I mean, and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana, enforced upon the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave, or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on Earth worth living. Not peace in our time, but peace in all time.

Our problems are man-made, and therefore can be solved by man. Because, in the final analysis, our greatest common link is that we all inhabit this small planet.

We all breathe the same air.

We all cherish our children's future.

And we are all mortal.

- "The Peace Speech," John F. Kennedy, American University, June 1963

"Independence Day"? How about "Depends Day" instead.

For consideration by the committee: changing the name "Independence Day" to "Depends Day."

To wit, regarding how "free" you actually are: Are you a woman? Gay? Trans? In prison for weed? Poor? Etc.?

Are you a corporation? Rich? Healthy? White? Male?

Are you free?

It depends.

"Hysterical"

1610s, from L. hystericus "of the womb," from Gk. hysterikos "of the womb, suffering in the womb," from hystera "womb" (see uterus). Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hysterical

These shit attitudes are embedded in the very language we speak and hear every day. It is beyond insidious.

Long road behind. Long road ahead.



You are not alone.

Iraq, Two Bullets and the Long Arc of History

Author's note: this article was originally inspired by a DU post from Benton D Struckcheon. Thank you, Benton. - WRP



Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie leave the Sarajevo Guildhall after reading a speech
on June 28, 1914. They were assassinated five minutes later. (Image via Wikipedia)


Iraq, Two Bullets and the Long Arc of History
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Tuesday 01 July 2014

There is no present or future, only the past, happening over and over again, now.

- Eugene O'Neill


Over the weekend, the world observed what must be considered one of the bleakest, bloodiest anniversaries in the history of humanity. One hundred years ago, on June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo along with his wife by Gavrilo Princip, a 19-year-old Bosnian Serb who was a member of a group known as the "Black Hand." The Archduke was struck by two bullets and died within minutes, while his wife died en route to the hospital.

One month later, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, the other great European powers soon joined the fray, and with banners flying and trumpets blaring, the awesome butchery that was World War I began. The bloodletting did not end until November of 1918, and once the smoke and mustard gas had cleared, four of the great powers in Europe - the Russian, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and German empires - no longer existed. Millions were dead, whole swaths of Europe lay in ruins, and the old Napoleonic practice of close-order battle marches had been rendered into so much meat by the lethal metal truth of modern mechanized warfare.

The cascading aftermath, however, was only just beginning. The chaos unleashed in Russia by the war led to the collapse of the government, the rise of Vladimir Lenin, and the birth of the Soviet Union. Ten years after the creation of the USSR, Josef Stalin was named General Secretary of the Communist Party. He remained the undisputed leader of the USSR until his death in 1953, and during those intervening years, Stalin oversaw one of the most ruthless, paranoid regimes that has ever existed on the skin of the Earth. At the peak of his atrocities, there were as many as 1,000 executions a day, while millions more were "disappeared" into gulags. Despite this, the Soviet Union under Stalin grew to be a tremendous industrial power, and a dominant presence on the world stage.

In Germany, the turmoil left in the wake of the war was just as pronounced, and came to effect the entire planet along with the course of human history. The war, and the armistice that was signed to end it, left Germany shattered and humiliated. The rage, deprivations and despair left in the wake of the collapse of the Weimar Republic became fertile soil for the growth of German fascism, from which a failed painter named Adolf Hitler was able to reap a truly bitter harvest. In 1939, Germany invaded Poland, the slaughter of the Holocaust was underway, and the global massacre that was World War II came to pass.

World War II beget the creation and use of the atomic bomb, the subsequent spread of which placed the human race in peril of extinction, a peril that lingers to this day. Upon observing the governing principles of Stalin, The US ambassador to the Soviet Union, George Kennan, penned and transmitted the "Long Telegram" in 1946, the document credited by history as being the genesis of the Cold War. The aftermath of World War II, combined with the onset of the Cold War, inspired the passage of the National Security Act in 1947 and the creation of the American "National Security State."

(snip)

I make mention of this long, grim thread of history in the looming shadow of the ongoing chaos in Iraq. Over the weekend, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) announced the creation of what they call a caliphate, which spans large portions of those two nations. The current situation in those two nations, and in the Middle East entire, can be laid in large degree to the decision by the Bush administration to lie the United States into a war in Iraq, a decision based upon feckless dreams of empire and the desire for political and financial profit. The matter is on the verge of spiraling beyond control and could lead to a region-wide conflagration, the ultimate outcome of which is anyone's guess.

The very simple moral: big clouds condense around small particles, as Richard Bachman once wisely wrote. Individuals certainly, and governments absolutely, must think long and hard about the consequences of their choices before they decide to pull the trigger. Two bullets in Sarajevo unleashed one hundred years of carnage. Some facile lies from a few American politicians may well have unleashed another hundred years of the same.

The rest: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/24705-william-rivers-pitt-iraq-two-bullets-and-the-long-arc-of-history

*ahem*

...pssssssssssssst...hey...Hobby Lobby fundamentalist fuckwagons...

...hate to break it to you...

...but your big win today...

...absolutely guarantees...

...more abortions.

Less contraception = more unwanted pregnancies = more abortions, you fuzz-witted clown train fools.

Congratulations.

Word of warning: if you keep shoving yourselves up your own asses with such vehement velocity, a point will inevitably be reached when you simply cease to exist, and collapse upon yourselves like a dying star.

I am counting the days.

Good news, ladies!

Thanks to today's Hobby Lobby ruling, I have decided to become a radical fundamentalist Christian zealot. My immediate intention is to sue my employer and my bosses (all women) based on my firmly-held religious belief that women belong in the home caring for children, and should not be in the workplace. Once the Supreme Court rules in my favor, because of course they will, none of you will ever have to work again!

Now, take those shoes off and get your ass into the kitchen. We'll get to the procreatin' after I finish cleaning my gun.

(/satire)

I dedicate the following .gif to every Supreme Court Justice who ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby today:






They Belong in Prison, Not on Television



From left: former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Secretary of State Condleeza Rice,
former vice president Dick Cheney attend the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush
Presidential Library, April 25, 2013. (Photo: Stephen Crowley / The New York Times)


They Belong in Prison, Not on Television
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Friday 20 June 2014

I wrote my first article on the folly of an Iraq invasion in August of 2002. There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, I argued. There are no 9/11 connections in Iraq. There is no al Qaeda presence in Iraq, because Saddam Hussein was notorious for hanging Wahabbists from the nearest available light pole. An invasion would tear the country apart, explode sectarian tensions, and plunge the region into chaos.

Neither I nor the world knew at that time that George W. Bush and Tony Blair had decided four months earlier that the deal was going down no matter what. Neither I nor the world knew at that time that a decision had been made one month earlier to ensure that "intelligence and facts" would be "fixed around the policy" of invasion. I stayed on the no-invasion beat for the next seven months, writing dozens of articles and a book, as the world watched millions of people take to the streets in an attempt to stop something that was, as it turns out, inevitable.

Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Doug Feith, Condolleeza Rice, and of course, George W. Bush, piled the sandbags high and deep around a decision that had already been made. We know they have these weapons, we know where they are, we don't want the evidence to be a mushroom cloud, plastic sheeting and duct tape, 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11. Save for 23 bold souls, a craven Senate caved to the pressure and delivered the Iraq War Resolution to the Bush administration, and in late March of 2003, the skies over Baghdad glowed orange as the city was turned into a bowl of molten fire.

As the WMD argument fell to ashes, I kept writing. As the 9/11-connection argument collapsed, I kept writing...and then, first in a trickle and then a flood, people started writing me. Mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of American soldiers who had died in Iraq wrote me letter after letter, email after email, demanding answers. Why? Why did this happen? Why did my loved one die over there?

(snip)

Never mind the fact that I and so very many others spent so much time and energy for so many years trying to stop all this from happening. Never mind the fact that the perpetrators of this enormous fraud, this smash-and-grab robbery, this looting of the Treasury, this act of first-degree murder on a massive scale, all walked away scot-free to pursue new careers and live lives of comfort. Amazingly enough, that's not the worst part.

The worst part is that they're all on my television again, trying to blame President Obama for the circumstances created by their own feckless, murderous decisions.

Tony Blair: "We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that 'we' have caused this. We haven't."

Paul Wolfowitz: "Look, it's a complicated situation in which you don't just come up with, 'We're going to bomb this, we're going to do that.'"

Doug Feith: "This is the education of Barack Obama, but it's coming at a very high cost to the Syrian people to the Iraqi people to the American national interest."

John McCain: "What about the fact that General Petraeus had the conflict won thanks to the Surge and if we had left a residual force behind that we could have - we could, we would not be facing the crisis we are today."

Karl Rove, when asked about the fact that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq: "Yeah, that's an old argument that we waste time on."

Dick Cheney: "He (Obama) abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory."

(snip)

Let me put it plainly: these people do not belong on my television. They belong in prison, for the crimes of theft, torture and murder. They shattered the lives of thousands of American soldiers and millions of Iraqi civilians. They savaged the American economy paying for it all, and several of them got very rich in the process. They should be in orange jumpsuits and fetters, picking mealworms out of their gruel while shuttered in very small, very grim, very inescapable metal rooms.

I spent the first decade of the 21st century dealing with these blood-sodden bastards. Now, it appears, I will spend a chunk of a second decade watching them run around trying desperately to wash that blood from their hands...and the "news" media, also thoroughly culpable in this ongoing debacle, is all too happy to help them do it.

That, too, should be a crime.

The whole thing: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/24490-william-rivers-pitt-they-belong-in-prison-not-on-tv

George and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamtie

George and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamtie
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Thursday 15 April 2004

The first thing you got was the tie.

You lost the importance of the press conference. You lost the fact that Bush had only done two of these prime time gigs in his entire term, and that he hates them because he isn't good at them. You lost the fact that the 9/11 Commission had been punching him and his administration around the room for the last couple of weeks. You lost the fact that September 11 had been demystified, that the going wisdom now says it could have been stopped by an administration that was actually paying attention. You lost the fact that almost 80 American soldiers and something like 900 Iraqis had been killed in the last month of fighting, that almost 700 American soldiers have been killed since the invasion was undertaken, and that, oh by the way, there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

You lost all of that and were left with the tie around Bush's neck, the gray spotted tie that was flashing and heliographing in the camera's eye like something out of a Hunter S. Thompson fever dream, the mesmerizing swirl of reds and yellows and purples and blues that left the whole press conference behind in a hypnotizing, dazzling, inebriating swirl of flummoxed technology which almost certainly caused Americans from sea to shining sea to lean towards their televisions and exclaim, "Holy Christ, Marjorie, look at the man's necktie!"

But then the shock of the collision between necktie and television wore off, and you were left with the man, and his words, and certainly the most ridiculous press conference since Al Haig blithered about being in charge after Hinckley put a bullet into Ronald Reagan. They sacked Haig pretty much on the spot after that sad display. Would that the American people in the year of our Lord 2004 could be so lucky.

Leaving aside the fact that Bush sounded for all the world like he was speaking through a mouthful of glue - and they say John Kerry is boring on the stump? - the preamble to this train wreck of a press conference is worthy of some analysis:

GWB: This has been tough weeks in that country.

WRP: Huh?

GWB: Coalition forces have encountered serious violence in some areas of Iraq.

WRP: You don't say.

GWB: In the south of Iraq, coalition forces face riots and attacks that are being incited by a radical cleric named al-Sadr.

WRP: And you know why? Because your goober proconsul Paul Bremer shut down al-Sadr's piddly little tabloid newspaper on April 4, giving this pampered brat more street cred than he ever had before. He had plenty of people to whip into a frenzy against American forces, George, because your whole project in Iraq has been utterly devoid of meaning, direction, or even coherent planning. You went and made a free-speech martyr out of al-Sadr by closing down his newspaper, lighting a fuse that has left dozens of Americans and hundreds of Iraqis dead. Kudos, Chief.

GWB: As a proud, independent people, Iraqis do not support an indefinite occupation, and neither does America. We're not an imperial power, as nations such as Japan and Germany can attest. We're a liberating power, as nations in Europe and Asia can attest as well.

WRP: Brilliant. American military forces remain in Germany and Japan to this very day. That's not much of an object lesson. As for being a 'liberating power' in Asia, I can't imagine you are referring to Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos.

GWB: Were the coalition to step back from the June 30th pledge, many Iraqis would question our intentions and feel their hopes betrayed. And those in Iraq who trade in hatred and conspiracy theories would find a larger audience and gain a stronger hand.

WRP: I can't be sure how up on current events you are, George, but that horse pretty much left the barn.

GWB: In Fallujah, coalition forces have suspended offensive operations, allowing members of the Iraqi Governing Council and local leaders to work on the restoration of central authority in that city. These leaders are communicating with the insurgents to ensure an orderly turnover of that city to Iraqi forces, so that the resumption of military action does not become necessary.

WRP: Translation - American forces were totally shocked by the fury of the Iraqi people after this catastrophe of a military adventure, further shocked by the alliance between Shia and Sunni, and betrayed by ham-handed actions like Bremer's decision to shut down al-Sadr's nothing newspaper. Because the Iraqi fighters seemed perfectly capable of killing dozens of Americans at will, and because this was a political mess for you right during election season, you were forced to sue for a 'cease-fire' with the people you had supposedly defeated. The result of this will be an Iraqi military opposition in Falluja and Najaf that has had time to regroup and rearm. Congratulations. You're about to get even more people killed.

GWB: The violence we are seeing in Iraq is familiar. The terrorists who take hostages or plants a roadside bomb near Baghdad is serving the same ideology of murder that kills innocent people on trains in Madrid, and murders children on buses in Jerusalem, and blows up a nightclub in Bali and cuts the throat of a young reporter for being a Jew. We've seen the same ideology of murder in the killing of 241 Marines in Beirut, the first attack on the World Trade Center, in the destruction of two embassies in Africa, in the attack on the USS Cole, and in the merciless horror inflicted upon thousands of innocent men and women and children on September the 11th, 2001.

WRP: Two problems, one of which is the same grammar catastrophe you appear incapable of avoiding. You say "The terrorists who...is serving..." Come on, George. "The terrorists who...are serving..." is the way to work that English language. Make it yours, George. Work it. Beyond that, the fact that you have again connected Iraq to September 11 - and, boy, Beirut was just out of nowhere - is shameful and disgraceful. Just stop. This has been batted down more times than a Serena Williams forehand.

GWB: The terrorists have lost the shelter of the Taliban and the training camps in Afghanistan. They have lost safe havens in Pakistan.

WRP: Um, no. Because you took the best troops out of Afghanistan and threw them into Iraq, the Taliban and al Qaeda are pretty much running around free there again. They have free and open access to Pakistan for the same reason. I hear the heroin crop in Afghanistan this year is going to be simply divine, which works in your favor if you think about it. After all, what good is a severe economic downturn if there isn't cheap access to good smack?

GWB: They lost an ally in Baghdad.

WRP: They never had an ally in Baghdad. Again, this allegation has been disproven more times than Piltdown man. You need to get some new material, George. I suggest invading France immediately. It's not like those cheese-eating surrender monkeys were dead-bang right about this invasion being a disaster in the making. A good military stomping will shut them up, and you can bring back the Freedom Fries fad.

GWB: We will succeed in Iraq. We're carrying out a decision that has already been made and will not change.

WRP: Yup, you made the decision the day you showed up in Washington with your band of neocon Vulcans. Never let pesky things like facts get in the way of a decision that has already been made.

That's about as much of that as anyone could stand. My mother had called me by this point screaming, "This is a President? I feel like I want to cry!" I had to break it to her that the worst was yet to come. The press were about to get their shot. Seldom in human history have so many pointed questions gone so amazingly unanswered. Some examples which speak for themselves:

QUESTION: Mr. President, before the war, you and members of your administration made several claims about Iraq: that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators with sweets and flowers; that Iraqi oil revenue would pay for most of the reconstruction; and that Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction but, as Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said, we know where they are. How do you explain to Americans how you got that so wrong? And how do you answer your opponents who say that you took this nation to war on the basis of what have turned out to be a series of false premises?

GWB: Well, let me step back and review my thinking prior to going into Iraq. First, the lesson of September the 11th is that when this nation sees a threat, a gathering threat, we got to deal with it. We can no longer hope that oceans protect us from harm. Every threat we must take seriously. Saddam Hussein was a threat. He was a threat because he had used weapons of mass destruction on his own people. He was a threat because he coddled terrorists. He was a threat because he funded suiciders. He was a threat to the region. He was a threat to the United States.

And we've been there a year. I know that seems like a long time. It seems like a long time to the loved ones whose troops have been overseas. But when you think about where the country has come from, it's a relatively short period of time. And we're making progress. There's no question it's been a tough, tough series of weeks for the American people. It's been really tough for the families. I understand that. It's been tough on this administration. But we're doing the right thing. And as to whether or not I made decisions based upon polls, I don't. I just don't make decisions that way. I fully understand the consequences of what we're doing. We're changing the world, and the world will be better off and America will be more secure as a result of the actions we're taking.

WRP: Ooooookay...raise your hand if you see an answer in there? There are no weapons of mass destruction, despite the fact that Rumsfeld said he knew where they were - and it bears mention that Bush referred to Rumsfeld in his preamble as the Secretary of State. We were hardly welcomed as liberators, and the oil infrastructure is in total disarray. No answers from George. And as far as "We're changing the world" goes, George, there's an old saying: Any jackass can knock down a barn. You change the barn when you smash it, but not many people would label it an improvement. Good thing your triumphalist streak is under control, though.

Moving on:

QUESTION: Mr. President, why are you and the vice president insisting on appearing together before the 9-11 commission? And, Mr. President, who will we be handing the Iraqi government over to on June 30th?

GWB: We'll find that out soon. That's what Mr. Brahimi is doing. He's figuring out the nature of the entity we'll be handing sovereignty over. And, secondly, because the 9-11 commission wants to ask us questions, that's why we're meeting. And I look forward to meeting with them and answering their questions.

FOLLOW-UP: I was asking why you're appearing together, rather than separately, which was their request.

GWB: Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9-11 commission is looking forward to asking us. And I'm looking forward to answering them.

WRP: The talking heads before this press conference were saying it was absolutely, positively vital for Bush to deliver some sort of coherent plan for the immediate future of Iraq, including the handover. Here was a perfect opportunity to explain that plan, and George punted. You'll know when I know, hyuk hyuk hyuk. As for the whole thing about Bush and Cheney appearing together, the answer is pretty plain. George doesn't know much of anything about how his administration is being run, as was made horrifyingly clear in this event. Dick needs to be there to work the strings. The 9/11 Commission couldn't do much with "I love America, I love freedom, I love America, freedom, America, democracy, pzzzzcheeeeezzzz..." That's about all Bush could give them without a wingman.

Moving on:

QUESTION: In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you'd made in your life, and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa. You've looked back before 9-11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9-11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have learned from it?

GWB: I wish you'd have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it. John, I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could've done it better this way or that way. You know, I just -- I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet. I would've gone into Afghanistan the way we went into Afghanistan. Even knowing what I know today about the stockpiles of weapons, I still would've called upon the world to deal with Saddam Hussein. See, I'm of the belief that we'll find out the truth on the weapons. That's why we sent up the independent commission. I look forward to hearing the truth as to exactly where they are. They could still be there. They could be hidden, like the 50 tons of mustard gas in a turkey farm.

One of the things that Charlie Duelfer talked about was that he was surprised of the level of intimidation he found amongst people who should know about weapons and their fear of talking about them because they don't want to be killed. You know, there's this kind of -- there's a terror still in the soul of some of the people in Iraq. They're worried about getting killed, and therefore they're not going to talk. But it'll all settle out, John. We'll find out the truth about the weapons at some point in time. However, the fact that he had the capacity to make them bothers me today just like it would have bothered me then. He's a dangerous man. He's a man who actually not only had weapons of mass destruction -- the reason I can say that with certainty is because he used them. And I have no doubt in my mind that he would like to have inflicted harm, or paid people to inflict harm, or trained people to inflict harm, on America, because he hated us. I hope -- I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't -- you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.

WRP: So much of this question and answer sums up the entire issue that squats incoherently before the American people, and never mind the tacit admission that he is helpless if he doesn't get the questions beforehand. Even Nixon admitted making mistakes. Have you made any mistakes, George? The Towers came down, the Taliban and al Qaeda are back in force in Afghanistan, there are about 700 dead American soldiers and well over 10,000 dead Iraqis in the Middle East, there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, they had nothing to do with September 11, Osama bin Laden has been given this great gift because we invaded a Muslim country on a nonexistent pretext, and by the way we failed to catch the guy "Dead or Alive," we have manufactured thousands more terrorists with this invasion, the budget is annihilated, the Homeland Security Department is a total boondoggle...nope, I can't think of any mistakes. By the way, the Iraqi WMDs are hidden at a turkey farm. Pass it on.

The tie only worked for a minute. After that, the only thing hypnotizing on the television was this small fraction of a man playing at being Presidential while the world crashes down around his ears.

God help us all.

http://www.truth-out.org/archive/component/k2/item/47703:george-and-the-amazing-technicolor-dreamtie

The United States of Aftermath

...regarding the media's role in all this:

Over the last few years, MSNBC refashioned itself as the progressive news alternative to networks like Fox and CNN by giving Keith Olbermann an opportunity to do actual journalism on television for a few years, and by putting people like Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz front and center. Even Chris Matthews, the human weathervane, appears to have gotten the memo. But I remember a phone call I got from an MSNBC producer in February of 2003. Hans Blix and his weapons inspectors had not been in Iraq for 100 hours when this woman called me on my cell, told me she'd read my book, and asked me to appear on the network. There was, however, one caveat: she told me I was expected to argue that Blix and the inspectors were doing a terrible job and should be ignored, which just happened to be the exact line being peddled at the time by the Bush administration. I told the producer that I did not agree, that the inspectors needed to be given time to do their jobs, and that undermining them might lead to a devastating war. The MSNBC producer chuffed a cigarette-roughened laugh into my phone and hung up on me.

That happened - I remember the details not only because of how gruesome the conversation was, but because when she hung up on me, I almost lost control of my car and nearly wound up in the Charles River - and the fact of it tells you everything you need to know about MSNBC and the rest of the alphabet-soup cohort that is America's "mainstream" news media. I did not do what that MSNBC producer asked me to, but you can bet all the money you have that she found someone who would a few phone calls later. You might have even seen it on TV.

MSNBC and the rest of the "news" networks can level a finger of blame at the Bush administration until the sun burns out, but the rock-bottom fact of the matter is that every one of those networks are equally to blame for the catastrophe that was, and remains, the war. No questions were asked, no push-back was offered; when the war cry went up, they made that cry their own, and they have as much blood on their hands as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of that PNAC crew.

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14688-the-united-states-of-aftermath

The Writing on the Shithouse Walls

...was the original headline for this back in 2004, but concerns about tripping spam filters forced a change.

Reprinted in full.

The Writing on the Latrine Walls
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Monday 09 August 2004

I sat with a photographer from Reuters who had just returned from a six-month tour of Iraq. He had been tagging along with the Kellogg Brown & Root operation, subsidiary of Halliburton, and saw everything there was to see. He went from new military base to new military base, from the oil work in the north and back to the south, observing how busy were the contactors for Halliburton.

"I feel like I compromised every one of my principles by even being over there," he told me after the story had been spun out a bit. His eyes, which had seen too many things through the lens of his camera, were haunted.

It was two years ago that talk about invading Iraq began to circulate. Reasons for the invasion were bandied about - they had weapons of mass destruction, they had a hand in September 11, they will welcome us as liberators - but it wasn't until the Project for the New American Century got dragged into the discussion that an understanding of the true motives behind all this became apparent.

The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC for short, is just another right-wing think tank, really. One cannot swing one's dead cat by the tail in Washington D.C. without smacking some prehensile gnome, pained by the sunlight, scuttling back to its right-wing think tank cubicle. These organizations are all over the place. What makes PNAC different from all the others?

The membership roll call, for one thing:

Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States, former CEO of Halliburton;
Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense;
Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense;
Elliot Abrams, National Security Council;
John Bolton, Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security;
I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's top National Security assistant;

Quite a roster.

These people didn't enjoy those fancy titles in 2000, when the PNAC manifesto 'Rebuilding America's Defenses' (Adobe document) was first published. Before 2000, they were just a bunch of power players who had been shoved out of the government in 1993. In the time that passed between Clinton and those hanging chads, these people got together in PNAC and laid out a blueprint. 'Rebuilding America's Defenses' was the ultimate result, and it is a doozy of a document. 2000 became 2001, and the PNAC boys - Cheney and Rumsfeld specifically - suddenly had the fancy titles and a chance to swing some weight.

'Rebuilding America's Defenses' became the roadmap for foreign policy decisions made in the White House and the Pentagon; PNAC had the Vice President's office in one building, and the Defense Secretary's office in the other. Attacking Iraq was central to that roadmap from the beginning. When former Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke accused the Bush administration of focusing on Iraq to the detriment of addressing legitimate threats, he was essentially denouncing them for using the attacks of September 11 as an excuse to execute the PNAC blueprint.

Iraq, you see, has been on the PNAC menu for almost ten years.

The goals codified in 'Rebuilding America's Defenses,' the manifesto, can be boiled down to a few sentences: The invasion and occupation of Iraq, for reasons that had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein. The building of several permanent military bases in Iraq, the purpose of which are to telegraph force throughout the region. The takeover by Western petroleum corporations of Iraq's nationalized oil industry. The ultimate destabilization and overthrow of a variety of regimes in the Middle East, friend and foe alike, by military or economic means, or both.

"Indeed," it is written on page 14 of 'Rebuilding America's Defenses,' "the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

Two years after the talk began, the invasion is completed. There are no weapons of mass destruction, there is no connection to September 11, and the Iraqi people have in no way welcomed us as liberators. The cosmetic rationales for the attack have fallen by the wayside, and all that remains are the PNAC goals, some of which have been achieved in spectacularly profitable fashion.

The stock in trade of Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root is the construction of permanent military bases. The Reuters reporter I spoke to had been to several KBR-built permanent American military bases in his six month tour of Iraq. "That's where the oil industry money is going," he told me. "Billions of dollars. Not to infrastructure, not to rebuilding the country, and not to helping the Iraqi people. It's going to KBR, to build those bases for the military."

According to the Center for Public Integrity, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root has made $11,475,541,371 in Iraq as of July 1. So that's one PNAC goal checked off the list.

As for the corporate takeover of the Iraqi oil industry, that has become the prime mission of the American soldiers engaged there. Kellogg Brown & Root also does a tidy business in the oil-infrastructure repair market. "The troops aren't hunting terrorists or building a country," said the Reuters photographer. "All they do is guard the convoys running north and south. The convoys north are carrying supplies and empty tankers for the oil fields around Mosul and Tikrit. The convoys south bring back what they pull out of the ground up there. That's where all these kids are getting killed. They get hit with IEDs while guarding these convoys, and all hell breaks loose."

That last goal, about overthrowing other regimes in the region, hasn't been as easy to follow through on as the PNAC boys might have hoped. The Iraqi people are fighting back, and the small-by-comparison force Rumsfeld said would be enough to do the job can't seem to pacify the country. Perhaps that is because too many troops are dedicated to guarding the oil supply lines. More likely, however, it is because of the sincere belief among the Iraqi people that they have been conquered - not 'liberated' but conquered - and their conquerors don't give a tinker's damn whether they live or die.

"The Americans over there have all these terms for people who aren't Americans," the Reuters photographer said. "The Iraqi people are called LPs, or 'Local Personnel.' They get killed all the time, but it's like, 'Some LPs got killed,' so it isn't like real people died. Iraqi kids run along the convoys, hoping a soldier will throw them some food or water, and sometimes they get crushed by the trucks. Nothing stops, those are the orders, so some LPs get killed and the convoy keeps rolling. The labels make it easier for them to die. The people are depersonalized. No one cares."

"Everyone is an 'insurgent' over there," the photographer told me. "That's another label with no meaning. Everyone is against the Americans. There is a $250,000 bounty on the head of every Westerner over there, mine too, while I was there. The Americans working the oil industry over there are the dumbest, most racist jackasses I've ever seen in my life. That's the American face on this thing, and the Iraqi people see it."

930 American soldiers have died to achieve goals the PNAC boys gamed out before they ever came in with this Bush administration. Well over 10,000 Iraqi civilians have likewise died. Over $200 billion has been spent to do this. Fighting today rages across several sections of Iraq, and the puppet 'leaders' installed by U.S. forces are about to drive a final stake into the heart of the liberation rhetoric by declaring nationwide martial law.

Two enemies of the United States - the nation of Iran and Osama bin Laden - are thrilled with the outcome to date. Saddam Hussein was an enemy to both Iran and bin Laden, and he has been removed. The destabilization and innocent bloodshed bolsters Iran's standing against the U.S., and sends freshly motivated martyrs into the arms of Osama.

Yes, the Halliburton contracting in Iraq for military bases and petroleum production is a cash cow for that company. The bases are being built. The oil industry has been privatized. The resulting chaos of the PNAC blueprint, however, has left the entire theater of the war in complete chaos. The Bush administration has insisted all along that this invasion was central to their 'War on Terror.' It has, in truth, become a failed experiment in global corporate hegemony writ large, foisted upon us by some men named Cheney and Rumsfeld who thought it would all work out as they had planned it in 2000.

It hasn't, except for the profiteering. For all their white papers, for all their carefully-laid plans, for all the power and fancy titles these erstwhile think-tankers managed to gather unto themselves, their works are now blood-crusted dust. They are clearly not as smart as they thought they were. The overall 'War on Terror' itself has plenty of examples of these boys not being too swift on the uptake. Iraq is only the largest, and costliest, example.

The case of Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan is another perfect example. Khan was a mole, deep undercover within the ranks of al Qaeda, who was sending vital data on the terror organization from Pakistan to British and American intelligence. But officials with the Bush administration, desperate to show the American people they were making headway in the terror war, barfed up Khan's name to the press while bragging about recent arrests. Khan's position as a mole within al Qaeda was summarily annihilated. The guy we had inside was blown.

Pretty smart, yes? "The whole thing smacks of either incompetence or worse," said Tim Ripley, a security expert who writes for Jane's Defense publications, in a Reuters article on the blown agent. "You have to ask: what are they doing compromising a deep mole within al Qaeda, when it's so difficult to get these guys in there in the first place? It goes against all the rules of counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, running agents and so forth. It's not exactly cloak and dagger undercover work if it's on the front pages every time there's a development, is it?"

This would be the second agent we know of who has been blown by the arrogant stupidity of the Bush administration. The other, of course, was Valerie Plame. Plame was a 'Non-Official Cover' agent, or NOC, for the CIA. NOC designates the deepest cover an agent can have. Plame's deep-cover assignment was to run a network dedicated to tracking any person, nation or group that might give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. Because her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had the temerity to accuse the Bush administration of lying in the public prints, the administration blew Plame's cover as a warning to Wilson and any other whistleblowers who might have thought of coming forward.

The Bush administration blew Khan's cover because they wanted to get a soundbite out for the election campaign. They blew Plame out of sheer spite, and out of desperation. The mole we had inside al Qaeda, and an agent we had tracking the movement of weapons of mass destruction, are both finished now because the PNAC boys are watching all their plans go awry, and they don't quite know what to do about it. That makes them stupid and exceedingly dangerous.

The soldiers over there are hip to the jive at this point. Michael Hoffman, a Marine corporal in artillery, was part of the original March invasion. Before Hoffman's unit shipped out, his battery first sergeant addressed all the enlisted men. "Don't think you're going to be heroes," said Hoffman's sergeant. "You're not going over there because of weapons of mass destruction. You're not going there to get rid of Saddam Hussein, or to make Iraq safe for democracy. You're going there for one reason and one reason alone: Oil."

The Reuters photographer I spoke to couldn't get any soldiers to talk about how they felt when surrounded by their fellow soldiers. "They don't talk in the ranks, or just about anywhere on base," he said. "You have to go out to the latrine area, to the Port-O-Potties. For some reason, they talk there. You can read how they really feel - all the anti-Bush stuff, all the wanting to go home - in the writing on the shithouse walls."

http://www.truth-out.org/archive/component/k2/item/49140:the-writing-on-the-latrine-walls
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