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WilliamPitt

Profile Information

Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 57,456

Journal Archives

*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

The Astonishing Privilege of Fatherhood



William Rivers Pitt. (Photo courtesy of WRP)

The Astonishing Privilege of Fatherhood
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout |Op-Ed

Sunday 15 June 2014

It begins in the dawn's early light with a coo, or a thump, or "Ho jeez," or "A-duk-a-duk-a-duk-a-duk," or "Da da dee da dee da dah" coming out of the baby monitor that stands at attention on my dresser. You could run a freight train past my pillow, yank-start a chainsaw next to my head, or fire a 21-cannon salute through my bedroom wall at that hour, and odds are I'll sleep through it...but just one "Coo" out of that baby monitor, and I'm up like a thousand ants just crawled up my nose to do their own Budweiser commercial.

Scuttle-scuttle-scuttle out of the bedroom, open and close the door like a ninja, scuttle-scuttle-scuttle down the hall to the kitchen, upon which a banana is chosen. This is a solemn process, akin to Indiana Jones picking the proper cup at the end of "The Last Crusade." No bruises, not too big, not too small...and there it is, peeled, sliced and quartered into finger food, placed on a plate, with some finely-sliced peaches and pears riding shotgun. The peaches and pears are there mostly for color - they end up on the floor half the time - but the banana is the show. If there is no banana, there is no peace.

At this point, after all the necessary arrangements are laid, stealth is abandoned. Thump-thump-thump down the hallway to the nursery, heavy footfalls deliberately deployed to announce my onrushing presence, turn the corner, open the door...and there she is, standing at the rail of her crib, wide awake and smiling fit to split, bouncing on her mattress, "Ho jeez a-duk-a-duk-a-dahdee!" spilling from her face as I scoop her up for the first Epic Thermonuclear Totally Encompassing Hug of the day. I lay her down for our daily wrestling match regarding her diaper and outfit - I always win, but it's close and getting closer every time, and sometimes there is misdirected poo - before delivering her to breakfast, which she obliterates like a small, pink, giggling swarm of locusts.

These are my mornings. My mornings are tremendous.

She was born on April Fools' Day, making me the greatest April Fool of all time. She was also born on Opening Day for the Red Sox, and because my mind tends to work strangely, I remember that she came out of my wife and into this world just as David Ortiz stroked a liner to right field that gave the Sox an 8-4 lead, because the game was on a television bolted into the corner of the ceiling above the delivery bed. She was born, and the crowd went wild: that was quite literally the timing. Beat that with a stick.

(snip)

Mine is but one story in a galaxy of stories about fatherhood. Some have had it easier, some harder, and some hardest. I enjoy the privilege of presence, but there are piles of fathers out there who leave at dawn to return in the dark with raw hands and sore backs, who summon their children to them for a hug and a talk and a meal and a hand with homework, because that's the deal. Fatherhood is fatherhood. It's entirely binary: you either do it, or you don't.

I'm doing it to the very extremity of my ability. I hope you are, too, if you enjoy the astonishing privilege of fatherhood. That is all we can do.

Happy Father's Day, brothers. Enjoy it. We're back to work tomorrow.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/24360-william-rivers-pitt-the-astonishing-privilege-of-fatherhood

The Greatest Greatness of George W. Bush

Seeing as how we're all watching George's Iraq masterpiece go up in flames, I decided to pull this one out of the archives. This was written a few days before he finally left office in 2009. Reprinted in full.

The Greatest Greatness of George W. Bush
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Wednesday 07 January 2009

And you can send me dead flowers every morning
Send me dead flowers by the mail
Send me dead flowers to my wedding
And I won't forget to put roses on your grave ...


- The Rolling Stones


To: George W. Bush
From: Your biggest fan
Re: Your imminent unemployment

Greetings, Mr. Bush.

I was sorry to hear about the passing of your cat, India. Eighteen years is a long time for a cat - my mother has one that's 20 and still going strong, if you can believe it - and I'm sure India had a comfortable, caring life with your family.

I got to spend part of last weekend with an old friend of mine. He's a bit older than 18, and he's also a troop who recently rotated back from a tour in Falluja. He just had a baby daughter, and he will be sent to Afghanistan before too much longer. He did his duty in Iraq, dealt his share of death and saw his friends die or be ripped to shreds right in front of him.

He was hollow in a lot of places that had been full before he went to Iraq. He was not the same man we'd said farewell to. But he was alive, and if he survives his upcoming Afghanistan tour, maybe he will get the chance to have a long, comfortable, caring life with his family, just like little India.

At present, my friend's life is the polar opposite of comfortable, and he still has Kabul waiting for him just over the horizon. His life is the way it is because of you, Mr. Bush. You have been the single greatest influence upon his time in this world; you put him over there and hollowed him out, and because of you, it's about to happen again. You were the single biggest influence upon the lives of every person he knew over there, every person he saw over there, and every person he killed over there.

It's funny. I was thinking the other day about when I marched in one of the first large-scale post-inauguration protests against you in Washington, DC. It was May of 2001, it was The Voter's Rights March to Restore Democracy, and it was a few thousand people shouting down the unutterably ruinous Supreme Court decision which unleashed, just as we then feared, everything that has since come to pass. "Not my president!" we bellowed. "Not my president!"

It's funny because that memory seems so very quaint to me now. A stolen election? Pfff. To paraphrase a different president, Americans get scarier stuff than that free with their breakfast cereal nowadays. Thanks to you, governor.

My All-Time-Grand-Prize-Bull-Goose-Gold-Medal-Winning Top Five list of what you've done, in no particular order, and in my own humble opinion:

1. You were warned by the outgoing administration when you first took office. You were warned by the Russians. You were warned by the Israelis. You were warned by the Germans. You were warned in a memo given to you by your own National Security Adviser. You were warned by men like Richard Clarke. You were warned all those times that Osama bin Laden intended to strike the United States, and still the Towers came down.

(All those people working on that Legacy Project of yours should go back to bed, by the way; they are trying to salvage the unsalvageable. You protected us, they claim? Ha. You're 0-1 on terrorism and 0-2 on war)

2. Less than a month after those Towers came down, a reporter asked what you thought we should do. "We need to counter the shockwave of the evildoer," you replied, "by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates." I happened to be watching television and heard you say that live into a camera. The only reason I didn't throw up on myself is because my teeth were clenched too tightly for the vomit to pass my lips. I swallowed hard, grabbed a pen, and wrote down what you said and when you said it. It was October 4, 2001, just after nine in the morning. You'd like people to remember you standing on that pile of rubble in Manhattan, you with the bullhorn and the heroic pose. I, however, will always remember you pitching tax cuts to a devastated nation while a pall of poison smoke still hung in the air over Ground Zero.

3. A few years later, you wanted hundreds of billions of dollars diverted from other areas of the federal budget and into your war in Iraq. You took more than $70 billion out of the budget used by the Army Corps of Engineers in Louisiana to fund the repair and maintenance of the New Orleans levee system. Katrina struck not long after you took that money and poured it into the sand, and the levees failed for lack of funded upkeep. Through this, along with your disinterested disinclination to help your own countrymen in their hour of darkest need, you played the very last note for that old, sad, lost American city. Reflected in those actions are the same budgetary priorities that motivated you to turn Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the hospital where I was born, into an abattoir of suffering and neglect for the wounded soldiers you tore apart for a lie.

4. You let Dick "Crazy-Eyes" Cheney do whatever the hell he wanted to whomever he wanted whenever and wherever he wanted, and be damned to the damned old Constitution anyway. Cheney once said the vice president's office was not part of the same branch of government as the president's office, and he said it with his bare face hanging out the whole time. Why? He didn't want to give any of his official papers over to the National Archives, as mandated by at least two federal laws. Nope, he said, my office is in Congress today, sorry about that, but be sure to come on back after you drop dead. Or words to that effect. That's about one zillionth of a percent of what he did, because you let him pick himself to be your boss.

5. On July 19, 2006, you vetoed H.R. 810. On June 20, 2007, you vetoed S. 5. Both vetoes killed legislation aimed at funding and vastly enhancing the reach and scope of stem cell research in America. The father of someone I know died of bone marrow cancer just after that first veto; he was adopted, no family could be located, so no donor match for a bone marrow transplant could be found. With stem cell therapy, doctors could have taken his own marrow and grown enough healthy, matching marrow to save his life. Two other people I know have diabetes, like millions of Americans. Stem cell research could offer them a cure. Someone else I know has multiple sclerosis, and stem cell research could very well help her, too. She'd write you a thank-you note for those vetoes, but her right hand doesn't work so well anymore. She's getting better with her left hand, so maybe that note can get written next year.

Also, you defied lawfully issued subpoenas and potentially set a precedent that could shatter the separation of powers. You told the American people Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons - which is one million pounds - of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent, 30,000 missiles to deliver the stuff, mobile biological weapons labs, al-Qaeda connections and uranium from Niger for use in a robust nuclear weapons program, even though all of that was a lie. You made a joking video about not being able to find any of it. You outed a deep-cover CIA agent who was running a network designed to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists, and you did so because her ambassador husband told the truth about you in the public prints.

You gave away our right to privacy by sending the NSA to spy on us. You turned us all into torturers and butchers in the eyes of the world with your decision to use Abu Ghraib prison the same way Saddam Hussein once did. You tried to appoint Henry Kissinger to lead the investigation into 9/11. You turned the entire Justice Department into a carnival of political hackery. You championed the economic policies and deregulation fantasies that have left the financial stability of millions in ashes. You used the threat of terrorism against your own people in order to give yourself political cover. You killed hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who did you nor us no harm.

You did all this, and so much more.

From a certain perspective, one could argue that you have been the most successful president the country has ever seen. Think about it, because according to your definition of "success," it's true. You came into office looking to make your friends richer, and to fulfill as best you could your most overriding personal belief: that government is the problem, so government must be damaged and denuded to the point of impotence. Through your tax cuts and your two vastly expensive boondoggle wars, you made your friends rich. By unleashing Mr. Cheney and your other minions, you tore the Constitution to shreds and tatters. You have achieved both goals in smashing style, so from that certain perspective, you have triumphed.

Could you also, from the proper perspective, be considered our greatest president?

Perhaps, someday, if we make it so.

It will be in the best interests of many powerful people if we as a nation simply dismiss you and forget you ever happened. A lot of news media people want us to forget you, because in forgetting you, we would forget the media's vast complicity in your actions and misdeeds. A lot of rich people making new fortunes from war profiteering and defense contracts want us to forget they and you even exist, as it would make it possible for them to do it all again someday. A lot of politicians who stapled themselves to you would simply adore it if we forgot about you. The Republican Party would be forever in our debt if we forgot about you.

No. We will not forget you. We will remember.

We the people are going to save you from ignominious oblivion. We will remember. You could be the president who doomed America, the worst president of all time, but we must not, will not let that happen. You will be remembered differently, because we will hold the memory of you high, and behold you, and say, "Never, never, never again." We have tasted the soot and smelled the blood on the wind; we have seen how fragile our way of government is when placed in the hands of low men such as you, and because of that, you will be remembered for all time.

Your greatness will be defined by how we rise to overcome and undo what you have done. Your greatness will stand forever if we never, ever forget the hard, bitter lessons you taught us. We are responsible for this republic, for our Constitution, and for each other. We are our brother's keeper. You taught us that by becoming our Cain. You nearly slew us, but here we stand, and we defy the place in history you would relegate us to. We defy you, and by doing so, we rise.

Something like you must never again be allowed to happen to this country, and if we save ourselves by preventing you from ever happening again, your greatness is assured. You are the tallest of all possible warnings, and a promise all of us must solemnly and stalwartly keep. If we can damn you to the past, we will save our own future.

May you live forever, you son of a bitch.

http://truth-out.org/archive/component/k2/item/81880:the-greatest-greatness-of-george-w-bush

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x4782595

Springtime in New Hampshire (pics)

It happens slow, and it starts small, but by God and sonny Jesus, it is a sight for sore eyes.





"Men's Rights" and the Septic Tank of History



A peek inside the septic tank. (Image: EL / TO ; Adapted: Soil Science @ NC State / Flickr, Shutterstock)

"Men's Rights" and the Septic Tank of History
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Friday 06 June 2014

In 1995, several young boys in western Ireland came across something buried beneath a cracked piece of concrete. It turned out to be the septic tank for an old building, demolished decades earlier, that had been known as The Home. Run by the Bon Secours nuns, a Catholic sect, The Home had been, from 1925 to 1961, a place where unwed pregnant Irish women could hide themselves from an astonishingly judgmental society to carry their babies to term, and then flee into whatever new life they could manage to find.

Being unmarried and pregnant in Ireland during this time, you see, was utterly unforgiveable, and dangerous. A fair portion of the reason for this was the fact that Ireland - riven and torn asunder by disputed British rule, IRA warfare and all attendant chaos therein - saw fit to leave a vast swath of social concerns like schooling, orphanages and hospitals in the hands of the Catholic Church...and while the newly-minted Pope Francis has put a broadly-grinning happy face on Catholic doctrine, the fact of the matter is that women took the brunt of the consequences when they were raped and got pregnant, or had sex and got pregnant, because of the Church's ironclad teachings.

The children, also. The nuns charged to care for the children of The Home deliberately ostracized them from the other children in the community, starved them, neglected them, disdained them, because they were the offspring of "fallen" women who had dared to get pregnant outside of the bonds of holy Catholic matrimony. The so-called "sins" of the mother were visited brutally and harshly upon their children.

You see, that septic tank those boys found in 1995 was filled with the bones of some 800 children who had been delivered in The Home. Malnutrition and neglect, measles and tuberculosis and pneumonia, compounded by disgust for the mothers who bore them, laid waste to these children. Their remains were not buried, or burned, or even thrown in a trash heap. They were dropped into a vat of feces and urine, and at the time of this printing, their bones remain there still.

It is difficult to imagine a more egregious example of simple, savage hatred of women than what took place at The Home over those four decades. An unmarried pregnancy was the woman's fault, period, regardless of the circumstances. Pregnant women were sequestered in that cold pile of stone, surrounded by militant Catholics who, I am quite sure, were absolutely against a woman's right to choose abortion, but who hurled the remains of live-birthed babies into a septic tank because the mother's disgrace at getting pregnant out of wedlock was so utterly complete according to the rules of the day that the issue of her pregnancy was deemed to be exactly as worthless as a nun's turd.

But then again, there are today's trans-vaginal ultrasounds that certain GOP lawmakers would require for women seeking abortions. There are the restrictions on birth control remedies being put in place in states all across the country. There are the thousands of women killed by a husband or partner wielding a gun every year. There is the universal GOP resistance to a minimum wage hike, even as two out of every three minimum wage workers is a woman, many of whom are trying to support at least one child.

And then, of course, there is Elliot Rodger, who shot up Santa Barbara the other day because he hated women and sought to exact a measure of vengeance. "I realized that I would be a virgin forever," wrote Rodger in his pre-massacre manifesto, "condemned to suffer rejection and humiliation at the hands of women because they don't fancy me, because their sexual attractions are flawed. They are attracted to the wrong type of male...I will destroy all women because I can never have them. I will make them all suffer for rejecting me...Women should not have the right to choose who to mate with. That choice should be made for them by civilized men of intelligence...Women are like a plague that must be quarantined."

(snip)

Astonishing as it is to fathom, this is a fight that has to be engaged once again. A lot of comfortable people (read: mostly men) believe the rights of women have been settled and established, so we're done, thanks for coming, turn out the lights when you leave. In truth, the rights of women are under assault from multiple directions in multiple states across this nation, and the bad guys are winning.

There are 800 dead babies in Ireland who could tell you all about where this kind of trend invariably winds up: in the septic tank of history.

The rest: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/24179-william-rivers-pitt-mens-rights-and-the-septic-tank-of-history
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