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Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
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Power Of Mischief - Into War

...from a book I put together in 2004, reposting on this twelfth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.


Power Of Mischief - Into War

Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly -- yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.
~President Bush officially announces the start of the attack on Iraq, March 19, 2003


More than 140 years ago, Lincoln sought to reassure a gathered group of faithful that he would not take them to war to end the scourge of slavery in declaring that there would be "no bloodshed unless it be forced upon the Government, and then it will be compelled to act in self-defense. "Shortly thereafter, he would nonetheless, lead the country into war to, as he proclaimed, ". . . to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of the National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government; and to redress wrongs (of slavery) already long enough endured."

In his inaugural, President Bush wasted no time, after a quick nod to the "noble" surrender of his rival Gore, to declare that in his view America was, ". . . one of a new world that became a friend and liberator of the old, a story of a slave-holding society that became a servant of freedom, the story of a power that went into the world to protect but not possess, to defend but not to conquer."

In two years however, he would abandon all restraint and warning to zealously persuade an insecure nation to engage in a war with Iraq; admonishing Americans that the "peace of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people" now depended on them. He sought to reassure a skeptical opposition and world community in his declaration that he had no ambition to possess Iraq. He proclaimed: "We come to Iraq with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice. We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people."

So dubious was the threat posed by Iraq, so tenuous was the distinction between the enemy and those "oppressed" who were to be liberated, that President Bush was compelled to profess respect "for Iraq's citizens, for their "great civilization" and for the "religious faiths they practice," and at the same time, scorn them as enemies who had "no regard for conventions of war or rules of morality."

Lincoln's justification for war did not require any rhetorical hedge. He insisted that in his opposition to slavery, an adherence to the principles of liberty and individual rights which are embodied in the Declaration of Independence, would more than provide for the preservation of the Union.

"In my hands," he spoke, "is the task of restoring peace to the present distracted condition of the country. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the motherland," he said, "but that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time."

"It was that," Lincoln continued, "which gave promise that in due time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men."

But, our current president's war was not waged in defense of any lofty ideals of democracy or liberty. This war with Iraq was the invention of a banished ruling class - enriched by the selling of the influence of their positions in government - who had nursed their broken ambitions in exile, and had instinctively constructed their sympathetic webs of wealth to obstruct the remedies of the reformers and hatch the next generation of world capitalists who would inherit the patronage of the next conservative presidency.

The invasion of Iraq was a clumsy attempt by President Bush to usurp the power from a vanquished nation of innocents; a suffering class of people who were already devastated by the bombing of the first war, and by the economic sanctions imposed by the U.N. at the insistence of the U.S., which served to enrich Saddam Hussein and steadily impoverish and starve everyone else.

This administration pulled the nation into war to compensate for, and to draw attention from, their failure to apprehend the ringleader of the attack on the World Trade Center. President Bush made the appeal to the nation in a manner which exploited our deepest fears as he warned the nation about the potential for a future Iraqi assault on our country, or on our allies, of a magnitude that would far exceed the devastation of the horrendous suicide attack in New York.

President Bush claimed that: "Iraq is (was) expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons; Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons; is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons; Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons; It is seeking nuclear weapons; Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program; the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sabin nerve gas, VX nerve gas; Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas; Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States; Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past; Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes for gas centrifuges, used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons."

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised," President Bush warned the nation.

"The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East," President Bush counseled. "It has a deep hatred of America and our friends and it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al-Qaida. The danger is clear," he warned. Using chemical, biological, or one day, nuclear weapons obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country or any other."

The deception in the president's warning was in his knowledge of the nature of the evidence provided, that of which appears to have been cobbled together from dissidents and informers who had little or no contact with the regime, or were motivated by offers of money or asylum, or to satisfy some personal vendetta against the Iraqi government; and used to bolster the administration's preconceived tilt toward war.

Saddam Hussein was, without question, the leader of a brutal dictatorship. As many as 300,000 Iraqis are believed to have been deliberately murdered by the regime in the "Anfal campaign" against the Kurds, and the assaults on the Marsh Arabs and southern Shi`a populations, which resulted in thousands of more dead. Between 1977 and 1987, some 4,500-5,000 Kurdish villages were systematically destroyed, and the survivors were forced into concentration camps. Many of the atrocities took place at a time when the U.S. was actively supporting Hussein in a manufactured revolution against the Iranian government, whose leaders had humiliated Americans in the '70's hostage crisis.

Iraq used chemical weapons in 1983-1984, during the Iran-Iraq war. It has been reported that some 20,000 Iranians were killed by mustard gas, and the nerve agents tabun and sarin.

In 1988, Iraqi soldiers invaded Kurdistan and rounded up more than 100,000 Kurds and executed them. In March 1988, in the town of Halabja, more than 3,000 civilians died from chemical gas attacks by the Iraqi military.

Iraq has been rightly condemned by the U.S. and most of the international community for these and other deadly actions against its citizens and its neighbors. But Iraq did not operate against its enemies alone or without our knowledge, and in many instances, U.S. support. Nightline, in Sept. 1991 reported that the Atlanta branch of an Italian bank, BNL, was able to funnel billions, some of it in U.S. credits, to Iraq's military. The U.S. apparently knew of the transfers and turned a blind eye.

"Sophisticated military technology was illegally transferred from a major U.S. company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to South Africa and Chile and, from there, on to Iraq. The Iraqi-born designer of a chemical weapon plant in Libya set up shop in Florida, producing and then shipping to Iraq chemical weapon components. The CIA, the FBI and other federal agencies were made aware of the operation and did nothing to prevent it."

The report further states: "During the 1980s and into the '90s, senior officials of both the Reagan and Bush administrations encouraged the privatization of foreign policy, certainly toward Iran and Iraq. They made a mockery of the export control system; they found ways of encouraging foreign governments to do what our laws prohibited. They either knew or, if not, were guilty of the grossest incompetence, that U.S. companies were collaborating with foreign arms merchants in the illegal transfer of American technology that helped Saddam Hussein build his formidable arsenal."

It summarizes that, "Iraq, during much of the 1980's and into the '90s, was able acquire sophisticated U.S. technology, intelligence material, ingredients for chemical weapons, indeed, entire weapon-producing plants, with the knowledge, acquiescence and sometimes even the assistance of the U.S. government."

The New York Times reported in Aug. 2002 that during the Reagan administration, the U.S. military provided Saddam with critical intelligence that was used in Iraq's aggression against Iran, at a time when they were clearly using chemical and biological agents in their prosecution of that war. The United States was an accomplice in the use of these materials at a time when President Reagan's top aides, including then- Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci and Gen. Colin L. Powell, then national security adviser, were publicly condemning Iraq for its use of poison gas, especially after Iraq attacked Kurds in Halabja.

The classified support reportedly involved more than 60 military advisors from the Defense Intelligence Agency who provided detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for air strikes and bomb-damage assessments for Iraq. A retired intelligence officer recalled that, in the military's view, "The use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern."

A 1994 Senate Banking Committee report, and a letter from the Centers for Disease Control in 1995, revealed that the U.S. had shipped biological agents to Iraq at a time when Washington knew that Iraq was using chemical weapons to kill thousands of Iranian troops. The reports showed that Iraq was allowed to purchase batches of anthrax, botulism, E. coli, West Nile fever, gas gangrene, dengue fever. The CDC was shipping germ cultures directly to the Iraqi weapons facility in al-Muthanna.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University has a collection of declassified government documents that detail U.S. support of Saddam's regime. This is the collection that contains a photograph of Saddam Hussein shaking hands with Ronald Reagan's Middle East envoy, Donald Rumsfeld, who apparently said nothing to Saddam about his nuclear weapons program or his use of chemical weapons.

Bush I, who ultimately triumphed in making Kuwait safe for future monarchies, said of his own military adventure in Iraq, "We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a New World Order, a world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations."

That was utter nonsense. The rule of law that was enforced in the ousting of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait was nothing more than the product of a patronage that was forged in the U.N. with U.S. taxpayer-funded payments to Saudi Arabia's King Faud, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, Jordan's King Hussein, and others. The risk to the world community, as stated by the president then, and by this president today; that an enriched Saddam would align with some radical Muslim theocracy, would be in sharp contrast to the campaigns against those very forces in which Iraq had waged war at our bequest and with our eager assistance.

The Bush I administration's stated objective in their Gulf war was to protect the flow of Mideast oil to the U.S. and to prevent Iraq from obtaining a seaport from which Iraqi shipments would supposedly depress an already sputtering world market. Saddam Hussein had not threatened the American people in his power grab for a greater share of the oil pie. Indeed, the U.S. must have been aware that the overproduction of oil by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia prior to Iraq's invasion was a move to drive the price of oil down, and in the process, weaken Iraq.

Aside from the question of the danger that the expansion of Saddam's dictatorship may have posed to the region, the defense of Kuwait's territorial integrity was a foreign concept to H.W. Bush who had participated in and overseen the ordering of the mining of the Nicaraguan harbor, the invasion of Grenada, the overthrow of the president of Panama and the installation of a U.S. puppet government there, as well as the acquiescence of Britain's invasion of the Falklands in 1982.

The Bush I administration issued a national security directive which listed among its objectives; ". . . the defense of U.S. vital interests in the region, if necessary through the use of military force; and defense against forces that would cause added damage to the U.S. and world economies." More importantly, the security directive declared that access to Persian Gulf oil and the security of key, friendly states in the area were vital to U.S. national security. It was on that basis that President Herbert Walker Bush waged war with Iraq.

More than 250,000 individual bombs and missiles were dropped or fired in 42 days onto Iraq in that first war. Some 244 laser-guided bombs and 88 cruise missiles were reportedly delivered against Baghdad targets. The people of Iraq suffered from power outages and systems failures caused by bombing attacks on their weakened infrastructure. Medicine deteriorated without proper refrigeration. Food spoiled; water stagnated and became dangerously polluted.

The citizens of Iraq, already starving and impoverished as a result of the crippling sanctions imposed on Iraq by the U.N., at the bequest of the U.S., were not 'liberated' by the destruction. Of Iraq's 545,000 troops in the Kuwait Theater of Operations, about 100,000 are believed to have lost their lives.

Before the imposition of sanctions in the '80's, and before the war, Iraq boasted the region's best schools and hospitals, and enjoyed the smallest gap between the rich and poor of any of its neighbors. Also, Iraq's educated class ranked among the region's best. Six weeks of intensive bombing reduced Iraq to what was described as a pre-industrial state. Unemployment soared and the black market flourished, resulting in a widening of the gap between the impoverished majority and those few who managed to cling to wealth.

Before sanctions were imposed, ninety percent of Iraq's income came from oil exports. Once sanctions restricted oil sales, lack of basic food and medicine soon reached catastrophic levels. The country's water, electrical, and oil systems, and other infrastructure were devastated in the bombing campaign. Human Rights Watch documented the effects of the first U.S. aggression against Iraq and found that more than 500 civilian buildings and homes were targeted and destroyed with no apparent connection to any threat to the U.S. or its allies.

Middle East Watch, in a more damning account, tells of some 9,000 homes, housing some 72,000 people, that had been destroyed or badly damaged during the bombing. Some 2,500 of the buildings reported destroyed were in Baghdad and another 1,900 in Basra.

The American death-count from that first Gulf war was 346 total from all causes, out of 511,000 troops deployed from August 1990 to February 1991. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, thirty-six percent of the 581,000 retired veterans serving at the height of the 1991 Gulf War have filed health claims. Of that number, 22 percent of the claims remain pending, or have been denied. More than 11,000 Gulf War veterans, whose average age was 36 when the war began, have since died, many from illnesses their families believed were war-related from exposures to chemical weapons that troops found and destroyed, depleted uranium from U.S. armor-piercing munitions, pollution from oil well fires, experimental vaccines, and anti-nerve agent pretreatment pills, among other toxins.

The nation's reward for the blood and sacrifice of our men and women in the armed forces in that Gulf war was a further decrease in production by the Mideast oil giants under OPEC- the group which controls around half the world's oil trade. That resulted in the doubling of U.S. oil prices from $20 a barrel to $40 (slightly more than we pay now), and the fostering of a crippling recession.
As the National Security Strategy of 1991 stated, "Economies around the world were affected by the volatility of oil prices and the disruption of economic ties to countries in the Gulf. Egypt, Turkey and Jordan were particularly hurt."

Oil profits for industry CEO's and administration shareholders must have soared. No sacrifice there. As a consequence of the U.S. hostile presence in the region, radical Muslim groups were able to portray our military invasion and the positioning of our bases in Saudi Arabia as an affront to the teachings of their religion and were able to convince others of like mind to band against what they viewed as groundless U.S. imperialistic expansion; putting America at an increased risk of retaliatory terrorism.

The Bush's routs of Saddam may have made them appear to be warrior kings. But in the context of their overwhelming domination of the inept Saddam and the hapless Iraqi army, they more resemble Don Quixote. In the classic tale of the ideal vs. the real, Quixote battles windmills that appear to be giants, and sheep that look to him like armies. He believes himself the victor, comes to his senses, only to be trapped by his delusion; forced to play the conquering hero.

"We're making great progress in Iraq, Bush II said recently in Lexington, Kentucky. "I don't care what you read about."

He claimed that schools and hospitals are reopening, children are getting immunizations and water and electricity is coming back. "Life is getting better," he said. But in the same instance Mr. Bush was quick to add, "We must fight this war until the work is done."

Today more than 300- U.S. troops have died in ambushes and accidents in Iraq since Bush II declared an end to "major combat" there May 1, 2003. An average of three to six Americans is being killed each week in Iraq and another 40 are being wounded. U.S. soldiers are facing an average of 15 to 20 attacks a day, including roadside bombs, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said. In fact, up to 40 attacks a day are not uncommon.

To date, more than 490 American soldiers have died since the war began March 20, according to Central Command and the Pentagon.

The most definitive total of violent civilian deaths in Baghdad since mid April has been published by Iraq Body Count (IBC), a research group tracking media-reported civilian deaths occurring as a consequence of the US/UK military intervention and occupation.

CNN recently reported that, "Though Bush administration officials say U.S. inspectors have found evidence that Iraq tried to hide equipment to produce banned weapons in the future, none have been found in Iraq since Saddam's ouster."

"It's very simple. Saddam Hussein is no longer in power," national security adviser Condoleezza Rice told NBC. "Saddam Hussein was the problem with weapons of mass destruction," Rice said when asked why Bush was seemingly unconcerned about the inability to locate his main justification for the war.

David Kay, having just returned from the Iraq weapon's hunt, on Oct. 5 told the House and Senate Intelligence committees that Saddam Hussein may have mislead them about his chemical and biological arsenal. Most of his report, however, claimed that the Iraqi dictator had the capabilities, chemicals, and facilities to restart production quickly. Kay was reportedly shown video of Bush saying last September that Iraq "possesses biological and chemical weapons." Kay said, "We have not found specific evidence that would indicate that." At the same time as his report was being released, the Republican controlled House Intelligence Committee was accusing the CIA of using "outdated and piecemeal" data in compiling its assessment of the Iraqi threat.

The Bush administration has requested an additional $600 million to continue the hunt for Saddam's bio or chem weapons. The money would follow an estimated $300 million already spent on the weapons search. Even though the United States has not been able to find any of the alleged weapons of mass destruction that he had cited as a justification for confronting Iraq, President Bush declared that, ". . . investigators had found evidence of a "clandestine network of biological laboratories" and "advanced design work on prohibited longer-range missiles."

In full chemical gear, in the heat of the desert, the men and women of our armed forces were mustered into battle against a ghost of the past; a remnant of our political manipulations, gone bad. The nation was riveted to the military television news as live images of our needlessly bulked warriors advanced on the doomed city of Baghdad. Amid the warnings of a chemical or biological catastrophe, we prayed and hoped that the reports were an exaggeration. We held our anger at a leadership that, we told ourselves, certainly would not manipulate our soldiers for some ghoulish, voyeuristic tv propaganda. But it appears that our military and our government knew full well that any material they had supplied Saddam with had, long ago, been confiscated by weapon's inspectors or had degraded.

The images of the heat-stressed warriors trapped inside of their chemical gear out of a leader-propagandized fear of a nonexistent chemical/biological attack, are enough to break faith with any trust in the words or motives of this administration and its war hawkers. Not that the suits would likely have helped much in the event of such an attack. An inspection of the Army's supply of gas masks and chemical detectors by an Army audit agency found a majority of them to be potentially defective due largely to lax maintenance policies.

"Up to 90 percent of the monitors and 62 percent of the masks were either completely broken or less than fully operational," said the report from the Army Audit Agency, which added, "The actual status, requirements, surpluses or shortfalls, and true costs of Army efforts to defend against aggression through chemical and biological weapons weren't known."

In an address in which President Bush appealed for an additional $87 billion to fund the occupation of Iraq and other military projects, he proclaimed that: "For a generation leading up to September 11, 2001, terrorists and their radical allies attacked innocent people in the Middle East and beyond, without facing a sustained and serious response."

"Since America put out the fires of September 11, mourned our dead, and went to war," President Bush extolled, "history has taken a different turn. We have carried the fight to the enemy. We are rolling back the terrorist threat to civilization, not on the fringes of its influence, but at the heart of its power."

"We will do what is necessary, we will spend what is necessary, to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom, and to make our own nation more secure," he promised.

In his rhetoric, President Bush effectively used the terrorist attacks to justify his assault against Iraq. But Osama Bin Laden, the alleged ringleader of the 9-11 attacks, was not in Iraq. The rebel leader, in fact shunned and denounced the leadership of Saddam Hussein as a betrayal of fundamental Islam.

The random exercise of our military strength and destructive power will not serve as a deterrent to these rouge, radical terrorist organizations who claim no permanent base of operations. The wanton, collateral bombing and killing has undoubtably alienated any fringe of moderates who might have joined in a unified effort of regime change which respects our own democratic values of justice and due process. Our oppressive posture has pushed the citizens of these sovereign nations to a forced expression of their nationalism in defense of basic prerogatives of liberty and self-determination, which our false authority disregards as threats to our consolidation of power.

The Bush league plans to scatter our forces around the globe in order to preempt terrorist groups from attacking. "We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge," President Bush told cadets in June 2002 at a graduation address he gave at the United States Military Academy.

Business Week has reported that "about 50% of the Army's active-duty troops are on foreign soil already, and in many key military specialities, the deployment percentage is much higher." They document over 122,000 Army personnel in Iraq, including more than 3,000 National Guard soldiers and 5,000 reservists. Another 5,000 Guard soldiers and 7,000 reservists are serving in Kuwait. The numbers of those killed by our troops, threatening or innocent, are disregarded by our military and our government. The deaths of our own soldiers are rarely discussed by the president.

The scarcity of active-duty forces and security concerns in Iraq has made it necessary to activate a large number of Guard and Reserve troops. A new order, requiring 12-month tours, means many Guard and Army Reserve troops could have their original year long mobilizations extended for anywhere from one to six months.

The Project on Defense Alternatives finds that the U.S. typically maintains:

-More than 200,000 troops on foreign soil and more than 50,000 personnel afloat in foreign waters; in recent years an average of 35,000 of these personnel have been involved in contingency operations, mostly around Iraq and in the Balkans;
-There are more than 800 foreign U.S. military installations including 60 major ones;
-There is a U.S. military presence in 140 countries including significant deployments (ie. multiple hundreds or thousands of troops) in 25 countries.
-The U.S. has made strong commitments to help defend or support the defense efforts of 31 nations, and has significant defense cooperation commitments with another 29 nations.
-The United States also conducts more than 170 overseas Joint Combined Services Exercise Training exercises annually; about 40 percent of these have a multinational component; such as the JCS program involving special operations forces.

These figures are in addition to the current forces deployed as a result of the ‘war on terrorism' in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. The United States will spend an estimated $116 billion to this year on its NATO commitment to defend Europe; excluding Bosnia and Herzegovinia with about 1,600 U.S. troops respectively. Japan follows with 43,000 U.S. troops; then South Korea with its 37,000 American troops; Afghanistan- 9000; Egypt- 800; the Phillippines 500. This a full plate for our all-volunteer force; not withstanding the possibility of future missions in hot-spots like North Korea and the uncertainty in Iran. There's even talk from the administration of spreading the ‘war on terrorism’ to the newly-independent Russian provinces.

"We have our best chance since the rise of the nation-state in the 17th century to build a world where the great powers compete in peace instead of prepare for war," Bush said after 9-11. "The United States bears a disproportionate responsibility for security." His position was in sharp contrast to candidate Bush, who had complained for months about former president Clinton's "nation-building."

There are many reasons why Bush's strategy of preemption is misguided and wrong. It is a license to release the aggressor nation from their responsibility to pursue - to the rejection of their last reasonable admonition - a peaceful resolution to any perceived threat. And, with a deft flex of military and political muscle the presumption of innocence, even in the face of a clear absence of proof, is a conquered victim of the tainted consensus of a cabal of purchased adversaries; " either with us or against us."

Lincoln once remarked: "A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!"

Preemption is a corrosive example for those countries who may feel threatened enough by their neighbors to move to resolve their fears militarily instead of engaging in the long-established enterprise of diplomacy and negotiation. Indeed, the appointment of Colin Powell as Secretary of State, our nation's top diplomat - the general who's army's killing of Iraqi innocents is rivaled in this century only by the enemy he sought to capture - is a discouraging message for those in the region who had hoped the hunger to divide the region militarily had waned with the end of the first war.

A common mantra coming out of the White House these days was echoed by Vice President Cheney in a speech this October before the Heritage Foundation: "We are fighting this evil in Iraq so that we do not have to fight it in our own cities," he counseled. This is a dangerous misconception which only serves the narrow administration view that Saddam Hussein was a potential orchestrator of a worldwide Muslim terror offensive against the U.S. and its allies. A great deal of the information which the White House used to support the link to the 9-11 terrorists was the product of misinformation provided by the very dissident groups which we were funding here in the United States. The rest of the intelligence, as we have discovered in the aftermath of the invasion, was cobbled together from conflicting sources within the government to reflect the administration's assertions that Saddam posed an immediate threat to the U.S..

Whatever proliferation of weapons that may have occurred in Iraq would have been exacerbated by our invasion, as any WMD's that might have existed would, by now, have been dispersed, perhaps to Syria or Iran. What is the value in using Iraq as a terror magnet? It has resulted in daily attacks on our soldiers by an Iraqi resistance - possibly aided by some outside terror network; likely no more than remnants of the Republican Guard or the like. What is it about our operation in Iraq that would support the argument that we won't have to fight them (terrorists) on our shores? Most observers predict another devastating attack in the U.S. is inevitable if not imminent.

Further, by likening Iraq to the worldwide Muslim terror offensive the president does what Hussein could not; he binds Iraqis to the Muslim extremists. He practically invites them to join the battle there and ally with the forces that threaten our soldiers daily. This will not create a democratic wedge against Muslim extremism in the region. Democracy cannot be imposed. If they don't understand that, they don't understand democracy.

Sadly, American soldiers serve as targets in Iraq, and their lives are no less important than ours here in the states. Inviting attacks on Americans overseas is an amazing retreat from the peaceful influence of a great nation of justice; humbled by bloody, devastating wars; and witnessed to the power of liberty, and to the freedom inherent in the constitution we wisely defend with our peaceful acts of mercy, charity, and tolerance.

"Peace," Herman Wouk wrote, "if it ever exists, will not be based on the fear of war, but on the love of peace. It will not be the abstaining from an act but the coming of a state of mind." All else that we pursue should be a means to that peace; and a wholesale rejection of violent postures which just invite more violence.

"There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is 'bring them on'," Bush spoke to reporters in the White House Roosevelt Room in July. How then should the American people judge the alarm and outrage that subsequent administrations have expressed about Saddam's murderous aggression against others outside of Iran that he considered a threat to his regime; Or against those who we would regard as enemies of the United States?

Is it moral to support another country's genocide of a people that our own leaders would, if given free reign, commit to slaughter at the whim of their supposedly clean hands, in the name of liberation and justice? Is it moral for the U.S. to commit slaughter by proxy, and then condemn our accomplices as incarnations of intolerable evil? Does morality manifest itself in our ambitions or in our actions?

This nation will have to make that determination with their votes and with their participation in our political system, in matters that relate to the conduct of America's foreign affairs, by involving themselves in deliberations that intend to determine which course will make our nation most secure; to decide: Whether it is best to arm ourselves, and the world to follow, with the hollow reasoning of keeping up with perceived threats to our ‘security’; or is it more reasonable and more practical to reach out to the world diplomatically, to lessen the animosity toward America that our military interventions have engendered.

Our aggression resigns the nation to a perpetual global threat against the United States and our interests. Diplomacy provides hope that the killing among all countries would end, by the force of our collective resolve; not at the point of a weapon.


http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104x1393396

'Family' feeling at Ferguson PD last night, to near calamity - Protestor's perspective on shootings

____Deray McKesson is a teacher who hails from Baltimore (my neck of the woods) who has been in Ferguson since the beginning of the protests. He's immediately recognizable in his blue down vest and well-known to anyone who's been following events in Ferguson on Twitter. Deray was, characteristically, in fron of the Ferguson PD last night participating in a peaceful, but determined protest when, later in the evening, the two officers were shot. He's provided a vivid and typically insightful account of events before and after the shootings on his twitter page which I recorded last night as events unfolded. Deray has offered his tweets and vines to the 'media', with proper attribution...

deray mckesson @deray · 4h 4 hours ago
Media, you can use any content of tweets/vines. Just give credit. Tell the truth.


I think he'd be fine with sharing them here at DU, so...read all the way through (vine videos are linked in the tweets on this page on the hour (9h hours ago, etc.)) and gain a bit of insight into the evening's events from the perspective of a very engaging and caring person who deserves all of the respect we can manage for his dedication and commitment to the protest efforts there and elsewhere, like his appearance in Selma this past weekend. We are very fortunate to have Deray as a witness to events in Ferguson, and as a participant in numerous demonstrations, reporting, and many other forums, as well.



deray mckesson @deray · Mar 8
Selma. #Selma50


The evening begins like so many other eventful and tragic ones throughout these 215 days of protest...


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
Y'all, it feels like October out here. So many protestors. So much family. The movement lives. Ferguson.


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
Ferguson PD. Protest.


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
It's incredible out here. It feels like the old days of protest. This will be a long summer. Ferguson.


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
And the Ferguson PD is nowhere to be found. You know, they shouldn't even exist.


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
It's wild just walking on the Ferguson PD lot like this. Months ago, they would've had 100 riot police out here. How times have changed.


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
Apparently the police are coming down the street. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
And one Ferguson PD car arrives. Protest.


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
And yes, someone is playing Boosie. This is just like the old days. Yes, yes, and yes. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
And the police helicopter is out. Here we go. Ferguson PD


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
And the riot gear is here. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
And the police attempt to move us. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
I haven't seen this few officers try to manage us...ever. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
Ferguson PD. We protest.




deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
Protest. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 10h 10 hours ago
It's crazy to be out here and think about all those nights from August - November. It's crazy to remember how it once was. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
There is NO Ferguson PD officer out here. That's fascinating.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
Officers from everywhere but Ferguson. Ferguson PD.




deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
Officers from across STL. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
These officers are shaky out here. They are new to the protests. Whew. They just sent any officer out here tonight. Ferguson.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
And the first arrest. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
LOOK AT THE POLICE MANHANDLE HIM.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
This is wild. The police are out of control. Disband the PD


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
I can't even describe how wild this is. The police are terrible.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
And apparently the police arrested a 10 year old tonight. I didn't see it though. But it has the crowd tense. Ferguson.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
The guy was arrested for just being in the street. It was a random arrest. The police are awful. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
And two arrests later, we are still blocking the street. And the police are blocking the lot to the PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
The street is blocked. She's crying. And won't back up. Standstill. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
Standstill. Ferguson PD. https://vine.co/v/O9ejp57XiDj


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
There are more officers out here now. Perhaps about 40 officers. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
There's also a lot of media out here too. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
Look. At. The. Police. https://vine.co/v/O9eFJzxDOvE


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
This. https://vine.co/v/O9eFH0Z22LM


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
It's tense out here now. Ferguson. https://vine.co/v/O9eUOeLB0LI


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
The police retreat. Ferguson PD


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
We've officially gone back to August. Here we go. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
This officer from Edmundson was choking @rikrik__. M. Anton.




deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
Apparently Mike Brown Sr. is coming down the street, so we've opened the street temporarily. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
Mike Brown Sr. just drove by the protest. That hasn't happened before. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
And a drummer just arrived. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
Protest, to the beat. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
Tonight. Y'all.


deray mckesson @deray · 9h 9 hours ago
Tonight is spinning out of control. Aye.


deray mckesson @deray · 8h 8 hours ago

Here we go. https://vine.co/v/O9iM5wqEX5I


deray mckesson @deray · 8h 8 hours ago
And now the police have blocked off the street. Standstill. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 8h 8 hours ago
The street is now open. It's cat and mouse w/ the police at this point.


deray mckesson @deray · 8h 8 hours ago
No tweet or vine will help you understand how intensely the police protect this street. It's wild. And it's been wild since August.


deray mckesson @deray · 8h 8 hours ago
We're all looking forward to the day that the Ferguson PR is disbanded. They are a mockery of justice.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
.@KWRose and @RE_invent_ED were allowed to cross the police line to go to post bond for those arrested tonight. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 8h 8 hours ago
And this guy is really grilling. Chicken and errything. Like, the grill is full.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago

Somebody just shot the police! https://vine.co/v/O9iUVEBv2rq



deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago

Holy shit. There were just like 4 shots. It seems like an officer was shot. Shit



deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
Guns drawn. Ferguson PD.




deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
The officers just called for an ambulance. I don't know if someone got hit. This is now crazy. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
Protestors are starting to leave. I'm in the car and was in the car when the shots were fired. Wild. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
The officers are on 10,000 right now. I can't even explain it. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
Guns drawn. Ferguson PD.




deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
The shooter was at the top of the hill. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
Officers with guns drawn. Ferguson PD.




deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
Current scene. It's wild. Ferguson PD https://vine.co/v/O9ixUQm7LK1


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
It's like a ton of officers out here now. I'm still in the car. It just got more intense than any night we've ever had. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
They are about to storm the hill. It's crazy intense out here. Wow. #Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
There are too many police for me to exit the parking lot right now. Street completely blocked. This is wild. Ferguson PD


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
Shotguns out. They are advancing. Crazy. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
Police advance. https://vine.co/v/O9i2LPKMiWt


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
Officers told us to put our hands up. Intense. Ferguson PD. https://vine.co/v/O9i0mOYKTne


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
There's a car parked at the top of the street. And they are surrounding it. They're asking if they saw anything. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
Huge rifles out now. Every officer crouching. Tonight has been crazy from start to finish. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
I can hear the officers yelling atop the hill. Can't see any of the officers though. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
There's a whole set of protestors on the other side of the parking lot. They're stuck on that side. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 6h 6 hours ago
The officers waited a long time to go up the hill. They're still up there. It seems unlikely that the shooter is up there now. FergusonPD.


deray mckesson @deray · 6h 6 hours ago
The ambulance just left the scene. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson retweeted
Keith Rose @KWRose · 7h 7 hours ago
.@RE_invent_ED, Lawyer @javadesq, & I were forced to go into #Ferguson PD for our safety. Officers running around with assault rifles.


deray mckesson retweeted
Keith Rose @KWRose · 8h 8 hours ago
.@RE_invent_ED and I are safe. We are outside hiding behind the concrete. Officer is bleeding badly. But I'm not posting unedited video.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
Another set of officers just arrived. Guns drawn. And police dog. All went up the hill. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago

I feel safer just sitting in the car than moving at all at this point. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
Rifles drawn. Ferguson PD.




deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
Current scene. Ferguson PD. https://vine.co/v/O9illHDUw3z


deray mckesson @deray · 6h 6 hours ago
They've now put officers on the lot. And these officers are really emotional right now. Not a good combo at all. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 6h 6 hours ago
Police are walking protestors to the other side of the street, across the police tape, now. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
I do not condone the killing of police officers. I do not condone the killing of the unarmed. I do not condone killing.


deray mckesson @deray · 7h 7 hours ago
This has been a long 215 days


deray mckesson @deray · 6h 6 hours ago
Now, I was here. I saw the officer fall. The shot came from at least 500 feet away from the officers. Ferguson PD.


deray mckesson retweeted
Loctavia Butler @LovnMyLocs · 6h 6 hours ago
That was no regular shooter. It’s impossible. It was HELLAS ppl and aoace between where the shots came from and those cops.


deray mckesson retweeted
KayRay @RE_invent_ED · 6h 6 hours ago
The shots came from behind the protestors. Bullets don't have names. It literally could've been anyone


deray mckesson retweeted
KayRay @RE_invent_ED · 6h 6 hours ago
215 days and no officer was ever injured by a protestor. That didn't change tonight.


ShordeeDooWhop ‏@Nettaaaaaaaa
The media better not start that shit and the police better not lie. Those shots did not come from the lot were the protesters were at.


deray mckesson @deray · 6h 6 hours ago
The shots did not come from any lot with protestors. Ferguson.


deray mckesson @deray · 6h 6 hours ago
The police know that protestors weren't the shooter. That's why they didn't detain us. They went for the hill where none of us were.


deray mckesson retweeted
ShordeeDooWhop @Nettaaaaaaaa · 6h 6 hours ago
It's no way on earth if it was protestors they would've let everyone leave and drive off the lot. No way


deray mckesson @deray · 6h 6 hours ago
It's eerily calm out here right now. Tense because the officers have weapons drawn. But eerily calm nonetheless. Ferguson.


deray mckesson retweeted
Dr. Cornel Fresh @WyzeChef · 6h 6 hours ago
The officer shot (in the face) is conscious. It couldn't have been something heavy. It definitely sounded like a pistol.


deray mckesson retweeted
Christine Byers ‏@ChristineDByers
Belmar says both officers conscious but have "very serious" injuries


deray mckesson retweeted
McBlondeLand @McBlondeLand · 6h 6 hours ago
@deray #Belmar just said he was sure the shooter was in midst of protestors & shot cops point blank although he hadn't talked to witnesses


deray mckesson @deray · 6h 6 hours ago
The police wouldn't let a few of us leave this lot because they wanted statements from us because we were close to the hill, not suspects.


deray mckesson @deray · 6h 6 hours ago
The police just said the last of us can leave the lot now. Ferguson.


deray mckesson @deray · 6h 6 hours ago
It is disgusting that Belmar is saying the shooter was "embedded in" the protestor group w/o speaking to any witnesses or seeing evidence.


deray mckesson @deray · 6h 6 hours ago
And about 30 more officers just went up the hill. Ferguson.


deray mckesson @deray · 6h 6 hours ago
I'm heading home now.


deray mckesson @deray · 5h 5 hours ago
And on the way home I get stopped by the police. Apparently I was going 43 mph and the speed limit is 30 mph. I just want to go home.


deray mckesson @deray · 5h 5 hours ago
No ticket. He recognized me from Twitter and told me to have a good night and to slow down. Homebound.


deray mckesson @deray · 5h 5 hours ago
The officer also said that contrary to reports, no officer was shot in the face tonight. He said chest and shoulder only.


deray mckesson @deray · 5h 5 hours ago
The officer also let me know that the two officers shot will be okay, that the bulletproof vest of one of them saved his life.


deray mckesson @deray · 5h 5 hours ago
For what it's worth, the officer that pulled me over completely understood the nature of the unrest. He got why we're protesting.


deray mckesson @deray · 5h 5 hours ago
If Mike Brown were still alive, we wouldn't be protesting. We all would've been home tonight.


deray mckesson @deray · 5h 5 hours ago
I asked him why he became an officer. And he said that a loved one was killed in a senseless murder. That made him join the force.


deray mckesson @deray · 5h 5 hours ago
The officer that pulled me over also noted that he'd be leaving the police force soon to pursue another career path. I encouraged that.


deray mckesson @deray · 5h 5 hours ago
Sleep well, y'all. Remember to dream.






ron fullwood @ronfullwood (bigtree)
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