Bush Left Obama Little Choice On Afghanistan

My take on Obama’s speech is that Bush left Obama little choice on how to proceed, and this is the best that can be done with it.
Bush had the chance to conclude Afghanistan years ago but neglected it, just like how he let bin Laden go, because he had his agenda with Iraq. So the Taliban came back. And here we are.
I don’t see any alternative to the strategy that Obama outlined. The people of Afghanistan want peace and security. If we “just leave” they get the Taliban instead, and we get decades of insecurity from the region.
Americans form the region also deserve to see security brought to Afghanistan because they can’t even go home and visit their families. etc. without falling under suspicion.

p5rn7vb

Not My Priorities

Please take a look at Not My Priorities. This is a great idea, clear, simple, understandable.
From the site,

NotMyPriorities.org is an effort to enable every person in America to see a pie chart that our representatives in congress approved. I have shown the Not My Priorities pie chart to thousands of people and can count on one hand how many have disagreed. Even Republicans say that the pie chart does not represent their priorities!

Why They Used Torture

One argument against the “ticking bomb” rationale for torture is that it doesn’t “work.” It is useless for extracting real information, but it is a great tool for making people say what you want them to say.
Yet the Republicans tortured prisoners, and defended the practice, saying that it yielded important information. So what is “important” to Republican? Protecting people? Of course not. But getting people to say what you want them to say to justify launching an aggressive war against a country in order to take over its oil fields — now that is important.
Paul Krugman Blog summarizes what is being learned:

Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

Repeat: they tortured poeople to get them to say things that could be used as propaganda to justify invading Iraq to steal the oil. It was never about protecting anyone.

Summary Of Rep. Jane Harman Scandal

Juan Cole has the best summary of the Rep. Jane Harman scandal that I have seen:

The US is spied on, and a classified Pentagon document is passed to the Israeli embassy by AIPAC officials. They are caught because the FBI had them under surveillance. Apparently the FBI is one of the few US government institutions that is not corrupt on the issue of foreign influence on US institutions and policy. Then when the two AIPAC spies are indicted, a Mossad agent attempts to derail the prosecution by suborning a member of Congress and promising her the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee.

Go read the whole post for the details.

Question About War Crimes Trial

First Guantanamo war crimes trial under way | Reuters,

The first U.S. war crimes trial since World War Two began on Monday at the U.S. navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, nearly seven years after the September 11 attacks prompted President George W. Bush to declare war on terrorism.

I want to be sure I have this right. According to the Republicans the people at Guantanamo are not subject to the Geneva Conventions because they are “unlawful combatants” not engaged in “war” as defined by the conventions. But now they are being “tried” for “war crimes.”
Isn’t this having it both ways? Either they are or are not.

Finally – But For The Wrong Reasons

Bush has FINALLY decided to go after Osama Bin Laden. But, of course, for all the wrong reasons. He has finally ordered the military to engage in an all-out effort to get Bin Laden, including raids in Pakistan. But he is doing it so his own legacy looks a little better, not to protect America.
If Bush and the Republicans had wanted to protect America he would have gone after Bin Laden from the start instead of retargeting most of the military on Iraq.
Actually, if he had wanted to protect America he would have listened to the Clinton people who were trying to get the incoming Bush administration interested in fighting al Queda. Instead they completely ignored the threat and let 9/11 happen.
See Get Osama Bin Laden before I leave office, orders George W Bush,

President George W Bush has enlisted British special forces in a final attempt to capture Osama Bin Laden before he leaves the White House.
Defence and intelligence sources in Washington and London confirmed that a renewed hunt was on for the leader of the September 11 attacks. “If he [Bush] can say he has killed Saddam Hussein and captured Bin Laden, he can claim to have left the world a safer place,” said a US intelligence source.
. . . One US intelligence source compared the “growing number of clandestine reconnaissance missions” inside Pakistan with those conducted in Laos and Cambodia at the height of the Vietnam war.

Republicans Say Troops Not Patriotic

Republicans voted down benefits for veterans, saying if there are benefits, current troops will leave the military. Seriously, that’s their argument.
See Senate Guru:: Senate Republicans Call Our Troops Unpatriotic,

As most of us know, twenty-two Senate Republicans voted against Senator Jim Webb’s new G.I. Bill. The most frequently cited excuse given by these Republicans for trying to shortchange our brave fighting men and women was that Senator Webb’s bill would “hurt retention.” In other words, these Senate Republicans suggested that our soldiers would bolt the military if the benefits they were given for putting their lives on the line in service to our country were too generous.
Yes, it’s both as disgusting and as illogical as it sounds.

All You Need To Know about Republican Accusations

When you are deciding whether to listen to a Republican when they talk about Democrats as “appeasers,” consider this. Crooks and Liars has the story of Oliver North on Fox News backing up Republican accusations that Democrats are “appeasers.”
So who is Oliver North? Oliver North is the guy that Republican President Ronald Reagan sent to provide weapons and missiles to Iran.
Let me repeat that because many people today are either too young or don’t remember what happened in the 1980s. Not long after the Iranians stormed the American embassy in Tehran and took several American diplomats hostage for 444 days, Republicans gave them missiles and other weapons. Oliver North, hero of the American Right and Fox News pundit, gave advanced weaponry to Iran.
And now they call Democrats “appeasers.”
It’s called the Seeing the Forest Rule: When Republicans accuse others of something, it usually means it is something they are doing. (See also.)
Is there anything else you need to know about Republicans?

Pentagon Propaganda Story

Did Anyone see John Stauber of the Center for Media and Democracy on the Newhour yesterday? PBS was the first outlet to even mention the New York Times story about the government waging a huge propaganda campaign to sell the war to the public. All the networks, the Pentagon and everyone else involved refused to take part in the segment.

Here is an article by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, Pentagon Propaganda: So Much Worse Than We Thought,

Thanks to the two-year investigation by the New York Times, we today know that Victoria Clarke, then the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, launched the Pentagon military analyst program in early 2002. These supposedly independent military analysts were in fact a coordinated team of pro-war propagandists, personally recruited by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and acting under Clarke’s tutelage and development.
[. . .] Since the 1920s there have been laws passed to stop the government from doing what Barstow has exposed. It is actually illegal in the United States for the government to propagandize its own citizens. As Barstow’s report demonstrates, these laws have been repeatedly violated, are not enforced and are clearly inadequate. The U.S. Congress therefore needs to investigate this and the rest of the Bush propaganda campaign that sold the war in Iraq. (Emphasis added)

Ari Melber: PBS Breaks Media Blackout of Pentagon Propaganda Bombshell – Media on The Huffington Post,J

ohn Stauber, coauthor of “Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq,” contended that the Pentagon’s “surrogate” program violated federal law against domestic propaganda and called for a congressional investigation. “This war could have never been sold if it were not for this sophisticated propaganda campaign,” he said.

Other news outlets are ignoring this huge story.

Pushed The Wrong Button?

I’m not endorsing Hillary or Obama or Edwards. My own philosophy leans more toward Edwards but I would be happy with any of these three.
That said, if there is ONE thing I do NOT want a President doing, it is pushing the wrong goddam BUTTON!
Obama said oops on 6 state Senate votes:

according to transcripts of the proceedings in Springfield, he hit the wrong button at least six times.

It only takes hitting the wrong button ONE time in the White House, and the world has a bad day.

nuclear-explosion.jpg