five years today that he’s been hitting me on the head with his umbrella


There are recurring themes among the Bush Cult members in their attempt to dominate the narrative of the hows and whys of the U.S. presense in Iraq. That’s actually only natural since their leader had about 27 shifting rationales for wasting American lives and resources in Iraq. Bush administration has used 27 rationales for war in Iraq, study says

If it seems that there have been quite a few rationales for going to war in Iraq, that’s because there have been quite a few – 27, in fact, all floated between Sept. 12, 2001, and Oct. 11, 2002, according to a new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All but four of the rationales originated with the administration of President George W. Bush.

The study also finds that the Bush administration switched its focus from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein early on – only five months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

[ ]… The rationales Largio identified include everything from the five front-runners – war on terror, prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, lack of weapons inspections, removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Saddam Hussein is evil, to the also-rans – Sen. Joe Lieberman’s “because Saddam Hussein hates us,” Colin Powell’s “because it’s a violation of international law,” and Richard Perle’s “because we can make Iraq an example and gain favor within the Middle East.”

With regard to the administration’s shift from bin Laden to Saddam, Largio found that Iraq was “part of the plan for the war on terror early in the game.”

For example, in his State of the Union speech on Jan. 29, 2002, President Bush declared that Iraq was part of the war against terrorism because it supported terrorists and continued to “flaunt its hostility toward America.” He also claimed that Iraq allowed weapons inspectors into the country and then threw them out, “fueling the belief that the nation did in fact plan to develop weapons of mass destruction,” Largio wrote.

In the same speech, the president called Iraq, Iran and North Korea an “axis of evil,” a phrase that would “ignite much criticism” and add “to the sense that the U.S. would embark on a war with the Hussein state,” Largio wrote.

“So, from February of 2002 on,” Largio said, “Iraq gets more hits than Osama bin Laden. For President Bush the switch occurs there and the gap grows over time.”

Largio also discovered that it was the media that initiated discussions about Iraq, introducing ideas before the administration and congressional leaders did about the intentions of that country and its leader. The media also “brought the idea that Iraq may be connected to the 9-11 incident to the forefront, asking questions of the officials on the topic and printing articles about the possibility.”

The media “seemed to offer a lot of opinion and speculation, as there had been no formal indication that Iraq would be a target in the war on terror,” Largio wrote. Oddly, though, the media didn’t switch its focus to Iraq and Saddam until July of 2002.

Perhaps the single rationale that appealled most to the middle and left of the political spectrum was that we were doing it for humanitarian reasons. To save the Iraqi people. From Larigo’s thesis,

President Bush, Powell, Rice, the Congressional Record, and the media talked about the evils of Saddam Hussein;Powell, Rice, Perle, Lieberman, Lott, McCain, and the media expressed a desire to see Hussein ousted. A fairly popular rationale was the drive to liberate the Iraqi people, a reason that was first mentioned by Donald Rumsfeld and later mentioned by Perle, Lott, McCain, and the Congressional Record. This line of reasoning wanted to free the people of Iraq from its dictator and bring them the democracy and liberty of America.

There are two general reasons why the humanitarian argument doesn’t really desribe the truth. One is that George W. Bush took office in his first term in January of 2001. Other then a few boilerplate speeches about spreading democracy which all modern presidents have given Bush never broached the subject of a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, not to the American people or Congress in order to liberate as it were the people of Iraq. If the specter of Iraqi suppression and deaths by a brutal dictator was compelling in September of 2001, why wasn’t it urgent enough to adress directly and unequivically in Janurary or May or July of 2001. That it became so urgent to free the Iraqi people after 9-11 denotes clever manipulation of public sentiment, not a sincere concern for the Iraqi people. In September 2001 Bush did begin to push the liberation of the Iraqi people as one of his rationales along with Iraq being part of the “Axis of Evil” and part of the war on terror, prevention of nuclear proliferation, regime change in general, and because Saddam was “evil”. The humanitarian argument also seems lame on another grounds. This administration has not shown in any other way that it embraces a humanitarian philosophy in domestic or foreign affairs:

Bush administration and Darfur:Doing Better by Darfur

The reason for the lack of follow-through was that the Bush administration made a conscious decision not to elevate Darfur’s genocide to the top of its agenda.

Zoellick’s Appeasement Tour

Zoellick gave an astonishingly low estimate of 60,000 to 160,000 people. That number defies even the most conservative claims of the number killed; the lower reaches fall far short of any previous estimate and the upper range is less than half the number reached by an April 22 mortality study compiled by the Coalition for International Justice, which calculated that nearly 400,000 people had died since the conflict began two years ago.

A Fire Put Out But Another Blazes On

Almost two years after the violence in Darfur began, this past December Bush finally signed into law a bill authorizing aid to the victims and support of peace talks. Chock full of “whereas” statements, the bill refers to the Sudan situation as “a mockery of human rights as a universal principle” and “an affront to all responsible countries that embrace and promote human rights.” Yet the money provided to Darfur by the U.S. government over the past year is about the amount of money spent each day in Iraq. Outrage that is conveyed more through rhetoric than action is no better than empty posturing.

There’s an old saying that you know someone by the friends they keep: The Company We Keep

Some of our “allies” in the War on Terror have been in the news as of late. Let’s take stock of how President Bush’s “friends” are doing:

Uzbekistan: “Defense officials from Russia and the United States last week helped block a new demand for an international probe into the Uzbekistan government’s shooting of hundreds of protesters last month, according to U.S. and diplomatic officials.”

Pakistan: “No wonder the Pakistan government can’t catch Osama bin Laden. It is too busy harassing, detaining – and now kidnapping – a gang-rape victim for daring to protest and for planning a visit to the United States.”

Saudi Arabia: A recent State Department report states, “Saudi Arabia is a destination for men and women from South and East Asia and East Africa trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation, and for children from Yemen, Afghanistan, and Africa trafficking for forced begging…some fall into conditions of involuntary servitude, suffering from physical and sexual abuse, non-payment or delayed payment of wages, the withholding of travel documents, restrictions on their freedom of movement and non-consensual contract alterations.”

Turkmenistan: “Turkmenistan is vulnerable to a ‘grave’ public health crisis, thanks in large part to the totalitarian practices of President Saparmurat Niyazov’s regime, according to a recently published report…Niyazov is notorious for establishing a personality cult in Turkmenistan that has sought to seal citizens off from outside influences, drastically restricting basic rights in the process.”

Azerbaijan: “Samuel Bodman, the new secretary of energy, led the United States delegation to Azerbaijan last week to celebrate a huge moment in America’s effort to diversify its sources of oil: The opening of a pipeline that will carry Caspian oil to the West, on a route that avoids Russia and Iran…Just a few days earlier, the Azerbaijani police beat pro-democracy demonstrators with truncheons when opposition parties, yelling ‘free elections,’ defied the government’s ban on protests against President Ilham Aliyev.”

Humanitarians don’t torture, they don’t torture and lie about it, and humanitarians don’t pass anti-torture bills and leave themselves an escape clause: Beyond Abu Ghraib:
detention and torture in Iraq (pdf)
, The Abu Ghraib files, 279 photographs and 19 videos from the Army’s internal investigation record a harrowing three months of detainee abuse inside the notorious prison — and make clear that many of those responsible have yet to be held accountable., Amnesty attacks ‘dire’ Iraq abuse, and Bush the humanitarian’s escape clause, Bush could bypass new torture ban Waiver right is reserved

When President Bush last week signed the bill outlawing the torture of detainees, he quietly reserved the right to bypass the law under his powers as commander in chief.

After approving the bill last Friday, Bush issued a ”signing statement” — an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law — declaring that he will view the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers to protect national security. This means Bush believes he can waive the restrictions, the White House and legal specialists said.

”The executive branch shall construe [the law] in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President . . . as Commander in Chief,” Bush wrote, adding that this approach ”will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President . . . of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks.”

Some legal specialists said yesterday that the president’s signing statement, which was posted on the White House website but had gone unnoticed over the New Year’s weekend, raises serious questions about whether he intends to follow the law.

A senior administration official, who spoke to a Globe reporter about the statement on condition of anonymity because he is not an official spokesman, said the president intended to reserve the right to use harsher methods in special situations involving national security.

The Bush administration’s humanitarian government contractors: Firm Failed to Protect U.S. Troops’ Water

A Halliburton Co. expert warned in an internal report last year that the contractor had failed to ensure safe washing water for U.S. troops throughout Iraq, and the Pentagon’s internal watchdog said Thursday it will investigate the matter.

Army to Pay Halliburton Unit Most Costs Disputed by Audit
Bush’s humanitarian economics:

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. In 2004, “the net worth at the 90th percentile was $831,600 — or 62 times the net worth of the 10th percentile, which was $13,300.” In 2001, the top ten percent had 57 times as much as the bottom ten percent.

Poverty has increased under Mr. Humaniatarian,

the poverty rate has risen each year since 2001, with 12.7 percent of the population now living in poverty. African-American poverty has risen from 22.7 percent in 2001 to 24.7 percent in 2004, and child poverty has gone from 16.3 percent in 2001 to 17.8 percent (1.3 million children under the age of 18). [U.S. Census Bureau, Aug. 2005, Tables B-1 and B-2]

Bush’s humanitarian healthcare: Scheme would create 600,000 more uninsured Americans pdf

1. The number of uninsured people would rise by 600,000 people. Because some employers will stop offering health coverage in response to these new subsidies, 8.9 million workers will lose their group health insurance and approximately 4.4 million of these individuals will lose health insurance altogether. Only 3.8 million previously uninsured people will obtain coverage as a result of the new program.

2. The vast majority of people who would benefit already have health insurance. Roughly 16.6 million people will benefit from the new tax breaks, but less than 23 percent will have been previously uninsured. The other 12.8 million will move from some other type of coverage – such as employer coverage, other individual coverage or Medicaid – to an HSA and a high-deductible plan purchased through the individual market.

American Association of School Administrators Shares Concerns About Funding Cuts

House Democrats today warned that a Bush Administration plan to eliminate some forms of Medicaid funding for schoolchildren with disabilities could seriously undermine the ability of those children to get an appropriate education, as the law requires

Bush’s humanitarian care for the troops: Pentagon still not reimbursing troops who buy own body armor, Hikes proposed in Tricare costs for retirees, A Political Debate On Stress Disorder
We started off with reference to a 212 page thesis and this could easily turn into twice or even three times that. Whatever this administration is, whatever the justifications are for the things they do or the policies they adhere to, the one thing they are clearly not is humanitarians. A domestic or world agenda informed by humanitarianism is not part of this administartion’s narrative. All the manifest evidence directly related to the Iraq war’s rationale don’t add up. I would ask people like the contributors for Townhall to start their deep soul searching back some years; Reagan, Cheney, and Powell all actively helped Saddam during the most barbaric period of his regime. Bush Sr, left him in power after which Dick Cheney among others declared he was defanged, so to the Right the case was closed, let Clinton deal with it.

FEBRUARY 23 & 24, 2001 – COLIN POWELL SAYS IRAQ IS CONTAINED: “I think we ought to declare [the containment policy] a success. We have kept him contained, kept him in his box.” He added Saddam “is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors” and that “he threatens not the United States.” [Source: State Department, 2/23/01 and 2/24/01]

SEPTEMBER 16, 2001 – CHENEY ACKNOWLEDGES IRAQ IS CONTAINED: Vice President Dick Cheney said that “Saddam Hussein is bottled up” – a confirmation of the intelligence he had received. [Source:Meet the Press, 9/16/2001]

As I was going through some old files today I found this bit from the IAEA,

OCTOBER 8, 1997 – IAEA SAYS IRAQ FREE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: “As reported in detail in the progress report dated 8 October 1997…and based on all credible information available to date, the IAEA’s verification activities in Iraq, have resulted in the evolution of a technically coherent picture of Iraq’s clandestine nuclear programme. These verification activities have revealed no indications that Iraq had achieved its programme objective of producing nuclear weapons or that Iraq had produced more than a few grams of weapon usable nuclear material or had clandestinely acquired such material. Furthermore, there are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.” [Source: IAEA Report, 10/8/98]

update: I may get more into these new documents, or new old documents tommorrow. For now its interesting that Bush and Putin have claimed to be such great pals. No need to hunt for conspiracy theories with this cabal, all their ineptitude is out there for anyone to see, Did Russian Ambassador Give Saddam the U.S. War Plan?

There’s a man in the habit of hitting me on the head with an umbrella. It’s exactly five years today that he’s been hitting me on the head with his umbrella. At first I couldn’t stand it; now I’m used to it.
I don’t know his name. I know he’s average in appearance, wears a gray suit, is graying at the temples, and has a common face. I met him five years ago one sultry morning. I was sitting on a tree-shaded bench in Palermo Park, reading the paper. Suddenly I felt something touch my head. It was the very same man who now, as I’m writing, keeps whacking me, mechanically and impassively, with an umbrella.

from There’s a Man in the Habit of Hitting Me on the Head with an Umbrella
by Fernando Sorrentino
Translated by Clark M. Zlotchew