There’s got to be some changes And they have to be made now

VP created new secret document classification, keeps ‘man-size’ safes

A massive piece in Sunday’s Washington Post reveals the true extent of secrecy Vice President Dick Cheney requires.

So clandestine is the Vice President’s work that he has created a new secret document designation: “Treated As: Top Secret/SCI.”

“Across the board, the vice president’s office goes to unusual lengths to avoid transparency,” the Post article says. “Cheney declines to disclose the names or even the size of his staff, generally releases no public calendar and ordered the Secret Service to destroy his visitor logs.”

The WaPO link is to a huge multi-part story that goes into Cheney’s involvement with skirting the Geneva Conventions on torture, dictating tax policy and even diverting water from threatened salmon populations. Maybe he is his own branch of government, Vice-Emperor.

This isn’t news in the sense that just last week Bush said that future plans for Iraq would resemble those of America’s presence in Korea (Iraq Is Korea?Bush’s latest appalling historical analogy). General’s Iraq Progress Report Has Competition
Bush will get some dissenting views, but those are likely to be treated like the Baker Commission recommendations.

“The issue now is when do we start withdrawing troops and at what pace,” one senior administration official said. “Petraeus wants as much time as he can get,” the official said, but added that “the president may not have the leeway” to give him that time.

The reality, officials said, is that starting around April the military will simply run out of troops to maintain the current effort. By then, officials said, Mr. Bush would either have to withdraw roughly one brigade a month, or extend the tours of troops now in Iraq and shorten their time back home before redeployment. The latter, said one White House official, “is not something the president wants to do” and would likely become a centerpiece of the 2008 presidential campaign.

How many times over the last few years have we heard about when they’ll start withdrawing troops. Recommendations that are contrary to what Bush has already decided have a way of becoming just so much background noise that blur the picture. The broadcast media and the right-wing pundits will talk endlessly about meaningless statements issued by this or that official when everyone knows by now that Bush is like a petulant little child that wants what he wants and he wants to stay in Iraq; he isn’t bothered in the least by troop fatalities or extending combat tours. Another reason to just ignore any talk of a troop draw down is the new twist to how the administration is portraying the violence and what is supposedly at stake should troops be redeployed, “everyone the U.S. fights in Iraq is getting labeled Al Qaeda

What is so amazing about this new rhetorical development — not only from our military, but also from our “journalists” — is that, for years, it was too shameless and false even for the Bush administration to use. Even at the height of their propaganda offensives about the war, the furthest Bush officials were willing to go was to use the generic term “terrorists” for everyone we are fighting in Iraq, as in: “we cannot surrender to the terrorists by withdrawing” and “we must stay on the offensive against terrorists.”

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But now, support for the war is at an all-time low and war supporters are truly desperate to find a way to stay in Iraq. So the administration has thrown any remnants of rhetorical caution to the wind, overtly calling everyone we are fighting “Al Qaeda.” This strategy was first unveiled by Joe Lieberman when he went on Meet the Press in January and claimed that the U.S. was “attacked on 9/11 by the same enemy that we’re fighting in Iraq today”. Though Lieberman was widely mocked at the time for his incomparable willingness to spew even the most patent falsehoods to justify the occupation, our intrepid political press corps now dutifully follows right along.

According to this article from Wikipedia citing research by the Congressional Research Service,

stated in June 2005: “I still think 80 percent of the Resistance, the day to day activity, is Iraqi – the roadside bombings, mortars, direct weapons fire, rifle fire, automatic weapons fire…[but] the foreign fighters attract the headlines with the suicide bombings, no question.”

There is the possibility that the administration has cooked the books with regards to the number of foreign fighters. Some of whom’s loyalties are not to al-Queda, but to the former Baathists. Bush is going to do with Iraq what Cheney has been doing with his claims of executive privilege and also claiming that he is part of the legislature; Bush will just keep moving the ball, changing the criteria for progress so he can keep doing what he wants to do until his term runs out. Then whatever happens, and there are no clean nice endings to the neocon’s Middle-East saga at this point, there are only varying degrees of tragic endings.

Thousands come one and all
Hear the sound of the battle call
The big men say boys you all have to go
Ask any question and you face the wall

Listen now what I tell you boy
There’s got to be some changes
And they have to be made now
Hear the sound of the battle call
Soon you won’t hear no sound at all

from The War Song bt Bruce Springsteen