Saturday, October 11, 2014

Canada's Iraq Mission

Jean Chrétien was the Prime Minister of Canada in March 2003 who refused to take Canada into the Iraq war, a war initiated by the United States based on false claims.  Chrétien cited the lack of UN backing as the reason, though he would later say that he never believed in the existence of a WMD threat (in other words, he believed those claims were untrue).  In early 2003, there were very few world leaders who had the stones to take that position.  And Canada doesn't regret its choice.

There was no proof of WMD in the hands of Saddam Hussein's Iraq and, despite American suspicions, there was no proof, either, of Iraqi collusion with al-Qaeda.  Nevertheless, by the middle of 2002, it was clear that Bush intended war on Iraq, and it was at this time that Chrétien met Bush in Detroit.  Public reports of the meeting were accurate enough – that Bush had urged his case against Iraq, and that Chrétien had reiterated his known position that Iraq must pose a clear and present danger to the world before armed action was necessary.  In private, Chrétien told Bush that Canada's support for a war in Iraq would be greatly enhanced if the United States could secure the support of the United Nations.

UN support was not forthcoming, and neither was Chrétien's,  The official American case for war – that Iraq had WMDs and was ready to use them – was weak, and widely doubted in the intelligence communities of the Western world.  Diplomacy at the UN hadn't helped the American case; the American determination not to wait for the final reports of UN weapons inspectors counted heavily against the United States.

A Liberal party convention was called for Toronto in November 2003.  Martin was the inevitable winner, but Chrétien in his farewell address was the star of the show.  In conclusion, he said, "it was because of our deep belief as Canadians in the value of multilateralism and the United Nations that we did not go to war in Iraq."  The convention rose and cheered the old leader to the echo. Paul Martin (his successor), many believed, would have done things differently in foreign policy, including Iraq; Chrétien's speech was a warning not to try.
– Robert Bothwell, The Penguin History of Canada, 2006

When he stepped down as Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien reminded his Party that they did the right thing when they refused to take Canada into the Iraq war, a war initiated by the United States based on false claims.  And they did it for the right reasons; the most Canadian of reasons.  And he was applauded for that.  Canadians do not regret that decision.  And those I've talked to hold Jean Chrétien in very high regard. 

"If military action proceeds without a new resolution of the Security Council, Canada will not participate."

– Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in the Canadian House of Commons
    Monday, March 18, 2003
Canada's current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, as the leader of Canada's Official Opposition in 2003, publicly apologized to the Americans at the time, saying, "For the first time in history, the Canadian government has not stood by its key British and American allies in their time of need."  In other words, "it is Canada's place to be the puppet of the United States." Way to go, Stephen Harper, tell the Canadian people that their national sovereignty takes 2nd place to the demands of the US and the UK. Since when is it Canada's obligation to put reason and morality aside and support its allies when they act wrongly, unwisely, immorally?

It's ironic that, especially after the decision to stay out of Iraq was proven to be the right one, Canada elected a conservative government that would most definitely have sent troops into Iraq in 2003.

Stephen Harper's government is sending Canadian Forces into Iraq now.  Few believe that is a wise move.  When former commander of Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, General Rick Hillier (who resigned in July 2008) was asked why Canada sent troops to Afghanistan, he replied, "As a way to relieve the pressure of saying 'no' to the Americans on Iraq." In other words, the Afghanistan deployment was a political decision and an attempt to rebuild Canada's credibility with the Bush Administration. The government felt a strong need to do something significant for the US. And soldiers died, yet again, for politics.

I shouldn't have to point this out, but political expediency is no reason to send young soldiers into war. And countries like Canada need to look back at times they've followed the lead of the United States for political reasons – and ask, "How did that work out?"

Yeh ... how did Afghanistan work out for ya, Canada?

Inline image 1
Jean Chrétrien

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The caliphate of the Islamic State existed for centuries

Just for what it's worth, the "caliphate" (or Muslim religious state) that ISIS or the Islam State would like to establish in Iraq and The Levant (Syria) is not something new, and it has been something the people of the region have desired since the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.

The Ottoman Dynasty, which ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1299 until 1922 (source) was a Muslim Caliphate for most of its existence.  After World War I, the Arab lands that were part of the Ottoman Empire were divided into spheres of influence by the French and the British and that land (the Levant and Mesopotamia) became the artificial countries we know today as Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon (see the map below).  The modern Levant is confined to the state of Syria.

A caliphate is not something new that is being offered to the people of the region; it's something that is being returned to them, after having been taken away.  As the US-imposed dictatorships are being deposed; this is what fills the power void left behind.

What do the Sunni Arabs who live there desire?  Who cares, right?  It is being decided for them.

The United States spent a quarter century bombing, invading and occupying Iraq to rid itself of Saddam Hussein, and now can only dream of having such a strong secular leader in that broken region (no longer one nation), a leader who ruthlessly opposed the sort of religious extremism that has replaced his rule
(and who was, by the way, a bitter enemy of al-Qaeda, which supports no secular Muslim rulers).

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

10 years ago today: Bush & Cheney admit there were no WMD

REMINDER:  It was ten years ago, on October 7, 2004, in responding to the recently released report by the CIA's top weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, that George Bush and Dick Cheney admitted for the first time that Iraq never had a stockpile of WMD.  The Duelfer Report was released on October 6 and concluded that Iraq's illicit weapons capability had been destroyed during the 1991 Gulf War and, for the most part, Saddam Hussein had never attempted to rebuild it and was, therefore, not in any violation of prohibitions on such weapons.

Bush, Cheney admit Iraq had no WMD, take new tack
They cite oil-for-food scam as justification for invasion

ASSOCIATED PRESS; Thursday, October 8, 2004

WASHINGTON – President Bush and his vice president conceded yesterday in the clearest terms yet that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, trying to shift the Iraq war debate to a new issue – whether the invasion was justified because Hussein was abusing a U.N. oil-for-food program.

Bush's response was his first reaction to a report released Wednesday by Charles Duelfer, the CIA's top weapons inspector, that contradicted the White House's main argument for invading Iraq.

While admitting the US-led attack was launched on false pretenses, both Bush and Cheney tried to shift public attention away from WMD as the reason Iraq was attacked, saying that they really invaded the country because Saddam Hussein was violating the terms of the UN Oil-for-Food Program. (how lame was that?) 

When attacked, Iraq was defenseless to resist that attack.  It was an act of unmitigated cowardice.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Trust your gut ... and I mean *always*

Since I first opposed, publicly, the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, based on what turned out to be completely false claims, I have been told many times that, "Well, you turned out to be right about that, Charles, ... but, at the time, no one knew how things would turn out.  Those WMDs could have been there.  At the time, you didn't know you were right – you couldn't have known."

Yes, and that is exactly why I think it was important to base my personal choices, not on what the White House was selling or what the media outlets were screaming, but on what my own gut told me, and even more important, on my personally held principles. Logically, I knew that the immediacy of the invasion was only justified by the fact that the case for the war was coming unraveled, and quickly.  But more than that; I felt that it was a violation of my principles – long-standing American principles – for the United States to attack another country, any other country, but especially a tiny, defenseless country, that had done nothing to justify that attack.  It was wrong.  And I didn't have to possess indisputable evidence of anything at all to know that.

It was dismaying to watch so many others totally abandon their own principles, out of fear ... easily; without the slightest reluctance or doubt.

Friends, when your "deeply held principles" can be easily manipulated by propagandists; and are subject to situational interpretation, then they aren't principles at all, are they?

So, in the absence of sound knowledge on which to base our decisions; should we trust the US government and the US media to tell us what to do?  I think we've learned how unwise that was 12 years ago. And how unwise it would be to let them do it again now.

Trust the agents of authority ... or trust our own gut instincts and fall back on our own personally held principles?

ll argue for the latter – it has always worked for me.

Trust your gut.  Always.  No act, based on principle, regardless of the outcome, is meaningless. 

Turn off that television and start clearing away the cobwebs of deception.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

One lucky break (in a dozen years of floundering)

Until June of this year, none of America's para-militarized, high-tech and super-secret spy agencies had a clue as to how many militants there were in the group called ISIL or ISIS or, now, the Islamic State (IS).  They couldn't even offer a ballpark figure.  Why?  Because the group doesn't use cell phones, email, chat rooms, Twitter or Facebook.   IS uses only human couriers for its messaging, instead, and it was only the lucky capture of a key militant in June that provided any information at all on the group's size, reach or capability.

Abu Hajar was arrested with 160 USB memory sticks in his possession, just two days before the fall of the city of Mosul. It was by pure chance that the US Intelligence Agencies learned anything of ISIS's strength and that they had the ability and the goal of taking most of Sunni Iraq.  Abu Hajar cracked after two weeks of "interrogation", by which I'm certain is meant "intense torture" and gave up the head of ISIS's military council.  Somehow, the CIA managed to get decryption keys to those memory sticks, and I doubt the courier had those keys in his possession.

Hundreds of billions of dollars spent, and 17 US intelligence agencies had almost no knowledge of this organization until 4 months ago, even though it sprang up in territory the US has occupied for eight years ... there had been no estimates or predictions of the group's rapid growth and its spread through throughout the region.  The US had no idea that IS would completely overwhelm the Iraqi Army it had trained and supported ... easily.  The US stumbled onto the knowledge; they were absolutely clueless.

Knowing how incompetent the "intelligence agencies" are, there is absolutely no reason that any reasonable person, with a modicum of courage, should lend an ounce of credence to their shrill fear-drenched cries of alarm about the (probably fictional) terror group they call "Khorasan."

Don't buy it.  It's imaginary; it's propaganda.  It's a huge lie.  Like the nonexistent stockpiles of chemical, neurological, and radiological weapons of mass destruction 12 years ago ... it's warmongering of the very worst kind, and I, for one, am not buying it.  Not from these fools.

Put them all to the sword ...

Arnaud Amalric was an abbot or monk who is most remembered for the advise he gave to a soldier in one of the Christian Crusades, who expressed concerns that he'd killed orthodox Catholics along with the 20,000 or so Cathars he helped massacre in the French town of Béziers in the year 1209.  These Cathars, incidentally, were Christians who rejected the authority of the Pope and were, therefore, declared heretics by Catholic Church.  When the Crusaders slaughtered them, they did so under the direction of an official representative of the Pope ... that was Arnaud Amalric.
Amalric told the soldier:  Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. ("Kill them. For the Lord knows those that are His own.")

And that is the origin of the modern phrase, "Kill them all and let God sort out the corpses."

Arnaud Amalric died in the year 1225.  If there is a heaven; he knows nothing of it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

50 years ago on this day: Jack Weinberg made his stand for free speech

The Berkeley Free Speech Movement was inspired by the struggle for civil rights and later by opposition to the Vietnam War. The students at the University of California at Berkeley sent a steady stream of "freedom riders" to the Deep South, and they recruited them from information tables set up on the UCB campus, at Bancroft and Telegraph Avenue.

UCB Campus authorities tried to shut them down. The president of the university banned all political organizing on campus, but the students refused to give up their rights to free speech and assembly.  On October 1, 1964, a 24-year-old former graduate student named Jack Weinberg was sitting at the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) table distributing literature.  Peacefully.  He refused to show his identification to the campus police when they demanded it, and he was arrested.  They dragged him to a police car, but 3,000 students surrounded the police car and refused to let it move. They refused to let the police take Weinberg to jail. They stood on top of the police car and gave speeches about the First Amendment and Free Speech.  The car did not move for a day and a half, 32 hours.  The car did not move, and the students did not abandon it, until the charges against Weinberg were dropped.

That event galvanized the Free Speech Movement.  It marked the first major salvo in the war launched by the Free Speech Movement. 

Without resistance from the public, the government, doing the will of its corporate masters, will take and take and take, until the people have nothing left to give away.

Jack Weinberg is 74 years old now.  I wonder what he thinks about today's US government's attempts to curtail free speech and to violently suppress peaceful protests.
Jack Weinberg in police car, Oct. 1, 1964

Monday, September 29, 2014

Onward Christian Soldiers

Two Southern states I've lived in (most of my years were spent in Tennessee and Alabama) are both attempting to compete for jobs by lowering the cost of labor – wages.  American labor, if you can afford it, is good stuff. Both states have attracted factories, mostly automobile assembly I believe, and tout that accomplishment, yet the median income in both states is among the lowest in the nation, because competing with the third-world, on third-world terms, means choosing to join it.

The United States is becoming a modern "fiefdom," in which the mass of the people, trained to be obedient to authority, exist to serve a handful of powerful feudal lords, who own everything, and control everything.  The electoral process in the US is a total sham; giving the illusion of change, when it is apparent that nothing of any real consequence ever changes.  Each presidential administration serves the powerful, which in the US means the war industry, and each continues the work of the preceding.

But it is exciting to watch!  You can't change it, so enjoy it. You'll never get a better chance to view, close up and personal, an historical shift of this magnitude. It's more than the collapse of a global military empire; it's the reversal of one of history's greatest social shifts.  It's a failure of a great, and I believe noble, social model.  America was not just a great empire; it was a great world culture.

Pay close attention and learn but, above all, enjoy the show. You paid for it, so get your money's worth.  2014 has been an amazing year; and we are witnessing some of the most exciting events in the history of mankind.

Americans, given all the evidence of their huge loss of liberty, are easily distracted by the childish political theater in Washington that bears absolutely no resemblance to responsible government. They love that shit,  And they are led by the rings in their noses.  Like a hog to slaughter; and the rich are gutting America, just like that hog.

And you know why?  Because most Americans desire it that way.  They give up freedom after freedom, willingly, almost eagerly ... in exchange for protection, security, SSRIs, and crap television.  They desire serfdom.

And serfs is what they will be.  The real glitter and gold belongs to the new crusaders.  God bless our young knights in shining armor, the men and women who travel to hostile foreign lands to slay the Mohammedans.

Martyrdom is good for the cause.

Monday, September 22, 2014

PNAC expressed the goals of America's global war planners

Where is America going, and why is it in this handbasket?

Two world superpowers divided much of the planet into mighty blocs, as the “free world” faced off against the “communist” one. What was left, often called the Third World, became a game board and sometimes battlefield for influence and dominance.

And then, unexpectedly, there was only one superpower. In 1991, something like the ultimate step in the concentration of power seemed to occur. The weaker and less wealthy of the two rivals, its economy grown sclerotic even as its nuclear arsenal bulged, its vaunted military bogged down in an unwinnable war with Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan (backed by the United States, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan), suddenly vanished from the planet.

Where great powers had once been, only a few rickety “rogue states” remained: Iraq, Iran and North Korea. George W. Bush was soon to lump those three countries into a convenient “Axis of Evil,” a phrase meant to combine the fearsomeness of World War II’s Axis powers (Germany, Italy and Japan) and Ronald Reagan’s famous Star Wars-style moniker for the Soviet Union, “the Evil Empire.” No matter that two of the three powers in question had been at each other’s throats for a decade and the third, a half-nation with a population regularly on a starvation diet, was quite unrelated.  Beyond that, when it came to enemies, there were relatively small numbers of jihadi bands, mostly scattered in the tribal backlands of the planet, and a few poorly armed minority insurgencies.

In 2000, [America's neo-cons] took over the White House (with a helping hand from the Supreme Court). After a single devastating terrorist attack (the “Pearl Harbor” of the twenty-first century), they were soon dreaming on a global scale as befit their new vision of power. They imagined a "wartime" that would last for generation.

Tom Englhardt:

The United States has accepted the neocon vision of a war that will last for a generation, and longer.  War, everywhere, and continuously, is the future the nation has chosen.

The Project for a New American Century (or PNAC) was founded by neocon luminaries William Kristol and Robert Kagan whose names, incidentally, do not appear among those who signed their Statement of Principles:

That website has been taken down but it's archived here, where they apparently can't get rid of it:

The principles of PNAC have also been stated as the "Bush Doctrine", which was pulled from it's original location on the PNAC website during the Iraq War, but can be found here on the Internet "Wayback Machine" (an invaluable resource):

The Bush doctrine, In part, reads:

No nation is exempt" from the "non-negotiable demands" of liberty, law and justice. Because the United States has a "greater objective" – a greater purpose – in the world, [George W.] Bush sees in the war not just danger but an opportunity to spread American political principles, especially into the Muslim world.

and it goes onto read:

The Bush Doctrine is also notable for what it is not. It is not Clintonian multilateralism; the president did not appeal to the United Nations, profess faith in arms control, or raise hopes for any "peace process." Nor is it the balance-of-power realism favored by his father. It is, rather, a reassertion that lasting peace and security is to be won and preserved by asserting both U.S. military strength and American political principles.

These are the same principles of dominion through force that were embodied in the Bush White House's National Security Strategy.  These are, quite simply, the words of men who desire war and power.  World domination.  Governments are just the tools they are using to achieve their objectives.

I'm not just sharing my opinion; I'm telling you what this group said in its very own statement of principles. I don't think you can read these documents and still believe that the goal of these men isn't world domination through military aggression and global expansion. 

If this group and its ideology represent the thinking of the US government, the Iraqi War was only the beginning. And that has probably been my biggest fear; since the beginning of the Iraq War, that the US is leading the world into an extended period of low-intensity wars and regional conflicts; essentially a state of perpetual warfare.  Proxy wars to create puppet states.

It is the neoconservative philosophy of US domination of the globe by force that Americans must refute; not one political party or the other. Neoconservatism should be refuted,  for one reason alone: from the neoconservative point of view, it may be succeeding in destabilizing the world, but it is failing America spectacularly.  It is hollowing the nation, morally, economically, and spiritually; eating it from the inside out.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

10 Years Ago: 20 September 2004

It was ten years ago, today, on September 20, 2014, that then-Presidential candidate John Kerry made a very powerful speech at New York University.  In that speech, Senator Kerry made many statements of truth that were not being spoken by many in the US government at that time.  That, alone, made his speech noteworthy.

You can read Kerry's address at:

Kerry said, "Before the Iraq war [which was then in its second year–CAulds], before [George W. Bush] chose to go to war, bi-partisan Congressional hearings … major outside studies … and even some in the [Bush] administration itself, predicted virtually every problem we now face in Iraq."

Earlier in the same speech, Kerry said, "General [Eric K.] Shinseki said it would take several hundred thousand troops to secure Iraq. He was 'retired.' Economic adviser Larry Lindsey said that Iraq would cost as much as $200 billion. He was fired."

Kerry made two points in that speech:  Iraq was not a cakewalk; it would become a protracted costly war, but more importantly, he made the point that it was known, beforehand, that this was so, but those who advised against the invasion were ignored or, worse, silenced. 

NEW YORK, March 14 (Reuters) - According to a March 2013 report from the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University which was published for the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, the U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The report concluded the United States gained little from the war while Iraq was traumatized by it. The war reinvigorated radical Islamist militants in the region, set back women's rights, and weakened an already precarious healthcare system, the report said. Meanwhile, the $212 billion reconstruction effort was largely a failure with most of that money spent on security or lost to waste and fraud, it said.

I believe john Kerry was right about one thing:  The military did advise against invading Iraq on false pretenses; and the military officers who did were shut up, as a warning to other not to try the same thing.  To their shame, I think, most military officers folded under pressure.  They weren't putting their careers and pensions on the line ... let alone their lives.  They went along, for the sake of convenience; like far too many Americans, then and now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Tennessee Republican speaks about military interventionism

Over 10 years ago, and only months into the US-led invasion of Iraq, Tennessee Republican Congressman John J. (Jimmy) Duncan called it correctly:

"Neo-con interventionist foreign policies are only breeding resentment, creating even more enemies, and putting our children and grandchildren into a financial black hole so deep they may never get out. There is nothing conservative about the U.S policy in Iraq."
– Congressman John J. Duncan (Republican-TN District 2), 9/24/03

Congressman Duncan was, incidentally, one of only seven Republicans in the entire US Congress who voted against HJ Res 114 (the Iraq War Resolution) in October 2002.  Seven.  Six in the House of Representatives, and one only in the Senate. Of the seven, Jimmy Duncan is the only one still in office.

Words that ring even more true today than when Duncan said them.  Incidentally, Congressman Duncan continues to stand against a warfare state that is attempting to fight the wars of other nations, having said, only yesterday: "We cannot take care of our own people and our own country if we are permanently at war in the Middle East."

Who were the Republicans who stood for the Constitutional restriction on the President's ability to wage war, reserving that right exclusively for the People, through their electing representatives in Congress?
  1. John J. "Jimmy" Duncan, Tennessee (incumbent Congressman, TN-2)
  2. John Hostettler, Indiana
  3. Amo Houghton, New York
  4. James Leach, Iowa
  5. Constance Morella, Maryland
  6. Ron Paul, Texas
  7. Lincoln Chaffee, Senate, Rhode Island

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Remember the Iranian nuclear weapon crisis

Nearly all US intelligence agencies have concluded that ISIS poses no immediate threat to the United States.  That's a stark contrast to the shrill war rhetoric coming from the White House. 
There is no threat; there are no terrorist sleeper cells.  Got it?

God, this reminds me of at time, only two years ago, when the war hawks in Washington were screaming for an attack on Iran, but all 16 US intelligence agencies had affirmed and reaffirmed that Iran abandoned its interest in nuclear weapons years before  ... declaring [] that nothing had changed since the previous National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's "Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities" in November 2007, which declared that Iran was not pursuing a nuclear weapon capability.  But the war hawks only screamed louder; hoping that by repeating the lie, they could make it come true.  It was not, of course, true; and their dire predictions of what would happen if Iran was not bombed immediately, turned out to be false as well.

The US had to abandon its plans, five years ago, to attack Iran, which posed NO THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES, in other words, an unprovoked aggression against a weaker sovereign nation, because no other nation in the world was willing to go along with that sort of thing.

And other nations had better wise up and refuse participation in the US war against ISIS.  Because they know, good and damned well, that the US promise to "destroy" ISIS is completely worthless.  In the past decade, the US government has not been able to destroy al-Qaida or any other terrorist group on this planet. 

But the best reason to stay out of this is because ISIS is America's baby to spank.  America created the conditions that allowed it to survive and to thrive.  Other nations would be darned smart to let the US and the UK handle this.   Alone.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dee Snider & the Religious Right

I lived in the Deep South, America's Bible Belt, most of my life (at least 45 years).  I was there, raising a young daughter, during the "culture wars" of the 1990's.  I remember how those "hot button" social issues dominated the politics of the day, and were used to divide Americans.  At the time, I took no strong position on any one of these issues; and that includes attempts to censor the entertainment media; I took that as very normal; and didn't feel that it concerned me directly.  No one was attempting to restrict my right of free speech – of course, I wasn't using that right anyway, so it shouldn't matter if they did.

If I had paused to think about it, I would've realized that bigotry and sanctimony were at the root of those attempts, but that's the point; I didn't think about it,  I took it as normal.  And a few years later, I was being attacked by the same kind of sanctimonious cowards.  But, since I couldn't care about others who were being attacked by the Religious Right; maybe it was justice that brought those attacks on me.

Oh, they couldn't care about my right of free speech; not if it conflicted with their lynch mob mentality.  They failed, huge, to live according to their stated principles.  They failed.

In 1985, a Senate hearing was instigated by the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), who wanted to introduce a parental warning system that would label all albums containing offensive material. The system was to include letters identifying the type of objectionable content to be found in each album (e.g. O for occult themes, S for sex, D for drugs, V for violence, etc.).

Dee Snider (of the band Twisted Sister), John Denver, and Frank Zappa all testified against censorship and the proposed warning system. The proposed system was never implemented, but the result of the hearing brought about what you've seen on CDs, the generic "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" label.

The PMRC was initially formed by the wives of Senator Al Gore (D-TN), and Secretary of State James Baker. Tipper Gore in particular became the face of the PMRC and a public foil for Snider in the hearings.

But those Senate hearings were never focused on protecting children from obscene material ... that was just cover for an attack on what those sanctimonious hypocrites hated, and feared, because it was different.  And, ye
h, why not question Dee Snider's patriotism while you're at it, and find out how he feels about the Holy Trinity, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?

The irony of those Senate hearings is that the American government exists to protect Dee Snider's right to free speech; not to advance someone else's social agenda.  What about you?  Do you think the government exists only to further your agenda?  Or does it exist to protect those who disagree with you?

In his opening remarks at the PMRC hearings, Dee Snider stated: "I was born and raised a Christian and I still adhere to those principles."

Yeh, and as Mister Snider pointed out to the Senate committee the only pornographic content was in Tipper Gore's twisted mind.

Dee Snider's 1985 PMRC Senate Hearing Speech: Part 1  Part 2 Part 3  (Senator Al Gore's questions to Dee Snider)


Friday, September 12, 2014

What's in those 28 pages? We have a right to know

According to the 9/11 Commission Report, the 9/11 operatives received between $400,000 and $500,000 from al-Qaeda through Khalid Sheikh Mohammad to plan and conduct the attack.  That's the official story – except that US government has never been been able to determine the origin of that money or to recreate a money trail linking it to the groups they claim provided it.   The 9/11 Commission Report: "we have seen no evidence that any foreign government – or foreign government official – supplied any funding."

In other words; the official 9/11 Commission Report (released in 2004) identifies al-Qaeda and Kalid Sheikh Mohammed as the asource of the funding for the training and execution of the 9/11 WTC tower attacks, without being able to find any direct evidence of that funding, or of support or funding from any foreign government (that is, the Taliban).
There is very good reason to believe that the official story is wrong, and the truth about the source of the funding for the 9/11 attacks came from another source – a Saudi source.

The thing that convinced me something was wrong with the official investigation of the 9/11 WTC tower attacks was when my own federal Senator, Republican Senator Richard Shelby, who was Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence when the investigating commission report was completed, and who saw the complete unexpurgated version of that report, told the nation publicly that the 28 pages that were concealed from the public were not related to national security, and the American people had every right to view them.  He was subsequently accused of, and investigated for, divulging classified secrets in a Fox News broadcast that was never aired; in other words, they accused him of treason. Fox News claimed that they halted the broadcast before any damage was done, but Richard Shelby backed off on the 9/11 Commission Report, and he was moved the Senate Banking Committed, where he could do no more harm.

Shelby was put on notice:  "Shut up willingly, or we will shut you up."

Shelby went about as far as any Congressman could in 2004 to put the truth before the public.  I commend him for that.

Richard Shelby was replaced as the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee by US Senator and former Governor of Florida, Bob Graham.  Graham had the guts to continue fighting both the Bush and Obama administrations to declassify those 28 pages of a 9/11 intelligence report that it is believed detail the efforts of members of the Saudi Arabian royal family to aid the 9/11 terrorists (most of whom were themselves Saudi) when they were training in Florida.  (15 of the 19 hijackers carried Saudi Arabian passports).  That Saudi family, which was living in Sarasota, left the US just before the attacks occurred.
Were they tipped off that they should leave? If so, by whom?

Senator Graham wants to know why the Obama administration does not release these documents, which he read when he was chair of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee and co-chair of a congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks. He also claims those 28 pages contain nothing that risks national security, but are very important in revealing how the attacks were planned and carried out.

Now, Senator Graham has joined others in a Freedom of Information Act request asking that 80,000 pages of information on that Saudi family be made public.

Senator Graham said: "It isn't credible that 19 people – most that could not speak English well and did not have experience in the United States – could carry out such a complicated task without external assistance."  I agree.

Graham believes that there was a deliberate effort to cover up Saudi involvement in the tragedy of 9/11 by the Bush administration.  He believes there was a cover-up, one that he says the Obama administration supports.  Why?  Do you want to know why?  I do.
What was in those 28 pages?  We'll never know ... I suspect it had a lot to do with financial connections to the bin Laden family.  Probably no smoking guns about the WTC tower attacks, but damaging enough.  The money/power connections are the key, I think, to the "who?" and "why?" questions regarding those attacks.

In short, where the 9/11 investigation came even marginally close to the truth; the source of that truth was immediately and conclusively shut down.

We don't know even the smallest percentage of the truth about what happened, and we never will, but I'm damned glad there are a few people left who are willing to defend our right to know.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What really happened on 9/11? We will never know

One doesn't have to buy into any alternative theory of what happened in New York City on September 11, 2001 to know that there are many questions yet unanswered.  Questions that will never be answered, if some have their way.

And this a factual statement:  there is no evidence of Osama bin Laden's prior knowledge of, or involvement in, that attack.

According to the 9/11 Commission Report, the 9/11 plotters spent between $400,000 and $500,000 to plan and conduct the attack.  That funding came from al-Qaeda through Khalid Sheikh Mohammad to the operatives who used it to travel to the United States and to train for the mission.  That's the official story – except that US government has never been been able to determine the origin of that money or to recreate a money trail linking it to the groups they claim provided it.   The 9/11 Commission Report: "we have seen no evidence that any foreign government – or foreign government official – supplied any funding."

In other words; the official 9/11 Commission Report (released in 2004) identifies al-Qaeda and Kalid Sheikh Mohammed as the source of the funding for the training and execution of the 9/11 WTC tower attacks, without being able to find any direct evidence of that funding, or of support or funding from any foreign government (that is, the Taliban).

No direct evidence of the involvement of al-Qaeda or its founder, Osama bin Laden, has ever been discovered.

Whatever happened that day, and it is certain that we will never know the truth; the outcome was absolutely no different from a false flag operation.  Believe the official account if you wish, but do not pretend that it has been proven to the satisfaction of every reasonable doubter.

For one thing; it has never been proven that Osama bin Laden was involved; and the whole damned thing was pinned on him.  He was a convenient scapegoat.  Stop right there – that's reason enough for me to doubt the rest.  The official 9/11 story  sounds like some lunatic conspiracy theory anyway.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Battle for the Net

Today, some of the world’s largest internet companies, including Netflix, Etsy, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Reddit, imgur, Foursquare, Vimeo, and Wordpress, along with the porn sites Pornhub, RedTube and Youporn, will join more than 35 advocacy organizations and hundreds of thousands of activists in an Internet "slowdown" to show how the internet might look if the FCC’s proposed rules go into effect.

The protesting companies will display a widget with a "loading" symbol on their websites to show how the internet would look should the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) go ahead with the proposal, thus overturning "net neutrality" rules.     Game on.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Do the American thing: close Guantanamo Bay

149 men remain imprisoned, indefinitely, inside America's Guantanamo Bay "detention facility."  The oft-repeated lie is that these men are the "worst of the worst", that's why they can't be released  The truth is much different. The truth is that the vast majority of these men are completely innocent, and were simply swept up in a dragnet in Afghanistan, many turned over to the US for bounty payments or to enact revenge.  78 of the 149 have been deemed innocent and cleared for release in 2009. Only 6 of the 149 men have been formally charged with any crime. Five are being tried together as alleged co-conspirators of 9/11, and one stands accused of masterminding the USS Cole bombing. Yet the commissions' "tribunal" process is completely extra-judicial; corrupted by lies and government secrecy; it's a kangaroo court more suited to a third-world dictatorship than the United States.

By the very most basic tenet of American justice – never having been tried, never having been convicted, no evidence of their guilt in any crime ever presented before a court or judge – these are innocent men.  Guilty of no wrong-doing; their continued imprisonment is a violation of American principles.  It is a violation of my principles and, I hope, yours too.

No evidence of guilt?  What does that mean to Americans?  You are an American, right?  Tell me:  what does that mean to Americans?

Are those detainees guilty?  Then produce the evidence of that guilt and charge them formally.  No evidence of their guilt? Then do the American thing.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Senator Dianne Feinstein, wants to release the full "unredacted" version of its report on these tortures. The Obama Administration is blocking that action. Why?

According to some who have seen the report, it will demonstrate not only that the U.S. government tortured victims all over the world, but that its techniques were not those revealed and approved by congressional regulators, that the CIA repeatedly lied to its own congressional supporters and, most importantly, that the torture did not produce any material actionable intelligence, including the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

What happened to your backbone, America?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Change the date by 30 years ... and it's 1984

Twenty-five years ago, Milton Friedman wrote this open letter to conservative columnist William J. Bennett, which was published in the Wall Street Journal:

This plea comes from the bottom of my heart. Every friend of freedom, and I know you are one, must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence. A country in which shooting down unidentified planes "on suspicion" can be seriously considered as a drug-war tactic is not the kind of United States that either you or I want to hand on to future generations.
– Milton Friedman (1912 – 2006)
   An Open Letter to Bill Bennett, published in the Wall Street Journal, September 7, 1989

In 1949, when he wrote "1984", Orwell predicted all we've seen in the past dozen years, essentially governments that rule over the people, and don't exist to "serve and protect" the citizenry.  Governments that reinforce their power with fear at home, and continuous war abroad, against one enemy after another, sometimes conveniently reversing the role of friend and foe (as in Syria).

Orwell predicted the torture in secret prison facilities, the heavily-militarized police forces, the perpetual warfare, the ubiquitous spying, and the continuous fear-mongering of the government.

Orwell predicted a government that acted as though it was the master of the citizens of Oceania, and he predicted a citizenry that acted as though that was "normal".  

He predicted today's America.

Orwell's predictions were right on the mark — he was just 30 years early.  Substitute "cell phone" for "telescreen", the NSA and the DHS and the TSA and the CIA, they perform the functions of the Ministries of Truth, Love and Peace; bin Laden, Gaddafi, Hussein, Putin, they've all assumed the role of "Goldstein," and we'll have a new target soon for our fear and hatred.

It's not 2014; it's 1984.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The real aggressor is emerging (hint: it's not Putin)

Let's give the devil his due ... let's not forget (or, more accurately, ignore the fact) that Vladimir Putin has been consistent and steadfast in refusing to recognize the "Donetsk Peoples Republic" and he has publicly urged them to negotiate with the Kiev government of Ukraine. It is probably to his credit that the rebels dropped their demands for complete independence, and have asked, instead, for autonomy within Ukraine.

I believe it was President Putin who acted to bring about the current "cease-fire" agreement between Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels in the East.  That, of course, put even more egg on Obama's face.
Ukraine readily agreed to the cease-fire, I believe, for one reason:  they are losing the war.  Ukraine's soldiers balk at shooting their countrymen and firing artillery into villages (what decent human being  wouldn't?) and they have been deserting in droves; some units joining the rebels, other soldiers simply tucking their tails and running away.

Americans' biggest mistake, in my opinion, is that they too readily believe their own propaganda.

Learn to recognized a campaign of bullshit, people.  This one, from Day One, has borne all the earmarks.

Masterfully played, Mr. Putin!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The "Russian invasion of Ukraine," one week later

It was one week ago, on 28 August, that Ukrainian officials claimed that 1,000 Russian troops had crossed its border and was invading Ukraine.  The following day, they increased this to "4-5 thousand troops", supported by tanks, APCs, and artillery. 

Even US military officials admitted they couldn't confirm any of those claims of a Russian "invasion",   And it's been a full week since those claims were first made and US President Obama has refused to lend any credence to them.

Why?  Because it never happened! 

The US response, though, indicated a huge shift in its position toward the government of Ukraine.  For months now, they've "rubber-stamped" anything that government has claimed, including the use of a Russian missile to shoot down Malaysian flight MH017 (something I don't think they believe actually happened).

Far too many Americans, I think, bought right into that recycled Cold War propaganda ("Putin is the new Stalin").   

Learn to recognize a campaign of bullshit, people ... this one bore all the earmarks.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Continuous propaganda; perpetual warfare

I grew up in America's Deep South during the 1960's.  My world was conservative, white, and Protestant, and I bought it all, lock, stock and barrel.  Oh, yes, I remember the Cold War very well; I was steeped in its mythology; the propaganda that was endless, and mostly total bullshit.

I remember when the Soviet Union fell in 1991, the Russian people, who had always been forced to live like peasants serving rich master (Tzars or Communist Party officials, take your pick) looked to the West for help ... it was a tremendous opportunity to embrace those people as part of the "free world" and to encourage them to throw off the mantle of communism.  Instead, what was the response of the leadership of the United States?  Do you remember?

It was, essentially, silence, although there were some speeches congratulating the Russians, they were not welcomed into the community of Western industrialized nations.  We are now seeing what a huge mistake that was.

Essentially, I think the US didn't know what to do without its old cold war adversary.  How were they going to continue to frighten the American people into silent submission?  For the past 25 years, the US has been looking for new enemies in order to maintain its state of perpetual fear and warfare.

Every read George Orwell's "1984" ?  That book seems written for the "New America". Americans now live in a state of continuous propaganda, and endless warfare (only the current villain changes).

It certainly seems to me that Russia has far more justification for sending troops into Eastern Ukraine, which is part of its sphere of influence, in defense of the people there, and their right to self-determination, and who are undoubtedly Russian, than the US does for sending military forces into Somalia or Iraq.

Imperialism?  Absolutely.  By definition, imperialism is "a policy of extending the rule or authority of an empire or nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies."  Yes, the appellation fits.

And Russia has not exhibited a fraction of the imperialistic aggression of the United States.  The only thing Russia threatens, under Vladimir Putin, is America's lust for imperialistic domination of the planet. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Ukrainian war propaganda is a pack of lies

All summer long, we've been subjected to the heaviest barrage of war propaganda since 9/11 ... and it's mostly crap.  None of it, actually, rings true to me.  None of it.

Last week we heard claims of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces.  That claim came from Ukrainian officials who first claimed 1,000 Russian troops crossed the border and then dramatically increased that to 4-5 thousand ground troops backed by columns of tanks and other armored vehicles.  There was no evidence of that, other than a few photos that could have shown anything, really ... but essentially showed nothing at all.  Reminds me of the photos used to "prove" the existence of Saddam Hussein's vast stockpiles of WMD.  They looked like screenshots from a video game.  We're not even getting adult lies; we're getting lies that a child would make.

But here's the thing:  It never happened. It's all bullshit, people, don't buy it this time.  Don't let friends go around selling it.

To their credit, the American military officials admitted they couldn't confirm any of those claims and, over the weekend, President Obama refused to lend any credence to them.  That marks a change, actually, since US officials have been "rubber-stamping" the false claims of the Ukrainian government for months now.

You wonder why you don't hear about the Malaysian Airliner (MH 017) that was allegedly shot down by the Russian surface-to-air missile?  Because it never happened.  That airliner was almost certainly shot down by the Ukrainian government fighter-jet that was detected approaching the plane just before it crashed.  The facts simply don't support the propaganda.

What is most interesting to me is the contrast in the way the Russian government and the US government handled the downing of MH 17 is striking.  The US immediately made unfounded claims it later had to retract after the Intelligence agencies refused to back up Secretary of State John Kerry's claims (which were baseless in fact, in other words, they were lies).

But the Russian government patiently asked for the US to assist them, and called for:

  1. the US to use its satellite surveillance videos to verify what the Russians' own intelligence suggested might be a Ukrainian Su-25 ascending at high speed toward the Malaysian jetliner (
  2. the publishing of the photos and the data captured by US satellites in order to determine the cause of the crash. (never released)
  3. an independent investigation of the crash by the International Civil Aviation Organization
The Russians were not the ones attempting to hide the satellite surveillance photos that can reveal the truth about that incident.  The US, at least, has used good sense in backing away from recent Ukrainian government claims that simply aren't verifiable.  In other words, propaganda lies.

Friday, August 29, 2014

All morality is individual

Moral autonomy is having the freedom, and possessing the courage and the will, to make moral decisions on one's own, individually.  It's standing on one's own two feet; and sometimes that requires sacrifice.

Moral autonomy is at the root of what is termed "character."  Character is always individual.  You don't display character by joining a group.  Moral autonomy is the ability to choose the right course of action, by oneself, without any outside pressure or influence.
Look at the lives and example of the men who signed the US Declaration of Independence in 1776.   These were men who were making a moral choice; not because they believed it would profit themselves personally; indeed, the likelihood was that it would cost them everything; two of the signers had British forces camped right next to their estates.  Those two men knew that they stood to lose those estates as soon as they signed the Declaration.  They signed anyway.

All those who signed the Declaration of Independence knew that they were committing an act of high treason; punishable by death. They weren't doing what they knew to be legal; what they were told was their patriotic duty; which was to remain steadfastly loyal to God and to King.  They knew that if they did not win their war of rebellion – and the likelihood of their winning that war was considered remote – they would all be hung as traitors.  They committed their act of treason knowing that to survive they would have to defeat the most powerful army in the world (they did not even yet have an army of their own!), and for years they would stand alone because no other government in the world gave them a chance of succeeding. They signed their Declaration anyway. They endured five years of almost constant defeats, each year looking more hopeless than the last. They fought on anyway.

Character is not based on what is legal, what is condoned by the state, by the law, by the church, or by the society at large.  It is always individual.  It is never coerced. Character cannot develop in an environment in which ethical decisions are forced upon the individual. Character is a product of judgment, discretion, and choice – born from a person's free agency. A decision that is coerced cannot be a moral decision, and thus cannot be a decision of character. Compliance with the law does not, in itself, constitute character.

Character has been defined as the ability to make ethical decisions always on behalf of the common good combined with the discipline and the strength to carry through with those decisions.   Character is the application of moral principles, ethics, in the way we live and act.  Character doesn't change with popular opinion, the political climate, or with a tide of nationalism or emotion. Character is consistent.

Character is having the courage to accept moral responsibility and accountability for one's own actions. 

The core of all character lies in individuality. Character is a moral fact: and, until life is individual, it is not moral. And by individual we mean something single, separate, and alone, that cannot be accounted for from outside, cannot be grouped under any general laws, cannot be extracted out of outside conditions. Its actions must spring from out of itself.  It is this seal of individuality which it sets on everything that comes out from it, which makes it a character. Sometimes it stamps it weakly, and then we say a person has little or no character; or sometimes it stamps it forcibly, and then we say, "That is a man of character."

– Henry Scott Holland, Creed and Character, 1887

Never base a moral choice on its popularity. Always do what you know is right; even if that decision draws hostility from others.   Even if you see no possibility of personal profit from it.  Even if you are forced to stand alone against everyone else you know; do it anyway.

Especially if you must stand alone; that is exactly when you must.  It takes no courage to join a lynch mob.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ferguson: It's about America's militarized police forces

The story is not about the slaying of Michael Brown, or the protests in the community of Ferguson Missouri ... for that matter, the story is not about the actions of a single cop, or the irresponsibility of those who defended his act of cowardice.

It's about the massive military response to unarmed citizens demonstrating police brutality in their community.  Armored vehicles, helicopters, grenade launchers, assault rifles, bulletproof vests, night vision equipment, and various other sorts of battle gear. With the continuing protests in Ferguson, the militarization of police has become so obvious that even the mainstream media are catching on.

And without Ferguson, and the street protests, we'd never have known about what happened to Michael Brown.  Far too many people simply don't care; and won't, of course, until the cops are in the streets of their community killing their own.  But a growing number of people are beginning to question the police state and, as emotions subside, more and people are beginning to realize that it's not nearly as simple as one white cop killing one unarmed black youth; it's about a massively over-militarized police state that will stand firm on its right to kill anyone it chooses; they'll be the judge of who deserves to die.

The increasing up-armoring of local police with military equipment and, more importantly, its acceptance by a timid frightened public, is a symptom of growing authoritarianism.

Ferguson is a symptom of a seriously authoritarian society.  The military and the police force do not exist to protect individual liberty, or American constitutional rights to privacy, free speech and assembly.  The military and the police exist to protect the State.  And, on a larger scale, national sovereignty.

The first allegiance of the military and the police is always to the State. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What happened to Seal Team Six ... do you know?

So, what do you think really happened to the 17 members of U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 who carried out the capture/execution of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan?  Are they around to give testimony about what happened during that mission? 

August 6, 2011, a US Navy CH-47D Chinook helicopter was allegedly shot down by a Taliban fighter armed with an RPG.  The crash took the lives of all 17 SEALs and five crew members on board, in the worst one-day loss in the history of U.S. naval special operations.  [source]

Just like the high-resolution video from the night-vision helmet cams, and the body of Osama bin Laden; they're all gone; forever. All we have now are the Pentagon files from the raid; its planning and execution .... oops, my bad ... it was a little more than one year ago that US Navy Admiral William McRaven, the naval officer who oversaw the Navy SEAL raid admitted that he ordered all US files on that raid to be purged from Department of Defense computers to the control of the CIA in a move that effectively kept that information secret from the public.  In the hands of the CIA, the files are legally exempted from the Freedom of Information Act and are effectively shielded from ever being made public.

Which explained why, two and a half years ago, the Defense Department was totally unable to produce any of that information in response to Freedom of Information Act requests by the Associated Press.

The Defense Department told the AP in March 2012 it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden's body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden's body on the USS Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier from which he was buried at sea. The Pentagon also said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden's body if he were killed. It said it searched files at the Pentagon, Special Operations Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla., and the Navy command in San Diego that controls the Carl Vinson.

In other words, that information essentially went into the proverbial memory hole. No proof of anything, just the official account of what happened. There is no evidence to back up the official story, or to prove that Osama bin Laden was alive at the time of the raid; and that he was killed in the raid.  Remember, the alleged corpse of bin Laden was allegedly flown to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan for identification, and immediately put on a helicopter which was flown out over the Indian Ocean where the body was dumped into the see because "no country would accept his remains."

French Emperor Bonaparte was right, "History is written by the winners."  The truth, however, isn't susceptible to convenient interpretation.  We know only the history that is being written; we don't know the truth, and we never will.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Two demonstrations of cowardice, contrasted

I hate to comment on any item that's currently in the US news, largely because everything in the US is so politicized, and so emotionalized; there's really little point in trying to refute emotion with logic.

Now that emotions are subsiding somewhat; it is good to see journalists start to comment correctly about the beheading of the American journalist by Sunni militants. When I heard of it, my immediate thoughts were that the executioner did it with his own hands; and that he took full and individual responsibility for his actions.  Barbaric, perhaps, hard to watch, but that's only because it was more "up close and personal" than a missile strike; but effectively no different.
Contrast that beheading with the indiscriminate killing of women and children in Pakistan using robots ... which is far more barbaric.  The use of machinery in no way glorifies or sanctifies those murders.  They are every bit as condemnable as the ISIS beheading.  Every bit. And, in the number of innocents killed, far worse.

As Eric Margolis (who has, himself, been a war journalist) said, "We westerners have a charming and quaint  belief that killing people from the air by using bombs, rockets, shells, napalm and cluster munitions – or even nuclear weapons – is somehow not really as bad as ramming a bayonet into an enemy, blowing him to pieces with heavy artillery, or slashing his throat the way sheep are killed Air warfare is clean. Air warfare is the American way of war."
Murder isn't sanctified by the use of technology.  It is sick to even think that way.

Eric also pointed out that at the very same time James Foley is alleged to have been being executed, Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the US, announced it had executed 19 people in public beheadings for various crimes. [source]  One of the victims was beheaded for witchcraft. There was no outcry at all in the US mainstream media over that medieval horror.

Send those young American soldiers back into Iraq, President Obama ... c'mon, I double-dog dare ya! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

200 years ago: August 24, 1814

On August 24, 1814, after soundly defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg Maryland, a British force led by Major General Robert Ross (pursuing American militia who actually fled in panic through the streets of Washington D.C.) occupied the capital city and set fire to many public buildings. The facilities of the U.S. government, including the White House and U.S. Capitol, were largely destroyed, and there was absolutely no effective American resistance. The British commander gave orders to burn only public buildings and the strict discipline among the British troops ensured that his orders were followed; as a result, the city's private buildings were preserved.

The War of 1812 was a humiliating defeat for the Americans; and that humiliation was felt for years ... but with the passage of time, Americans have claimed the war as a victory.  It wasn't, although it wasn't truly a British victory either, since American aspirations of forcing the British off the continent had already been destroyed ... but for Canadians, it was a huge success; affirming Canadian solidity and sovereignty.  

The real losers, of course, were the American Indians of the upper Mississippi and the Ohio territory; that's another story.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Why the Iraqi people aren't friends of the US

I believe the United States is trying (unsuccessfully) to convince the people who live in Iraq that the US is their savior.  But Iraqis know better.

Before the UN economic sanctions against Iraq that were imposed by the UN Security Council on August 6, 1990, and pushed through almost solely by the US and one of its two remaining allies of consequence (Great Britain and Israel), life for the average Iraqi was far better than it is now. Prior to the sanctions, there was abundant cheap gasoline in the country. There was free health care for all citizens, and there was a modern educational system.

Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself ... please convince me that I'm wrong. 

And you may actually be able to do so; I'd love to be wrong about this, but I don't think you will ever convince the Iraqi populace. Who is responsible for the miserable state of affairs in their country? The US government blamed it almost solely on Saddam Hussein, the Iraqis only know that the economic sanctions of the last decade brought them hunger, disease, ignorance and, eventually ... another war.

Just keep in mind that it doesn't matter if you believe that the Hussein regime is directly responsible for the UN economic sanctions ... it only matters what the Iraqi people believe at this point ... and after the poverty, bloodshed and homelessness left behind by US armed forces, they still haven't been convinced that they're better off for having lost their strongman leader. 

Has "democracy" ever been brought to a nation at the point of a gun?  Does it ever work that way?


UNICEF and other International relief and human rights agencies blame the sanctions (not the Hussein regime) for the decline of education in Iraq:

BAGHDAD - Ten years ago, Iraq had one of the best health care systems in the Middle East. Now, that system is in ruin because of UN sanctions: