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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

UN-Believable 

You could see it coming from a thousand miles away. The US is no longer interested in what the United Nations has to say unless it's "Goodbye."

And, since there is no counter story, people have been buying the whole thing. Until the tsunami hit, people forgot that the UN are the real freedom fighters...er, but not in the Reagan-riding-on-the-back-of-a-nuclear-charged-burro kind of way. The UN is always the first to go into a big mess to try and create order whether it is the messy formation of a new nation or a natural disaster.

OK, so you may have also heard about the food-for-oil scandal and the, well, the exploitation of young girls in the Congo which are both inexcusable. In partial defense of the UN system, the international policing system is extremely weak. So much so that if the UN was aware of the bad behavior they wouldn't have the legal recourse to do anything about it. And, countries are not about to voluntarily give up their own laws for that of an international body, sovereignty is sovereignty.

-lobo

The US has become what it was formed to overthrow... 

Bush says, "OH, ABSOLUTELY", it was worth going into Iraq to remove Saddam 15 years after his genocidal days. I here contend, point by point, his comments. Elements from the on-line ABC News article in bold, my responses in normal font.

Jan. 12, 2005 — The invasion of Iraq, which ousted Saddam Hussein and has cost the lives of some 1,300 U.S. military personnel and billions of dollars, was "absolutely" worth it, despite the absence of any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, President Bush told ABC News' Barbara Walters in an exclusive interview that will air this Friday.

This is a euphemistic paragraph, and evidence of how the press, ABC News in this case, is supine before the terror of the Bush/Rove Administration. The invasion has not cost the lives of some "1,300 US military personnel and billions of dollars"; it has rather cost the lives of "tens of thousands of people and hundreds of billions of dollars". Many other Americans have died there--mercenaries, workers in oil and other industries, etc. Over 10,000 Iraqis-in-arms have died there, along with dozens, if not hundreds, of true insurgents. The civilian population has been decimated--low estimates now admit to 30,000+ civilian deaths, while high estimates have reached 150,000.

Guess what, by any reasonable estimate, this is 50,000-100,000 dead since March 2003. That is in keeping with the deaths in Nagasaki and Hiroshima...combined. That's a WMD, times two. In fact, it is clear that a "W" of mass destruction is indeed plaguing the planet.

The White House acknowledged today that there is no longer an active search for Iraqi weapons. The final report from chief U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer, due out next month, has concluded that "the former regime had no formal written strategy or plan for the revival of WMD."

Anyone remember the following?

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. - Dick Cheney, speech to VFW National Convention, Aug. 26, 2002

Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons. - George W. Bush, speech to UN General Assembly, Sept. 12, 2002

We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.- Colin Powell, remarks to UN Security Council, Feb. 5, 2003

We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons - the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.- George W. Bush, radio address, Feb. 8, 2003

If Iraq had disarmed itself, gotten rid of its weapons of mass destruction over the past 12 years, or over the last several months since [UN Resolution] 1441 was enacted, we would not be facing the crisis that we now have before us.- Colin Powell, interview with Radio France International, Feb. 28, 2003

So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad?….I think our judgment has to be clearly not.- Colin Powell, remarks to UN Security Council, March 7, 2003

If you don't, let these be a reminder. They lied, they focused solely on WMD's to go into Iraq, and now that the reason for going in has been proven a lie, they'll at least apologize, right? Let's see...

The Bush administration does not hold out hopes that any weapons will ever be found. Duelfer's predecessor David Kay reached the same conclusion a year ago. "It's taken them another year, and in fact we were right a year ago. There were no weapons there," Kay said in response to Duelfer's announcement.

Well, of course it took them a year longer. Little matter of the election, no?

Bush told Walters, "I felt like we'd find weapons of mass destruction — like many here in the United States, many around the world. The United Nations thought he had weapons of mass destruction. So, therefore: one, we need to find out what went wrong in the intelligence gathering. … Saddam was dangerous and the world is safer without him in power."

Define many? How about these many?

President Bush's standing has just about evaporated in Germany where his approval rating is 16 percent - down from 36 percent in 2002.

It said that hard on the heels of the Iraq war, Bush's foreign policies polled only a 30 percent approval rating across Europe, down from 38 percent in 2002.

Bush's dismal 16 percent approval in Germany almost matches the tally in France (15 percent, against 21 percent in 2002).

In concert with Bush's fading stature, 81 percent of Germans - up from 55 percent in 2002 - now say the European Union as more important to their vital interests than America, which kept West Germany safe from the Soviet Union during four Cold War decades. Only 9 percent see the United States as key to safeguarding their country's vital interests.

Based on these numbers, it appears the WMD-for-war justification was weak beforehand, and is now fatal to the US/German relationship.

When asked if the war was worth it even if there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Bush responded, "Oh, absolutely."

Perhaps Bush should steer his Dell computer (the same ones marked up 300% for our military to use and for Dell to pad his private accounts) to www.dictionary.com for the definition of absolutely:

"Definitely and completely; unquestionably"

Excuse me, but doesn't the lack of WMDs call at least some of it into question? Isn't his strategy incomplete since there were no WMDs? Didn't I just ask a fair set of questions? I am definitely unconvinced.

Saddam insisted he had no weapons of mass destruction, and U.N. inspectors failed to uncover them. But the Bush administration was adamant that Saddam was deceiving the international community. The administration justified its decision to wage war on Iraq largely on its contention that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Thanks, ABC News. Can you phrase this as a question now?

Kay estimates that more than $1 billion and countless man hours were spent looking for weapons.

I go this one further...in spite of the waste of $1 billion in direct costs (more than the US has pledged for the tsunami victims), another $200 billion in "indirect" costs (i.e. the WAR!) must be added to it.

Today House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, "Now that the search is finished, President Bush needs to explain to the American people why he was so wrong."

Not likely. Especially given his "absolutism" above. Tyrants don't have to explain themselves. After all, he's got some capital to spend now. More on tyranny at the end.

The 1,700-member Iraq Survey Group, a U.S. team responsible for the weapons search, is now tasked with what commanders had long wanted them to do — gather intelligence about the real threat now in Iraq: the insurgents.

The real threat now in Iraq...causing to date an order of magnitude more deaths and injuries to US troops than the toppling of Saddam...is a threat Bush caused by invading a WMD-free zone.

The forefathers of the US cast off British rule (to be fair, they aided France in this) because of "tyranny" and "taxation without representation". Tyrants answer to no one, and do not change their opinions in the face of facts. Bush...and Bush. The blue states get 80 cents back on their tax dollar, the red states $1.20. Taxation without representation. The US government has now become the government it was formed to overthrow.

We have met the enemy, and indeed it is US.

-Vulf

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Dean has my vote... 

This is a great position for Dean, who worked tirelessly at the grassroots level after the spin machine dropped him for "The Scream". The painting, "The Scream", was later stolen from the Munch museum in Oslo, no doubt for shame.

Dear Vulf,

As I have traveled across our country, I have talked to thousands of people who are working for change in their own communities about the power of politics to make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. Every group I have spoken to, I encouraged them to stand up for what they believe and to get involved in the electoral process -- because the only sure way to make difference is to step up and run for office yourself.

Today, I'm announcing my candidacy for the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.

The Democratic Party needs a vibrant, forward-thinking, long-term presence in every single state and we must be willing to contest every race at every level. We will only win when we show up and fight for the issues important to all of us.

Another integral part of our strategy must be cultivating the party's grassroots. Our long term success depends on all of us taking an active role in our party and in the political process, by volunteering, going door to door and taking the Democratic message into every community, and by organizing at the local level. After all, new ideas and new leaders don't come from consultants; they come from communities.

As important as organization is, it alone can no longer win us elections. Offering a new choice means making Democrats the party of reform -- reforming America's financial situation, reforming our electoral process, reforming health care, reforming education and putting morality back in our foreign policy. The Democratic Party will not win elections or build a lasting majority solely by changing its rhetoric, nor will we win by adopting the other side's positions. We must say what we mean -- and mean real change when we say it.

But most of all, together, we have to rebuild the American community. We will never succeed by treating our nation as a collection of separate regions or separate groups. There are no red states or blues states, only American states. And we must talk to the people in all of these states as members of one community.

That word -- 'values' -- has lately become a codeword for appeasement of the right-wing fringe. But when political calculations make us soften our opposition to bigotry, or sign on to policies that add to the burden of ordinary Americans, we have abandoned our true values.

We cannot let that happen. And we cannot just mouth the words. Our party must speak plainly and our agenda must clearly reflect the socially progressive, fiscally responsible values that bring our party -- and the vast majority of Americans -- together.

All of this will require both national perspective and local experience. I know what it's like to lead hands-on at the state level and I know what it's like to run for national office.

With your help, this past election season, Democracy for America, already started creating the kind of organization the Democratic Party can be. This past election cycle, we endorsed over 100 candidates at all levels of government -- from school board to U.S. Senate. We contributed almost a million dollars to nearly 750 candidates around the country and raised millions of dollars for many more candidates.

Together, we helped elect a Democratic governor in Montana, a Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County, Utah and an African American woman to the bench in Alabama. Fifteen of the candidates we endorsed had never run for office before -- and won.

I also have experience building and managing a local party organization. My career started as Democratic Party chair in Chittenden County, Vermont. I then ran successful campaigns: for state legislature, lieutenant governor and then governor. In my 11-year tenure as governor, I balanced the state's budget every year.

I served as chair of both the National Governors' Association and the Democratic Governors' Association (DGA). And as chair of the DGA, I helped recruit nearly 20 governors that won -- even in states like Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi.
All of these experiences have only reaffirmed what I know to be true. There is only one party that speaks to the hopes and dreams of all Americans. It is the party you have already given so much to. It is the Democratic Party.


We can win elections only by standing up for what we believe.

Thank you and I look forward to listening to your concerns in the weeks ahead.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

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