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Code Pink Alerts
US military deaths in Iraq war at
Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008
As of Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008, at
least 4,209 members of the U.S. military have died in the Iraq war
since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
figure includes eight military civilians killed in action. At least
3,397 military personnel died as a result of hostile action, according
to the military's numbers.
he AP count is two fewer than the Defense Department's
tally, last updated Thursday at 10 a.m. EST.
British military has reported 176 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18;
Poland, 21; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, seven; El Salvador, five;
Slovakia, four; Latvia and Georgia, three each; Estonia, Netherlands,
Thailand and Romania, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan and
South Korea, one death each.
Viewpoints for Dec.
Supporting troops' families
name is Christina E. Slaton. I am a sergeant first class in the Army
and my husband, William, is a staff sergeant in the Army. We are both
currently deployed to Iraq. I am writing to request that your newspaper
publish a holiday thank you to the families of military personnel who
are picking up family and life responsibilities for us while we are
My husband and I have five children ranging in age from
1 to 13 years old. My mom and dad are taking care of them for the year
we are to be deployed and the entire community has stepped up to help.
I don't know any other way to reach all of those in the Macon area who
are doing the things that my parents and their neighbors are doing for
us in the military. Thank you for your time and attention.
Christina E. Slaton
Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008
Panel blames White House, not
soldiers, for abuse
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON -- The physical and mental abuse of
Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was the direct result of
Bush administration detention policies and should not be dismissed as
the work of bad guards or interrogators, according to a bipartisan
Senate report released Thursday.
The Senate Armed Services
Committee report concludes that harsh interrogation techniques used by
the CIA and the U.S. military were directly adapted from the training
techniques used to prepare special forces personnel to resist
interrogation by enemies that torture and abuse prisoners. The
techniques included forced nudity, painful stress positions, sleep
deprivation, and until 2003, waterboarding, a form of simulated
The report is the result of
a nearly two-year investigation that directly links President Bush's
policies after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, legal memos on torture, and
interrogation rule changes with the abuse photographed at Abu Ghraib
prison in Iraq four years ago. Much of the report remains classified.
Unclassified portions of the report were released by the committee
officials publicly blamed the abuses on low-level soldiers- the work
"of a few bad apples." Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.,
called that "both unconscionable and false."
"The message from
top officials was clear; it was acceptable to use degrading and abusive
techniques against detainees," Levin said.
Arizona Republican and
former prisoner of war Sen. John McCain, called the link between the
survival training and U.S. interrogations of detainees inexcusable.
"These policies are wrong and must never be repeated,"
he said in a statement.
Di Rita, a senior aide to former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
at the time the Abu Ghraib and other abuses took place, disputed the
"This oddly timed report provides no evidence that
contradicts more than a dozen other investigations that found that
there was no systematic or widespread detainee mismanagement," Di Rita
told The AP. "A relatively small number of people abused detainees, and
they were brought to justice in criminal or civil proceedings."
report comes as the Bush administration continues to delay and in some
cases bar members of Congress from gaining access to key legal
documents and memos about the detainee program, including an August
2002 memo that evaluated whether specific interrogation techniques
proposed to be used by the CIA would constitute torture.
memo, written by Jay Bybee, then-chief of the Justice Department's
Office of Legal Counsel, was guided in part by an assessment of the
psychological effects of resistance survival training on U.S. military
personnel. The CIA provided that document to his office, Bybee told the
Senate Armed Services Committee in an October letter, obtained by The
Mandala in Milledgeville:
Click for larger image -
Amitayus mandala for compassion
and healing of the environment and living beings and for world peace.
nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military
defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so
tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the
bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality...
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final
"The time is always right to do
what is right." - MLK.
Next president will
have to work hard to restore what has been lost
Poole's letter published Monday was like many which extol the virtues
of the right while ridiculing Barack Obama supporters' zeal as somehow
"indifferent." For him, "a revival of Christian morals and values" will
occur if we only "look to the right."
It is troubling that some
who call themselves conservatives remain in denial despite years
replete with deceit and incompetence. How can intelligent people ignore
the extraordinary failures of a Republican administration rubber-
stamped by a Republican Congress and urge us to vote for four more
It would be morally responsible to reflect on a
president's long reliance on a scoundrel like Karl Rove and how we were
deceived about the reasons for the Iraq war, the firing of federal
prosecutors disloyal to Bush, the revenge-motivated outing of a CIA
operative, warrantless wiretapping, no-bid contracts and more. It would
just be plain good sense to review how cronyism has led to shameful
incompetence in the top-level management of the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan (the real one) and our nation's embarrassing response to
Without a of sense of shame, some eagerly sweep aside
the tragic blunders of this administration and shout tired slogans such
as "tax-and-spend Democrats." It has hardly been prudent or
conservative to raise our national debt to nearly $10 trillion. What
does one call such reckless spending? Who will pay the debt owed to the
Some may wish to ignore the way such poor leadership has
led to cynicism across our great nation and utter disbelief throughout
the world. This foolish waste of our resources, this degradation of our
moral character and standing in the world is why we cannot speak with
any force to the Russians.
Our having veered so far from the
principles which make America great is the very reason people insist on
change. It is the reason our next president will have to work so hard
to restore what has been lost.
Roby M. Kerr is a resident of Macon
Aug. 27, 2008
He told it like it
I would like to thank Roby Kerr for an outstanding
letter in Wednesday's Opinion section.
neither a conservative or a liberal, but a concerned American, I am
ashamed the course my country has taken under a president whose
administration in the last eight years has destroyed our economy, our
national image and the lives of those who have lost loved ones in a war
waged for profit.
He put into words the thoughts many of us have
yearned to shout. Remember that this failed president inherited a
manageable budget that was reducing our national debt, but our children
and their children will have to pay a $10 trillion debt his presidency
borrowed to support his immoral policies.
Yes, immoral. Tell it
as it is. How else can you describe a war for profit, the torture of
prisoners he has allowed and the constant loss of civil rights he has
pursued? One wonders why the World Court has not indicted him as a war
Aug. 28, 2008
May be 'ignorant,'
of the frequent contributors to Viewpoints seems to delight in calling
those who disagree with his ideas "ignorant." Certainly, this is
impolite if not subtle bigotry. His last letter referred to those who
do not support the political right.
We have just experienced five
and a half years of one of his favorite right-wingers - President
George W. Bush. I did not vote for this man, who even if he talks to
his God every day, has violated almost all the principles of the creed
I hold so dear. The right to life is not exclusive to the unborn, and
this writer's champion initiated an
immoral war that caused the deaths
of more than 4,000 of America's finest citizens along with ,by most
estimates worldwide, more than 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women and
Where are the right-to-lifers condemning this war
crime? I might be one of the "ignorant" 63 percent of American
citizens, who, in a July countrywide poll, support Roe vs. Wade. I may
be one of the "ignorants" who finds Mr. Bush's infliction of torture on
prisoners who have been denied one of the most basic human rights, that
of legal representation by counsel, to be reprehensible.
by the way, morality did not start with Christianity, as espoused by
this writer. I refer to the Code of Hammurabi, written 1,760 years
before the Christian Era which held that some laws are so fundamental
as to be beyond the ability of even a king to change, hence to be
Bill P. Northenor
charade/fiasco called the Iraq War
could not agree more with Steve Hull's letter, "Faces of the fallen."
His opinions of our national and state politicians regarding the
shameful charade/fiasco called the Iraq War are sorely accurate and
deserve our strongest protest.
More than 4,000 of our sons and
daughters are dead in a war that was not necessary, poorly planned and
executed, and motivated only by the ego of the worst president in our
nation's history and the profit potential seen by Dick Cheney and the
military/industrial and oil corporations. While these men and women are
giving their lives, the rest of the country goes to the malls, gripes
about the rising prices and gives only passing, if any notice to the
daily KIA announcements.
Why? Because they think it doesn't
involve them. Wrong. This fiasco has cost so much and increased the
national debt so greatly that the U.S. dollar is a hollow shell of what
it should be. There is no draft because if there were, the streets
would be filled with protesters. There is no rationing because it would
beg questions of these politicians.
How can George Bush, Cheney,
Don Rumsfeld, etc., sleep knowing they caused these deaths with their
lies? This fiasco has lasted almost eight years with no end in sight.
Its my opinion that they deserve an Exxon/Mobil " Employee of the
They earned it. How can those who supported their
lies not come forward and denounce them? We have politicians not
leaders. We are sorely in need of leaders today.
Posted on Wed, Jun. 11, 2008
Send them Warmongers to
outrages perpetrated by President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney
on our Constitution and the balance of power structured therein are
legion. The war in Iraq breaks international law because it was
unprovoked, though some Americans are still uneducated enough to
believe that if any Muslim people are guilty of attacking us, that is
an excuse to attack any and all Muslim countries.
Torture has now
become fashionable for so-called "enlightened" countries. Mr. Bush and
Mr. Cheney have blatantly disregarded Congress and the many subpoenas
they and their subordinates have received on various issues ranging
from the outing of Valerie Plame to the firing of U.S. attorneys for
purely political motives.
They have shown over and over again
that they don't believe in the "democracy" they claim to want to export
to other countries, and indeed, it is becoming more and more apparent
that their motives in beginning the war in Iraq were nefarious. People
say there is no point in impeaching them because their eight years of
gross mismanagement and corruption are nearly over. I say we should not
let them get away with their high crimes and misdemeanors. Impeach them
now and let them leave the White House for the prison they belong in.
Posted on Fri, Jun. 13, 200
seeking peace on Memorial Day
When General John Logan issued an order in May 1868 to place flowers on
the graves of Civil War soldiers buried in Arlington National Cemetery
- the first official step toward the holiday we know as Memorial Day -
he was following a practice that had originated with women of the
By 1890 every northern state recognized the date of May 30 as a
holiday. Following World War I, southern states finally joined them as
the holiday began honoring not just Civil War dead, but Americans
killed in any war.
As a Navy corpsman, I tended the physical and mental wounds of hundreds
of soldiers returning from Vietnam. It eventually became clear to me
that war is not the answer. Coming to that realization is as much a
spiritual journey as a political one. That is why I joined Veterans For
Peace, because as a veteran, I know the true cost of war, both human
Of the many veterans' organizations that mark Memorial Day in the U.S.,
Veterans For Peace explicitly works to stop producing any more war
dead, any more tombstones in Arlington Cemetery, any more garlands for
Our president, Elliott Adams, a former Army paratrooper and Vietnam
combat vet, is heartfelt when he says, "Our statement of purpose is
clear and direct. It says we intend to 'abolish war as an instrument of
national policy.' We want this generation of veterans to be the last."
VFP members choose different ways to walk the road of peace. In 2004,
VFP Chapter 31 in Philadelphia started talking with a handful of young
Iraq war veterans who came back questioning what the government had
sent them to do. Eventually, Iraq Veterans Against the War became a
VFP-sponsored project, grew to more than 1,000 members, and today is
off on its own.
The "Arlington West" project in California, originated by the Santa
Barbara chapter, has inspired several similar memorials around the
nation, each emotionally powerful with their precise rows of crosses or
headstones for each soldier killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Truth in Recruiting campaigns that give high school students the facts
military recruiters leave out, are conducted by several units including
chapters in Santa Fe and Philadelphia.
A chapter in upstate New York marked Veterans Day last year by taking
out a full page ad in the Watertown Daily Times to run an "Open Letter
to the Soldiers of Fort Drum," who are among the most frequently
deployed to Iraq. The letter ended with a question certain to stir
soldiers' thinking. "How much longer must we support a mistake (and)
send more and more members of our military to their early gravesÉto
justify the mistakes of the politicians in Washington?"
"It is certainly fitting to place flowers on the graves of young men
and women killed in our nation's wars," Adams said, "but better still
to place our hand over our heart and pledge there will be no more."
Indeed, many VFP members will acknowledge that making peace in one's
own heart can seem as daunting as making peace in the world, but that
is where it must begin.
Mike Ferner is a national board member of Veterans For Peace and author
of "Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq."
Posted on Sat, May.
Remember our soldiers
does not matter whether or not one agrees with the war in Iraq, just
remember the sacrifices that our young men and women are making daily.
A popular quote from a T-shirt that I saw recently: "All Gave Some,
Some Gave All."
Where would we be if not for our gallant armed
forces, during World War II they were part of what has been called "The
Greatest Generation," and certainly this is a fitting description.
Memorial Day is approaching, so please take time to remember the
service and sacrifices made and being made for all of us. If you have a
loved one in harm's way, I know that you are praying for them, if you
do not, pray for someone else's loved one. May God bless America.
Posted on Fri, May.
America stands at the precipice of disaster
do George Bush, John McCain and Hillary Clinton have in common? As I
woke up the morning after staying up to see the end of the Indiana
vote, I was reflecting on the faces and demeanor of Hillary, Chelsea
and Bill Clinton during her victory speech and thought to myself that
surely the madness of continuing the campaign must have finally sunk in.
I was surprised to hear later that day that Clinton's campaign, after
borrowing $5 million just a few weeks ago and an additional $6.4
million to get through North Carolina and Indiana, would be borrowing
more millions to go into West Virginia and Kentucky.
What part of " all
over" don't they seem to understand?
to answer the introductory question. Bush wants to continue to borrow
billions of dollars to keep a losing war going in Iraq, while the
economy, national debt, infrastructure, gas prices and individual
income spiral out of control. McCain wants to follow Bush's idiotic
lead by allowing that we may have to stay in Iraq for 50 years or more,
borrowing more billions, I presume.
Clinton wants to
totally lost campaign, borrowing more money and driven by some
psychotic delusion that she can still win. At least Bush will be gone
in January; now the question for all Americans must be, "Do I want
either one of these other people in charge of the American economy for
The destruction of
the Soviet empire came about as a
result of the brilliance of the Reagan administration and the
disastrous war in Afghanistan. America stands at the precipice of a
similar destruction unless the Bush madness is stopped, McCain's desire
to continue it is thwarted, and Clinton is stopped now and forever.
Bill P. Northenor is
a resident of Warner Robins.
A new study by the
Center for Public Integrity documents 935
public lies by leading members of the Bush clique in the two
years after 9/11/2001 to mislead Americans into supporting their
aggression against Iraq.
935 Lies by
the Bush clique:
2-minute video on how the billions wasted on
war COULD HAVE BEEN SPENT:
God doesn't order jihad
I have some concerns
about the recent letter to the editor asserting that the Iraq war is
actually a "mandate from God."
since God is omnipotent (all-knowing), shouldn't he have clued
President Bush in to the fact that Iraq did not have weapons of mass
Next, I really don't
believe that God is in the business of ordering Christian jihad (holy
if I am guilty of "blasphemous comments" by criticizing Bush's handling
of the Iraq war, I will gladly stand in judgment for those beliefs
before my maker.
Daryl J. Morton
Posted on Fri, Mar.
God is not an American
ever there were a near-blasphemous statement about the Bush
administration's attack on Iraq, it is Dwain Penn's saying it was "a
mandate from God." Last time I checked - I have a graduate degree in
Bible and theology - the Holy Trinity does not consist of Bush, Cheney
Like you and me, they
are sinful human beings; we
need to pray not only for daily bread, but for daily forgiveness and a
closer walk with God (Jesus for Christians) in order to grow in love
and service of others.
Let us pray for our
elected leaders in
this light. By the way, God is not a Republican, not even an American.
God loves every person, whether in America (North and South), Africa,
Asia, etc. Do we? Something else to pray for if we want to be more like
David B. Conner, M. Divinity
Mandate from God?
who took that phone call? Unfortunately, by using this logic the writer
has just endorsed every Islamic extremist out there. Their God told
them to do it, too. May I suggest that we all need to drag our
Bibles/Korans out and do some reading before we drag God into the
First, pick a
testament - if you are going to quote the Old Testament, then live
the Old Testament. If you want guidance, seek out some Jewish people
because the Old Testament is how they live their lives.
you reference the New Testament, I think you will find it difficult to
say that anyone mandated anything like war. WWJD? Bomb someone? Really?
Yes, we have a social conscience to protect our people, our country,
etc., but we should be looking at things from a higher perspective
instead of the basest of human experience.
It is interesting
that we are reacting more like Cain and Abel and less like Jesus
thousands of years after his death.
Posted on Thu, Mar.
A mandate from God
this year at a local church breakfast, I overheard someone say, "the
Iraq war is a farce." As a Republican, the assessment offended me, and
as a Christian, I was surprised this person did not fully understand
why President Bush went to war in Iraq - a mandate from God.
Mr. Bush was cleaning up a mess left by President Clinton. Saddam
Hussein was a thorn in the paw of the world. Even the most liberal
media dubbed Saddam as the madman of the Middle East, the bad man of
Baghdad. His saber rattling about his military power concerned world
When the U.S. invaded
Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, in
response to 9/11, we had no conflict with the government of Afghanistan
except perhaps their opium production. We were after al-Qaida and
Taliban strongholds there.
resources already in the
area, it was only a prudent and wise decision to invade Iraq. In
bowling, they call it a one-ten split. The report, later to be revealed
was wrong, that Saddam had purchased radioactive materials from Niger
was from a government agency with a half-century legacy of accuracy.
is Iraq dubbed "Bush's War?" The press will stop at nothing to put a
Democrat back in the White House. Before voicing disparaging remarks
about something that has such strong ties with God, one should pause
and ask for spiritual insight. Otherwise one may be guilty of
Dwain W. Penn
Posted on Wed, Mar.
Viewpoints, someone compared
Sen. Barack Obama's "change" to Mao and Lenin. For this poor
illiterate's information, Mao killed more people than anyone in the
history of the world (80 million) and Lenin's change was not an
intelligent passive political or economic change; he was a murderer, a
liar and a psycho.
Mr. Obama is advising
the voters of America
that if they vote for him, he will do everything in his power to
correct the mistakes and idiocies of the guy I once voted for. Mr. Bush
will probably go down as America's most inept president as well as
putting young men and women in harm's way in Iraq.
The world is
full of dictators: Wouldn't it have made more sense to blame 9/11 on
Saudi Arabia where 15 of the culprits were born, educated and trained,
than Sadaam's Iraq who had absolutely nothing to do with the attack?
is a terrifically intelligent person who will take the reins of the
presidency and do as well as anyone can do, given the mess that Mr.
Bush will hand over to him. As to the Rev. Wright's negative remarks
concerning America, I think Obama should be judged to be very brave in
not turning his back on this person. It would have been much easier for
him to say "I reject this person and am appalled at his remarks," but
instead he reminded us all that we have sat in a church, synagogue or
temple and at times listened to the sermon and not agreed with the
preacher, be he a priest, pastor or rabbi.
Robert L. Schwartz
Posted on Wed, Mar.
article calling for impeachment
in The Sunday Washington Post
Why I Believe Bush Must Go
Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are
By George McGovern
Sunday, January 6, 2008; B01
As we enter
the eighth year of the Bush-Cheney administration, I have
belatedly and painfully concluded that the only honorable course for me
is to urge the impeachment of the president and the vice president.
After the 1972 presidential election, I
stood clear of calls to impeach
President Richard M. Nixon for his misconduct during the campaign. I
thought that my joining the impeachment effort would be seen as an
expression of personal vengeance toward the president who had defeated
Today I have made a different choice.
Of course, there seems to be little
bipartisan support for impeachment.
The political scene is marked by narrow and sometimes superficial
partisanship, especially among Republicans, and a lack of courage and
statesmanship on the part of too many Democratic politicians. So the
chances of a bipartisan impeachment and conviction are not promising.
But what are the facts?
Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of
numerous impeachable offenses.
They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed
national and international law. They have lied to the American people
time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced
our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the
world. These are truly "high crimes and misdemeanors," to use the
From the beginning, the Bush-Cheney team's
assumption of power was the
product of questionable elections that probably should have been
officially challenged -- perhaps even by a congressional investigation.
In a more fundamental sense, American
democracy has been derailed
throughout the Bush-Cheney regime. The dominant commitment of the
administration has been a murderous, illegal, nonsensical war against
Iraq. That irresponsible venture has killed almost 4,000 Americans,
left many times that number mentally or physically crippled, claimed
the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis (according to a careful
October 2006 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public
Health) and laid waste their country. The financial cost to the United
States is now $250 million a day and is expected to exceed a total of
$1 trillion, most of which we have borrowed from the Chinese and others
as our national debt has now climbed above $9 trillion -- by far the
highest in our national history.
All of this has been done without the
declaration of war from Congress
that the Constitution clearly requires, in defiance of the U.N. Charter
and in violation of international law. This reckless disregard for life
and property, as well as constitutional law, has been accompanied by
the abuse of prisoners, including systematic torture, in direct
violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
I have not been heavily involved in singing
the praises of the Nixon
administration. But the case for impeaching Bush and Cheney is far
stronger than was the case against Nixon and Vice President Spiro T.
Agnew after the 1972 election. The nation would be much more secure and
productive under a Nixon presidency than with Bush. Indeed, has any
administration in our national history been so damaging as the
How could a once-admired, great nation fall
into such a quagmire of
killing, immorality and lawlessness?
It happened in part because the Bush-Cheney
team repeatedly deceived
Congress, the press and the public into believing that Saddam Hussein
had nuclear arms and other horrifying banned weapons that were an
"imminent threat" to the United States. The administration also led the
public to believe that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks -- another
blatant falsehood. Many times in recent years, I have recalled
Jefferson's observation: "Indeed I tremble for my country when I
reflect that God is just."
The basic strategy of the administration has
been to encourage a
climate of fear, letting it exploit the 2001 al-Qaeda attacks not only
to justify the invasion of Iraq but also to excuse such dangerous
misbehavior as the illegal tapping of our telephones by government
agents. The same fear-mongering has led government spokesmen and
cooperative members of the press to imply that we are at war with the
entire Arab and Muslim world -- more than a billion people.
Another shocking perversion has been the
shipping of prisoners scooped
off the streets of Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other
countries without benefit of our time-tested laws of habeas corpus.
Although the president was advised by the
intelligence agencies last
August that Iran had no program to develop nuclear weapons, he
continued to lie to the country and the world. This is the same
strategy of deception that brought us into war in the Arabian Desert
and could lead us into an unjustified invasion of Iran. I can say with
some professional knowledge and experience that if Bush invades yet
another Muslim oil state, it would mark the end of U.S. influence in
the crucial Middle East for decades.
Ironically, while Bush and Cheney made
counterterrorism the battle cry
of their administration, their policies -- especially the war in Iraq
-- have increased the terrorist threat and reduced the security of the
United States. Consider the difference between the policies of the
first President Bush and those of his son. When the Iraqi army marched
into Kuwait in August 1990, President George H.W. Bush gathered the
support of the entire world, including the United Nations, the European
Union and most of the Arab League, to quickly expel Iraqi forces from
Kuwait. The Saudis and Japanese paid most of the cost. Instead of
getting bogged down in a costly occupation, the administration
established a policy of containing the Baathist regime with
international arms inspectors, no-fly zones and economic sanctions.
Iraq was left as a stable country with little or no capacity to
Today, after five years of clumsy, mistaken
policies and U.S. military
occupation, Iraq has become a breeding ground of terrorism and bloody
civil strife. It is no secret that former president Bush, his secretary
of state, James A. Baker III, and his national security adviser, Gen.
Brent Scowcroft, all opposed the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.
In addition to the shocking breakdown of
presidential legal and moral
responsibility, there is the scandalous neglect and mishandling of the
Hurricane Katrina catastrophe. The veteran CNN commentator Jack
Cafferty condenses it to a sentence: "I have never ever seen anything
as badly bungled and poorly handled as this situation in New Orleans."
Any impeachment proceeding must include a careful and critical look at
the collapse of presidential leadership in response to perhaps the
worst natural disaster in U.S. history.
Impeachment is unlikely, of course. But we
must still urge Congress to
act. Impeachment, quite simply, is the procedure written into the
Constitution to deal with presidents who violate the Constitution and
the laws of the land. It is also a way to signal to the American people
and the world that some of us feel strongly enough about the present
drift of our country to support the impeachment of the false prophets
who have led us astray. This, I believe, is the rightful course for an
As former representative Elizabeth Holtzman,
who played a key role in
the Nixon impeachment proceedings, wrote two years ago, "it wasn't
until the most recent revelations that President Bush directed the
wiretapping of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans, in violation
of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) -- and argued that,
as Commander in Chief, he had the right in the interests of national
security to override our country's laws -- that I felt the same sinking
feeling in my stomach as I did during Watergate. . . . A President, any
President, who maintains that he is above the law -- and repeatedly
violates the law -- thereby commits high crimes and misdemeanors."
I believe we have a chance to heal the
wounds the nation has suffered
in the opening decade of the 21st century. This recovery may take a
generation and will depend on the election of a series of rational
presidents and Congresses. At age 85, I won't be around to witness the
completion of the difficult rebuilding of our sorely damaged country,
but I'd like to hold on long enough to see the healing begin.
There has never been a day in my adult life
when I would not have
sacrificed that life to save the United States from genuine danger,
such as the ones we faced when I served as a bomber pilot in World War
II. We must be a great nation because from time to time, we make
gigantic blunders, but so far, we have survived and recovered.
Iraq and Climate Change
What does the Iraq
War have to do with Climate Change? (here)
Surge of More Lies:
A Surge of More Lies
by Congressman Robert Wexler
A new troubling myth has taken hold in Washington and it is critical
that the record is set straight. According to the mainstream media,
Republicans, and unfortunately even some Democrats, the President's
surge in Iraq has been a resounding success. In
fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
This assertion is disingenuous, factually incorrect, and negatively
impacts America's national security. The Surge had a clear and defined
objective - to create stability and security - enabling the Iraqi
government to enact lasting political solutions and foster genuine
reconciliation and cooperation between Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds.
This has not happened.
There has been negligible political
progress in Iraq, and we are no closer to solving the complex problems
- including a power sharing government, oil revenue agreement and new
constitution - than we were before the Administration upped the ante
and sent 30,000 more troops to Iraq.
Too many Democrats in Congress are again surrendering to General
Petraeus and have failed to challenge the Bush Administration's claims
that the surge has been successful. In fact -- it is just
The reduction in violence in Iraq has exposed the continuing failure of
Iraqi officials to solve their substantial political rifts. By
President Bush's own stated goal of political progress, the Surge has
Of course raising troop levels has increased security - a strategy the
Bush administration ignored when presented by General Shinseki before
the war in Iraq began - but the fundamental internal Iraqi problems
remain and the factors that were accelerating the civil war in 2007
have simply been put on hold.
The military progress is a testament to the patience and dedication of
our brave troops - even in the face of 15 month-long deployments
followed by insufficient Veteran's health services when they return
home. They have performed brilliantly - despite the insult of having
President Bush recently veto a military spending bill that enhanced
funding and benefits, and increased care.
Despite the efforts of American soldiers, the surge alone cannot bring
about the political solutions needed to end centuries of sectarian
As it stands, little on the ground supports the assertion that Iraqis
are ready to stand up and govern themselves. Too few Iraqi troops are
trained, equipped and combat ready, and they cannot yet provide
adequate security. Loyalty is also an issue in the Iraqi army as Al
Queda and Sunni insurgents infliltrate their defense forces. The
consequences turned deadly just recently when an Iraqi soldier
purposely killed two U.S. troops.
On the streets of Baghdad and Mosul, the Sunni and Shia factions have
paused their fighting, awaiting guarantees and protections that have
not yet been delivered. As Iraqi refugees return, there is no mechanism
to help them rebuild their lives, nor recover their now-occupied homes.
Neighborhoods once mixed are now segregated.
In Northern Iraq, Kurdish terrorists conducting nefarious operations
across the border into Turkey have compelled our NATO ally to strike at
bases, inflaming tensions between Baghdad and Ankara.
The surge is working? We suffered more U.S. casualties in 2007 than in
any other year of the war. We can't
afford any more of this type of success.
How can we create the situation that is most likely to deliver
political progress in Iraq? Not by continuing the surge and occupation.
Our best chance (there is no guarantee) is by putting real pressure on
the Iraqi government to force action. Telling the national and local
Iraqi leaders that we are withdrawing our troops can help accomplish
this goal. Today, the majority Iraqi Shia government led by Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki has little incentive to act when American
troops remain in the country to provide security and stability.
Based on the Administration's plan, John
McCain's proposal of a 100-year US occupation could be a reality!
The Democratic Congress must act aggressively to first cut off funding
for the surge and then the entire war. Many of my colleagues avoided a
showdown with the administration because they mistakenly believed such
a fight would endanger the safety of the troops.
In fact, we must accept that every soldier killed or injured in the
coming months should have already been home. Every billion dollars of
war-appropriations we spend from here on should have been spent on
genuine priorities here at home such as children's heath care.
Enough is enough: While the Administration over-commits American forces
in Iraq, we see Al Qaeda-regrouping and Osama Bin Laden still at large.
We remain seriously bogged down in Afghanistan, and are witnessing a
crisis in Pakistan that has left a nuclear country on the brink of a
meltdown. America's resources and attention are desperately needed
elsewhere and our soldiers must no longer be needlessly sacrificed as
we wait for Iraqis to stand up.
The Surge has failed. If my
colleagues gullibly accept the moving rationale for the Surge, just as
so many have for the war itself, we will have failed as well.
***To contact me or for more information, go to www.wexlerforcongress.com .
The United States Institute of Peace (usip.org)
is an independent, nonpartisan, national institution established and
funded by Congress.
... about Truth"
Last week our
community lost a real treasure with the passing
of Ron Richards. Ron was a gentle soul who touched the lives of all
those around him with kindness and love.
On a cold,
blustery afternoon in late February 2003, Ron stood at the
corner of Pio Nono and Vineville avenues holding aloft a sign
protesting America's imminent invasion of Iraq. Some of the drivers
passing by gave Ron a thumbs-up or honked their horns, while many
others made obscene gestures toward him.
Last Friday, the
weekly gathering to protest the war drew a much larger
crowd than would have been possible four years ago. Those who honked in
solidarity with the demonstrators far outnumbered those who directed
obscene gestures. It seems that many have finally realized what Ron
tried to tell us years four ago: That the invasion of Iraq was a tragic
mistake, a fiasco of the first order, an immoral waste of human life
and valuable resources, and a testimony to national arrogance and
We will miss you,
Ron, but we will always remember the example you set
for us, and we will try to keep faith.
Posted on Fri, Oct. 19, 2007
Georgians for "Bringing
Them Home" - Now!...
The job of a Citizen is to Speak-Out (Mouths Wide Open)
- Please join us -
THIRD FRIDAY of every month
weekends. Dec. 21-23; Jan. 18-20.
Sisters Lee A. Johnson
of Macon, left, and Peggy Johnson, a Navy veteran of Lexington Okla.
attend a peace rally at the Pentagon in Washington, DC