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What does it take? A sledgehammer to the head?

War Helps Recruit Terrorists, Hill Told (washingtonpost.com)

Man, I try to stay away from the news these days, but every time I dip my toe into it, I go ballistic. What in the world will it take for Congress and the people sucked in by Bush to recognize that he is a complete disaster in every way - but especially in regard to the Iraq war and the so-called "war on terrorism?" Not only does this story confirm a classic truth of what happens when you strike out agressively at something - it fights back, dummy - but it also confirms what so many people were trying to tell Bush and Congress before the damned war. Yes, I am happy that even the Bush recent appointee to head the CIA is starting toget it right - but the plain and simple truth is, Iraq is an umitihated disaster - for the Iraqi people, for us, and most importantly, for the world. Oh - and besides creating terror recruits, we have sent a clear message to countries, such as North Korea: The only way to protect yourself is to go nuclear. September 11, 2001 gave us an incredible, historic opportunity to do several things right and Bush and company responded by doing everything wrong, as the American people in fear and confusion looked on and cheered. Arghhhh . . . back to drawing stars and dogs. There's a sane world out there somewhere.

How we look from the other side of the world! (In a word - ugly.)

The emperor of vulgarity - Mike Carlton - www.smh.com.au

Dom sends me this wonderful link to a column in the Sydney paper that is as satisfying and complete a stream of anti-Bush invective as I have ever read. Now I'm all sweet and understanding when it comes to Little George and his Playmates these days, but oh my! There was a certain satisfaction in reading this and knowing that while half the Americans continue to be fooled by this silly crew, most of the world is not..

The emperor of vulgarity
By Mike Carlton
January 22, 2005

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George Bush's second inaugural extravaganza was every bit as repugnant as I had expected, a vulgar orgy of triumphalism probably unmatched since Napoleon crowned himself emperor of the French in Notre Dame in 1804.

The little Corsican corporal had a few decent victories to his escutcheon. Lodi, Marengo, that sort of thing. Not so this strutting Texan mountebank, with his chimpanzee smirk and his born-again banalities delivered in that constipated syntax that sounds the way cold cheeseburgers look, and his grinning plastic wife, and his scheming junta of neo-con spivs, shamans, flatterers and armchair warmongers, and his sinuous evasions and his brazen lies, and his sleight of hand theft from the American poor, and his rape of the environment, and his lethal conviction that the world must submit to his Pax Americana or be bombed into charcoal.

Difficult to know what was more repellent: the estimated $US40 million cost of this jamboree (most of it stumped up by Republican fat-cats buying future presidential favours), or the sheer crassness of its excess when American boys are dying in the quagmire of Bush's very own Iraq war.

Other wartime presidents sought restraint. Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address in 1865 - "with malice toward none, with charity for all" - is the shortest ever. And he had pretty much won the Civil War by that time.

In 1944, Franklin Delano Roosevelt opened his fourth-term speech with the "wish that the form of this inauguration be simple and its words brief". He spoke for a couple of eloquent minutes, then went off to a light lunch, his wartime victory almost complete as well.

But restraint is not a Dubya word. Learning nothing, the dumbest and nastiest president since the scandalous Warren Harding died in 1923, Bush is now intent on expanding the Iraq war to neighbouring Iran.

Condoleezza Rice did admit to the US Senate this week that there had been some "not so good" decisions. But the more I see of her gleaming teeth and her fibreglass helmet of hair and her perky confidence, the more I am convinced that back in the '60s she used to be Cindy Birdsong, up there beside Diana Ross as one of the Supremes of Motown fame. I don't think it's a good idea to let her make a comeback as Secretary of State.

THE war in Iran is under way already, if we believe Seymour Hersh, the distinguished investigative writer for The New Yorker magazine.

Hersh reported this week that clandestine US special forces have been on the ground there, targeting nuclear facilities to be bombed whenever Bush feels the time is ripe.

"The immediate goals of the attacks would be to destroy, or at least temporarily derail, Iran's ability to go nuclear," he wrote, quoting reliable intelligence sources.

"But there are other, equally purposeful, motives at work. The government consultant told me that the hawks in the Pentagon, in private discussions, have been urging a limited attack on Iran because they believe it could lead to a toppling of the religious leadership."

Naturally, Pentagon flacks rushed out to deny all. But then they did that when Hersh broke the story of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1968, and again when he revealed the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. A tussle for the truth between Hersh and the Pentagon is no contest.

What terrifies me most is the people planning this new war. The CIA professionals have been frozen out: too weak and wimpy for the Bushies.

The Defence Secretary, the incompetent Donald Rumsfeld, has seized control, aided by two Pentagon under-secretaries. One is Douglas Feith, a mad-eyed Zionist largely responsible for the post-invasion collapse of order in Iraq, a civilian bureaucrat memorably described by the former Centcom commander, General Tommy Franks, as "the f---ing stupidest guy on the face of the Earth".

The other is army Lieutenant General William G. (Jerry) Boykin, whose name also rings a bell. Jerry is a born-again Christian evangelical, a three-star bigot who, in his spare time, stumps the country in full uniform, preaching that America's enemy is Satan, Allah is a false idol, and that George Bush has been ordained by the Lord to rout evil.

"He's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this," Jerry told a prayer meetin' in Oregon just a while back.

Be very afraid.

We die, they die, Bush sleeps at night

New Papers Suggest Detainee Abuse Was Widespread (washingtonpost.com)

So 15 more soldiers died and the number of wounded has climbed above 10,000 and the reports keep coming in of abuse of Iraqi prisoners and Bush says he sleeps at night? How? Why do the American people continue to tolerate all the inhumanity being done in our name? And what do you think we have done to the psyche of those who come without any physical wounds?

O yeah - and Bush said it was too bad all those soldier had to die just before Christmas. Yeah - like any one of them or their families are syaing now - "Boy, t could take this if it weren't so close to Christmas." Quagmire is too pretty and gentle a term for the festering sewer that we have made of Iraq.

Washing the blood . . . or out, out, dark Rummy

Lott Joins Republican Critics of Rumsfeld (washingtonpost.com)

Even the Republicans are dumping on Rumsfeld these days, but there's no sign Bush gets the message. The messagei is simple: The unease is with his (Bush's) war - Rumsfeld is just a surrogate target. But the truth is, getting rid of Rumsfeld is not going to solve anything. We owe Iraq and the world an apology, then we need to get the hell out of there - and we need to get an effective world goveernment - and fast - before countries, such as China shoot past us and decide to dominate the world in their image.

As far as I'm concerned Iraq is just a symptom of a much greater disease - and ignorance. I 'd like to see it gone, but we have to do so much more. We are the dominant world power now and from that position of strength we could do good - not by remaking the world in our image, but by making a world where the countries and their leaders are controlled by laws that are built to sustain individual human rights. For that we have to give some - we have to swallow some of our own pride and share some of our power. If if we can't do that, I'm not sure anyone else can. In the final analysis, only the top dog can make peace - only those who have confidence and courage can build a safe world.We are the top dog - but Bush has niether confidence nor courage. Brass balls, yes - true confidence, no. Courage? What - to strut about in a soldier's uniform when he avoided war himself as a young man? Send others off to die in your place and not lose any sleep over it? This is not courage - it is immoral and cowardly.

So yeah, get rid of Rummy if you want - but it won't solve the problem. The problem is far deeper and there are no leaders on the horizon with the guts to even recognize it.

Ah fantasy - the White House lives in a world apart

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Fiddling as Iraq Burns

His opening paragraphs say it all:

The White House seems to have slipped the bonds of simple denial and escaped into the disturbing realm of utter delusion. On Tuesday, there was President Bush hanging the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on George Tenet, the former C.I.A. director who slept through the run-up to Sept. 11 and then did the president and the nation the great disservice of declaring that it was a "slam-dunk" that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

It was a fatal misjudgment.

Another Medal of Freedom was given to Paul Bremer III, the chief civilian administrator of the American occupation, who made the heavily criticized decision to disband the defeated Iraqi Army and presided over an ever-worsening security situation. Thousands upon thousands have died in this unnecessary and incompetently conducted war, yet here was the president handing out medals as if some kind of triumph had been achieved. If these guys could get the highest civilian award, what honor is left for someone who actually does a good job?

A third medal was given to Gen. Tommy Franks, who led the invasion of Iraq, which Mr. Bush, in his peculiar way, has characterized as a "catastrophic success." It's an interesting term. Some people have applied it to the president's run for re-election.

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