Monday, June 06, 2005


Please sign Rep. Conyer's "Downing Street Memo" Letter to George W. Bush. He's looking for 1,000,000 signatures. Click on "TELL BUSH OFF" to sign his letter. Here's the text:

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Dear Mr. President:
We the undersigned write because of our concern regarding recent disclosures of a Downing Street Memo in the London Times, comprising the minutes of a meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers. These minutes indicate that the United States and Great Britain agreed, by the summer of 2002, to attack Iraq, well before the invasion and before you even sought Congressional authority to engage in military action, and that U.S. officials were deliberately manipulating intelligence to justify the war.
Among other things, the British government document quotes a high-ranking British official as stating that by July, 2002, Bush had made up his mind to take military action. Yet, a month later, you stated you were still willing to "look at all options" and that there was "no timetable" for war. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, flatly stated that "[t]he president has made no such determination that we should go to war with Iraq."
In addition, the origins of the false contention that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction remain a serious and lingering question about the lead up to the war. There is an ongoing debate about whether this was the result of a "massive intelligence failure," in other words a mistake, or the result of intentional and deliberate manipulation of intelligence to justify the case for war. The memo appears to resolve that debate as well, quoting the head of British intelligence as indicating that in the United States "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
As a result of these concerns, we would ask that you respond to the following questions:
1)Do you or anyone in your administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?
2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought Congressional authorization to go to war? Did you or anyone in your Administration obtain Britain's commitment to invade prior to this time?
3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?
4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minister Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?
5) Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to "fix" the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?
These are the same questions 89 Members of Congress, led by Rep. John Conyers, Jr., submitted to you on May 5, 2005. As citizens and taxpayers, we believe it is imperative that our people be able to trust our government and our commander in chief when you make representations and statements regarding our nation engaging in war. As a result, we would ask that you publicly respond to these questions as promptly as possible.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

One More Nail in the Coffin

As the nomination of Chris Cox, an avowed advocate of anti-consumer and pro-corporate legislation to head to the SEC proves, the current administration is intent on getting its own way regardless of the consequence to the American public. Like the Bolton nomination, a nomination equivalent to placing Ted Bundy alone with a rope in a college sorority, the elevation of Cox is just another sign that the quest for power, and power alone, is at the heart of the Bush Administration’s agenda. More than at any time in our political history, fundamental American institutions are being assaulted and pummeled by a small number of outright liars and thieves who will not let small considerations like honesty, integrity, and truth stand in their way.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

How the GOP Makes Me Feel

Once, when I was eleven years old, I came down early in my pajamas before my parents had gotten up. Half stumbling to the kitchen, I turned aside and stood at the head of the cellar steps. Without thought, and as naturally as could be, I began to urinate down the steps. There I was, my brain shouting, “What in the hell are you doing?” and my body unable to respond, exactly the same feeling of helplessness I get when I see George W. Bush, or anyone, ripping apart the fabric of this nation—or worse, my lifelong perception of it.

Downing Street "Minute"

On July 23, 2002, almost eight months before the Bush Administration received authorization from Congress to go to war, a group of British politicians and intelligence agents sat down for a meeting at 10 Downing Street. The leaked secret and official minutes of that meeting (verified as genuine by British government sources) surfaced in a London Sunday Times article on May 1, 2005, and so far there has been little news coverage or visible effect in the United States. The document reveals that Richard Dearlove, MI6 chief:

… reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

This is smoking gun proof that George W. Bush lied to Congress and the American people when he said he wanted a diplomatic solution to the Iraq/Saddam Hussein issue.

Dearlove went on:

It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.

Bush’s intention all along was to use armed force rather than diplomacy. What will it take for the American public to wake up and see what George W. Bush has done and is still doing to this country? 1,665 unnecessary American dead, and still counting.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

What Needed To Be Said

Every once in awhile there will be an essay that captures everything we’ve been thinking but failed to put into words. Juan Cole’s reply to Matthew Haughey is one of those essays. Read it.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Two Years Of Death And Destruction In Iraq

By way of Gary Younge of the Guardian, two quotes I wish I had made:

"If our guys want to poke somebody in the chest to get the name of a bomb maker so they can save the lives of Americans, I'm for it," said Republican senator Jim Talent at a recent hearing on torture. How about ramming someone who does not have the name of a bomb maker in the anus with a truncheon, Mr Talent. Are you for that too?


"US troop withdrawal," said Bush last week, "would be done depending upon the ability of Iraqis to defend themselves." They are already defending themselves Mr Bush - from you.

My nation, America, has condoned the use of torture, napalm, cluster bombs, and other assorted depleted-uranium projectiles against hapless Iraqi civilians—and for what?

Dante had the right idea. If there was truly such a thing as justice in this flawed world then George W. Bush and his lying band would have to suffer and re-suffer the same fate as each dead, tortured, and maimed Iraqi innocent in perpetuity.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Bush, Camus, and Sartre

There’s nothing earth-shattering in the knowledge that George W. Bush doesn’t know what in the hell he’s talking about, but sometimes the irony is too sweet to ignore. Here’s a tidbit from Ronald Aronson, the author of Camus and Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel that Ended It. He is also a professor of humanities at Wayne State University.

A careful reading of "The Fall" reveals that President Bush's quote from Albert Camus in Brussels was an astonishing mistake. Many of our European friends may now be laughing up their sleeves at the United States' head of state. To those who know Camus, a White House speechwriter may have created a spectacle, in which the president unwittingly parodied himself.

The quote, "freedom is a long-distance race," was ripped from its context, one that establishes beyond doubt that Camus' words were not meant straightforwardly. No, a careful reading makes clear they were intended as a spoof of the thought of his former good friend, Jean-Paul Sartre.


The paragraph from which the president quoted begins by having Clamence extolling slavery, as Camus believed Sartre had done by aligning himself with the French Communist Party. Then Camus has Clamence condemn himself of hypocrisy, for which Camus criticized Sartre in his journal, by saying that that he "was always talking of freedom. At breakfast I used to spread it on my toast, I used to chew it all day long, and in company my breath was delightfully redolent of freedom. With that key word I would bludgeon whoever contradicted me; I made it serve my desires and my power."


Camus' character, while sounding resolute and tireless about pursuing freedom, making it seem daunting and thankless but the mark of a true human being, is really prattling on about freedom. He is intimidating people with it, using it for purposes of self-interest and does not at all believe in it. The grand-sounding phrase about freedom being a "long-distance race" is just another piece of flimflam. Camus, a writer who pondered every phrase, every word, might turn in his grave upon hearing Bush misunderstand his meaning.

Prattling on indeed. Bush is an “ignoranus” – he’s not only stupid, he’s an asshole too.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

What We've Lost

One of the things that upsets me the most about the present and its plethora of moving images and vast indigestible stream of information is the loss of the imaginative necessity that reading (the only way we could know the world) required.

The world, Africa for example, seemed a fuller place when my access to it was National Geographic and Graham Greene novels, not the blast and surfeit of contemporary information, most of which, even if it has value, can’t be humanly held together in a cohesive whole. Then, a generalist (with a liberal education) had value—now everything it would have taken a lifetime to know can be found with a single click of a computer button. I can’t remember who said it, but this encapsulates the issue, “There is more information in a single Sunday New York Times than it took a man, in Shakespeare’s day, a lifetime to accrue.”

All of which brings me to the thought that unless a person is a specialist in one tiny corner of this welter of information they are by circumstance marginalized by a society which values apparent certainty and expertise. What we’ve lost is the capacity reading gave us for wonder (in its most incredible sense), and I miss it very much. Perhaps this is what’s at the heart of my current feeling of being overwhelmed—the former slowness of the process of learning, and it’s value, have changed dramatically in such a few, short years.

Have we finally exceeded our human ability to process information? Is how I feel a consequence of age? Have all generations experienced the same feeling? Is my complaint merely a time-honored case of sour grapes at being left behind? Perhaps there’s an element of all of this in my current state of mind, but overall, at least in a human sense, I believe we’ve lost more than we’ve gained.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?