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Thursday, May 6

Going over the War Crimes Travesty So Far

Bush should really be embarrassed that he was kept out of the loop. If he would have asked me, I would have told him not to trust Rummy and fire his ass. The President chastised Rumsfeld for his handling of this scandal on Wednesday. I'm wondering if the President is more upset that this wasn't covered up. I'm sure he's pissed that the soldiers who committed these acts actually took pictures and shared them with each other.
"The disclosures by the White House officials, under authorization from Bush, were an extraordinary display of finger-pointing in an administration led by a man who puts a high premium on order and loyalty. The officials said the president had expressed his displeasure to Rumsfeld during a meeting in the Oval Office because of Rumsfeld's failure to tell Bush about photographs of the abuse, which have enraged the Arab world.

The disclosure of the dressing-down of the combative Rumsfeld was the first time Bush has made public his anger with a senior member of his administration. It also exposed the fault lines in Bush's inner circle that have only deepened with the violence and political chaos in American-occupied Iraq.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is antagonistic to Rumsfeld, went so far Tuesday night as to talk about the prison-abuse scandal in the context of the My Lai massacre in the Vietnam War, a historical reference that was not in the White House talking points that sought to stem the damage from the scandal.

Powell, in an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," brought up My Lai without prompting from King, saying he served in Vietnam "after My Lai happened" and that "in war, these sorts of horrible things happen every now and again, but they're still to be deplored." -LA Daily News

Colin Powell would be the one I would have kept in the loop if I had no other choice. Condi and Karen Hughes are just "yes men" and would be of no use to me. The big problem I have with Powell though is that while he sort of is a man of principle... he really isn't. It's time for him to quit and come out and tell the truth. Or just quit. That would say it all. Then again, he knows that he will be smeared mercilessly. But then again, a real man should come forward and take the consequences. If he did so now, he would probably win the hearts of American people and save us from more wars. Waiting much longer really is a signal that Powell is complicit with this Messiah complex of the POTUS, a former coke head and alcoholic. Powell's aides are disgusted with the situation. One aid came out and said that the secretary of state is fed up with apologizing for the administration and is disdainful of 'ideological' hawks. But Bush still backs Rummy.
""The president met with Secretary Rumsfeld yesterday and they had a good discussion. I will leave it at that," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. "The president very much appreciates the job Secretary Rumsfeld is doing and the president has great confidence in his leadership."
So we found out that Bush had -no idea about the atrocities going on in Iraqi prisons until it was aired on 60 Minutes II. He should be out of his freaking mind with rage at his chain of command if this is true. And it must be true. Why? Because he was happily trotting across the country for months raising money for his election campaign and explaining how we are winning the 'war on terror'. If he really knew about these atrocities, he would have done something to get this covered up or dealt with it over a year ago while the Army was investigating it.
"In the last 16 months, the Army has conducted more than 30 criminal investigations into misconduct by American captors in Iraq and Afghanistan, including 10 cases of suspicious death, 10 cases of abuse, and two deaths already determined to have been criminal homicides, the Army's vice chief of staff said Tuesday." -NY TImes
On the other hand, Bush must have known, someone must have told him, that war is hell and some soldiers and "Paid Contractors" might do stuff that is really bad and against the Geneva Convention because Bush made sure that the US couldn't be dragged before the International Criminal Court for war crimes back in 2002. It probably wasn't his idea to come up with that idea, but it should have raised some flags in his mind. (I am assuming that he actually has a couple of brain cells left to rub together)

Unfortunately our President doesn't read. The US Military was also committing war crimes by demolishing homes and civilian properties in Iraq, which is prohibited by the Geneva Convention. A letter was sent by a NY Human Rights group to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld asking him to assure that US Troops were abiding by the 1949 Geneva Conventions and hold troops who violated it responsible for their actions. Apparently Rummy did not mention this to the POTUS.

Guess Bush didn't know about the investigation into sadistic and wanton criminal abuses at U.S. military prisons in Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, Iraq. It was requested by the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, and written by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba in January. It was discovered that:
"... the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts:
Punching, slapping and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet.
Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees.
Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing.
Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped.
Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them.
Positioning a naked detainee on a box [of meals ready to eat], with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes and penis to simulate electric torture.
Writing "I am a Rapest" (sic) on the leg of a detainee alleged to have forcibly raped a 15-year-old fellow detainee, and then photographing him naked.
Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee's neck and having a female soldier pose for a picture.
A male MP [military police] guard having sex with a female detainee.
Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee.
Taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees.
Well why wouldn't the President know about it? Apparently Rummy didn't even read and he admitted it in a press conference at the Pentagon. Can you imagine having a press conference and then not being familiar with the very report that the journalists had already read? Read the Pentagon News Briefing and be as embarrassed as I am.
"There certainly are allegations of abuse in various other locations," Rumsfeld said. He called the images of hooded, naked Iraqi prisoners being made to stand or kneel in humiliating poses before smiling American guards "troubling ... disturbing ... (and) clearly unhelpful." [unhelpful? this man has such a -stupid way with words .- BlondeSense]

But Rumsfeld rejected criticism of how he handled the matter as per usual. He said the slow pace of reporting the allegations up the chain of command was "perfectly proper." Asked why he did not demand to see photographs of the alleged abuses that his top general was trying to keep off of a CBS broadcast, Rumsfeld said, "I think I inquired about the pictures and was told we didn't have copies." -Arizona Central
Do you believe the arrogance of this man? He really doesn't even a shit and doesn't care if we know about it.
"The same day that Rumsfeld added his contribution to the history of Orwellian statements by high officials, the Senate armed services committee was briefed behind closed doors for the first time not only about Abu Ghraib, but about military and CIA prisons in Afghanistan. It learned of the deaths of 25 prisoners and two murders in Iraq; that private contractors were at the centre of these lethal incidents; and that no one had been charged. The senators were given no details about the private contractors. They might as well have been fitted with hoods.

Many of them, Democratic and Republican, were infuriated that there was no accountability and no punishment and demanded a special investigation, but the Republican leadership quashed it. The senators want Rumsfeld to testify in a public hearing, but he is resisting and the Republican leaders are blocking it. -The Guardian"
Are you getting nauseaus? I am. Didn't the Republican leaders take an oath to defend the constitution? They are defending their party, right or wrong. Now that is just plain despicable. The Guardian goes on to say:
Bush has created what is in effect a gulag. It stretches from prisons in Afghanistan to Iraq, from Guantánamo to secret CIA prisons around the world. There are perhaps 10,000 people being held in Iraq, 1,000 in Afghanistan and almost 700 in Guantánamo, but no one knows the exact numbers. The law as it applies to them is whatever the executive deems necessary. There has been nothing like this system since the fall of the Soviet Union. The US military embraced the Geneva conventions after the second world war, because applying them to prisoners of war protects American soldiers. But the Bush administration, in an internal fight, trumped its argument by designating those at Guantánamo "enemy combatants". Rumsfeld extended this system - "a legal black hole", according to Human Rights Watch - to Afghanistan and then Iraq, openly rejecting the conventions.

Private contractors, according to the Toguba report, gave orders to US soldiers to torture prisoners. Their presence in Iraq is a result of the Bush military strategy of invading with a relatively light force. The gap has been filled by private contractors, who are not subject to Iraqi law or the US military code of justice. Now, there are an estimated 20,000 of them on the ground in Iraq, a larger force than the British army."
I heard from an insider last evening that private contractors are being paid $125,000/yr. The US is sending letters to former Marines to come back to Iraq. Big bucks. Killing spree with no laws, baby. The Democrats today are calling for Rumsfeld to be fired. Like that will ever happen.

U.S. soldiers who detained an elderly Iraqi woman last year placed a harness on her, made her crawl on all fours and rode her like a donkey, Prime Minister Tony Blair 's personal human rights envoy to Iraq said Wednesday to the Associated Press.. This is just sick.

Back to Bush. He agreed to go on Arab television to appease the Arabs. "Hours before President George W. Bush announced plans to address the Arab world to condemn the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military personnel at the Abu Ghraib prison, Rush Limbaugh justified the U.S. guards' mistreatment of the Iraqis, stating that they were just "having a good time," and that their actions served as an "emotional release.""(*) Way to go asshole. And on May 4, the same day that Rush Limbaugh released his spew, Weekly Standard online editor Jonathan V. Last said on CNBC's Dennis Miller that he believed worse things happen in fraternity houses ..." (*) I think I have entered a parallel universe. In real life I have encountered people with similar comments too. I don't know if I am long for this world. Am I the aberration? Or has this country gone totally bonkers? Apparently it has. While the Arabs warned us that a war in Iraq would threaten middle east stability, right wing hawks still call for more war. History would show however, that Arabs are not into 'democracy'. It doesn't matter to the Bush White House. Bush keeps saying we have a calling to bring freedom and democracy to the world. No we don't. Where does he get this stuff? There's nothing in the constitution about it and I doubt Bush read that anyway. His hawk advisors probably only told him what parts fit their agenda. I urge you to read Maureen Farrell's editorial at Buzzflash for more chilling information and commentary cause I'm digressing and will never finish this blog post.

Ok, so Bush decided to address the Arabs while American media was applauding the naughty soldiers for their frat boy pranks. The Arab's are angry though. They say it's too late now to apologize and guess what? Bush offered no apology Nope. No sirree. Bush doesn't apologize for anything and no one gets fired. Nope. Scott McClellan apologized for Bush at a press gaggle later on. Read an account of how Arabs in many countries viewed the President's lousy apology.

Slate has a great commentary on Bush's speeches where he states how there was no more torture in Iraq, no rape rooms, no mass graves. If this guy gets re-elected, if there is another republican house and senate after November, I don't know people, I don't know.

UPDATE 5/11/04: The Army Times has an editorial that puts the blame all the way to the top of the chain of command. Check it out.