Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A video tribute to soldiers from (just) Connecticut who have died in Iraq

Imagine a video with every soldier-

Saturday, May 26, 2007

NEW YORK TIMES: Opposition to Iraq War at All-Time High

May 24, 2007
U.S. Opposition to Iraq War at All-Time High, Poll Shows

Americans now view the war in Iraq more negatively than at any time since the war began, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Six in 10 Americans surveyed say the United States should have stayed out of Iraq, and more than three in four say that things are going badly there — including nearly half who say things are going very badly, the poll found.

Still, the majority of Americans support continuing to finance the war, as long as the Iraqi government meets specific goals.

President Bush’s approval ratings remain near the lowest point of his more than six years in office. Thirty percent of poll respondents approve of the job he’s doing overall, while 63 percent disapprove. Majorities of those polled disapprove of Mr. Bush’s handling of the situation in Iraq, of foreign policy, of immigration, of the economy and of the campaign against terrorism.

At a news conference in the Rose Garden this morning, President Bush seemed to acknowledge the erosion of public support for his administration’s policy in Iraq, even as he defended the policy. “Failure in Iraq affects the security of this country,” he said. “And it’s hard for some Americans to see that. I fully understand it. I see it clearly.”

Mr. Bush said he saw a need for “more of a national discussion” on “the consequences of failure in Iraq.”

“See, people have got to understand that if that government were to fall, the people would tend to divide into kind of sectarian enclaves much more so than today,” he said. “That would invite Iranian influence and would invite Al Qaeda influence, much more so than in Iraq today.”

Beyond the war issue, the poll found widespread concern over the nation’s overall direction. More Americans — 72 percent — now say that “generally, things in the country are seriously off on the wrong track” than at any time since the Times/CBS News poll began asking the question in 1983. The figure had been in the high 60’s earlier this year.

But the poll results made clear that the war continues to be the issue Americans are most worried about. Sixty-one percent of respondents now say that the United States should never have taken military action against Iraq, up from 51 percent in a CBS News poll in April and 58 percent in the same poll in January. Seventy-six percent say that things are going badly in the effort to bring stability and order to Iraq, including 47 percent who say they’re going very badly.

Mr. Bush warned today of still worse violence to come in Iraq in the months before Gen. David Petraeus is scheduled to report on progress there in September. “It could make August a tough month, because, you see, what they’re going to try to do is kill as many innocent people as they can to try to influence the debate here at home,” Mr. Bush said, referring to Al Qaeda and anti-American Iraqi militants. “Don’t you find that interesting -- I do -- that they recognize that the death of innocent people could shake our will?”

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted Friday through Wednesday with 1,125 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

A large majority of the public — 76 percent, including a majority of Republicans — say that the additional American troops sent to Iraq this year by Mr. Bush have either had no impact or are making things worse there. Twenty percent think the troop increase is improving the situation in Iraq.

A majority of Americans continue to support a timetable for withdrawal. Sixty-three percent say the United States should set a date for withdrawing troops from Iraq sometime in 2008.

While the troops remain in Iraq, the overwhelming majority of Americans support continuing to finance the war, though most want to do so with conditions. Thirteen percent want Congress to block all spending on the war. The majority, 69 percent, including 62 percent of Republicans, say Congress should appropriate money for the war, but on the condition that the United States sets benchmarks for progress and that the Iraqi government meets those goals. Fifteen percent of all respondents want Congress to approve war spending without conditions.

President Bush acknowledged the majority view at the news conference today when he spoke about the war spending bill now pending in Congress.

“As it provides vital funds for our troops, this bill also reflects a consensus that the Iraqi government needs to show real progress in return for America’s continued support and sacrifice,” he said in his opening remarks. “The Iraqi Study Group recommended that we hold the Iraqi government to the series of benchmarks for improved security, political reconciliation and governance that the Iraqis have set for themselves. I agree. So does the Congress. And the bill reflects that recommendation.”

Even so, the poll found that Americans now have more faith in the Democrats than in the Republicans on the issue of the Iraq war. For the first time, more than half of those polled — 51 percent — said the Democratic party is more likely than the Republican party to make the right decisions about the war.

In general, more Americans now have a favorable view of the Democratic party (53 percent) than of the Republican party (38 percent). The Republican party has not had a majority positive rating in a New York Times/CBS News poll since December 2003.

As for Mr. Bush, 23 percent approve of his handling of the situation in Iraq, while 72 percent disapprove; 25 percent approve of his handling of foreign policy, while 66 percent disapprove; and 27 percent approve of his handling of immigration issues, while 60 percent disapprove.

On the economy, 38 percent approve of Mr. Bush’s handling of the issue, and on the campaign against terrorism, 40 percent approve, matching his career low on the issue.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

US Marines Kill civilians trying to surrender - and urinate on them

The US forces in Iraq continue with their bad behavior - and some believe these criminal soldiers are victims themselves of their circumstances. Following the new strategy in American law- some criminals are granted immunity from prosecution if they nark on someone else. Couldn't they just be given a reduced sentence - do they deserve complete immunity?

Marine admits urinating on dead Iraqi at Haditha

A US marine has admitted he urinated on the head of one of 24 Iraqi civilians killed by his unit in Haditha, saying he was motivated by anger over the death of one of his squad members.

Sergeant Sanick Dela Cruz, who has immunity from prosecution after murder charges against him were dismissed, also said he watched his squad leader shoot down five Iraqi civilians who were trying to surrender.

In dramatic testimony in a pretrial hearing for one of the seven marines charged in the November 2005 killings and reported cover-up, Sgt Dela Cruz described his bitterness after a roadside bomb ripped Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas, known as 'TJ', into two bloody pieces.

"I know it was a bad thing what I've done, but I done it because I was angry TJ was dead and I pissed on one Iraqi's head," said an unemotional Sgt Dela Cruz in a military courtroom in Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, California.

Sgt Dela Cruz said he had earlier watched squad leader Sergeant Frank Wuterich shoot five men whose hands were up near a car, then admitted to shooting them as they lay on the ground.

Sgt Wuterich "walked to me and told me that if anybody asked, they were running away and the Iraqi Army shot them," testified Sgt Dela Cruz.

Three marines have been charged with murder, and four officers have been charged with dereliction of duty and obstructing the investigation.

Prosecutors contend the killings were revenge for L Cpl Terrazas' death while the marines charged say it was a clearing operation, conducted under lawful orders that had disastrous results.

The Marine Corps initially reported the deaths as a result of the bombing and a firefight with insurgents.

Reporting by Time magazine in January 2006 finally prompted the Marine Corps to investigate the killings.

Sgt Dela Cruz said he was asked four times to lie about what happened in Haditha, although no one asked him about the killings for a time.

Another marine, Sergenant Albert Espinosa, testified that he pressed for an investigation of the killings almost immediately after they occurred in November 2005.

He testified that he was frustrated by the apparent indifference of his commanding officers.

Plame CIA leak Lawsuit in Court - Lawyers questioned by Judge

This is a follow up on The Plame Case

1. Joe Wilson was sent to Niger on a diplomatic mission to see if then Iraq President Hussein was trying to buy weapons grade Uranium to use in Weapons of mass destruction.

2. He came back and reported that it was not true

3. President Bush went on to claim it was true (despite the knowledge that it was not.)

4. Joe Wilson wrote an editorial in the New York Times saying he told the White House that it was not true.

5. Angered Vice President Cheney working with political adviser Karl Rove instructed Cheney's assistant Libbey to leak the fact that Joe Wilson was married to an undercover CIA agent (Valerie Plame)

6. A Republican Attorney was called to see if their was any illeagle activity in the handling of this matter and found and charged Libby with basically obstructing justice. Libby was found guilty. No one was criminally charged with outing the CIA agent.

7. The CIA agent has pubically sued Vice President Cheney, Karl Rove and former State Department official Richard Armitage and Libby.

White House players (from left): Rove, White House Counsel Dan Bartlett, the vice president’s chief of staff Lewis Libby, and Dick Cheney

Other Iraq War News post on this subject

23 Administration Officials Involved In Plame Leak

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby = The Guilty Scapegoat

Piecing together the story of the weapons that weren't

Wolfowitz Emerges as Key Figure in Intel Manipulation

Video Documentary- Part 4 on the Neocons

Joe Wilson's Op-Ed for New York Times

Joe Wilson -Background information

George Tenent is still at the Center of the Storm


White House Lawyer Criticize Plame Suit

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and two other Bush administration officials belittled Valerie Plame's lawsuit Thursday over the disclosure of her CIA identity.

At a nearly-three-hour court hearing, Cheney's lawyer said Plame was making "fanciful claims" in what amounted to "a fishing expedition."

Plame says her constitutional rights were violated by Cheney and his now-convicted former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, as well as White House political adviser Rove and former State Department official Richard Armitage.

Her suit is "principally based on a desire for publicity and book deals," said Michael Waldman, who represents Armitage.

The case is "about egregious conduct by defendants that ruined a woman's career," countered Plame's lawyer, Erwin Chemerinsky.

Several administration officials, including Armitage, Rove and Libby, disclosed Plame's identity to reporters in 2003. That disclosure came after Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, accused the administration of twisting prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Evidence at Libby's trial showed that Cheney told Libby about the CIA employment of Wilson's wife more than a month before she was outed.

U.S. District Judge John Bates questioned both sides closely.

"Why would these government officials have any kind of protection for these disclosures" about Plame's classified CIA status? the judge asked.

Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, arguing on behalf of all the defendants, said there is no allegation that any of them knowingly disclosed classified information.

The Justice Department has asked Bates to drop an invasion of privacy count in the suit because government officials cannot be sued personally for such claims when acting in their official capacity.

"There is nothing these officials could have said that could go beyond the scope of their employment?" asked Bates.

Not in the context of the Plame affair, replied Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Bucholtz. What the suit alleges amounts to a government policy dispute in which the defendants tried to discredit Plame's husband, Bucholtz said.

Plame's lawyer responded that the scope of employment ends where the outing of Plame's CIA identity begins.

Plame's identity was exposed eight days after her husband publicly suggested in The New York Times and on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the administration distorted prewar intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.

To be allowed to pursue their effort to collect compensation, Plame's lawyers must show that Cheney and the other defendants are not immune from such suits.

The vice president "has a lot of the same attributes and considerations that relate to the president," Bucholtz argued, seeking to apply presidential immunity to the vice president.

The judge expressed concern the case might have to delve into classified information comparing Plame's circumstances with those of other CIA officers.

That's a "reasonable prospect," replied Bucholtz.

Chemerinsky pointed out that the government overcame classified information issues in the Libby case, which resulted in his conviction for lying to investigators about how he learned of Plame's identity and what he did with the information.

This up-to-date electronic book on CD-ROM provides the best collection available anywhere of official Federal government information and documents on the subject of the criminal investigation into the possible unauthorized disclosure of classified information regarding Valerie Wilsons CIA affiliation to various reporters in the spring of 2003. The investigation is being headed by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. On October 28, 2005, the grand jury indicted senior White House official I. Lewis Libby on obstruction of justice, false statement and perjury charges for allegedly lying about how and when in 2003 he learned and subsequently disclosed to reporters then-classified information concerning the employment of Valerie Wilson by the Central Intelligence Agency. Libby was charged with one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements in a five-count indictment returned today by a federal grand jury as its term expired, announced Justice Department Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald. The defendant, also known as Scooter Libby, has served since January 20, 2001, as Assistant to the President, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, and Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs. The charges allege that Libby lied to FBI agents who interviewed him on October 14 and November 26, 2003; committed perjury while testifying under oath before the grand jury on March 5 and March 24, 2004; and engaged in obstruction of justice by impeding the grand jurys investigation. The indictment alleges that Libby had frequent access to classified information and frequently spoke with officials of the U.S. intelligence community and other government officials regarding sensitive national security matters. With his responsibilities for national security matters, Libby held security clearances giving him access to classified information. Libby was obligated by federal criminal statute, regulations, executive orders, and a written non-disclosure agreement not to disclose classified information to unauthorized persons, and to properly safeguard classified information against unauthorized disclosure. According to the indictment, on September 26, 2003, the Department of Justice and the FBI began a criminal investigation into the possible unauthorized disclosure of classified information regarding Valerie Wilsons CIA affiliation to various reporters in the spring of 2003. In January 2004, the grand jury investigation began examining possible violations of criminal laws prohibiting disclosing the identity of covert intelligence personnel (The Intelligence Identities Protection Act), improperly disclosing national defense information, making false statements to government agents, and perjury. A major focus of the grand jury investigation was to determine which government officials had disclosed to the media prior to July 14, 2003, information concerning Valerie Wilsons CIA affiliation, and the nature, timing, extent, and purpose of such disclosures. This CD-ROM uses next-generation search technology that allows complete indexing and makes all files on the disc fully searchable. The disc contains information on key characters including: I. Lewis Scooter Libby
Karl Rove
Valerie Plame
Ambassador Joseph WIlson This disc has nearly 58,000 pages reproduced using Adobe Acrobat PDF software and Reader software is included. Advanced search and indexing features are built into our reproduction, providing a complete full-text index. This enables the user to search all the files on the disk at one time for words or phrases using just one search command! The Acrobat cataloging technology adds enormous value and uncommon functionality to this impressive collection of government documents and material. There is no other reference that is as fast, convenient, comprehensive, and portable!

About the Author
The disc has nearly 58,000 pages reproduced using Adobe Acrobat PDF software and Reader software is included. Advanced search and indexing features are built into our reproduction, providing a complete full-text index. This enables the user to search all the files on the disk at one time for words or phrases using just one search command! The Acrobat cataloging technology adds enormous value and uncommon functionality to this impressive collection of government documents and material. There is no other reference that is as fast, convenient, comprehensive, and portable! Our news and educational CD-ROM and DVD-ROM discs are privately compiled collections of official public domain U.S. government files and documents - they are not produced by the federal government. They are designed to provide a convenient user-friendly reference work, utilizing the benefits of the Adobe Acrobat format to uniformly present thousands of pages that can be rapidly reviewed, searched by finding specific words, or printed without untold hours of tedious research and downloading. Vast archives of important public domain government information that might otherwise remain inaccessible are available for instant review no matter where you are. This book-on-a-disc format makes a great reference work and educational tool. There is no other reference that is as fast, convenient, comprehensive, thoroughly researched, and portable - everything you need to know, from the federal sources you trust.

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20070517/cia-leak-lawsuit

Sunday, May 13, 2007

We support our troops - not the mission.

IN MY OPINION- If the US military were to ask for volunteers to help in the search for the missing soldiers in Iraq - more than a million would sign up to do so. Those same capable, heroic people though- would not answer a call to serve in the US presence (occupation) of Iraq.

We support our troops - not the mission.

4,000 Search For Missing US Soldiers

New York Times | May 13, 2007 10:41 PM

About 4,000 American ground troops, supported by surveillance aircraft, attack helicopters and spy satellites, swept towns and farmland south of Baghdad on Sunday, searching for three American soldiers who disappeared Saturday after their patrol was ambushed, military officials said.

The Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella insurgent group that includes Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, said it had captured the three missing Americans and claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed four other American soldiers and an Iraqi Army soldier. The group offered no proof for its claims.

John McCain's thoughts on Iraq

Republican Presidential hopeful Senator John McCain on the Sunday Talk show with Tim Russert takes hit after hit about Iraq, but still stays on the side of the Bush Administration AGAINST the will of the American people and the government of Iraq, sadly.

MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Sunday: Our Meet the Candidates 2008 series continues, an exclusive interview with Republican John McCain. He represented Arizona in the U.S. House for four years, for the past twenty years in the U.S. Senate where he now serves as the ranking member on the Armed Services Committee. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for president in 2000. This morning John McCain joins us for the full hour on MEET THE PRESS.

Senator McCain, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): You didn't have to say unsuccessful; everybody knows that.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, all part of the history. Let's go right to it--Iraq.

SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: We've been talking to voters across the country, our NBC/Wall Street Journal poll: Is victory in Iraq still possible? Thirty-six percent say victory's possible; 55 percent say victory not possible. And look at this, senator. Was the war--was the war--was it a mistake to send troops? Fifty- eight percent say yes, a mistake; 40 percent say no. Are you surprised at those numbers?

SEN. McCAIN: Not too. Particularly on the issue of the second question, when we have experienced the enormous difficulties and sacrifice that have been part of this conflict that, certainly, you can understand that. Americans are frustrated, and they're saddened our failures in this conflict. My point is, and I'm sure we'll get into it, and that is we have a chance of success, and I don't think that a lot of Americans are as fully aware as they should be of the consequences of failure in Iraq.

MR. RUSSERT: When you were speaking in 2005, the American Enterprise Institute, you said this...

MR. RUSSERT: "If we can't retain the support of the American people, we will have lost this war as soundly as if our forces were defeated on the battlefield." Haven't they lost the support of the American people?

SEN. McCAIN: I think if we can show the American people some successes in Iraq and continue and expand on some of the successes we've already experienced in Anbar province and some neighborhoods in Baghdad, that I think Americans would--and if we do a better job, and that's people like me, of explaining the consequences of failure.

The consequences of failure, Tim, are that there would be chaos in the region. There's three--two million Sunni in Baghdad. The Iranians would continue to increase their influence, the Saudis would have to help the Sunni, the Kurds would want independence, the Turks will never stand for it. Some people say partition. You'd have to partition bedrooms in Baghdad because Sunni and Shia are, are married. This, this is a very, very difficult situation, but the consequences of failure, in my view, are unlike the Vietnam war where we could leave and come home and it was over, that these people will try to follow us home and the region will erupt to a point where we may have to come back or we will be compating-- combating what is now, to a large degree, al-Qaeda, although certainly other--many other factors of sectarian violence, in the region.

MR. RUSSERT: In hindsight, was it a good idea to go into Iraq?

SEN. McCAIN: You know, in hindsight, if we had exploited the initial success, which was shock and awe, and we succeeded, and we had done the right things after that, all of us would be applauding what we did. We didn't. It was terribly mismanaged. It was--I went over there very shortly after the initial victory and came back convinced that we didn't have enough troops on the ground, we were making the wrong decisions, and that Secretary Rumsfeld was badly mismanaging the conflict. And I spoke about it and complained for years. So, if we had succeeded and done the right thing after the initial military success, then all of us would be very happy that one of the most terrible, cruel dictators in history was removed from power. Now, because of our failures, obviously we have paid a very heavy price in American blood and treasure and a great sacrifice.

MR. RUSSERT: So it was a good idea to go in?

SEN. McCAIN: I think at the time, given the information we had. Every intelligence agency in the world, not just U.S., believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He had acquired and used them before. There was no doubt that he was going to acquire and use them if he could. The sanctions were breaking down. The Oil for Food scandal was in the billions of dollars. And, of course, at the time, given the information we had--hindsight is 20/20. If we'd have known we were going to experience the failures we experienced, obviously it would give us all pause. Yet the information and the knowledge and the situation at the time, I think that it was certainly justified.

MR. RUSSERT: The Pentagon's Quarterly Report, the director of the CIA, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, all have said that sectarian violence is the problem. In fact, the--General Maples said that al-Qaeda accounts for only a small fraction of the insurgent violence.

SEN. McCAIN: You know the...

MR. RUSSERT: Who's our enemy?

SEN. McCAIN: Well, first of all, General Petraeus, the general on the ground, does not agree with that. Al-Qaeda is exploiting these sectarian differences. They are trying to orchestrate attacks on both Sunni and Shia, but--in order to spark this and increase this sectarian violence that's going on. Al-Qaeda is playing significantly. Now, are there problems with sectarian violence? Of course there is. Is there other problems, such as in Anbar Province where Sunnis are now combatting al-Qaeda? Are al-Qaeda being shoved out of Baghdad into areas outside of Baghdad? Yes. And are there problems in those areas?

Look, this is long and hard and difficult, and I've said it for a long time. And it's no last throes, it's no mission accomplished, it's no few dead-enders. It's long and hard and tough. We are experiencing some successes. Do we have to experience more? Yes. But to do what the Democrats want to do, and that's set a date for withdrawal, even those who opposed the war from the beginning don't think that that would lead to anything but an enormously challenging situation as a result.

MR. RUSSERT: But, senator, the Iraqi parliament, a majority of the Iraqi parliament, has signed a petition asking for a date certain for withdrawal of American troops. If the Iraqi parliament wants it, a majority in the Congress want it...

SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: ...then why do you stand there and say, "No, you can't have it"?

SEN. McCAIN: Because it's my job to give my best estimate to the American people, no matter what the political calculations may be, as to what's the best in our nation's national security interest. Young men and women are risking their lives as we speak in, in, in Iraq. And I know that they will be in greater harm's way if we withdraw from Iraq, as we keep debating over and over and over again. And I know what's best, in my mind, in my experience, in my knowledge, in my inspiration, as to what's best for this country. So political calculations such as polls, I understand that if the American people don't continue to support this effort that we will be forced to withdraw. But it's also my obligation to tell the American people and my constituents in Arizona that I represent, what the consequences of failure will be; and I believe they will be catastrophic.

MR. RUSSERT: But the duly elected people's bodies, the U.S. Congress and the Iraqi parliament, say they want a troop withdrawal. That's more than a poll. Isn't that the voice of the people?

SEN. McCAIN: Well, the--as far as the Iraqi parliament is concerned, the Iraqi government obviously doesn't feel that way, their--the representatives in their government. Second of all, there is some, a certain amount of domestic political calculations involved there in what the Iraqi, quote, "parliament" said. The Iraqi parliament has their ability to, to voice their views, and I respect them. And I, as I say, I--I'll repeat again, I understand how democracies work. I saw it in Vietnam. I saw it in Vietnam. And I saw it in Vietnam, the predictions, that everything would be a worker's paradise in, in Vietnam if we left. And thousands were executed and millions went to re-education camps. So I, I believe that, that the consequences of failure, and particularly sitting on the large reserves of oil they have, particularly considering the influence of al-Qaeda is concerned, you will see enormous destabilization in the region, and that's my duty. That's my obligation. It's not my privilege. And political calculations should not enter into any information or position that I take on, on a, on an issue of national security.

MR. RUSSERT: The Iraqi parliament says they want to take a two-month vacation while our men and women shed their blood.

SEN. McCAIN: I am, I am unalterably opposed to it. One of the real difficulties we face in this conflict, obviously, is whether the Maliki government will act as an inclusive government, and whether the Maliki government will do the things that are necessary to be done. And I'm very concerned about it. All of us are very concerned about it. This government has to pass the oil revenue sharing law. This government has to pass de-Baathification. They have to declare elections in the provinces so that Sunni, who now want to take part in the electoral process, can have their representatives.

MR. RUSSERT: They've had four years to do this.

SEN. McCAIN: They have had this time, and they have done some things. It took us about 100 and some years before we had a bloody civil war to decide the future of our country. This is a fledgling democracy. I'm not, I'm not making excuses for it, but they have not been in this business before. And yet that does not change the fact that, in my view, unless they act, it could jeopardize what is already in jeopardy.

MR. RUSSERT: Would you be in favor of a referendum amongst the Iraqi people to make a decision as to whether U.S. troops should stay or leave?

SEN. McCAIN: No, no more than I should--would have a referendum in the United States of America as to whether Iraqi troops should leave, or whether we should be in or out of NATO, or any other issue. The Iraqi government is an elected government, and they are functioning. And so why we would need a, quote, "referendum" is no more necessary in this country as in that one. Does the Maliki government have to act more effectively, more inclusively? Absolutely they do, and it's of great concern, and I think it's one of the great vulnerabilities as we try to move forward and succeed there. Now, what's success? Economic, political and social progress, which can only be obtained in an environment of security. Neighborhoods in Baghdad are safer. They're not safe, but they are safer than they were before. And the government has to function more effectively, and then the Iraqi military and police take over those responsibilities as we gradually withdraw. That's the recipe for success.

MR. RUSSERT: The Iraqi army, over 120 battalions.


MR. RUSSERT: There are only 10 battalions--10! That's 6,000 soldiers...

SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: ...that are independently working separate and apart from Americans. How can it be, after four years, the Iraqis only have 6,000 soldiers operating independently?

SEN. McCAIN: Well, two things. One, because the war was so badly mismanaged. The--Secretary Rumsfeld claimed that there was, at one point, I believe, 175,000 trained, and they obviously fell apart. There's a difference, though, between those who can, can perform, quote, "independently," and those that can perform effectively alongside U.S. troops in Baghdad and around the country. There are--there are Iraqi units that still probably can't stand up on their own, but they can operate effectively alongside U.S. military. The key to it is, will we be able to train more who can operate independently on their own? We have a ways to go. But we, again, with this new strategy--and it is a strategy, not a surge--we have been able to see significant improvement. Enough improvement? Probably not. But at least we're seeing some progress. And our commanders on the ground are saying that the Iraqi military is functioning far more effectively, effective, and we are seeing progress there.

MR. RUSSERT: Jim Miklaszewski, our Pentagon correspondent, reports that he's being told by senior military officials that, come April, we do not have the troops to continue to send to Iraq in the rotation that we've been--that's been ongoing. We simply don't have them.

SEN. McCAIN: Come next April.

MR. RUSSERT: That's correct.

SEN. McCAIN: We are increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps. Another one of the great failings when we began this was not increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps. I've said for years that we need to dramatically increase them, particularly in certain specialties. I hope that the increased recruitment that we are experiencing now will give us an opportunity to increase those numbers. I also hope that we can see some signs of success in this challenge that we are facing.

MR. RUSSERT: General Petraeus said this: "Any student of history recognizes there's no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq."

SEN. McCAIN: And, you know, I've had many conversations with General Petraeus and I don't want to put words in his mouth, but he'll also tell you that history shows us, any student of history will tell, you that in--if--unless you have an environment of security for the people to try to live normal lives, and the economic, politically--political and social environment is able to grow and flourish, then you are doomed to failure. So, when you say it's all we--it's all up to the Iraqis, that's like saying a neighborhood that's been taken over by gangs, it's up to the people in the neighborhood. We have to do whatever we can to provide them with an environment in which they can exist and begin to lead normal lives. We are showing some success. The, the strategy before was, "Go kill people." It was the old search-and-destroy. "Go kill people and go back to your base." We've now got 53 or more outposts in Baghdad where Iraqi and American military are 24/7. There are some progress being made, and General Petraeus will say that, too. Enough? We'll see.

MR. RUSSERT: It's been more than four years.

SEN. McCAIN: I know.

MR. RUSSERT: And the American people are saying, "Why are we shedding our blood, and they're taking vacations as a parliament?" They don't have independent soldiers and battalions up and running. Our "National Intelligence Estimate" "outlines increasingly perilous situation in which the United States has little control" "strong possibility of further deterioration, according to sources familiar with the document.

"It couches glimmers of optimism in deep uncertainty about whether the Iraqi leaders will be able to transcend sectarian interests," "fight against extremists, establish effective national institutions and end rampant corruption."

That's our own intelligence agency...


MR. RUSSERT: ...four years out.

SEN. McCAIN: Yes, and these same intelligence agencies gave us some very bad intelligence about four years ago, as well, as you might--as you might recall. But the fact, the fact is, this is long, hard difficult. And we talk about these present challenges that we face. We don't talk a lot about what happens if we fail, and I think that that's got to be part of any national discussion that we have. And the consequences of failure are chaos, genocide and, when you--when--and I'm sure you will ask this at some point, what's plan B? My, my, my question to those who say, "Let's set a date for withdrawal," what's your plan B? And the fact is, if we spent time on plan A, we, we, and give it a chance to succeed, I think would be a useful way of spending our time.

MR. RUSSERT: But under your plan, you're strongly suggesting we're going to be there for the next 10 years at least in order to secure and stabilize that country.

SEN. McCAIN: I am suggesting that we will have--hopefully reach a situation where American troops will not be on the front lines, where--and, by the way, that will not be immediately--where American troops are able to withdraw. We've had troops in South Korea for 60 years, and Americans are, are very satisfied with that situation. The key to it is, is the Iraqi military and police taking over these responsibilities. And that is, I believe, the ultimate way we're going to know whether we can reduce American casualties and they take over the responsibilities for, for governing their own country and militarily attacking and resisting al-Qaeda and other sectarian violence which will be there for a long, long time.

MR. RUSSERT: And we're going to be there for a long time.

SEN. McCAIN: But if it is--if it is--if it is only in a role that is of support and American casualties are minimal, then I think it's probably worth the investment. If the level of casualties stays where it is and we do not have success, then we know that that will be a, a condition that we cannot stand for.

MR. RUSSERT: By when?

SEN. McCAIN: I don't have a date. I think that the important thing is whether we assess as we move along. Everybody talks about--some people talk about April or May--August. Some people talk about September. The fact is that we've got to be showing progress along the way, and we will be--have plenty of time to assess that.

Look, Tim, I understand you, you are voicing the frustration that Americans feel. We've only got four of the five brigades over there now. We have just begun this new strategy. It is barely beginning, and I think it ought to be given a chance to succeed or fail. And for us to, to go for two months of funding after we voted time and time again. The president, the president has vetoed, and we continue to, to try to micromanage this war, and, and if you want us out of there, then cut off the funding and bring them home tomorrow.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me show you the kinds of things that are often said when soldiers are overseas, like this: "There's no reason for the United States to remain. The American people want them home. I believe the majority of Congress wants them home. Our continued military presence allows another situation to rise, which could then lead to the wounding, killing or capture of American fighting men and women. We should do all in our power to avoid that. What should be the criteria is our immediate, orderly withdrawal. And if we do not do that and other Americans die then I" "say that the responsibilities for that lie with the Congress who did not exercise their authority under the Constitution. For us to get into nation-building, law and order, etc., I think, is a tragic and terrible mistake."

You hear those kinds of words, right?

SEN. McCAIN: Sure I do. Americans are frustrated and saddened by the enormous sacrifice we've made and the gross mismanagement of the war. Now, my response to that statement is and what happens after we leave? Listen to all of the experts who will tell you that we can have a situation in the region which will, in, in the long run, entail far greater casualties, far greater dislocation, far greater threats to our national security than trying to give this an opportunity to succeed. That's what the--my response to that heartfelt statement is.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, those are your words from 1993 about Somalia.

SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: And that's the kind of thing we're hearing about Iraq.

SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: You felt that way about Somalia when you saw no end in sight.

SEN. McCAIN: Yes, I did, and...

MR. RUSSERT: And many Americans now are echoing your words about Iraq, because they see no end in sight.

SEN. McCAIN: Well, if you compare--want to compare Somalia to what's at stake in Iraq, please feel free to do so. I don't see any comparison except that there was chaos in the streets of Mogadishu, and this now is got to do with vital national security interests. I also said that we should get out of Beirut when we did, because a, a presence of a few Marines in a barracks was not going to, in any way, significantly impact what was going on in Lebanon. And I was right, and a lot of young Marines died because we--of the way that we put a presence in there without any chance of success.

MR. RUSSERT: You say we're making progress. You've been on this program talking about Iraq. In 2003...

SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.
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MR. RUSSERT: ...you said, "I believe we've achieved significant goals"; 2005, we view it as, as "hopeful," we're making "progress"; 2006, we're on the "right track," "I want to emphasize again" the "good things happening"; we're "showing signs of success" in 2007. It's upbeat, upbeat, upbeat.

SEN. McCAIN: I think...

MR. RUSSERT: And yet the reality is quite different than that kind of optimistic message.

SEN. McCAIN: You know, Tim, I think it would be fair also to put the statements that I made when I came back from Iraq that said it was a failed policy, that we had to have more troops on the ground, that we were not carrying out the right kind of effort at training and equipping the Iraqis, that the Iraqi government wasn't--so it might be fair to flash some of those statements up, including the long speech I gave, after I came back from Iraq, to the Council on Foreign Relations, where I said if we pursue this failed policy, we will fail in Iraq. So I think that that might balance it out a bit. Do I think we had, we had made some progress? Yes. And do I think that we have had some significant setbacks? Yes. We-- both is--are the case.

MR. RUSSERT: You made a lot of news back in April when you went to Iraq. You went on a radio show and said never--had a news conference, "never been able to go out in the city as I was today." And then later these photographs were released, where we saw--(clears throat) excuse me--John McCain in the marketplace, surrounded, wearing a flack jacket. The next day the papers said that, "A day after members of an American congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain pointed to their brief visit" in "Baghdad's central Market as evidence that the new security plan for the city was working, the merchants were incredulous about" "Americans' conclusions. `What are they talking about?'" "the owner of an electrical supply shop said. `The security procedures were abnormal.' The delegation arrived at the market" "more than 100 soldiers in armored humvees--the equivalent of an entire company," "attack helicopters circled overhead, a senior" "military official in Baghdad said. The soldiers redirected traffic from the area" "restricted access to the American." "The congressmen wore bulletproof vests" through the hour-long visit. `They paralyzed the market when they came,'" "`This was only for the media.'"

SEN. McCAIN: Well, I don't...

MR. RUSSERT: Wasn't that...

SEN. McCAIN: ...I don't know who Mr. Faiyad is, and I'm sorry that I didn't see him. I talked with many, many of the merchants. We stayed there for more, more than an hour. That same place was not a functioning market a short time before. A bomb had gone off in that area and killed many, many people. There, there was a group of people that I talked to, as I traveled--walked around that, that shopping area for over an hour who said, "I'm glad to see you. Things are better." They--some--a guy came and complained about a sniper that, that they'd had problems with, and the police chief we talked to about that.

My point is the neighborhoods are safer. They are not safe. That's why we have to continue what we're doing. We have a new strategy that, that can succeed. I was glad to walk through that market. I will go walk through a market as often as I can. It was not allowed to go through a market a short time before that.

MR. RUSSERT: But, senator, you had an armed escort.

SEN. McCAIN: I had an armed escort because, because that's what General Petraeus thought we ought to have. I was glad to go outside of Baghdad and have over an hour opportunity to talk to the people that I talked to. Now, they are very different from the people that, that you are quoting here and others. They said, "I'm glad to see you. Things are better here. We have, we have seen improvement." That's what I was told, and that's what the other two members of Congress were told when we were there. You can find a lot of difference of opinion if you want to, but I believe that it's important for me to go out and meet those people if I can and be around them. I didn't call for the kind of, quote, "protection" that was around me. But I am not afraid, and I'm glad to go any place that I can to talk to the people of Iraq and tell them of my commitment to see that they have a free, democratic government where they don't have to face the bombs going off and the suicide bombers and the--and can start leading normal lives. And I'll do that every chance I get.

MR. RUSSERT: But the military felt you needed that protection, and the number of suicide bombers has gone up since the surge began.

SEN. McCAIN: The military--the suicide bombers have gone up because they know that this is probably the most effective way publicitywise. It's not the most effective way if you're talking about winning a conflict. Suicide bombers are the most difficult of any to counter, people who are willing to take their own lives in order to take others'. You can ask the Israelis; I think they'll tell you that. They have literally sealed their borders, and yet suicide bombers get across. And again, is this long and hard and difficult? Is that market safe? No, but it's safer than it was before. And that, in my view, is the key to whether we will succeed or fail or not. And I'll be glad to go back to that market with or without military protection and, and humvees, etc. But the fact is, I walked through narrow streets. I didn't have people all around me. I don't know what, what--where they get their information, but I was glad to walk around and talk to people and have contact with them and tell them that I, as an American, will do everything I can to let them lead the normal lives which are God-given rights to everybody on earth.

MR. RUSSERT: There seems to be a real erosion in support of the war amongst Republicans.

SEN. McCAIN: Yeah.

MR. RUSSERT: Eleven Republican congressmen met with the president. One said "My district is prepared for defeat if that's what you are going to say, Mr. President."

SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: The leader of the Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, "condemned the Iraqi government for its failure to resolve security and political problems more expeditiously and predicted that, unless the current troop surge succeeds, U.S. policy will be changed by year's end either by" the president or by "congressional action."

SEN. McCAIN: Well, first of all, I share his, his dismay, and we've discussed it already about the Iraqi government's failure to act effectively. When I was over there, I met with Iraqi government officials and told them how important it is for them to act as a inclusive government, and, and I believe that they certainly are having messages sent. I hope that they are receiving them. And again, I understand the lack of patience on the part of the American people. And we're getting a little circular here in how sad and, and frustrated they are.

MR. RUSSERT: But these are the Republicans. They're, they're--Mitch McConnell's saying that they're ready to move this year, Republicans in Congress, against the war unless the surge shows success relatively quickly.

SEN. McCAIN: Look, I think, I think by the end of this year we will see some signs of success, how significant those will be. But if every Republican is against it, if every Republican calls for withdrawal, I will do what my conscience, my knowledge, my--I know what war is. I know how evil these people are. I know what war, war and peace is about. And I know the consequences, from my study of history and knowledge and background, the consequences of failure. So if I'm the last man standing, I have an obligation to do what my conscience and my knowledge and my background and everything I've known through my well-experienced life is best for this country. And I will not change from that, from that position. But I also understand what public opinion does and what democracies do. But that doesn't mean that I change my views and my positions and blowing in the, in the direction of which the political winds are blowing.

MR. RUSSERT: In 2000 you lost the Republican nomination to George Bush. Would it be ironic that you lost the 2000 nomination because you embraced George Bush's Iraq war policy?

SEN. McCAIN: Life isn't fair
. I did not embrace the policy for a number of years. I was one of the severest critics. But life isn't fair. But I--I've had a wonderful opportunity to serve this country. I have been the--I am the luckiest guy you will ever have on this program. I've been honored to serve. And I will continue to serve in some capacity until I am unable to do so.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Giuliani like Bush, is a Failed Terrorism Fighter

In n the book Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 (HarperCollins, 2006) Village Voice senior editor Wayne Barrett and CBSNews.com senior producer Dan Collins cited several of what they presented as Giuliani's terrorism-related failures before, during, and after September 11.

Barrett and Collins wrote that when Giuliani heard about the disaster on 9-11, his "original destination" was the "much-ballyhooed command center he had built in the shadow of the Twin Towers," in the 7 World Trade Center (7 WTC) building (Page 6). However, when Giuliani arrived, then-New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik "decided it was too dangerous to bring the mayor up to the command center he had so carefully and expensively built" (Page 340). In settling on the downtown location, Giuliani "overruled" warnings from Howard Safir, a previous police commissioner, and Lou Anemone, chief operating officer of the New York police department, not to put the command center at 7 WTC and rejected "an already secure, technologically advanced city facility across the Brooklyn Bridge" (Page 41). Later on 9-11, the 7 WTC building collapsed.

HBO host Bill Maher told Matthews that "the reason why [Giuliani] was on the streets that day is because his office was blown up," and said, "All of the experts told him to move the command-and-control center out of the World Trade Center. He put it in the World Trade Center." Maher added: "He's not a terrorism fighter. He has no credentials in this. In fact, he failed the one time he had an opportunity, just like [President] Bush."

With a political career sinking under the weight of marital scandal and health concerns, Giuliani saw his personal fortunes rise when he showed leadership after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. But journalists Barrett and Collins take issue with the new heroic image of the former New York mayor and possible presidential candidate. This absorbing and detailed investigation examines the day of the attack (when the fire and police departments were in their usual contentious mode), the lessons that were not learned from the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, and the political aftermath of 9/11 for New York and Giuliani. Despite his much-vaunted leadership and talk of his prescience to develop a response team after the 1993 attack, Barrett and Collins maintain that Giuliani failed New Yorkers in myriad ways, including an ill-advised attempt to lobby to change city election laws to leave him in place as mayor and concealing environmental reports on Ground Zero. Given the status Giuliani has attained since 9/11, this controversial book will be in demand. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

"Brilliant" BBC Slideshow- of medics in Aphganistan

Britain's war in Afghanistan: life and death on the M*A*S*H shift

Here we have a picture of reality, actually a slide show with narration from our friends the British.


As Prince Harry is delayed on his bid to join the battle, other Brits are serving those who are injured - on both sides of the conflict - because it is what they do. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all stop fighting and use or willing troops to combat other enemies like natural disasters, poverty, and disease?

Instead of combat fighters we would develop armies of medics. On any given week their are natural tragedies enough to busy this re-deployed and re-assigned body of men and women to help rather than hurt.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Secretary of State Rice doesn't want to have to answer any more of those bothersome questions

Rice Signals Rejection of House Subpoena

Condoleezza Rice has become the apologist for the Bush Administration - not just for the President's mis-steps but also for her own.

This week she paraded through the Sunday Talk shows to defend herself from accusations made by former CIA director George Tennent. Previously she went against statements made by former Secretary of State Collin Powell who has sought to distance his fault in the Iraq mess.

Yes, she has time for the talk show host, most all of whom treat her with great respect. But no, she does not have time to our Governments House oversight comittee that would call on her to `speak under oath'.

She most probably would use the favorite line of the Bush administration- `I don't recall.' When asked the tough questions, so why should she waste her valuable time. Time that could be better spent basking in the presence of the man who calls her `his sister' and of whom she accidentally once called her husband (I am referring to President Bush.)

Bush has pressed upon all those in the Administration that they serve at his pleasure. This is a great untruth- the Administration serves at the pleasure of the people - and the people are not pleased. Treating Congress as though it does not matter is criminal for the Secretary of State a position that she has proven herself to be ineffectual at. She like Attorney General Gonzales should be instructed again and again to resign - not because it would serve the President best - but because it would serve our country best.

Note: A new biography about Ms. Rice is coming out this week by a Newsweek writer.

Secretary of State Rice Signals Rejection of House Subpoena, Citing Executive Privilege
The Associated Press

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday she has already answered the questions she has been subpoenaed to answer before a congressional committee and suggested she is not inclined to comply with the order.

Rice said she would respond by mail to questions from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the Bush administration's prewar claims about Saddam Hussein seeking weapons of mass destruction, but signaled she would not appear in person.

"I am more than happy to answer them again in a letter," she told reporters in Oslo, where she is attending a meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

The comments were her first reaction to a subpoena issued on Wednesday by the committee chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

Rice said she respected the oversight function of the legislative branch, but maintained she had already testified in person and under oath about claims that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa during her confirmation hearing for the job of secretary of state.

"I addressed these questions, almost the same questions, during my confirmation hearing," she said. "This is an issue that has been answered and answered and answered."

Rice noted that she had been serving as President Bush's national security adviser during the period covered by the panel's questions and stressed the administration's position that presidential aides not confirmed by the Senate cannot be forced to testify before Congress under the doctrine of executive privilege.

"This all took place in my role as national security adviser," she said. "There is a constitutional principle. There is a separation of powers and advisers to the president under that constitutional principle are not generally required to go and testify in Congress.

"So, I think we have to observe and uphold the constitutional principle, but I also observe and uphold the obligation of Congress to conduct its oversight role, I respect that. But I think I have more than answered these questions, and answered them directly to Congressman Waxman."

Rice declined to respond when asked if she would absolutely refuse to testify under subpoena.

Her spokesman, Sean McCormack, said later that no final decision had been made about Rice appearing before the committee.

Waxman's committee voted 21-10 on Wednesday to subpoena Rice despite the State Department's insistence that the questions have already been answered and that the doctrine of executive privilege .

The congressman has complained for weeks that Rice and the State Department have failed to respond to questions about the claim that Saddam Hussein had tried to by uranium from Niger.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures

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