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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

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Call it Tonto's revenge: The outrageous rip-off of Native American tribes by a top Republican lobbyist is leading inexorably to a reckoning for the allegedly morally superior religious and political right.

"I don't think we have had something of this scope, arrogance and sheer venality in our lifetimes," Norman J. Ornstein, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote in Roll Call.

This is the Republican Party of Today

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Not everybody here is of that view, to say the least. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a more sudden and thorough tarnishing of the Bush administration's credibility than the one taking place here right now. There have been too many reports in the news media about renditions - including one involving an Lebanese-born German citizen, Khaled el- Masri, kidnapped in Macedonia in December 2003 and imprisoned in Afghanistan for several months on the mistaken assumption that he was an associate of the Sept. 11 hijackers - for blanket disclaimers of torture to be widely believed.

This will not go away

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Sami Al-Arian: The Terror Verdict TV Networks Ignored

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Every time I try to wrap my mind around President Bush's Iraq war and his associated war against the press, I come back to the lies the president and his courtiers have endlessly told. And to how they conned and cowed much of the press into being their early accomplices.

Those offended by the jolt of the word "lies" can substitute a gentler synonym, such as "fictions" or "frauds" or "breaches of the national trust."

The lies haven't stopped. Vice President Dick Cheney lately accuses the "reprehensible" Democrats in Congress of twisting history when they point to the flagrant disinformation campaign that got us into the war. He is saying, in effect, that telling the truth about a lie-based presidency comforts the enemy and makes you a bad American. That might be so if anyone were revealing national-security secrets. But these senators and representatives whom the vice president would crush are merely—and very belatedly—calling attention to the untruths sown by his own tribe to concoct a war.

How Do They Deceive You?

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Seymour M. Hersh, the famous investigative reporter, brought the fighting in Iraq into the halls of the Park School the other day. Nobody there got wounded, unless they imagined themselves a few years into the future. Hersh, the man who delivered some of the worst news out of Vietnam three decades ago and some of the worst news out of today's Middle East, painted a pretty bleak picture.

"You guys," he said, gesturing to an auditorium packed with about 250 upper-school students, "are going to be the generation that has to clean up our mess. We're leaving you with a real bad time."

The big room was silent. No shifting in seats, no whispered conversations. Hersh, in a dark suit with his necktie askew and his gray hair slightly disheveled, spoke rapidly, like a man in a big hurry. Which bad news should he deliver first? The war? The political conniving and cowardice in Washington? Sometimes he seemed to free-associate among disasters.

He talked about thousands of soldiers coming home with "catastrophic wounds." He described a president, George W. Bush, as "somebody who's not moved by information" but sees himself as God's special emissary to bring democracy to the Middle East.

"The good news," Hersh said, "is that there are only 1,143 more days of the Bush administration. And, tomorrow morning, when we wake up, there'll be one less day." Going into Baghdad, said Hersh, "was the single worst mistake any U.S. president ever made."

But Hersh wasn't blaming Bush alone. The Democrats, he said, "haven't come up with any platform ... Murtha gives a speech saying we've got to get out of Iraq, and every liberal Democrat runs for the door ... The four-star generals are so afraid that it's scandalous ... The lack of political courage in America is pretty amazing."

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"That's going to ruin us in the Arab world," Hersh said. "We're fighting for their hearts and minds, and this happens ... What we've done in those prisons is assure a lifetime of resistance and insurgence ... and Bush knew about this torture. He didn't authorize it, but he found out back on Jan. 22, and he did nothing. He knew about systematic abuse. And he did nothing to stop it when he found out."

But Democrats are guilty of their own silence: They've offered no alternative to Bush's war plans. Hersh offered two alternatives: "Everybody get out by midnight tonight. Or, everybody get out by midnight tomorrow. Because we're not going to win the war. And these people who say the Islamic terrorists will then run over us? Please. America is always going to be powerful. But we can't win, we're not winning, and we've got to get out."

Hersh Apologizes For This Generation

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WASHINGTON -- President Bush has been criticized for relying too heavily on flawed intelligence to justify invading Iraq. Now, congressional investigators are looking at whether the administration underplayed prewar analysis that was correct in forecasting the post-Saddam chaos that currently engulfs the country.

"During the run-up to the war, the intelligence community produced dozens of assessments explaining the range of problems that could develop in postwar Iraq," says Sen. John Rockefeller of West Virginia, a Democrat and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is currently probing the development and use of intelligence in the months leading up the March 2003 invasion. "This is an area… regrettably, where the administration paid little attention," he adds.

It Wasn’t Bad Intelligence

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* BAGHDAD - Two suicide bombers killed at least 36 police officers and Baghdad Police Academy cadets and wounded 70 other people on Tuesday in the worst bombing attack for about three weeks, Iraqi officials said. The U.S. military put the death toll at 27.

RUTBA - Police said on Tuesday they found the bodies of 11 civilians on Monday dumped beside a highway linking Iraq and Jordan in the western Iraqi town of Rutba.

ABID WAYYIJ - The bodies of nine Iraqi civilians were found on a road in the village of Abid Wayyij near Falluja on Monday, police said. The identities of the bodies remains unclear.

* ARBIL - Four people were killed in northern Iraq on Tuesday when members of a Kurdish Islamic party that is challenging the dominant Kurdish bloc in next week's election was attacked by mobs, party officials said. A senior official of the Kurdistan Islamic Union was among those killed, they said.

* BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber killed three people and injured at least 20 others in an attack on a Baghdad cafe, police said.

* AL-RASHAD - Shahla Hasan, the head of Baiji city council, and a finance official from Tikrit were killed by gunmen in the town of al-Rashad, 45km west of Kirkuk, police Colonel Sarhat Qadir said on Tuesday. He said one of Hasan's two aides was kidnapped.

DHULUIYA - Iraqi and U.S. forces killed at least four insurgents who were preparing to fire rockets near the northern town of Dhuluiya on Monday, the U.S. military said.

RAMADI - U.S. forces and insurgents clashed in the western Iraqi town of Ramadi on Tuesday, witnesses said. Reuters television footage showed a burning vehicle and military helicopters firing on houses possibly used by insurgents.

KHWEYLIS - Gunmen shot dead a guard who worked for Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari's office as he left his home in Khweylis, north of Baghdad, Iraqi police said.

We Freed The Iraqis Alright

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Best regards from NY!
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