Quote of the Week: September 24, 2006

September 27, 2006

I’m certain that if my husband and his national security team had been shown a classified report entitled ‘Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the United States’ he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team. – Hillary Clinton

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Never Send a Contractor to do a Soldier’s Job

September 27, 2006

Nearly one year ago today, the Washington Post had this to say about the state of the Iraqi armed forces “rebuilt” by the current regime under the direction of Donald Rumsfeld:

The number of Iraqi army battalions that can fight insurgents without U.S. and coalition help has dropped from three to one, top U.S. generals told Congress yesterday, adding that the security situation in Iraq is too uncertain to predict large-scale American troop withdrawals anytime soon.

With that kind of negative press a year ago, why hasn’t the situation improved? Why has it gotten worse instead of better? Because of the fact that Donald Rumsfeld, with the blessing of the republican Congressional majority, is using Iraq as a cash cow for the only real constituency they care about – private military contractors.

Oh, how the worm has turned! Originally hailed for “training Iraqi soldiers, providing security, and – oh! – so much more,” they’re now another line-item embarassment in multi-billion dollar stop-gap funding bills that the “liberal media” is giving the shrub yet another free pass on.

Why is this an op-ed piece in last month’s Boston Globe instead of front-page news?

While Army privates died overseas earning $25,000 a year, David Brooks, the disgraced former CEO of body-armor maker DHB, made $192 million in stock sales in 2004. He staged a reported $10 million bat mitzvah for his daughter. The 2005 pay package for Halliburton CEO David Lesar, head of the firm that most symbolizes the occupation’s waste, overcharges, and ghost charges on no-bid contracts, was $26 million, according to the report’s analysis of federal Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Who’d have thunk it, what with the pro-military party of fiscal responsiblity in power? You know, the ones who haven’t held a single oversight committee meeting since this farce in the Gulf began.


More U.S. Generals, NIE Hate Freedom ™

September 27, 2006

Six months after the National Intelligence Estimate concluded that the war in Iraq is a ‘cause célèbre’ for Islamic extremists that has created a breeding ground for terrorist wannabees, only a single republican Congressman bothered to show up for the first of three days of testimony by an array of retired top military brass calling for Donald Rumsfeld’s ouster.

In extraordinary testimony from former senior military men during wartime, retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton said Rumsfeld “continues to fight this war on the cheap” and denounced him as “incompetent.” Retired Army Major Gen. John Batiste called the United States “arguably less safe now than it was on Sept. 11, 2001.” And retired Marine Col. Thomas X. Hammes compared the shifting of U.S. troops from one Iraq hot spot to the next to a game of “Whack-A-Mole.”

And where is the “liberal media”? Why, covering Fox “News'” prime-time smearing of Bill Clinton of course! Been there, done that, as so eloquently summarized by Michael Hirsch:

[F]or the record, the Bush administration barely paid attention to bin Laden before 9/11, as documented by the 9/11 Commission and other inquiries. On Jan. 26, 2001—six days after Bush’s inauguration—an FBI report for the first time conclusively tied the USS Cole bombing in Yemen to Al Qaeda. A few weeks later, CIA Director George Tenet raised the stakes, calling bin Laden’s global terror network “the most immediate and serious threat” to U.S. national security. Yet there was no retaliation for the Cole or any other Al Qaeda attack for eight months—the “principals” did not even hold a meeting on how to deal with the terrorist group—despite Tenet’s increasingly urgent warnings about an Al Qaeda attack in the summer of 2001.

The corporate media has a point that the current regime is going to try to make political points at its expense by “shooting the messenger,” but in the end they – and the American people – only have themselves to blame for giving the smirking chimp and his cronies another free pass.