Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saddam Wanted Out, Bush Nixed the Idea, Then Lied About It

(cross-posted at C&L)

How much money does Bush think a US soldier’s life is worth?

How much money does Bush think the lives of our allies’ soldiers or innocent Iraqis are worth?

As we’re finding out, not very much. When given the choice between letting Saddam slip away with $1 billion or go to war, Bush chose the latter.

On March 17, 2003 President Bush issued the warning: “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing ,” yet now thanks to a transcript leaked to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, we learn that more than three weeks prior to that Bush had told former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar that “The Egyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein. It seems he’s indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he’s allowed to take $1 billion …” When confronted about the leaked transcript yesterday, Whitehouse spokeswoman Dana Perino did not dispute its accuracy.

Just last week we learned from former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan that the real reason behind the war in Iraq was oil , and now we are finding out that the entire war could have been averted for letting him get away with $1 billion. That’s just one tenth of 1% of what this insane invasion and occupation of Iraq, that continues claim the lives of our country’s bravest men and women, has now been forcast to cost. Think about that just for a second. Every single death, Iraqi and American coalition alike, could have been saved and Bush could have had at Saddam’s oil just the same, but apparently he didn’t even seriously consider it. Topping that, he then lied in public to the entire world about it just so he could have his war regardless. How’s that for compassionate conservativism?

[Update] Just to be clear, The full quote of what Bush said was "The Egyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein. It seems he's indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he's allowed to take $1 billion and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction." If you watch the video, CNN even discounts that latter part of Bush’s claim: “Analysts say he may not have had much technical knowledge of wmd to escape with,” so I didn't know what to make of that, especially considering that everything else to do with Saddam and WMD that publicly came from Bushco during this period was complete bullshit to prop up his case for war. I'm just trying to point out the glaring contradiction between what Bush was saying publicly and privately about Saddam leaving Iraq, but Juan Cole has a most convincing take on what this all probably meant.
The money would buy him protection from extradition, and the documents presumably showed that the Reagan and Bush senior administrations had secretly authorized his chemical and biological weapons programs. With these documents in his possession, it was unlikely that Bush would come after him, since he could ruin the reputation of the Bush family if he did. The destruction of these documents was presumably Bush’s goal when he had Rumsfeld order US military personnel not to interfere with the looting and burning of government offices after the fall of Saddam. The looting, which set off the guerrilla war, also functioned as a vast shredding party, destroying incriminating evidence about the complicity of the Bushes and Rumsfeld in Iraq’s war crimes. ...
In any case, the point I'm making here is that even before Bush issued his phony ultimatum to Saddam and his sons to leave Iraq to avoid the invasion, he had already eliminated that possibility and admitted that he was going to go ahead with his war in any case.
Bush said there would be "no guarantee" for Saddam. "He's a thief, a terrorist and a war criminal. Compared to Saddam, [former Yugoslav president Slobodan] Milosevic would be a Mother Teresa." [...]

Bush spoke openly about pressuring countries who were members of the United Nations Security Council at the time to support a resolution authorising force, but said that, whatever happened: "We'll be in Baghdad by the end of March."
Now, I don't think anyone really had any expectation that Bush would ever just let Saddam slip out, but then why was he issuing phony demands for Saddam to do just that right up until the eve of hostilities? Of course Saddam would likely have never been able to remain hidden unless he wanted to go hide in a cave like Osama supposedly is doing, and he always could have been caught and brought to justice at a later date at the Hague, and any rational person should have at least considered that before triggering the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of this country, and in any case if Bush weren't going to let Saddam leave to avoid a war, he shouldn't have lied and told the world that that is all Saddam had to do to avoid it.

Fred Kaplan at Slate has more.

Raw Story Roundup

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Been a While

I didn't really mean to go a whole week without posting, and it's sure not like there hasn't been a gazillion things to post about. I've just been really busy between actually putting in the first nearly full-time week at work in quite some time, catching vids with the C&L team almost non-stop, and putting a dent in my new project which is coming along much slower than I had anticipated, but coming along all the same. I should have something fairly substantial posted along those lines there and here in a week or so if not sooner, but it will be but the first chapter in what will be an ongoing project.

I will have a few posts and vids to put up over the next day or so and have vowed to not just let this place go for so long again.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blackwater Contractors Already Guilty of Murder in Iraqi Public's Eye

Lara Logan ♥ reports from Baghdad on how the Blackwater shooting incident on Sun that left "as many as 28 people dead." with concurrent US and Iraqi investigations underway, has already handed "a huge propaganda victory for America's enemies in Iraq" regardless of what the eventual findings may be. As she points out, "the Iraqi people and their Prime Minister, seem to have found Blackwater's security contractors guilty of murder already."

WaPo: Maliki said a preliminary report into the incident shows that the Blackwater guards were not acting in self-defense when they began shooting.

"We will not allow Iraqis to be killed in cold blood," Maliki said. "There is a sense of tension and anger among all Iraqis, including the government, over this crime."
Lara includes in her coverage a small clip from the now infamous " Trophy Video" of contractors cruising and shooting up Iraq set to Elvis tunage to help explain the hatred Iraqis already felt for the contractors even before this latest incident. Just like Abu Ghraib, the sad fact is that the true cost of the fallout from this incident will be measured in even more American lives lost in a country that already does not want us there, and a whopping 60% think it is justifiable to kill our soldiers, all in no small part due to outrages just like this. :(

UPDATE: Spencer Ackerman at TPMmuckraker has more:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bush's Fuzzy Math on Iraq

I simply must toot my own horn and point to this post over at C&L:

Bush's Fuzzy Math on Iraq Oh yeah, that Bill W. Jammin

It wasn't the first time I'd sent in a vid I had written a post about that C&L gave me a hat tip for, but it was the first time I was allowed the "Guest blogged by" honors, and the honor was all mine. Of all the prominent blogs on the left, Crooks and Liars does the most with the least imho. The costs of maintaining a video blog like C&L are enormous comparatively, especially the storage and bandwidth costs, and the entrance of video hosting sites like YouTube that allow anyone to upload, share, and embed videos to their site has hurt C&L in no small way. Now I really like YouTube too, obviously as I post lots and lots of videos there myself, but that leaves me and anyone else who posts television content there completely at the mercy of those at YouTube who could choose to remove my videos at any time they want for any number of reasons, and unfortunately that does happen all too often. Then what? That's why it's very important that the progressive blogosphere has a site we can depend on like C&L to preserve those video archives of current events and wing-nuttery that aren't at the mercy of some complaint or corporate whim. C&L is a treasure, an invaluable resource, and one that truly deserves our continued support.

It's been fascinating to be able to get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes at a site like C&L, and let me tell you it takes a lot of dedicated people doing a lot of great work just to keep it going. I'm so glad to have been able to have been a tiny part of it, and hopefully they might even let me hang around a while longer. :)

Update: Bush’s tax laws hard at work …
(Guest blogged by Bill W.)

Cons, Mushroom Clouds, and Oil
(guest blogged by Bill W.)

Real Time with Bill Maher:
(guest blogged by Bill W.)

Oh. Hell. Yeah. Jammin Jammin Jammin Jammin Jammin

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Punishing Illicit Spying

This from Steve Benen:

Pres Candidate Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM):
“The President has been allowed to spy on Americans without a warrant, and our U.S. Senate is letting it continue. You know something is wrong when the New England Patriots face stiffer penalties for spying on innocent Americans than Dick Cheney and George Bush.”

Friday, September 14, 2007

Post-Speech Analysis

Well, the President gave his speech last night wrapping up the week-long Gen Potemkin pro-surge media blitz. Barring perhaps John Edwards' 2 min rebuttal ad, Leno had just about the best post-speech analysis on the tube last night:
Watch it:

Here's some of what's buzzing around in print about the President's speech last night:

Steve Benen:
Deceptive or Delusional

So, how bad was the president’s speech last night? Slate’s Fred Kaplan explains.
President Bush’s TV address tonight was the worst speech he’s ever given on the war in Iraq, and that’s saying a lot. Every premise, every proposal, nearly every substantive point was sheer fiction. The only question is whether he was being deceptive or delusional. […]

The question could be asked throughout the speech… In what world is the president of the United States living? ...
No Exit, No Strategy

The White House insisted that President Bush had consulted intensively with his generals and adapted to changing circumstances. But no amount of smoke could obscure the truth: Mr. Bush has no strategy to end his disastrous war and no strategy for containing the chaos he unleashed. ...

In his speech last night, President Bush made a case for progress in Iraq by citing facts and statistics that at times contradicted recent government reports or his own words. ...

Raw Story Roundup

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sen Joe Lieberman: Worst Person in the World!

Worse to DNI Mike McConnell for telling Congress that the new expanded spy powers contributed to German terror arrests, even though the "information leading to the arrests was collected last year, before the law was updated."

Worser to Brit Hume of Faux News for his "exclusive" Gen Petraeus "briefing for America.”

And Worst Person to Sen Joe Lieberman who said on Faux News this Sept 11:
"Let me just say in response to the moment of silence we just were part of, that that unity that we felt after September 11, we have to find a way to get it back because we’ve descended into terrible, partisan political sniping."
"And what is Senator Lieberman's first step towards finding that way back? He's going to attend tonight's so called freedom concert, featuring Coultergeist who just yesterday said that the Democrats want us to lose and that the media is quote "treasonous." Featuring Ollie North, who said a year ago that a Democratic Congress meant, quote, "nuclear weapons in the hands of fanatics." Starring Newt Gingrich who said that critics of the Bush administration are similar to, quote, "those who enabled Hitler," and hosted by Sean Hannity, who last spring called Senate Majority Leader Reid a, quote, "propaganda minister for our enemies." "

"Great start back towards unity Senator. Go commune with the people who wasted and manipulated that unity into the attempt to extinguish the media, one of the political parties, and our freedom of speech."

O'Reilly: Give Petraeus 1,000 More Dead Soldiers

O’Reilly says himself that even though “the USA is likely to lose another thousand killed in the process” we should give Gen Petraeus Potemkin all “the resources he needs within a year’s time.”
Watch it:

Two more F.U.s and a thousand more dead soldiers, give or take a couple hundred, that’s all Bush needs to be able to pass this catastroph*ck onto the next President.

More on this at C&L.

Kos on Hardball: Gen Potemkin's Iraq Report

Kos and MoveOn's Eli Pariser set the record straight on Gen Petraeus' Potemkin's Whitehouse Iraq Report.
Watch it:

Kos was great. Matthews was even gushing all over him.

Matthews [to Kos]:
"Let me tell you, you are Archimedes here. You've found a lever and you are working it to move the world, sir. You are moving the Democratic Party."
Here's some of what's come out of Gen Petraeus' Potemkin's testimony so far from ThinkProgress:
The six months that never end.
The Democratic Caucus has a nice summary of the Petraeus and Crocker testimonies.
UPDATE: Speaker Pelosi: “President’s Policy is a Path to 10 More Years of War in Iraq”

And this from TPMmuckraker:
Out of all the slides and talk of statistics yesterday, there's one in particular that's stood out. This one:
TPMmuckraker has lots and lots of video and analysis from the Potemkin hearings.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pam Spaulding: Untangling the Latest GOP Gay Scandal

Rep Patrick McHenry, and the company he keeps
It never ends.

I would like to post a snippet or two but I don't know where to start. It's that much, that long, and that good. Pam Spaulding has absolutely outdone herself with this one. I ♥ her. So, without further adieu, Pam would like to introduce you to Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC):

Untangling the latest GOP gay scandal with Mike Signorile

[Late Update]

Audio from the Signorile show on Patrick McHenry and the latest sordid GOP gay scandal

Raw Story Roundup

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Biden: Petraeus Is "Dead Flat Wrong" On Progress In Iraq

Eric Kleefeld:
Joe Biden appears to be the first Democratic candidate, among those currently in the Senate, to directly take on the image of General Petraeus that has been cultivated by the White House, calling the general's picture of progress in Iraq "dead flat wrong." From this morning's Meet The Press. (transcript)
Petraeus Gives Exclusive One Hour Interview To Fox
In a recent report on Iraq, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office raised concerns that Gen. Petraeus’ numbers do not reflect the reality on the ground, specifically the levels of sectarian violence, which the watchdog said are much higher than Petraeus and the military have been saying.

After concerns were raised over the military’s statistics, it was announced that Petraeus wouldn’t issue a report after all. Now, in another attempt to avoid scrutiny, Petraeus will be taking his cooked stats to a friendly forum on Fox. ...
Steve Benen:
West Wing, Petraeus' shop 'hard-wired'

Perhaps Gen. Petraeus' choice of media venues should have been predictable. After all, he's part of a larger partisan operation.
Another new arrival in the West Wing set up a rapid-response PR unit hard-wired into Petraeus's shop. Ed Gillespie, the new presidential counselor, organized daily conference calls at 7:45 a.m. and again late in the afternoon between the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the U.S. Embassy and military in Baghdad to map out ways of selling the surge.

From the start of the Bush plan, the White House communications office had been blitzing an e-mail list of as many as 5,000 journalists, lawmakers, lobbyists, conservative bloggers, military groups and others with talking points or rebuttals of criticism. ...

Osama is a Liberal Democrat Blogger

Or so the Right-Wing media machine wants you to believe.

David Brooks thinks bin Laden has "been sitting around reading lefty blogs" and posting in the comments.
Watch it:

ThinkProgress and C&L have more.

It doesn't stop there. Faux News' Sean Hannity thinks bin Laden sounds like Democrats.
Watch it. I & II
News Hounds has more.

And you know Faux News' John Gibson had to join in too. He gets in an Osama smear against the Democrats, Kieth Olbermann, and DailyKos all in one sentence.
"Does Osama bin Laden sound like a Democrat, or do the Democrats sound like Osama?" I read this thing today and said you know, I've heard this stuff before. Finally this afternoon it came to me, where i'd heard it. Where? In the special commentaries of [Kieth Olbermann] and the speeches of angry Democrats trying to make nice with the Daily Kos ..."
Listen to it:
And CNN's Kelli Arena thinks Osama sounds like an “angry blogger.”
Watch it:
ThinkProgress also points out:
In 2004, Arena baselessly claimed that there is “some speculation that Al Qaeda believes it has a better chance of winning in Iraq if John Kerry is in the White House.”
This is by no means the first time the Right-Wing media machine has done this following an Osama recording release. The last time Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson were among the newscasters pundits who echoed the same thing. You don't hear any mention from the msm that in his video Osama actually slams the Dems, and promised to lower taxes, which sounds a lot more like that other party I think. Besides, if they want to be honest about who Osama bin laden really sounds like, well, Digby nailed it a couple years ago. lol.

ThinkProgress and News Hounds have contact info to send complaints (be nice) about the slanderously biased coverage.

We definitely need to do something before the msm tries to undermine the 2008 Presidential election with their lies just like they did before.

[Late Update] ThinkProgress:
Yesterday, the New York Post published an editorial equating Osama bin Laden and his recent video tape with

If Osama bin Laden ever gets tired of waging global jihad, perhaps he should interview for a job with
So that's PBS, CNN, the NY Post, and of course, Faux. We'll keep an eye out for more.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Republican Family Values

"Low and behold, despite their preaching, has the GOP reached critical mass on hypocrisy?"

"Here's the laundry list. Even as Republicans were in the midst of condemning Clinton, one of the House leadership, the man about to be Speaker, Congressman Bob Livingston, was having his own affair ... And the man who led the push for impeachment as Speaker Newt Gingrich was up to the same thing as he confessed on the radio this year. ... Last year there were those risqué emails from Republican Mark Foley to congressional pages, and Louisiana Senator David Vitter had to confess to links with a Washington escort service, ... And now the latest coup de grâce, Larry Craig ..."
That was a surprisingly good rundown by Chris Matthews. I just wish he would have delved a little deeper into the depths of depravity the GOP has fallen into since their wasting nearly $80 million in their relentless, holier than thou, attacks on Bill Clinton. It should also have included NC Republican lawmaker, pastor and Christian Action League president, Coy C. Privette recently found guilty for frequenting hookers, Florida Rep. Bob Allen for his much more shocking bathroom sex sting arrest than Sen Craig's, former White House spiritual advisor, Rev Ted "Tweaker" Haggard, for his meth & manwhore addictions, and Glenn Murphy, Jr., the Chair of the Young Republican National Federation who had to ubruptly resign following his arrest for sodomizing a sleeping man. IMHO, that would have helped to provide a much clearer picture on where Republicans actually stand on family values these days as opposed to what they like to claim..

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Coy Privette: Featured Republican Sex Scandal

Since I've posted about councilman/pastor Coy Privette (R-NC) all along, I'd be remiss in not pointing out his debut over at TPMmuckraker:

GOP Councilman Coy Privette Arested for Frequenting ProstituteBlank Check to Coy's Mistress Brings Trouble

Make room Craig, Vitter and Bob. Coy Privette (R-NC) wants to join the summer of scandal!

Privette, a 74-year old retired pastor, has pleaded guilty to six counts of soliciting a prostitute. Privette is a long-time participant in North Carolina politics, spending eight years in the state house and another nine as a commissioner of Cabarrus County. He is a staunch social conservative and, until recently, President of the Christian Action League. ...

Privette would be happy to leave the embarrassing matter at that, having very publicly learned his lesson (i.e.- if you've got world enough and time, don't pay for a prostitute with a blank check). But local Republicans aren’t having it. They are furious that Coy has not resigned his commissioner position (if you recall, North Carolina GOP have already had its share of embarrassment from former state reps). Each of his fellow commissioners (all Republicans) has publicly demanded he resign. On Friday, the state Republican chairman sent him a letter demanding he step down, saying, "he's dishonored and disgraced."

For his part, Privette said Friday he is staying on the job. But the moment of truth will likely be this Tuesday, when he meets with the entire board of commissioners. It promises to be an awkward conversation.
Here's local TV news coverage of Privette's arrest:

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Republican Culture of Corruption:

2007 So Far

This is a GREAT post:

Does it seem like there's a new Republican scandal in the news every single week? Well, that may be because there is:
43 scandals in 35 weeks. h/t C&L

It's about time someone updates this list.

[Late Update] new site:

U.S. Military Still Censoring Liberal/Progressive Websites

ThinkProgress is now banned from the U.S. military network in Baghdad. ...

The ban began sometime shortly after Aug. 22, when Ret. Maj. Gen. John Batiste was our guest blogger on ThinkProgress. He posted an op-ed that was strongly critical of the President’s policies and advocated a “responsible and deliberate redeployment from Iraq.” ...
This is nothing new. I understand the military may see the need to censor, delay, withhold, or block correspondence and communications they feel could be harmful to morale, mission, strategy, etc, and they likely have every right to do so, but do pray tell me why it would choose to only block lefty/liberal/progressive-leaning sites. Here are several other examples:
DailyKos was blocked.
So was Atrios.
So was TalkingPointsMemo, for crying out loud - and they’re all policy and minimal invective over there!
On the other hand, Free Republic and Little Green Footballs came through just fine, thank you very much.

I had a few minutes today and thought I’d look and see what else was banned on the Marine web here. I think the results speak for themselves:
Wonkette “Forbidden, this page ( is categorized as: Forum/Bulletin Boards, Politics/Opinion.”
Bill O Reilly ( OK
Air America ( “Forbidden, this page ( is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”
Rush Limbaugh ( OK
ABC News The Note OK
Website of the Al Franken Show ( “Forbidden, this page ( is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”
G. Gordon Liddy Show ( OK
Don & Mike Show ( “Forbidden, this page ( is categorized as: Profanity, Entertainment/Recreation/Hobbies.”

Another Marine stationed in Iraq has sent us a screenshot of what happens when you need some hot news on Macaca and Foley:
forbidden, this page ( is categorized as (Personal Pages) ALL SITES YOU VISIT ARE LOGGED AND FILED.
Nice little threat at the end, too. Asswipes.
This Marine had something to say about the practice of the military's blocking of only what it sees as left-leaning sites:
I am currently stationed in Al Taqaddam, Iraq with the Marines…you’ve done a short piece about this before, but this is getting ridiculous.

It seems that every non-conservative politics website has been blocked by our firewall guys…including your site. The reason it is blocked is because it is a “personal page.” Which means they don’t have a reason to block it … but they want to block it, so they do. This was done recently, just in time for mid-term elections. As I said, it was not only your website, I have gone through lists of liberal sites and most of them are blocked. I’ve also taken the time to go to some conservative sites….none of which are blocked.

I don’t have the words to describe how I feel. They have sent me to this desert three times…each time saying that we are defending freedom…which is BS and everyone knows it. And on top of that they have taken away many of the freedoms that we are supposedly fighting for…
They are trying to warp servicemembers' political perspectives through rose colored internet access. Downright Orwellian. Just one more reason I call this Bush's 'Potemkin' War.

Raw Story Roundup