June 27, 2005
The BuzzFlash Mailbag
The opinions expressed in the Mailbag are not necessarily those of BuzzFlash. Read the BuzzFlash FAQ for info on submitting to the Mailbag.
Subject: Now They Have Finally Gone Too Far
When is enough, enough? I think enough is enough when a spineless, contemptible piece of work like Karl Rove has the indecency to insult an entire section of this country. Liberals reacted to 9/11 with indictments and therapy? Where was I when this happened? I thought that the entire country stood together as one nation and backed a president, that many of us loathed, in outrage at a savage attack.
Are there only conservatives in Iraq? Is it a one party army? navy? marine corps? Rove's words are an insult to every democrat who wears a uniform. His words are a slap in the face to every democratic family that has a member serving in the military. His words are an insult to a country that, while bitterly divided, has managed to stand together when it was needed.
We, as democrats have had to listen when reprehensible republicans have denigrated our integrity, patriotism and faith. We have watched as these thugs have tried to invade every aspect of people's private lives. Republicans seem to have an overwhelming interest in other people's bedrooms. But I digress.
I don't think Senator Dick Durbin, who is a good decent man, should have had to apologize for his remarks that compared the treatment to prisoners at Gitmo to Nazis and gulags, etc. What else do you compare those actions to? These are not the way that we were raised to believe that Americans behaved. How you treat those who you have in your power is a value, too. It's a value some of our people seemed to have forgotten. I wish that all politicians would call a moratorium on using world war two and the Nazis as a comparison. Both sides have been guilty of this behavior. Knock it off all of you.
It is time for all democrats, and any republicans who have an ounce of decency, to stand up and shout, "enough is enough." We all know that Karl Rove's brand of politics is to attack and denigrate those he would defeat. We may not like it out here in "Average American" land, but face it as a fact of life.
Not this time. Not these words. You have insulted our children who stand in harm's way and that is not all right. That is not okay. Thank God that our elected officials have stood up and said this is not acceptable. Thank you Senator Reid, Senator Kerry and Congresswoman Pelosi. Please do not let them get away with this outrage this time. Enough is enough.
Marjorie L. Swanson
Subject: 'Wimpy' Liberals
As far as I'm concerned, Karl Rove can take his comment about liberals being soft after 9/11 and stick it right up his ... well, you get the idea. The ONLY thing that could possibly indicate that Democrats are 'soft' is the fact that our 'liberal' representatives in Congress won't get a backbone and take back OUR government from these fanatical neo-cons who have hijacked it with their lies and scare tactics. To them, 9/11 was nothing more than a fortuitous event that conveniently enabled them to wage their war with little resistance from the masses. Those are the 'terrorists' the Dems need to be tough on!
In the last 5 years, we've had Bush take the White House, 9-11, Osama bin Laden, Afghanistan, Iraq. The most successful operations were taking the white house and 9-11. "THE PARTY" IS EXTREMELY WELL ORGANIZED. In the 70's I read a most interesting book on CIA mind control. Reminds me of the pilots who took over our planes on 9-11. I later found the book on e-bay. It's an interesting read. THE CONTROL OF CANDY JONES by Donald Bain. True story. I think of the advancement in mind control after 30+ years. If you can find the book it will be worth the read. Thanks.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Why did Rummy offer to resign twice if he was doing such a bang up job?
Kennedy should have followed up with that question after he pointed out all the gross miscalculations that Rummy was responsible for ... After Kennedy asked Rummy if he shouldn't resign, Rummy stated that he had already offered his resignation to Bush but it was not accepted. Kennedy should have then asked, why did he offer up his resignation if things were proceeding at such a wonderful pace in Iraq? Besides which, Bush didn't accept Dummy's resignation because he felt it would make Bush look bad. Bush only cares about himself in all matters. Rummy, you should fall on your sword ... you don't need permission to do the correct thing. That is just the usual B.S.
Subject: Thus Spoke Cheney
Does this guy even attempt to be taken seriously any more?
"They're very well treated down there. They're living in the tropics. They're well fed. They've got everything they could possibly want ..."
Soon he's going to be creating even more terrorists than the war in Iraq does. People are just going to try and find a way to get down there. When winter comes to Afghanistan, there's going to be no stopping them.
Heard at a children's playground recently:
[A] You're a big, fat, dork! [B] Oh, no I'm not ... you're ugly. You should say you're sorry for calling me a dork. [A] I'm not sorry because you called me ugly. You should say you are sorry. [B] I'm not going to say I'm sorry because you ARE ugly ...
As much as we temper children ragging at each other, their bantering seems to be part of growing up. Who will temper the government officials in Washington, DC, who somehow escaped growing up?
I can't for the life of me figure out why the Bush/Cheney regime keep hollering at the top of their lungs that they are "Christian" and adding insult to injury by thinking they can actually force God's hand in ushering in Armageddon and the "Rapture" they profess to believe in. It's highly unlikely that they would get "Taken" anyway.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: "Press Conference"
Is it just me, or was [Friday's] "press conference" totally staged by Rove? Bush was soooo confident. He had to know that there'd be no questions to challenge his line of BS. Further, most of the questions from his Iraqi friends were simply heaping praise on Bush. This was obviously a staged event designed to combat the shrinking public support for the war effort. Any comment or insights into this?
Subject: Racism and Hermes
Please provide a link to the Hermes website. They deserve to hear our protests for their racist behaviour.
Hermes apologizes for turning away Oprah (AP/USA Today)
Subject: Flag Burning
Just curious ... what other nations (if any) have laws or traditions about burning their flags?
Subject: Toronto Star Editorial, 6/23/05 -- email sent to the Toronto Star
Subject: Your Editorial "Democracy and its discontents, The democratic tide is running at full flood", by Fred Edwards on 6/23/05.
After reading this editorial, and then reading the list of foreign governments that have been overthrown, disturbed, or destabilized in the past by my Government in Washington, DC and its CIA, or by other exporters of subversion, I can only wonder:
1) Is there a connection between the futility to "... establish electoral democracies in countries that lack the preconditions needed ..." and our CIA's and others' (former KGB, et al.) past activities? and
2) What are our CIA, our other covert organizations, and other governments doing NOW to destabilize foreign governments that we'll read about in 10 or 20 years?
Many of the examples of democracy you cite don't appear to be democracies at all when studied below the surface ... many seem to be in the same league as the present regime in Washington, DC: they may talk about democracy, claim to aid democracies, talk about freedom of speech, and even appear to have "free" elections. But isn't there really incompetence, malfeasance, wannabe dictatorships, or outright criminal behavior within, or interference from without, behind that facade of democracy? Maybe this is one of the reasons that, as you write, "... the tide of democracy will ebb."
You also write of Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, and his different and more troubling analysis in "The Future of Freedom." In it, you state, "He argues that it is futile to establish electoral democracies in countries that lack the preconditions needed for democracy to take root. Among these preconditions are a per capita annual income of $6,000 (U.S.), effective state institutions, a high literacy rate and an economy not dependant on natural resources."
Perhaps we should add one more precondition: "absence of interference (open or clandestine) in their government by any foreign government."
Alert and forward-looking governments need good, accurate, and timely intelligence from other countries with people who might want to harm us, but destabilizing other governments, assassinating people of foreign countries, and training foreign militaries to be "torturers like us" are not a part of the intelligence-gathering function, and are never a "tool in the belt" of a true democracy.
Some References from http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/index.html
... where we can find the following, among many more:
- Brazil Marks 40th Anniversary of Military Coup, Declassified Documents Shed Light on U.S. Role
- Nixon on Chile Intervention, White House tape acknowledges instructions to block Salvador Allende
- Kissinger to Argentines on Dirty War: "The quicker you succeed the better," Secretary of State gave green light to junta
- Kennedy & Castro: The Secret History, Initiative with Castro aborted by assassination, declassified documents show
- Nixon: "Brazil helped rig the Uruguayan elections," 1971, Documents reveal U.S. efforts to influence Uruguayan presidential election CIA and Assassinations, The Guatemala 1954 Documents
- The Oliver North File, His Diaries, E-Mail, and Memos on the Kerry Report, Contras and Drugs
Subject: A Question for Ralph Reed
Now I know y'all do things a little different down there in the south, but what I'd like to know is how it would be possible to serve as Lt. Governor of Georgia from a jail cell? Shucks, just asking.
Reed e-mails upset anti-gambling allies (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Subject: Outing Karl Rove
As an openly gay man I am quite often pained by the practice of "outing" otherwise comfortably closeted men who haven't yet come to terms with their orientation. However, Karl Rove NEEDS to be outed. He, most of all, is responsible for fanning the flames of homophobia in this country, and is the engineer of the most retrograde legislation since the days of Jim Crow. But Karl thinks he is secure in his heavily bunkered closet. Not so, Pudge Boy. He and the other members of the the Gay Republican Mafia running the White House need to be exposed to the strongly sanitizing sunlight of truth.
C'mon, Karl. Stop being such a poisonous hypocrite. Truth will out eventually.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Troop Support
I wrote [to explain] how patently simple it was to state the democrats' support for the troops. True support.
We support men and women who volunteer to protect the United States of America. We would never send them into war undermanned and under armed. We would never twist intelligence to justify a war on false pretenses. We would never send them into war without a planned post-war operation and exit strategy. We support Geneva Conventions on prisoners of war. How can we protect our troops from torture and abuse if we don't offer enemy combatants the same rights?
Get some straight talkers, don't rely on effete intellectual apologists. The republicans print out crib sheets for their guys that are aimed at misinforming the common joe. Maybe we should employ the same tactics to get out the real story ...
Subject: Pigs in a Quagmire
I must admit it's been amusing to see three old pasty white guys - Sensenbrenner, Cheney, and Rove - squeal like pigs stuck in the mud of their own deceptions. Sensenbrenner waddles out of a hearing, grunting and throwing more mud over Gitmo. Cheney flicks his lies at us with an air of boredom, full of swill and too comfortable to care. And Rove squeals that it's the fault of Democrats that he's sitting in a pile of his own excrement! (I apologize to all pigs of the world for the above comparison.)
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Supporting the Troops
You go, SherAn!!!! You said it all, and that's saying something, when it comes to the complete incompetence of the civilian so-called "leadership" of this country.
I hate the war in Iraq, but I support the troops, having learned the distinction from the Viet Nam era, when we treated the troops shabbily. When our church "adopted" a unit in Iraq a couple of years ago (they have since come home), I baked I-don't-know-how-many batches of cookies for their Care packages. Granted, a cookie isn't exactly a suit of body armor, but it's not an MRE either.
Earth to Rove: It IS possible to hate the war and still love the troops. Bring them HOME!!!!
Subject: Goofus a Puppet?
Why has Bush been out of the White House an estimated 2/3 of the working days? Who plans his trips? Why do they send him on repetitive PABLUM trips? Why does he keep "preaching to the choir?" He cannot sell them anything. They already bought all he offers them.
His trips are a waste of time. Why? Is it that Rove and Cheney want him out of the Loop? How many times has he said something, and a few days later Cheney says it differently?
A Great Story awaits a reporter.
Subject: Same Things
This should have been abundantly clear from the very beginning, redoing what B41 had done and failed, or, redoing what the Angaloids had done -- and failed. What B43 has been doing is trying to impress either or both camps, like some primate at the zoo. Unfortunately the zoo denizens have learned how to game the spectators while B41 has had some success doing the same thing.
The sad thing is for a person with one trick, the ones who are consistently watching have about as much imagination as the aper. Consequently, there's a sort of infinite loop of viewer/imitator that eventually becomes limited to a very select few. In the initial stages, it's hard to tell who these are for all of the rest newly arrived at the attraction, allowing the real fanatics the opportunities to blend in.
Subject: The Pin That Punctures Pretension! (Sent to BuzzFlash Saturday)
It’s all in a name and the new name the next few weeks will be “Operation Delusion!” All the hardliners in the Republican Party will be out in full force to help Bush re-sell the Iraq War! The media will be in compliance by pushing speeches by Bush, the retired military will conjure up anything positive about Iraq that they can think of, while the evening fare of television presented by complying networks will feature heroes of the war stories. The death and destruction in the war in Iraq will be mentioned as little as possible, mostly very early in the morning when not many people tune in. In other words, this is a full frontal defense against sinking ratings presented by those who deny they listen to polls!
It’s up to us to amount a counter-offensive on all the web sites with the one thing that is the pin that punctures pretension, the continuous repetition and revelation of the Truth!
[BuzzFlash Note: Let's see ... Rumsfeld found time Sunday for three Sunday morning talk shows, and General Abizaid was featured on two ... What makes you think they would try to re-sell their war? (http://www.nytimes.com...)]
Subject: Billy Graham's Last Sermon
The right reverend is pleased to see America turning into a theocracy. What might that be like in America? As it is today in Saudi Arabia and Iran. Full attention at all times to getting ready for the big fly-away as the earth's considered to be nothing but a springboard destined to burn up anyways after its true believers take off, so global warming anyone, who cares? What's this got to do with changing the world? Lots! Everyone has to be involved, no left-outs. How will such materialize when for so many eternity is perceived as the only escape from this hell on earth and a sacred duty at that?
Herein lies the challenge to the progressives: Individuals who prefer the so-called hereafter - how to interest them in the existing world, too? Not the way it is, of course. Total agreement on that; so much despair and futility with, admittedly, each of us essentially powerless, but so were our parents and their parents and so on and so forth. Progressives share the eternity seekers' despair but not their hopelessness as we know another world is possible right here, now. Indeed, we're engaged in the actual struggle to bring it about - make it a place where, from start to finish, each person will be in full control of her/his destiny and will be encouraged to hang around for as long as she/he chooses and, when it's all over, it'll be on to whatever is or is not to follow. No basic change of plans for anyone. Just a different point and time of departure for those who claim to know where their next stop's going to be.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: More Refined Invectives
As the political crisis continues to erode our self-restraint as far as our use of descriptive language concerning this administration, I feel it is necessary to offer some creative guidelines drawn upon the model of Shakespearean invective. While it may be forthright simply to call someone in the administration an "a**hole," a "jerk-off," or worse, it has gotten to the point in modern discourse where such words have lost their sting and merely reflect a certain inarticulateness that arises when otherwise educated persons reach a certain level of rage. I hope this will be of help to them.
First of all, why use just one word when three or more work much, much better? Instead of simply calling the President a moron, why not call him a"feeble-minded little monkey" or "odious little vermin" or the "malignant consequence of a broken condom?" Or instead of calling Karl Rove an a**hole, why not say instead that "Karl Rove is a venomous little puff-toad instilled with the single-mindedness of a zombie but without the charisma?" See how this works? It's creative, it's funny and quite staggeringly nasty in the hands of a master.
And I hope that BuzzFlash editors will appreciate not having to overuse the asterisk button on their computers when reviewing the Mailbag.
Subject: New Opinion Poll - How Americans Are Perceived
Well here are the results: Americans are not that appreciated around the globe.
I read this early [Saturday] morning before work on one of my Canadian news sources online (Toronto Star) and was not surprised at all. What can I say? I know that many of us here try to remember that Americans are individuals and not necessarily representative of what we see and read daily about their administration and so try to treat them with respect as they are due as humans. It can be difficult though; sometimes, when those who do represent the brash, rude and abusive "American Abroad" image show up in your face, you just want to do an about-face. Therefore, do not be surprised that you are painted with the same brush as your despicable militaristic governmental administration. It seems to us that most Americans also "love" their guns and violence to a level not seen here in Canada (except Alberta).
For the most part, Canadians are peacemakers, not militaristic. My father was in the military almost all of his working life, I grew up in the military on its air force bases, yet, my father's favourite saying was, "Make love, not war!" He was in WWII as an army volunteer at seventeen. He knew the toll it took upon the men and women who served. My brother-in-law is a leader in the Princess Pats (Canadian regiment). He will be returning to Afghanistan in a few weeks to help maintain the peace in a rapidly deteriorating country and I support his role in fulfilling his duties as a peacekeeper (by the way, the men killed in "friendly fire" in Afghanistan had once been under his command and it devastated him when he heard about their deaths). He has also completed tours of duty in other countries such as Bosnia.
Though this may seem to be an aside, it is included in this letter as regards the ways that Americans are viewed in the world for a reason. Since WWII, when our military has been deployed, it has been to maintain peace, not make war (Star War missiles are not wanted here, thank you). When we, as Canadians, see Americans in Canada, we do not think of the good things that the United States may have accomplished, but those that are negative. Such as making war illegally upon a sovereign country that was not involved in 9/11. Such as taking the position of the world's cops pretending to promote peace and democracy. Have you ever heard the radio program, "Good cop, bad cop?" (picked up by CHLY 101.7 fm, Malaspina University Radio, community radio programming, Nanaimo, BC, Canada online). If not, it is a program that finds all the weekly goings on about police forces in the United States and Canada and most of them are horrifying tales of abuse of power. That is what we think of the United States; horrifying abuse of military power. So by association, the people of the United States. Sheer, out and out, abuse of power and a hunger for even more regardless of the cost to democracy and the silencing of its own citizens. Appalling!
So when Americans come to our country and boast about the United States, we tend to see those Americans as the standard and are amazed when we find ourselves facing those Americans who do not push their American-ness nor extol the greatness of the United States. Sadly, we seldom see the latter and too often more of the former. I have seen far too many pro-war stickers close to the American license plates, and far too many pro-Bush stickers on bumpers along with the idolatrized U.S. flag on the highways to believe that there may be hope for peace. Your whole economy is so firmly based on the military-industrial-political complex that it cannot do other than wage war so as to not collapse.
So what can Americans do about changing your image? Stop terrifying the rest of the world with the threat of new and better (though smaller) nuclear weaponry, would help. And with bated breath, we await a change of governance! It would be so nice to greet a neighbour without trepidation.
Subject: Say "No" to Electronic Voting Machines in California
Certifying electronic voting machines in California would be a big mistake. The California Secretary of State's Voting Systems & Procedures Panel conducted a "Vendor Certification Hearing" on June 16 and 17, 2005, to consider recommending certification of proposed Diebold and EE&S electronic voting machines. Without getting into the arcane, technical reasons given against the proposal, electronic voting machines should not be used in our elections because many people do not trust them and because they are a ridiculously expensive and complicated method to record votes in a way that does not reasonably guarantee accuracy.
Historically, there have been a number of incidents when electronic voting machines have irretrievably lost thousands of votes or have recorded votes inaccurately. In one notorious example that occurred during the contentious 2004 presidential election, a particular Ohio district had more votes cast for George W. Bush than they had registered voters. That problem might not even have been discoverable if not for that circumstance.
Much of the public's distrust of electronic voting stems from the fact that the machines may not show any evident external signs of a problem when they are not functioning properly. The use of such electronic voting machines in our elections also makes us dependent on maintenance being provided by private companies that are not subject to the same kinds of oversight normally required of governmental agencies.
Certification of proposed electronic voting machines produced by the Diebold and EE&S companies in particular would seem especially problematic because those two companies are owned by two brothers who both have close ties with the Republican Party. Voting machines produced by those companies have been associated with numerous documented voting irregularities and variances from exit poll data in a number of elections across the country.
It begs the question when it is asserted that no absolute proof of vote fraud has ever been found to support frequent claims of suspicious or tainted elections. The point is that the Diebold and EE&S electronic voting machines are designed in such a way as to make attempts to uncover evidence of tampering very difficult or next to impossible.
Substantial issues have been raised that the use of secret software programming and the design of the Diebold and EE&S machines with wireless internet access makes them vulnerable to being rigged or hacked. Because the way these machines are programmed is kept a "proprietary" secret, the public is placed in the position of just having to trust that the programs were designed fairly and are being operated properly. It is for that reason that critics sometimes sardonically refer to the electronic voting machines as being "faith-based voting."
A major objection is that the electronic voting machines currently proposed by Diebold and EE&S for California certification do not produce an acceptably designed "paper trail" that would allow voters to verify the accuracy of their votes and provide an independently transparent way to audit the election results. Diebold's proposed solution to produce "gas station receipt-styled" records using thermal printing techniques is not satisfactory. A proper "paper trail" should be durable, permanent, and capable of being counted using both mechanized and hand re-count methods. The records should not become easily jammed, misprinted, forged, or counterfeited.
Critics of the proposed certification of Diebold and EE&S electronic voting machines have asserted that a massive outpouring of public opposition may be necessary to stop the proposal as they fear the members of the nominally non-partisan Panel may have been politicized and that the decision to recommend certification is a foregone conclusion.
Subject: I Need To Know
Did ANYONE attending the Young Republicans convention volunteer for military duty? If not, why?
Subject: Bush/Rove Phony TV
I'm asking everyone to write theire TV networks and newspapers and tell them we will turn off the TV and not read the newspapers during the Rove/Bush TV lie next week. Thanks.
Subject: Cold War With China
Another cold war is on the horizon. Our government and the corporate media are ramping up the case for a cold war with China.
This will require a re-instatement of the draft. The nuclear weapons machine will have to introduce a new generation of nukes. Funds wiil be diverted from our nation's social and infrastructure programs again.
Carlyle Group will jump with glee in the streets of New York and Washington.
Has anyone noticed how the Bush Dynasty has been always involved in weapons and war, dating back to their earliest ancestors?
Is there a 'Sociopathic, War or Destruction Gene?'
Subject: Norm Coleman
Sen. Norm Coleman has absolutely no interest in honesty in government. He is Karl Rove's metaphorical butt-boy (they are legion). His motivation in attacking some government contractors (none of them truly large Republican donors) is in the service of the Grover Norquist fanatics who believe in a free-lunch for the rich and dumpster-diving for everyone else. If they can cut and end all taxes, then the rich (who are only using these monkeys) WILL inherit the earth. We are at the same stage that Rome was at when it lost its decency and nobility, when citizens would march to defend their own turf, when they were represented by Senators who cared about the common good and the survival of their country, and then over-reached into exploitive empirical ambitions.
Unfortunately, we don't have a Brutus. Can you even imagine who could be a Cincinnatus these days? Could you find three hundred Spartans to defend your country (as oppossed to the corporations that own and conrol it)? Sorry folks, this place was bought and paid for under Ronald Reagan's administration. We'd have had more luck under Ronald McDonald.
Subject: Note to My Buddy Karl Rove
So, Karl, sorry I haven't written sooner, but you know how hard it is to get near you without a security check or a cashier's check. Anyway, I hear you had a big time in front of your big money supporters a couple of days ago. Really scored some big hits with your sharp mind on display for your wallet and checkbook crowd. I heard you said, "Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals." That's great logic there, Karl, irrefutable logic from the kind of keen intelligence we've come to expect from the creme-de-la-femme of the right. That same irresistible analysis, as I'm sure you know, must apply to the amazingly provocative things that your brethren (and sisteren) have said about Muslims.
Gee, tell me you haven't forgotten Ann "of Green Goebbels" Coulter's famous observation that we should invade their countries, kill their rulers, and convert them all to Christianity. You didn't forget that, did you Karl? Hey, Karl ol' buddy, do you think that the terrorist recruiters might have made a tape of that beauty? Do you think they might have broadcast that little glob of bile into the minds of some pretty unhappy Muslims who went looking for an American G.I. or two?
Or what about your ardent supporters in groups like those free spirits at Free Republic? Huh, Karl, what about them? Do you think their comments about ragheads and sodomites just might be offensive enough to convince some hot-tempered teenaged Muslim to go find an American convoy to blow up with explosives that were looted from ammo dumps right under our noses?
And there are so many others, so many. But you know the ones I mean, right Karl? They do still run this stuff by you before spewing it in print, right?
And certainly, without a doubt, no more needs to be said about the motives of conservatives.
Subject: "Last Throes"
Vice President Cheney was heavily criticized as "out of touch," when he said in a May 31 CNN interview that the Iraqi insurgency was in "the last throes."
He returned to CNN on June 23 to clarify his comments.
So there you have it. He wasn't suggesting that the insurgency was diminishing -- as was widely interpreted, even by his defenders. He was just saying that it was almost over. Right, Dick?
I took Cheney's advice, and looked up "throes" on dictionary.com. Sure enough, Cheney was right, the second definition reads:
I certainly feel better. Regardless of what Cheney's "last throes" comment meant, at least Americans can be rest assured that his grammatical skills are sound.
Cheney's interview with Blitzer follows a key chapter from the Bushspeak handbook. Make a big statement that will get widespread attention, the chapter reads. If you need to later contradict yourself, rest assured that fewer people will notice.
For example, President Bush made broad sweeping statements about Saddam Hussein seeking enriched uranium in Africa -- offered in a State of the Union address -- only to have the White House retract the statement six months later. Earlier this month, it happened again, when the administration, one month after the fact, retracted a statement that terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi [was] visiting Syria to plan bombings in Iraq.
It helps when you are interviewed by a lightweight like Blitzer, who asks questions as if they're on cue cards. No independent thought required. Blitzer assumes his guests are telling the truth, and seldom contradicts them, or offers alternative information that would allow him to play devil's advocate, let alone vigorously fight for the truth.
Unfortunately for Cheney, the impact of his Bushspeak was minimal, because he was contradicted -- coincidentally on June 23 -- by the top American commander in the Persian Gulf, Gen. John Abizaid.
Abizaid, testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee, indicated the insurgency was not weakening.
Told by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the committee's senior Democrat, that his assessment directly contradicted Cheney, Abizaid said: "I don't know that I would make any comment about that other than to say there's a lot of work to be done ... I gave you my opinion."
Whatever you make of Cheney's "last throes" comment -- and feel free to accept it as "it will soon be over" or "they can only keep up this intense violence for a little longer" or any number of other things -- recently published statistics suggest otherwise.
An April 27 Washington Post story, based on statistics provided to Congressional aides, found terrorist incidents in Iraq had increased, from 22 attacks in 2003 to 198 last year, a 900% increase. That contradicts the Bush administration's assertion that the situation there had stabilized significantly after the U.S. handover of political authority to an interim Iraqi government last summer.
Why is the Post report based on information from aides, and not from some published State Department report? Because the State Department said in April that it was breaking with tradition in withholding the statistics on terrorist attacks from its congressionally mandated annual report.
Although the State Department said the data would still be made public by the new National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), which prepares the information, officials at the center said no decision to publish the statistics has been made.
"Last year was bad. This year is worse. They are deliberately trying to withhold data because it shows that as far as the war on terrorism internationally, we're losing," said Larry C. Johnson, a former senior State Department counterterrorism official in the first Bush administration, who first revealed the decision not to publish the data.
As you might expect, Blitzer didn't ask Cheney about the statistics. Better to let him provide Bushspeak on the "last throes" in Iraq -- whatever that means.
This is an important article. Lots of people heard Cheney call the Iraq insurgency in its "last throes." Less people heard about this lame follow-up interview on Thursday with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
Wolf doesn't ask tough questions, so Cheney was able to "clarify" his earlier statement with little risk of tough follow-ups. The fact that Cheney's information flies in the face of previously reported statistics, not to mention the top U.S. official in the region, wasn't mentioned in the interview.
David R. Mark
Subject: Seattle PI Article, This War Cannot Be Won
Everyone talks about the Bush Administration making errors in judgment and not listening to the generals. The Neo Cons did not make any mistakes. They planned this fiasco just the way it is unfolding. They are getting filthy rich and the longer it continues, the more they make. Free Speech TV says 50% of the insurgents are from Saudi Arabia. Do you really think that is a coincidence? Yes, I do believe in conspiracy theories. Enron was a conspiracy theory and it paid off handsomely for those who planned it. This is no different. The only thing that will stop this carnage is the American people, if and when they have had enough just as they did for The Viet Nam War. 58,000 Americans died and Viet Nam is still communist!
A BuzzFlash Reader
CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 OF THE JUNE 27, 2005 BUZZFLASH MAILBAG
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