Little Green Footballs

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

All that sacrifice for nothing in Iraq

A good piece by Denis Hamill here. Nice to see some people are now seeing Iraq and Afghanistan for the disasters that they are.

Except for the final body count, the war in Iraq is over.

We lost.

Islam won. Islam won when it was codified into the new constitution as the guiding North Star of Iraq's future.

This was not startling. After we righteously stormed into Afghanistan and kicked some butt, we abandoned the search for Osama Bin Laden, who killed those 2,700 people in downtown Manhattan, for a bait-and-switch invasion of Iraq.

We then turned Afghanistan over to the murderous warlords and opium merchants - whose product probably wound up in the veins of Mellie Carballo and Maria Pesantez, the two coeds who OD'd on heroin a few weeks back on the lower East Side - and declared it a victory for liberal democracy.

And now it is heartbreaking that 1,800 beautiful Americans have died and more than $200 billion in American taxpayer treasure spent so that we could transform the secular totalitarian fascist state of Iraq that had nothing, zero, to do with 9/11, into an Islamic theocracy.

Give it maybe three years after we pull the last troops out - which will start before the 2006 elections for obvious political reasons - and Iraq will be Iran. Ayatollahs will rule. Civil war will rock this sandy asylum. Women will be suppressed. The courts will make decisions based on sharia, Islamic law.

Somehow I don't see the Stones playing Baghdad on the next tour.

I take no liberal-weenie glee in the failure of this war. I believe that Islamo-fascism is the greatest threat to mankind in the 21st century. But an open, transparent democracy cannot start a war on radical Islam based on lies and deceptions. The war was prosecuted with too few troops, no after-plan, and a pathologically stubborn Bush policy of "stay the course" while we sped toward an iceberg in the desert.

And now staying the course has forged us an Islamic state.

In July, I spent a morning in Breezy Point, Queens, with a bunch of Iraq warvets who had lost limbs in that awful war. One guy who'd lost two legs and anarm still had the guts to fasten himself into a harness and zoom through Jamaica Bay. He believed he made his sacrifices for America. Turns out he gave three limbs to create a constitution that celebrates Islam.


I met another vet who was the very first of 15,000 maimed in the war, a brave, patriotic kid from Texas who had a leg blown off in a land mine on the roll into Baghdad. I sat with another legless vet whose 12-year-old-son sat beside him, a little dazed. That kid lost those legs in Iraq, too, for his old man would never shag a fly ball that kid hit into a summer sky.

This new Islamic Iraq constitution dishonors their sacrifice.

Last spring, I received an E-mail from a childhood pal, a Brooklyn bus driver, who at age 54 and with six grandkids, was activated by the reserves and sent to Iraq. He didn't sacrifice a year of his middle age to create an Islamic state. I received another E-mail the other day from a soldier from the Bronx serving with the 101st Airborne who ached to be with his wife, who was seven months pregnant. By the time his baby is born, Iraq will probably have voted to approve the Islamic constitution.

None of them could have imagined when they went to Iraq that what they sacrificed - limbs, dead buddies, irretrievable time away from loved ones - was offered so that Ahmed Chalabi, who while on the CIA payroll fed us all that BS about WMD, could get richer as the new oil minister of Iraq. So that Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric whose militia is suspected in the recent execution of a New York freelancer named Steven Vincent, could become a major player in the new "democratic" Iraq assembly.

A soldier named Casey Sheehan, who was killed in a 2004 ambush by al-Sadr's militia in Sadr City, certainly didn't die for that.

That's why Cindy Sheehan helped turn the tide of this war that has become President Bush's Vietnam quagmire. When Cindy Sheehan showed up in Crawford, Tex., where Bush cleared brush on the ranch, she synthesized the collective grief of a Gold Star Motherland.

Cindy Sheehan became every funeral George W. Bush did not attend. She was every flag-draped coffin that this administration did not allow us to see. Standing in the dust under a blistering sun, she was the legacy of this dirty little war in microcosm, a mother who had lost a son for NOTHING.

Unless you want to call the creation of an Iraqi Islamic state a victory.

Is Katrina God's punishment for abortion?

Unsurprising news here from Religious wingnuts are on the Katrina offensive.

We knew this was coming.

Two days after 9/11, Jerry Falwell took to the airwaves to proclaim that God had allowed the United States to be attacked because "the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians" had tried to transform America into a secular society. Just this weekend, wingnuts from the Westboro Baptist Church turned out at the funerals of two fallen soldiers to say that God is punishing the United States in Iraq for its tolerance of homosexuality back home.

So when Hurricane Katrina hit land yesterday, we knew it was only a matter of time before we'd be hearing from the lunatic fringe again. And now, here it is. In an e-mail message we just received, a group calling itself Columbia Christians for Life alerts us to the fact that a satellite image of Hurricane Katrina as it hit the Gulf Coast Monday looks just like a six-week-old fetus.

"The image of the hurricane ... with its eye already ashore at 12:32 p.m. Monday, August 29, looks like a fetus (unborn human baby) facing to the left (west) in the womb, in the early weeks of gestation (approx. 6 weeks)," the e-mail message says. "Even the orange color of the image is reminiscent of a commonly used pro-life picture of early prenatal development."

And in case you're not getting the point, the e-mail message spells it out in black and white: "Louisiana has 10 child-murder-by-abortion centers," the groups says, and "five are in New Orleans."

But why would God single out Louisiana? Other states have many more abortion clinics, and Louisiana and the other states hit hardest by Katrina all voted for the pro-life president of the United States. It didn't add up for us at first, but the Columbia Christians for Life have an answer for everything. God has already punished California with earthquakes, forest fires and mudslides; New York with 9/11; and Florida with Hurricanes Bonnie, Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne and the early version of Katrina.

Our Kids Are Not 'Cannon Fodder'

Latino's For Peace are campaigning hard to stop their children being given the (US) Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (test) at their locals schools. Good luck to them.

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Calling Hispanics "cannon fodder" in Iraq, Latinos for Peace wants to keep Latinos from being recruited for the war.

"Our schools have been drafted as the data base for turning our youth into cannon fodder again," said Rosalio Munoz, chairperson of the National Chicano Moratorium and coordinator of Latinos for Peace, launched Monday.

"We join in the campaign to inform parents of how to opt out of having local schools hand over their children's contact data to recruiters and opt out of their children being given the (US) Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (test) at the local schools," Munoz said.

Too many young Latinos have perished in Iraq, according to the group, which wants to avoid what it says would be a repeat of the Vietnam war, fought largely by young men belonging to minority groups.

The group launched its campaign in the United States on the 35th anniversary of the National Chicano Moratorium, when 20,000 persons protested the disproportionate number of Latinos who died in Vietnam, and which ended with the deaths of three persons, including Los Angeles Times journalist Ruben Salazar.

"In the Vietnam era, the Pentagon targeted Chicanos, Puerto Ricans and other minority and poor youth with a discriminatory draft," said Munoz, who planned press conferences in San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The group wants to ask high schools to limit military recruiters' access to students and their personal information and to teach high schoolers how to keep their data from the Pentagon.

Under the law that created President George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind" program, recruiters have access to the students' information, unless they opt out.

The group wants to have as many children as possible sign opt-out lists.

How to help

The Booman Tribune has a good list of organizations that are taking donations for hurricane relief.

Inside 9/11

A bloggers response to Charles Johnson.

Essential Decency And Humanity? History Making?

Compare and contrast.

Shiplord Kirel 8/30/2005 11:08PM PDT
#16 Charles and #17 Ronaldusmagnus

Good call, and yet another sign of the essential decency and humanity of this history-making operation, the LGF weblog.

Shiplord Kirel 8/13/2005 03:46PM PDT
My fantasy:

A Delta team snatches Sheehan away to safety in the middle of the night, then a fleet of Chinooks descends to release, not hordes of soldiers, but legions, great howling swarms, of hungry wolves, currently held in our special bunker beneath the Denver Airport for this very purpose. They proceed to gorge themselves on gamy buttocks and Moonbat pate.
If you fantasise about that, you need help. There's something rotten in their big hearted brain trust.

Iraq War Costs More Per Month Than Vietnam

Interesting figures from a new report "The Iraq Quagmire".

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq now costs more per month than the average monthly cost of military operations in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, according to a report issued on Wednesday.

The report, entitled "The Iraq Quagmire" from the Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy in Focus, both liberal, anti-war organizations, put the cost of current operations in Iraq at $5.6 billion per month. This breaks down to almost $186 million a day.

"By comparison, the average cost of U.S. operations in Vietnam over the eight-year war was $5.1 billion per month, adjusting for inflation," it said.

As a proportion of gross domestic product, the Vietnam War was more significant, costing 12 percent of annual GDP, compared to 2 percent for the Iraq War. However, economists said the Iraq war is being financed with deficit spending and may nearly double the projected federal budget deficit over the next 10 years.

The U.S. Congress has approved four spending bills for Iraq so far with funds totaling $204.4 billion and is expected soon to authorize a further $45.3 billion.

"Broken down per person in the United States, the cost so far is $727, making the Iraq War the most expensive military effort in the past 60 years," wrote authors Phyllis Bennis and Erik Leaver.

As public support for the war drops, more politicians, including some Republicans, have begun to compare it to Vietnam.

Big hearts, small minds

One of the members of the big-hearted brain trust over at LGF is organizing a relief effort to help some of his fellow citizens left destitute and homeless by Hurricane Katrina.

But only some of them.

#94 Bayou_King 8/31/2005 12:51AM PDT

#90 Steel Rain 8/31/2005 12:47AM PDT

"I also will not give a pass to social subsets in NOLA..'

steel rain, will you consider donating to my effort? the social subset you're referring to (and i'm in pretty close agreement with you, having spent enough time in New Orleans) lives in N.O.

I am assisting the people of Mandeville.

Two different worlds.....

Two different worlds indeed.

Mandeville is 90.4% white.

New Orleans is 60.7% black.

Rarely has our tagline seemed more appropriate.

Feel The Love

A poster on LGF has made this little comment.

Not only does LGF have an amazing brain trust, but it has some of the biggest hearts on the 'net.

Hey LGF Watch! Are you assholes watching this?

God bless ye merry Lizards.
Let the comments made on LGF during the Asian Tsunami do the talking.

piglet (1338 posts)
12/26/2004 07:02PM PST
Am I the only one wondering how many muslim women drowned in these waters because they were wearing islamic dress and were weighed down by their clothes?

garnier (242 posts)
12/26/2004 07:08PM PST
why would allah kill a bunch of righteous Muslims, when he could have just as easily sent a tidal wave to kills the infidels living in the great satan?

mglazer (298 posts)
1/7/2005 11:20AM PST
I think it WAS punishment for having Sharia law!~
Indonesia is the largest muslim country with 1 billion people.

hans ze beeman (65 posts)
1/7/2005 11:29AM PST
Question to Allah: why did the tsunami not hit the infidels in the US and Europe who are further away from Sharia than Indonesia's inhabitants? Why did Allah some time ago send an Earthquake to Bam, Iran and to Izmir, Turkey when there live Muslims? Is Allah not feeling well recently?

Albertadude (179 posts)
1/7/2005 11:34AM PST
As a Christian I am torn as to whether we really should be helping these peoples of Aceh?

pointed stick (103 posts)
1/7/2005 11:36AM PST
Am I the only one who is really conflicted over sending any money to muslimville? I think what happened is terrible but then isn't sending them money a bit counter-productive to our interests?!
Feel the Love. Marvel at the 'brain trust'.

Double Standards Jonah

Here's an interesting post about Jonah Goldberg's idiocy about Cindy Sheehan and her alleged supporters on the extreme right but it could so easily be used against most rightwing commentators who supported the flawed and dangerous 'Minuteman Project'.

Jonah Goldberg of the National Review’s the Corner went after Cindy Sheehan, stating that, “She’s rallied the Nazis to her cause (obviously unintentionally, but it’s interesting how her message resonates in such quarters nonetheless).” And his so-called apology for the statement still likened her rhetoric to that of white supremacists.

In the same post, Jonah brings up (and defends) the Minuteman Project, a group that even President Bush labeled as vigilantes. The efforts of the Minuteman Project drew “major interest on White supremacist Web sites and in their chat rooms. An Aryan Nation site [linked] directly to the Minuteman Project home page with the words: ‘A call for action on part of ALL ARYAN SOLDIERS.’” Jonah scolds Sheehan for using “rhetoric [that] is appealing to a wide range of groups who practice similar rhetoric…” and yet claims the Minutemen “have been working hard to weed out the nuts and goons rhetorically and practically.”

He’s talking about the same Minutemen Project that absolutely used rhetoric laced with venom — claiming the nation is being “devoured and plundered by the menace of tens of millions of invading illegal aliens” and predicting “political, economic and social mayhem.”

Now that he’s received some critical email, Goldberg doesn’t want to talk about the issue anymore. This morning he announced that he’s “not going to spend the day discussing this whole thing any more.”

Still Separate, Still Unequal

America's Educational Apartheid

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Little Green Lockergnomes

Another blogger expresses disgust at the 'Smear Cindy' campaign and LGF in particular.

And here’s an example of the kind of “patriotism” being expressed by the pitchfork and torch wielding rabble of incensed paste-eaters.

This is far from being an atypical sentiment amongst the angry right. Here for example is some wishful thinking from an LGF poster yesterday: “If I were the POTUS, I would meet with the beotch right in the center of Crawford. Start talking with her, just like old time sake. Then have the Secret Service come out of left field and slap the cuffs on her. Put the barrel of an Uzi right between the eyes with the safety off and the thing on full auto. Place her under arrest for treason, along with all her followers, the whole stinking lot of em. Try her on the spot like Judge Roy Bean and hang the bitch for aiding and abetting the enemy.” (Note: This comment wasn’t rebuked at all by any of the other little green lockergnomes. Disgusting.)
Read it all here.

Spot On Mike

Mike Power hits the nail fully on the head.

An American woman who lost her son in Iraq gets the slime treatment. She is using her democratic freedoms to challenge her president - freedoms, we are told, that her son died trying to bring to Iraq. Her reward? To be slimed by scum like Charles Johnson and his retard supporters.

Mote, meet Beam

"How can “faith” be insulted?," asks Charles Johnson rhetorically.

This being the very same Charles who reflexively and instantly hurls accusations of "anti-semitism" at anyone who makes even the mildest criticism of Israeli policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians.

How can "faith" be insulted? Charles ought to know. He's an expert on the subject.

Thanks, Hugo

FOXNews viewers seethe, whine:

"Where is the international help for the United States? We are always one of the first to come to any aid when disasters strike around the world. Where is our help?? Now is the time for other nations to come to our rescue!" — Debbie (Normal, Il)

"It is truly amazing that other countries have not offered assistance to the devastation on the gulf coast. Is not the USA the first to offer assistance to other world disasters? Maybe we should quit this freebie attitude and look after our own." — Bob

"Let’s see how many countries come to our aid in the aftermath of one of the worst hurricanes to hit our shores in history. It's my guess that it will be up to the everyday working taxpayer." — Kerry

As if the U.S. were some impoverished third-world country incapable of caring for its own people, as opposed to, like, the richest and most powerful country the world has ever known.

But at least one country is offering help.

I'm sure those indignant FoxFans (and like-thinking lizards) will be rushing to thank Chávez for his generous offer, especially in light of the impending run-up in heating-oil and gas prices.


Radical Christians Protest Iraq War Funerals

If protesting the death of your son in an illegal and futile war is unpatriotic then what's this?

Members of a church say God is punishing American soldiers for defending a country that harbors gays, and they brought their anti-gay message to the funerals Saturday of two Tennessee soldiers killed in Iraq........The Rev. Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist in Kansas, contends that American soldiers are being killed in Iraq as vengeance from God for protecting a country that harbors gays.

Congratulations Charles!

Charles Johnson has been awarded the prestigious Kombat Keyboard Badge with Double Chickenhawks. Well done Charles, for it is you above all others that has deserved a prize like this. Thanks to your in-depth knowledge of military tactics, Middle East politics, Sharia law, Palestine and cycling a whole group of social misfits, survivalist nutjobs, bigots, felons, 9/11 fantasists and general wackos can call your blog home.

Wear this badge with honour.

Other winners are,

KKB with double Chickenhawk winners

Jonah Goldberg
Ben Shapiro
Ann Coulter
Victor Davis Hanson
Rich Lowry
Peter Beinart
Glen Beck
David Brooks
Michelle Malkin
Clifford May
John Hindrocker
Roger L. Simon

KKB with single chickenhawk

Paul Gormely
Ken Robinson
Alan Lipton
Adam Rusch

Why Won't You Meet With Me?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Killed in action

A soundman working for a major Western news organization was killed in Iraq over the weekend -- and not a peep from Charles, because the murdered man had three strikes against him: (1) he worked for Reuters (fondly known to lizards everywhere as "al-Reuters"); (2) he was an Arab; and (3) he was killed by an American soldier.

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq had this to say:

This is unfortunate... BUT sometimes mistakes are made.

Waleed Khaled, R.I.P.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Hitchens Smear Machine

A fantastic look here at the hypocritical and rather ugly attacks on Cindy Sheehan by any writer. Christopher Hitchens your time is up.

On August 19, Christopher Hitchens published one of his most hypocritical pieces of work ever, smearing bereaved military mother Cindy Sheehan (his first article is here).

Hitchens charged that an email allegedly sent by Sheehan to a Nightline producer evidenced her "real opinions on politics (a weird confection of pacifism and paranoid anti-Zionism)." He characterized Sheehan's alleged statement as "anti-Israel" and an insinuation of President George W. Bush's manipulation by "a Jewish cabal." Finally, speculating on the results of a hypothetical referendum of the American public on the occupation of Iraq -- something which has never been proposed by Sheehan or any other prominent opponent of the occupation -- Hitchens wrote, "The ultra-right anti-Zionist forces of David Duke and Patrick J. Buchanan, both of whom approvingly speak of Ms. Sheehan's popular groundswell, would still lose the vote." (What a relief!)

Reading Hitchens' screed, it occurred to me that he was using Sheehan to exorcise his own demons, attacking her as a projection of his former Trotskyist self. He posed as the calculating sadist, so frustrated with what he perceives as the left's pacific sentimentalism he almost seemed to pleasure in reducing a politically inexperienced military mom to a bloody pulp. Yet Hitchens assailed Sheehan for taking positions he had evinced for decades -- positions he had staked his career on. Reading Hitchens' attempted take-down of Sheehan was to watch him wander into his own, personal intellectual leather dungeon, lie on his back, and surrender his soft belly to the sharpened stilleto heel of a peacenik dominatrix he fabricated in the liquidized recesses of his mind. It was little more than a naked exercise in masochism.

Read it all. It's well worth it.

Dueling Rallies

How about the pro-war movement go and protest the Iranian Embassy? After all if they want to prove their commitment to a free and democratic Iraq they'd do more good protesting its future puppet masters than people like Cindy Sheehan, a mother who has lost her son in an illegal and doomed conflict.

Charles Johnson Accuses Others Of Racism..... screens everywhere splattered by coffee in amazement!

This is the same man that accused the head of Amnesty International of being biased by her faith simply because of her name and her ethnicity isn't it?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Not Funny Ha Ha

A must read.....

A United Iraq Is a Western Joke - by Charley Reese

The Two Venezuelas

Great piece here by Johann Hari about Venezuala, Chavez and the calls for his assasination.

Venezuela is living in the shadow of the other September 11th. In 1973, on a day synonymous with death, Salvador Allende – the democratically elected left-wing President of Chile – was bombed and blasted from power. The CIA and the US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, had decided the “irresponsibility” of the Chilean people at the ballot box needed to be “rectified” – so they installed a fascist general, Augusto Pinochet. He ‘disappeared’ at least 3000 people and tortured 27,000 more as he clung to power right up to 1990. Since the Venezuelans elected Hugo Chavez, their own left-wing democrat, in a 1998 landslide, they have been waiting for their September 11th. That’s why it did not surprise anyone here this week when Pat Robertson - one of America’s leading evangelicals and a friend of George Bush - openly called for a US-backed murder of their President.

In the four corners of the Plaza Bolivar – Caracas’ Trafalgar Square – there are groups of citizens who work in shifts, waiting, permanently waiting, to mobilise for when an attack on Chavez happens. They are known as the ‘hot corners’, and everybody in the city knows to head there if there is an attack on Venezuela’s elected leader. Laydez Primera, 34, has been doing an eight-hour shift. He explains, “Los esqualidos [the squalid ones, as the opposition is often called] and Bush have tried everything to get rid of Chavez. They know we have elected him in totally open elections, but they don’t care. They have tried forcing a recall referendum in the middle of Chavez’s term, but the President won by 60 percent. They have tried saying the elections are rigged, but the opposition itself asked Jimmy Carter to come and watch the elections, and he said they were totally free. He didn’t say that about the election of Bush in Florida! And they even tried staging a coup. We will never, never forget that.”

The coup, the coup. Everybody here has their stories about the 2002 coup d’etat, and the strange 47-hour Presidency of Venezuela’s business leader Pedro Carmona Estanga. Robertson’s call caused a cascade of memories to burst across the streets of Caracas. That April, Chavez was kidnapped and removed from power in a decapitation of democracy orchestrated by the media, a few generals, and the wealthy elite. Carmona proceeded to dissolve the Supreme Court, the Constitution and the elected National Assembly and assume total control of the country. This was immediately welcomed by the Bush administration. They were eager to ensure the largest pot of oil outside the Middle East - providing fifteen percent of US domestic consumption – was placed back into the hand of US corporations, rather than a left-winger with his own ideas about oil revenue. It later emerged that they had been funding many of the coup leaders.

Only the story didn’t end there. Venezuela refused to be Chile. As Judith Patino, a 57-year old grandmother and street-seller who lives in one of the shanty-towns in the West of Caracas, explains: “We would not let our democracy be destroyed. We refused. Everybody from this barrio, everybody from all the barrios, went onto the streets of Carcas. Of course we were afraid, we thought there would be massacres, but we had chosen our President and we were governing our own country and we would not surrender.” Over a million people took to the streets, surrounding the Miraflores Palace – the Venezuelan Downing Street – and calling for Chavez to return. Los Esqualidos scurried away; Chavez returned to the Miraflores by helicopter, and Caracas erupted into what one young woman told me was “the biggest, maddest party Venezuela has ever seen.”

Yet, three years on, the country is still split. There is the rich twenty percent, who for over a century received all the oil profits - until Chavez came to power and began to distribute them more widely. They welcomed the coup and rejoiced at Robertson’s comments. And, glaring at them across a chasm of incomprehension, there is the poor eighty percent, who defended democracy and Chavez. A taxi-ride across Caracas shows how small the physical divide is between these Two Venezuelas, the conflicting mental universes that share a country. Santa Fe, in the East of the city, could be a slice of Beverley Hills. Palatial gated communities stretch along the hillsides, interrupted only by private golf courses and turrets for security guards to peer from. I am surprised to spot one of the battered, chugging public buses, which always seem to be held together by sellotape and goodwill. “For their servants,” the taxi-driver explains.

Read it all.

Senior Iran cleric hails Islamic state of Iraq

Was this part of the 'noble' cause? A sister state for Iran?

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 26 – A senior Iranian cleric welcomed on Friday the establishment of an Islamic republic in Iraq and hailed the country’s new constitution as one based on “Islamic precepts”.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who heads the powerful ultra-conservative Guardian Council, told worshippers in Tehran’s Friday prayers, “Fortunately, after years of effort and expectations in Iraq, an Islamic state has come to power and the constitution has been established on the basis of Islamic precepts”.

“We must congratulate the Iraqi people and authorities for this victory”, he said.
He may wish to congratulate George W. Bush, the Republican Party, their cheerleading press and Charles Johnson and all the other warmongering bloggers as well. They played their part.

Americans Back Right to Protest Iraq War

Bad news Charles. Unlike you Americans believe is free speech.

An overwhelming number of people say critics of the Iraq war should be free to voice their objections — a rare example of widespread agreement about a conflict that has divided the nation along partisan lines.

Nearly three weeks after a grieving California mother named Cindy Sheehan started her anti-war protest near President Bush's Texas ranch, nine of 10 people surveyed in an AP-Ipsos poll say it's OK for war opponents to publicly share their concerns about the conflict.

"Part of the Constitution is the First Amendment," said Mike Malone, a salesman from Odessa, Fla. "We have the right to disagree with the government."

With the U.S. death toll in Iraq climbing past 1,870 with an especially bloody August, the public's opinion of the Bush administration's handling of the war has been eroding over the past two years.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Iraq War Less Popular Than Vietnam

An interesting analysis from Gallup.

The latest quarterly average for Iraq shows that 50% say it was a mistake to send troops (the most recent single measure on this indicator, from an Aug. 5-7 Gallup Poll, shows 54% saying the war was a mistake).

In the comparable quarter for the Vietnam War (the third quarter of the war’s third year — that is, the third quarter of 1967), Gallup found 41% saying the conflict was a mistake. It was not until the third quarter of the fourth year of the Vietnam War (August-September 1968) that a majority of Americans said the war was a mistake. In short, it took longer for a majority of Americans to view the Vietnam War as a mistake than has been the case for Iraq.


How many Bush administration officials does it take to change a light

1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed;

2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs
to be changed;

3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb;

4. One to arrange the invasion of a country rumored to have a secret
stockpile of light bulbs;

5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton for the
new light bulb;

6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor,
standing on a step ladder under the banner: Light Bulb Change Accomplished;

7. One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting
in detail how Bush was literally in the dark;

8. One to viciously smear #7;

9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush
has had a strong light-bulb-changing policy all along;

10. And finally one to confuse Americans about the difference between
screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.

Comments From Left Field

Anatomy of a Smear

The Right Smear While Cindy Blogs

Unfortunately for Charles and other rightwing smearmongers, Cindy Sheehan isn't giving up. The more they whine and slime the more the average American will question the new 'Long War' on terror.

Headlines & Deadlines

Charles is complaining about this headline on Google News:


What exactly is wrong with this headline? Israeli forces attacked the Tulkarm refugee camp at night killing five. The Israelis are claiming they were militants the Palestinians are claiming that three of them were unarmed teenagers. The headline merely states a fact. What kind of headline would Charles want? Then again this is the creature who headlined a story about a settler murdering innocent Arabs as 'Israeli Soldier Lynched After Bus Attack'. I think Charles is still a bit sore about Google turning his sordid little hate site down.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

We Are Truly Shocked!

It seems that the 'Cindy Doesn't Speak For Me' spontaneous grassroots Bus Tour was funded and organised by a Republican PR Firm. Who'd have thunk it?

PS if this empty demonstration (count 'em all!) is anything to go by the Republicans could'nt organise a piss up in a brewery.

The culture of life

The entertaining little scandalette surrounding Pat Robertson's summoning His Heavenly Hitmen to Caracas is reaching its sell-by date, but before it does, here's what the excellent Mike Gerber has to say about it:

I thought, "Wait a sec. Pat Robertson, as much as I despise him, has probably read the Bible a lot more closely than I have. I'd better check my sources before going off half-cocked." As we all know, most people who read this blog are highly devout fundamentalist Christians, as well as real sticklers for accuracy.

So I skimmed through the New Testament, and you know what? Robertson's right! Christ is constantly offing people, usually for political gain. The dude's a one-man killing machine. "For He so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten sniper." "Blessed are the hitmen." "Do unto others, but cover your tracks, to minimize blowback." The whole thing reads like a study packet from The School of the Americas.

(Go see this Horsey cartoon too.)

And for those who question our absolute commitment to First Amendment rights, in light of the preceding post as well as the increasing calls (with which this writer doesn't agree, insofar as his antics discredit the entire right-wing élite) for Robertson to lose his bully pulpit, we have just two little words:

Eason Jordan.

Freedom from speech

Look what the head of an influential American patriotic organization is saying:

We had hoped that the lessons learned from the Vietnam War would be clear to our fellow citizens: public protests against the war here at home while our young men and women are in harm’s way on the other side of the globe only provide aid and comfort to our enemies. We understand that the terrorists they are engaging there would slit the throats of every American, adult and child, if they could.


[We] will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom loving peoples.


No one respects the right to protest more than one who has fought for it, but we hope that Americans will present their views in correspondence to their elected officials rather than by public media events guaranteed to be picked up and used as tools of encouragement by our enemies. It would be tragic if the freedoms our veterans fought so valiantly to protect would be used against their successors today as they battle terrorists bent on our destruction.

Fine words from a patriotic American, sure to bring much gladness and joy to the flinty hearts of lizards everywhere.

Oh, and the organization in question is the American Legion, which has a membership of 2.7 million -- and a long history of defending freedom, or at least some version of it.

The waltz with fascism goes on, and the music is getting louder.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Another Failure

The Jean Charles de Menezes case takes another twist(I know that seems to be a daily occurrence now).

POLICE marksmen and army surveillance teams following Jean Charles de Menezes onto a Tube train could not receive orders in the vital moments before he was shot dead because their radios did not work underground.
This communication failure has emerged as the likely reason why Scotland Yard commanders were not told that the 27-year-old Brazilian was not the suicide bomber that they were hunting.

The undercover officers sitting alongside Mr de Menezes are understood to have decided he was not a threat, but they could not get this message back to Gold Command at the Yard nor relay it to the marksmen.

As the firearms officers ran into the station they are believed to have been out of touch with everyone else involved in the operation. It has been disclosed that the two groups involved — one from Scotland Yard and the other from the Army — were using different radio networks as they trailed the innocent electrician from his home on July 22. Officers on the train are understood to have decided that from the way Mr de Menezes was dressed, and that he was not carrying a bag, he was not about to blow himself up.

But that crucial assessment by surveillance experts reportedly never reached the Yard officers taking part.

What Is Peace?

Yesterday, Charles decided to throw his toys out of the pram because Gerhard Schroeder has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. He dubbed the German Chancellor an 'Appeasment Weasel' for not supporting the war on Iraq or committing any troops to invasion and occupation. I suppose if he'd committed troops to an illegal war, that was based on falsehoods, that broke international law, which is still claiming lives, which is spreading terrorism and hatred for the West quicker than anything else on the face of the planet he'd be Charlies prime candidate for a 'PEACE' prize!

Charles goes on to say that the prize was devalued by Yasser Arafat and Jimmy Carter winning. A couple of points.

1. Kissenger devalued the prize in 1973

2. Arafat was awarded the prize jointly with Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994 for their efforts to make peace. Arafat of the PLO, Peres and Rabin former members of the Haganah all had roots and expericence in terrorism. The award was made for the attempt at a peaceful resolution not past, present or future links to terror.

3. Jimmy Carter was responsible for the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, SALT2 treaty and was a strong critic of the apartheid South Africa.

Now if the award was made to George W. Bush, that would be the greatest insult to the words 'Peace Prize'.

The French President

Nice work if you can get it.

As The Financial Times noted, Mr. Bush is acting positively French in his love of le loafing, with 339 days at his ranch since he took office - nearly a year out of his five. Most Americans, on the other hand, take fewer vacations than anyone else in the developed world (even the Japanese), averaging only 13 to 16 days off a year.

Fox News Critical Of War Shocker!

If Bush's arch-propagandists at Fox are questioning the ground war who does Bush have left? Maybe it's an opening for Little Green Footballs and Pajama Media? Then again maybe not.

E.D. Hill, one of the "Fox & Friends" morning show anchors, said she thought the Iraq war "was a justified one" but now worries "that there's not a plan to actually win that ground war."

"Well, E.D., I can assure you that's not the case," Bartlett (President Bush's counselor) assured her. Allowing that it's been a "bumpy process" with "difficult days," he asserted: "We have the right strategy to prevail."

Hill was not reassured by this assurance. "I guess I'm not convinced," she replied.

Fewer and fewer Americans are being convinced by the Bush administration.

Democracy! Whiskey! Sexy! Shariah!

Whatever happened to that 'noble cause'? Is this what the Chickenhawks wanted?

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 23 - Some secular Iraqi leaders complained Tuesday that the country's nearly finished constitution lays the groundwork for the possible domination of the country by Shiite Islamic clerics, and that it contains specific provisions that could sharply curtail the rights of women.

The secular leaders said the draft, which was presented to the National Assembly on Monday, contains language that not only establishes the primacy of Islam as the country's official religion, but appears to grant judges wide latitude to strike down legislation that may contravene the faith. To interpret such legislation, the constitution calls for the appointment of experts in Shariah, or Islamic law, to preside on the Supreme Federal Court.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Cover Up?

The Jean Charles de Menezes story takes another shocking turn.

Scotland Yard has been plunged into a damaging new 'cover-up' row over missing CCTV footage from the station where Jean Charles de Menezes was shot.

London Underground sources insisted that at least three of the four cameras trained on the Stockwell Tube platform were in full working order.

This appears to contradict police assertions that 'technical problems' meant no footage exists of the innocent Brazilian's final moments before he was killed by marksmen after being wrongly identified as a potential suicide bomber.

The sources also rejected suggestions that the cameras had not been fitted with new tapes after police took away footage from the previous day, July 21, when suspects in the failed bombings caught trains there.

The revelations increased calls for a full public inquiry and heaped further pressure on Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair who has faced repeated calls to resign.

Two completely unrelated facts

  • Since yesterday, Charles has devoted no fewer than three posts to a National Geographic documentary in which the horror of 9/11 is portrayed, moment by gruesome moment.

  • In a Google search for the expression "grief whore," LGF comes up first.

A Fitting Mission

Emphasis Added describes the dawning realisation by certain LGF'ers that their War on Terror (or whatever it's called this week) may actually bring about their worst nightmare. A pro-Iranian Islamic Republic.

Let’s forgive our friends on the Right for only now understanding that “democracy” in Iraq means giving power to a majority that is profoundly illiberal, religiously aligned with Iran, and not especially interested in American values or American interests. Let’s even forgive them for failing to understand how this was the almost inevitable outcome once Bush decided on the Iraq invasion. It’s not in their nature to question the seriousness, sincerity, or competence of their leaders, or to readily believe evidence that contradicts their beliefs.

But at the same time, Bush captured the imagination of these folks by promising to stand tall for American values and kick the ass of our freedom-hating, suicide bombing, Koran-believing Islamist enemies. They’re willing to stand for the occasional setback, screwup or atrocity along the way. These things happen in war, after all, and in any case, the media probably made it all up to make America look bad.

At some point, though, there’s no way to sugarcoat it, even to people eager to swallow bullshit by the shovelfull. Signing the place over to the Bad Guys is not a victory. Creating a pro-Iranian Islamic Republic in Iraq is not a fit mission for American troops and it’s sure as hell no reason for Americans to die.

We’ll know pretty soon if this is really the position our leadership is willing to settle for as the price of leaving Iraq as fast as possible. If it is, George W. Bush will have truly done the impossible: taken the first steps toward unifying the Red-Blue divide in opposition to his own failure!


Cold Qualls Two

War Pornography

Antony Loewenstein has an interesting post about the trade in pictures of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan for porn.

Iraqi blogger Sabbah writes about a forum that provides free access to its pornographic content to members of the United States military who are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, in exchange for their pictures of war.
The horrors of war in these photographs are truly stomach turning, so much for the 'noble cause'.

Democracy! Whiskey! Sexy! Civil War!

Sunnis threaten civil war as Iraq constitution deadline extended

IN A dramatic midnight turnaround, Iraq’s ruling Shia pulled back from threats to force the new constitution through parliament, putting off a vote to buy more time to win over Sunni Arabs who had threatened civil war if it was passed.

Shia and Kurdish leaders had agreed to a draft constitution laying out plans for a federal system that would transform the Iraqi state into a loose federation of regions with a weak central government.

Sunni leaders reacted with fury at the proposition, claiming that it would inflame the insurgency and trigger civil war and vowed to defeat the charter at a national referendum later this year unless demands for federalism were dropped.

When Reality Bites

One of the LGF 'minions' realises that Charles has a distinct and bigoted agenda:

Still I read less and less of LGF's comment section because I think Charles is blowing it by never castigating people who post stuff that discredits his site. Sure he catches the mobies and a few of the more obvious racists, but he never tries to keep the "we'll nuke them all one day" or "all Muslims are enemies" comments on this side of sanity. One can only assume that there's no such thing as going too far in those directions, for Charles' taste.
Fair point but racists? There are more on there now than ever.

I think Charles is standing for a good cause (the war on terror), but I'm also coming to the conclusion that he's a bigot at heart and likes having bigots in his comment section say what he's too savy to say himself. of the class for that comment. Well done.

PS in the same thread a regular LGF ghoul states:

Pay no attention that Bigel was banned permanently for such rants.
Actually Bigel was banned for this comment insulting Reaganites drinking prowess.

#6 bigel 4/15/2005 6:28:29 PM
Ed Mahmoud et. al.. Reaganite was on here the other day, saying you are a wuss who can't hold your liquor. He also claims he's been drunk in more places than you. Are you going to let those insults to your manhood go unchallenged?


How low can it go?

What Lies?

In a post entitled "Dog Bites Man, Lefties Lie", Charles Johnson happily reports that Media Matters were 'busted' while smearing Cliff Kincaid. As usual Charles won't bother doing any follow up work on this story. Here's Media Matters response.

In response to an August 19 Media Matters for America item about his attempts to have Newsweek investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff extradited to Afghanistan, Accuracy In Media (AIM) editor Cliff Kincaid used his America's Survival Inc. website to accuse Media Matters of a "false and defamatory" attack. But Kincaid's attack misrepresented the original Media Matters item and failed to point out a single falsehood.
And it seems that Mr Kincaid's excuse for recreating the letter was to hide his home address on the America's Survival website. However, Media Matters point out:

If this is true, Kincaid should be much more careful. His home address already appears on the America's Survival website for all the world to see.
Oops. Dropped the ball there Cliff.

Kincaid has identified no such "charges" made by Media Matters that are false. Media Matters noted that the letter Kincaid posted on the America's Survival site was an electronic collage, hence our use of quotation marks around the word "letter." Kincaid has acknowledged as much. There can be nothing "false and defamatory" about describing the letter in a way Kincaid admits is accurate.

The Manhattan Project That Never Was

Sad news for laughing boy and the ghouls at LGF who are just itching for another conflict. Iran (the next stop on the 'Wars That'll Never End' tour), who Charlie never fails to remind us is speeding ahead with their 'Manhattan Project' is not doing so. The biggest smoking gun in the investigation is now eliminated. US Government officials and international scientists agree that there is no proof of an Iran Arms Project.

Traces of bomb-grade uranium found two years ago in Iran came from contaminated Pakistani equipment and are not evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program, a group of U.S. government experts and other international scientists has determined.

"The biggest smoking gun that everyone was waving is now eliminated with these conclusions," said a senior official who discussed the still-confidential findings on the condition of anonymity.

Scientists from the United States, France, Japan, Britain and Russia met in secret during the past nine months to pore over data collected by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to U.S. and foreign officials. Recently, the group, whose existence had not been previously reported, definitively matched samples of the highly enriched uranium -- a key ingredient for a nuclear weapon -- with centrifuge equipment turned over by the government of Pakistan.

Iran has long contended that the uranium traces were the result of contaminated equipment bought years ago from Pakistan. But the Bush administration had pointed to the material as evidence that Iran was making bomb-grade ingredients.

The conclusions will be shared with IAEA board members in a report due out the first week in September, according to U.S. and European officials who agreed to discuss details of the investigation on the condition of anonymity. The report "will say the contamination issue is resolved," a Western diplomat said.

U.S. officials have privately acknowledged for months that they were losing confidence that the uranium traces would turn out to be evidence of a nuclear weapons program. A recent U.S. intelligence estimate found that Iran is further away from making bomb-grade uranium than was previously thought, according to U.S. officials.

Still, the LGF'ers shouldn't worry. If Bush decides to attack It wouldn't be the first time he's done it with no evidence of WMD's.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Beginning Of The End

Steve Earle, while entertaining the crowds at Camp Casey said:

I think it’s really important for those of us who’ve been talking about this (opposing the war) from when we first went in to Iraq and even before that to remember that the Vietnam War didn’t end because I opposed it, it ended because my father came to oppose it. We have Cindy Sheehan to thank for the beginnings of what I believe is a mainstream movement against this war.

The video of the event is here.

Shock And Horror

It seems we're not the only people who find the LGF'ers fake shock at the impending Shari'a based system in Iraq a tad silly. Tony Plutonium shares the disbelief at LGF stupidity and ignorance here:

I find the reaction amusing on any number of levels, the most obvious one being: what the fuck did they THINK was going to happen when we came in, deposed the Baathists and then pushed for a quick constitution? Didn't we all say two years ago that this was the likely outcome? But these guys are feeling absolutely betrayed - how dare anyone try to write religion into a constitution?!?!? Oh, wait - unless it's THEIR religion and OUR constitution. I guess that would make it okay. At least some of the commenters are honest in their statements that Islam in general, not terrorists, is the enemy and the entity that must be defeated. They're asshats, but at least they're more honest asshats. I'm also curious about the continued calls for Muslim clerics to publicly state their opposition and non-support for terrorists - has anyone called on the AOG or the Southern Baptist Convention or the Pope to publicly denounce Eric Rudolf or state that anti-abortion extremists terrorizing young women in front of Planned Parenthood clinics are NOT doing the Lord's work?

A New Corruption

Not very surprising news from Iraq.

British officials are seriously concerned about the level of corruption in the Iraqi defence ministry, after the embezzlement of vast amounts of money earmarked for the country's security forces.
Officials from the British Ministry of Defence had already warned US and Iraqi authorities against the squandering of money - and have been proved right, on a catastrophic scale.

A report compiled by the Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit has concluded that at least half, and probably more, of $1.27bn (£700m) of Iraqi money spent on military procurement has disappeared into a miasma of kickbacks and vanished middlemen - or else has been spent on useless equipment.

The report, leaked to the US news organisation Knight Ridder, comes as a blow to the credibility of the Iraqi army and its ability to contain the increasingly cogent insurgency.

According to the report, led by former human rights minister Abdel Baset al-Turki, the vanished money came solely from Iraqi funds, not from foreign donations to Iraq's military or the US-funded training budget.

The report focuses on an eight-month period after the transfer of sovereignty from the US-led occupation to caretaker Iraqi authorities on June 28 2004.

Good News? Good Luck!

Charles often mentions the 'fact' that the mainstream media don't report enough positive stories from the WOT (or whatever it's called this month). It's hard to see how any news agency can do this when faced with facts like this.

KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 21 - This year is already the deadliest for American soldiers in Afghanistan since the war of 2001, and the violence is likely to intensify before the nation's legislative elections on Sept. 18.

Four soldiers were killed Sunday, meaning that 13 have been killed in August alone. Sixty-five Americans have been killed this year.

The latest four were killed when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle in the south. Three others were wounded in that bombing, the American military said. And two United States Embassy employees were wounded when their convoy was hit by an explosion close to Kabul, the capital, the military said.

While some fighters want to disrupt the elections, one Afghan general said others are coming in to help the ousted Taliban or Al Qaeda with the long-term aim of dislodging American troops from Afghanistan.

"The fact that fighters come across the border, that cannot be denied," the Afghan defense minister, Gen. Abdur Rahim Wardak, said in a recent interview. "There are more people crossing on mountain trails" connected to Pakistan, he said. Most of those coming in are described as Afghans, but others are said to be Pakistanis. General Wardak said the Taliban were saying they had acquired new antiaircraft missiles.

A senior security official said Al Qaeda was paying renewed attention to the country this year.

More money is coming in, probably from Arab countries, and a unit of Qaeda fighters has returned to the region from Iraq to teach local fighters an unspecified "new tactic they learned in Iraq," one security official said, explaining that he could not be identified because of the clandestine nature of his work.

While election workers and candidates have been attacked, the violence has spread wider, with the killings of more than six clerics and tribal elders since May. On Sunday, a cleric and another man were killed outside a district mosque, the latest of several attacks on pro-government clergy in which Taliban insurgents are suspected.

More than 40 Afghan National Army soldiers have been killed in combat since March, the defense minister said. And more than 50 policemen were killed in June and July, Interior Ministry figures show.

A total of 181 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan since military operations began in October 2001, more than 100 of them in attacks. One of the worst attacks took place in June, when 19 Americans died in the ambush of a Navy Seal team and the downing of a helicopter.

Foreign fighters from Pakistan and Central Asian states, and even from the Middle East and North Africa, have also been coming in, General Wardak said. "Dozens have been captured in the last two to three months," he said.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


This is an actual Rush Limbaugh quote regarding Cindy Sheehan:

Cindy Sheehan is just Bill Burkett. Her story is nothing more than forged documents. There's nothing about it that's real.
A dead son is pretty real Rush. Lay off the pills.

Oh my

Are we the only ones keeping an eye on Charles and his Amen Corner?

Happily, No!

'Kill' Blunder In Training

Elite police officers from the unit which killed Jean Charles de Menezes made the same mistake in a training exercise 10 months ago.

The three-hour 'dry run' tracking 'terrorists' through the streets of London resulted in armed officers for the Met's SO19 'shooting' an innocent man.

Anti-terrorist officers followed two suspects, both played by officers, to a Tube station. One was a bomber, the other an innocent man. But in the confusion, a communications mistake led to SO19 to 'kill' the wrong man.

A source who took part in the exercise said:

"It was certainly very realistic. The mock scenarios have to be as demanding as the job."

A Met Police spokesman said:

"We are not prepared to discuss operational matters."

Jumping the shark

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, right-wing propagandists are losing market share in the talk-radio biz, at least in the Twin Cities:

Twin Cities listeners have been tuning out political talk radio.

Locally, conservative-talk icon Rush Limbaugh's show has lost 43 percent of its audience among 25- to 54-year-olds in the past year. Sean Hannity's show is down a whopping 63 percent. The shift is serious enough that "we're weighing where these shows fit for us in the future," according to Todd Fisher, general manager at KSTP (1500 AM), which carries both syndicated programs.

Many Americans also are switching the dial. While ratings for political talk radio typically drop the year after an election, experts around the country sense something else in the air. Many metro listeners are turning to local, often sports-oriented shows.

"We're not sure yet what's really going on," said talk radio veteran Ken Kohl, Clear Channel's director of news and talk programming for northern California. "In general, the talk shows that are succeeding are ones that haven't been reliving the election, or constantly harping on the polarization between liberals and conservatives."

Kohl thinks many listeners have tuned out because of "war fatigue. I don't think a lot of people want to talk or hear about the war at this point."

The ratings shift hasn't affected partisan radio stations such as WWTC (1280 AM), known as the Patriot, or KTNF (950 AM), home to Air America programming, including Al Franken's weekday show. Both have maintained relatively stable, if small, audience shares of about 1 to 1.5 percent.

Franken is an exception, however. Locally, the Minnesota native has increased his audience share to 2.4 percent of listeners ages 25 to 54, compared with 1.3 last year.

John Hinderaker, call your office.


Charles is thrilled to report that Forbes magazine has listed LGF in its Best of the Web section.

"The main page features long and meaty posts," say the Forbes folks.

Are they reading the same LGF we are? The typical LGF post consists of a sentence or two, followed by a long pull-quote. (Much like the typical post here at LGF Watch.)

This is the Best of the Web?

The Bad Bunch

Here's an interesting piece listing and describing some of the worst laptop bombadiers around.

In the information age, wars are not made by governments alone. This is especially true of wars of choice. When America has been attacked -- at Pearl Harbor, or as on September 11 -- the government needed merely to tell the people that it was our duty to respond, and the people rightly conferred their authority. But a war of choice is a different matter entirely. In that circumstance, the people will ask why. The people will need to be convinced that their sons and daughters and husbands and wives should go halfway around the world to fight a nemesis that they didn’t really know was a nemesis.

That’s why a war of choice is different. A war like the Iraq War, whose public support before the idea was seriously discussed started out well below 50 percent, needs to be sold -- “marketed,” as White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card once put it -- needs, well, marketers.

And, in the information age, an administration can’t, and doesn’t, market alone. It takes an army of salespeople -- it takes a village, you might say -- to accentuate the positive. And when an administration spreads demonstrable lies and falsehoods, or offers “evidence” that can’t be wholly refuted but for which there is nevertheless no existing proof, it takes that same army to stand up and say: “Yes! These assertions are true! Those who deny them are unpatriotic, or simpletons, or both!” And finally, when the war goes terribly, terribly wrong, that same army is called to the ramparts one last time, to say, in a fashion that approaches Soviet-style devotion: “Things are in fact going well! The insurgency is dying! Abu Ghraib is not a scandal! Saddam Hussein did have ties to al-Qaeda; you just don’t know it yet!” And so on.

For its war in Iraq, the Bush administration relied on and benefited from the cheerleading of a group of pundits and public intellectuals who, at every crucial moment, subordinated the facts on the ground to their own ideological preferences and those of their allies within the administration. They refused to hold the administration’s conduct of the war and the occupation to the ideals that they themselves professed, or simply to the standard of common sense. They abdicated their responsibilities as political intellectuals -- and, more elementally, as reliable empiricists.

They went far beyond just making the kinds of mistakes that pundits make … In the information age, wars are not made by governments alone. This is especially true of wars of choice. When America has been attacked -- at Pearl Harbor, or as on September 11 -- the government needed merely to tell the people that it was our duty to respond, and the people rightly conferred their authority. But a war of choice is a different matter entirely. In that circumstance, the people will ask why. The people will need to be convinced that their sons and daughters and husbands and wives should go halfway around the world to fight a nemesis that they didn’t really know was a nemesis.

The delusions for which they were apologizing weren’t only the administration’s; they were their own as well. There was an odd sort of integrity to their dishonesty; they believed (most of them did) all the theories that justified the war. But they didn’t present these theories as theories. They presented them -- misrepresented them -- as facts.

Yet by some curious code of Beltway etiquette, the war hawks are still sought out for their judgments on war and peace, geopolitics, and military and political strategy. They are, in varying degrees, the journalistic equivalents of Donald Rumsfeld -- authors of disaster, spared from accountability, still bewilderingly in place. Herewith, five of the top offenders.

William Kristol: The Strategist
Since 1998, it’s been Weekly Standard Editor Kristol who’s argued most persistently that getting rid of Saddam Hussein should be the central goal of U.S. foreign policy. So even before the debris of 9-11 had settled, Kristol -- like his longtime neoconservative compatriot Paul Wolfowitz, and, indeed, like the president himself -- saw an opportunity to take the coming war to Iraq. “I think Iraq is, actually, the big unspoken elephant in the room today,” Kristol said on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered the day after the attacks. “There’s a fair amount of evidence that Iraq had very close associations with Osama bin Laden in the past.”

In the months following the attack, Kristol wrote and spoke about Hussein’s arsenal with exquisite attention to detail, however fictitious those details were to prove. On NPR’s Talk of the Nation that October, for instance, he said, “We know that over the last three or four weeks, he has moved many of his chemical and biological weapons programs in preparation for possible U.S. attacks.”

As intra-administration battles raged among the hawks in the Pentagon and the more cautious voices at the CIA and the State Department, Kristol seized every opportunity to undermine the credibility of those who failed to appreciate that Hussein was the source of all danger. On November 19, 2001, he and his sometimes co-author Robert Kagan wrote, “Iraq is the only nation in the world, other than the United States and Russia, to have developed the kind of sophisticated anthrax that appeared in the letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. What will it take for the FBI and the CIA to start connecting the dots here? A signed confession from Saddam?” Whatever else Kristol and Kagan may be, the heirs to Holmes and Watson they are not.

During the war itself, Kristol turned his attention to the shape of a post-Hussein Iraq. Characteristically, he dismissed nettlesome complexities that did not bolster his case for war, substituting a more comforting, albeit inaccurate, analysis of his own. “There’s been a certain amount of pop sociology in America … that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s almost no evidence of that at all,” he reassured NPR listeners in April 2003. “Iraq’s always been very secular.”

Such misrepresentations of reality lead naturally to their spawn: making excuses when things don’t go according to plan. Kristol consistently downplayed the disasters that attended the U.S. occupation. Of the then-unfolding Abu Ghraib scandal in May of 2004, Kristol told FOX News viewers that “it is insane for this country to be obsessed about a small prisoner-abuse scandal.” And this January, while he did forthrightly deplore the U.S. mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, he introduced to the world a whole new standard of legal and moral culpability by explaining that neither George W. Bush nor Alberto Gonzales, then the White House counsel who drafted the new prisoner policies (he’s now attorney general), were responsible because they never “ordered that these things be done!”

Charles Krauthammer: W.’s Maggie
Of all those public voices urging the overthrow of Hussein on Bush, the most insistent and hectoring was columnist Charles Krauthammer’s. Krauthammer was to George Bush Junior what Margaret Thatcher had been to George Bush Senior, whom she famously instructed, as he was considering his response to Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, “Don’t go wobbly.” That, in fact, was the headline of one Krauthammer column during the run-up to war; it could justly have been the headline to a dozen such columns.

Krauthammer’s self-assigned mission, even more than Kristol’s and Kagan’s, was to discredit those in the administration who in any way impeded the rush to war; he became the outside voice of those in the Pentagon, the vice president’s office, and elsewhere who raged at such caution. In the spring of 2003, with then–Secretary of State Colin Powell seeking to slow down the rush to war, Krauthammer thundered: “No more dithering. Why does the president, who is pledged to disarming Hussein one way or the other, allow Powell even to discuss a scheme that is guaranteed to leave Saddam Hussein’s weapons in place?”

Krauthammer’s contempt was directed at “old Europe” as well. “There should be no role for France in Iraq,” he proclaimed on March 12, 2003 (the eve of the war), “either during the war … or after it. No peacekeeping” -- as if patrolling post-Hussein Baghdad would be some rare privilege.

Since Hussein’s fall, Krauthammer has been walking the compulsory cheer beat, largely echoing the administration’s upbeat prognoses for Iraq. When the interim government of Iyad Allawi was about to come into office, Krauthammer opined on fox News that “it’s the beginning of the end of the bad news. I mean, we’re going to have lots of attacks, but the political process is under way.” Not surprisingly, he deemed the public horror at Abu Ghraib “a huge overreaction. Nobody was killed. Nobody was maimed.”

Victor Davis Hanson: The Analogist Apologist
Hanson has been called President Bush’s favorite historian, and for good reason. Soon after 9-11, the San Joaquin Valley classics professor began writing regularly for The National Review, demanding we go into Iraq, imparting martial lessons from Greece and Rome to an America abruptly at war. In short order, Hanson became a fellow at Palo Alto’s Hoover Institute, a dinner companion of Bush and Dick Cheney, and the most unswerving defender of administration policies -- even the ones the administration barely bothers to defend.

Hanson, you see, knows things you and I don’t. His considerable certainty as to the strategic soundness of the war has been rooted not just in supposition but in historical analogy. “In the same way as the death of Hitler ended the Nazi Party and the ruin of the Third Reich finished the advance of fascist power in Europe,” he predicted in 2002, “so the defeat of Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi dictatorship will erode both clandestine support for terrorism and murderous tyranny well beyond Iraq.” Oops.

On his second try, Hanson foresaw an end to the strife once Hussein was killed or captured. “The Romans realized this,” he wrote, “and thus understood that Gallic liberation, Numidian resistance, or Hellenic nationalism would melt away when a Vercingetorix, Jugurtha, or Mithradites all were collared, dead, or allowed suicide.” Hanson is living proof that you can’t take historical analogies to the bank.

In August of 2002, as Cheney raised the idea of taking the war to Iraq in a major speech to a Veteran of Foreign Wars assemblage, Hanson not only endorsed the idea but proposed that the government place “as many as 250,000 [troops] in immediate readiness” (to his credit, that number suggested he was an abler military strategist than anyone in Rumsfeld’s shop). And yet, somehow, when his quarter-million soldiers failed to materialize, he managed to decide that 150,000 (the actual number) was just fine -- even writing, as the occupation descended into bloody hell, that more troops might have meant more casualties in the war’s opening days.

As anti-war sentiment began to mount, Hanson dismissed it. “We are told,” he wrote contemptuously in February 2002, “an attack against Iraq will supposedly inflame the Muslim world. Toppling Saddam Hussein will cause irreparable rifts with Europeans and our moderate allies, and turn world opinion against America.” What to Hanson was nonsense looks like pretty fair prophecy today.

It was Abu Ghraib, though, that tested Hanson’s true mettle as supreme apologist, and he rose to the occasion. “We do not know how many of the abused, tortured, and humiliated prisoners in the war’s aftermath either belonged to the cohort of 100,000 felons let lose by Saddam on the eve of the war or were part of the Hussein death machine or themselves were recent killers who had assassinated and blown apart Americans,” he wrote.

To Hanson, what Abu Ghraib imperiled wasn’t America’s honor or reputation for decency; after all, what dishonor attended the torture of prisoners suspected to be Hussein’s thugs? No, the danger was that even conservatives had begun to call for Rumsfeld’s scalp, threatening the architect of the war and the occupation that Hanson had defended with every analogy he could adduce. Desperate times require desperate measures, and it was not until Abu Ghraib that Hanson termed Rumsfeld “America’s finest secretary of defense in a half-century.”

Our failures in Iraq, Hanson now insists, are failures not of planning but of will. Though there are no anti-war demonstrations to speak of, and though hardly any political leaders are demanding withdrawal, Hanson smells a fifth column. “Whether this influential, snarling minority -- so prominent in the media, on campuses, in government, and in the arts -- succeeds in turning victory into defeat is open to question,” he laments. He’s counting on Bush -- bolstered by his references to Churchill -- to stay the course.

Thomas L. Friedman: The Enabler
In some ways, the well-known New York Times columnist doesn’t fit with the others on this list. A neoliberal rather than a neoconservative, Friedman never drank all the Kool-Aid. But he was a vital -- perhaps the vital -- enabler of the war, because from his Times perch, he convinced many a reader (elite and layperson alike) who never would have been persuaded by the likes of Kristol that the war needed to be fought. (Honorable mention in this category, sadly enough, goes to New Yorker Editor David Remnick, who used a week during which lead “Comment” writer Hendrik Hertzberg was on vacation to make the magazine pro-war.)

For Friedman, the reasons the administration gave for going to war were always so much piffle. “I think the chances of Saddam being willing, or able, to use weapons of mass destruction against us are being exaggerated,” he wrote in September 2002. But Friedman had his own reasons for encouraging a war. “What terrifies me is the prospect of another 9/11 … triggered by angry young Muslims, motivated by some pseudo-religious radicalism … . So I am for invading Iraq only if we think that doing so can bring about regime change and democratization. Because what the Arab world needs desperately is a model that works … .”

Friedman sounded all the right cautions. He wrote that democratizing Iraq would be difficult. He argued that the war needed international legitimacy. He even wrote that he was “against going to war without preparing the ground in America, in the region, and in the world at large to deal with the blowback any U.S. invasion will produce.”

And yet, and yet … Friedman persisted in arguing for war, his war, though it was increasingly clear that when war came, it would hardly resemble the war he desired. In late January 2003, as war loomed, he again enumerated all his fears, only to write the most fatefully circular sentence in recent punditry: “But if war turns out to be the only option, then war it will have to be.”

Even after Baghdad fell, Friedman still viewed the merits of his own model occupation as the main story, while the emerging absurdities of the administration’s war were just so much distraction. On June 4, 2003, he wrote, “The failure of the Bush team to produce any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is becoming a big, big story. But is it the real story we should be concerned with? No. It was the wrong issue before the war, and it’s the wrong issue now.” As time went by, Friedman finally realized that all was folly. “What is inexcusable is [the administration] thinking that such an experiment would be easy, that it could be done on the cheap, that it could be done with any old army and any old coalition … . That is the foolishness of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld. My foolishness was thinking they could never be so foolish.”

Friedman’s foolishness seems rooted in an almost willed ignorance of the figures in the Bush administration and the worldviews that defined them. How much attention to administration folkways did one need to pay to realize that Bush would never fund the war through a tax increase, nor care if he had broad international backing or not? “I have to admit I’ve always been fighting my own war in Iraq,” Friedman wrote in the summer of 2003. “Mr. Bush took the country into his war.” Was it too much to ask the nation’s most important foreign-policy journalist to focus on Bush’s war -- particularly because, well, it was Bush, and not Friedman, who was president?

Christopher Hitchens: Trotsky in Baghdad
Hitchens’ war is, if anything, more idiosyncratic than Friedman’s. Unlike Friedman, however, Hitchens enthusiastically supports Bush’s war, though it’s less than even money that Bush would recognize his war as the one Hitchens describes in his endless number of print and electronic venues.

Hitchens’ war pitted his comrades in the democratic Kurdish resistance and the Iraqi secular left against the fascist regime of Saddam Hussein -- and today, against the murderous savagery of the Baath Party holdouts and Islamic fundamentalists. Were this the only aspect of the conflict, who on the left would not join Hitchens in his embrace of the war? To this analysis, Hitchens has appended what critic Irving Howe once called “the infatuation with History” through which some Marxists justified their support for numerous flawed causes. In Hitchens’ Iraq, modernity and self-determination duel with primitivism and thugocracy, and History has ordained the outcome.

This Marxistic certitude can, though, lead to a certain indifference to the small stuff. “The thing is to realize that the other side is going to lose,” Hitchens said on MSNBC’s Hardball in November 2003. “The point is that the United States is on the right side of history in the region … . When Bush said, ‘Bring it on,’ I completely agreed with him … . They will be doing the dying in the long run [emphasis added]. They will rue the day they tried.”

In addition to History, there’s history -- that is, Hitchens’ own, on the left, from which he grows more and more willfully remote. Iraq is the third war, after Kosovo and Afghanistan, that Hitchens has defended against the far left. He is rightly repelled by that left’s a priori anti-Americanism (two decades at The Nation can do that to more sober sensibilities than Hitchens’). But he then pulls a sleight of hand that many war hawks use: He magnifies the left’s influence to the whole of liberal America, so that any liberal who opposed the Iraq War is suddenly in league with Noam Chomsky and Ramsey Clark. “I can only hint at how much I despise a Left that thinks of Osama bin Laden as a slightly misguided anti-imperialist,” he wrote in The Washington Post, as though he were bravely taking on a genuine force in American politics.

If you’re not with Hitchens, Bush, and History, you’re against them -- and probably a dupe of bin Laden’s. “[Senator John] Kerry adds something else that annoys me very much,” Hitchens told Tim Russert in a September 2004 interview in which he endorsed Bush for re-election. “He gives the impression, sometimes overtly, that our policy has maddened people against us and … incited hatred in the Muslim world and so on, in which, again, there is an element of truth.” Kerry, of course, was overtly right; but when Hitchens finished twisting the senator’s words, he was objectively on the side of evil: “If people say, ‘Let’s have a foreign policy that does not anger the bin Ladenists’ … what are they asking for?”

Kerry, evidently, can’t see the broad sweep of History, whose verdict makes right even the bad things that happen to good people. What are a few American lives if they serve History’s purposes? “The U.S. armed forces are learning every day how to fight in extreme conditions, in post-rogue-state and post-failed-state surroundings, and with the forces of medieval tyranny,” Hitchens wrote in the Los Angeles Times last October. “Does anyone think this is not an experience worth having, or that it will not be needed again?”

* * *
The point here is not just that the pundits’ predictions were wrong -- or, in the case, of Friedman, right, but he chose to ignore them -- or their post-facto justifications pathetic. The point is that in the sway of ideology, or historical imperative, or loyalty to the administration’s hawks, they misrepresented supposition as fact, excused the misconduct of administration officials, and neglected to consider the predictable consequences of the war they promoted. If we truly lived in the culture of consequences that conservatives profess to support, the role of these pundits in our national conversation would be greatly, and justly, diminished.

Charlie Repeats The Lie

Laughing boy Charlie says:

Please. That last sentence is politically correct reporting taken to an absolutely ridiculous conclusion. “Many recent attacks have been blamed on Islamic extremists?” How about all recent attacks? And there’s no doubt whatsoever about who perpetrates these atrocities—the “holy warriors” proudly, even boastfully claim credit for them.
Which is basically following certain 'commentators' line that all terrorists are Muslims.

We say:

Have all recent attacks been carried out by Islamic extremists? How about the two attacks on civilian targets by Israeli settlers? Are they "holy warriors"?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A Chinese Menu

Interesting story here from a former top aide to Colin Powell about his involvement in 'that speech'.

A former top aide to Colin Powell says his involvement in the former secretary of state's presentation to the United Nations on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was "the lowest point" in his life.

"I wish I had not been involved in it," says Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a longtime Powell adviser who served as his chief of staff from 2002 through 2005. "I look back on it, and I still say it was the lowest point in my life."


Powell's speech, delivered on February 14, 2003, made the case for the war by presenting U.S. intelligence that purported to prove that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Wilkerson says the information in Powell's presentation initially came from a document he described as "sort of a Chinese menu" that was provided by the White House.

"(Powell) came through the door ... and he had in his hands a sheaf of papers, and he said, 'This is what I've got to present at the United Nations according to the White House, and you need to look at it,'" Wilkerson says in the program. "It was anything but an intelligence document. It was, as some people characterized it later, sort of a Chinese menu from which you could pick and choose."

Wilkerson and Powell spent four days and nights in a CIA conference room with then-Director George Tenet and other top officials trying to ensure the accuracy of the presentation, Wilkerson says.

"There was no way the Secretary of State was going to read off a script about serious matters of intelligence that could lead to war when the script was basically un-sourced," Wilkerson says.


Hog on Ice has a reality check on the issue of earning a living from blogging.

Bottom line: If you aren't already, you probably never will. (Emphasis added.)

I heard a rumor that [Pajamas Media] are offering some bloggers three figures a month to sign up. There's nothing wrong with three (low) figures a month. It's beer money. It's what a good blogger would earn from Google ads and BlogAds. It's nothing to sneeze at. On the other hand, it won't change your life, and you can't live on it.


As a blogger, you probably bust your ass to get a hundred hits per day. I'm only getting four thousand visits per day on my two sites (combined), and I'm one of the lucky ones. I'll never make money at this. Allah earned peanuts when he had almost ten times this much traffic. You really have to be in the blogging stratosphere to earn any money as a blogger. [...]

The more I think about it, the more I realize that blogging is over, as a means of putting yourself in a position to earn money. Even if your work is better than the stuff that appears in newspapers and books and magazines, no one will "discover" you and beg you to write for big money. Life doesn't work that way. You have to "discover" yourself and get in people's faces until someone agrees to publish you. So far, the best money-making opportunities that have presented themselves (since the glory days when any moron could get 10,000 hits per day just by showing up) have been Google ads, BlogAds, and PJM. And look what PJM is offering. Enough money to take your girlfriend to one good dinner per month.

If you write a crappy article once a month, and you get your articles published in crappy local magazines, you'll make several times what you would make blogging every day for PJM or for Google or BlogAd money. If you get published in the national press, you can make an actual living.

Obviously, if you want to make money writing, the smart move is to focus on getting things printed. You aren't going to get anywhere just by blogging. Use your blog to make contacts, sure, but forget about using it to generate income.

If you want to make money online, writing isn't the way to go. You need to find a way to get huge traffic without busting your hump every day. Or you can start a company and convince other bloggers to put up your ads, which is what PJM is doing.

The Internet is a dead end for most of us. The Internet is clogged with bad little blogs, and it's very hard to get noticed. People who are aggressive and sharp and highly knowledgeable about business can start web enterprises and make money, but most of us aren't like that. A few of us have managed to generate tremendous blog traffic, but they got where they are by starting before the rest of us. And a first wave only occurs once. Trying to get blog traffic today is like trying to buy Dell Computer for a dollar a share. You already missed your chance. The fat cats are already fat, and it is extremely difficult to push your way past them and get to the food bowl. I think PJM will just make them fatter, without producing much benefit for its members.

If you want to make money writing, write. And try to sell it to real publications. If you want to make money on the web, forget writing. Try to come up with a brilliant idea that will get you reliable traffic without undue exertion. Sign up for BlogAds and Google Ads and PJM ads to get beer money--IF you're one of the lucky few who get enough traffic to make it pay--but you know what they say: don't quit your day job.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why blogging will always (except for a very select few) be an amateur proposition. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- "amateur" is derived from the Latin for "love," after all -- but those who really think that with enough perseverance and snark, and a sufficiently well-chosen blogroll, they'll become the next Reynolds or Zuniga or Johnson or Black -- are simply deluding themselves.

Blogging for profit isn't the next big thing -- it's the last big thing. And the day when the pajamahadeen will supplant the eeeevil MSM seems farther away than ever.

The penny drops

Charles and his minions are shocked, shocked, that shari'a might well be enshrined in the Iraqi constitution, which according to the new deadline is supposed to be submitted to the voters this coming Monday for an October referendum.

What was that noble cause again?

Never mind

According to Eugene Volokh, Pajamas Media ads are supposed to start running in October, not at the end of this month as one hopeful affiliate has suggested.

So, we'll reset our countdown clock. Actually we won't, because as Volokh said today, the start-up date is "likely around October 1," which is a bit too vague (41 days-ish to go!). We'll just have to wait and see -- which is all well and good for those of us who are simply observers, but perhaps not for those who have already signed 18-month contracts with PJM and are anxiously awaiting their first payments.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Back into the closet

Iraqi blogger Salam Pax has largely disappeared from the limelight lately -- and for good reason, because as a gay man in today's increasingly religious Iraq, he's better off keeping a low profile.

As the drafters of the new Iraqi constitution debate the role of religious law, Salam Pax, the gay Iraqi blogger who became internationally known through his postings about life in Iraq during the war, told the Blade that conditions have worsened for gays in the country since the United States invaded.

Salam said that gays in Iraq have no rights and are seen as, “lower in status than sewer rats.”

An architect by training, Salam worked as a translator for an American journalist during the war. He began his blog to keep in touch with his friend, who had moved to Jordan to pursue a master’s degree. After gaining international fame as a writer, he covered the 2004 U.S. presidential election for the British Guardian newspaper. But since then, his voice has not been heard much on the Internet.

“Being ignored and not acknowledged is for me much better than being actively persecuted by a religiously zealous government,” he said.

“The previous regime [of Saddam Hussein] didn’t actively persecute gay men, and we never got to the point where men were hanged like in Iran, but if you got accused if engaging in homosexual acts then [you could] get something like five months in prison which, as we know, is never going to be a pleasant thing in Iraq.”


There are no political support groups for gays and no political party sees any benefit in mentioning gays in a positive or negative way, Salam said. Public discussion of gay issues is generally limited to discussion in the newspapers of how disgusting gays are and what type of punishment is appropriate for gay behavior.

The only group that has voiced an opinion about gay rights for Iraqis, Salam said, is the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq, which is affiliated with the Iraqi Worker’s Socialist Party, “and they have never mentioned this inside Iraq because as progressive as they are in demanding women’s rights, they know that supporting same-sex relationships is a bit too progressive.”

It's obviously too much to expect the Iraqis to adopt Western attitudes toward gays and lesbians overnight, but some expatriates in Baghdad aren't willing to wait:
Those who deal with issues relating to being gay or lesbian while working with the embassy in Baghdad now have a new resource to help them.

According to the August newsletter of Gays & Lesbians In Foreign Affairs Agencies, the gay and lesbian employees of Embassy Baghdad have formed a support group.

Good for them. Not so good for all those newly liberated Iraqis. As Salam says, the real issue for him right now is whether he will "have the right to shave my beard and wear a tie."

The NRA's Insult To America

It seems the Gun Dealers of America need protection. Awww bless, it's hardly their fault if they negligently sell, lose or misplace guns.

I'm not in the habit of throwiing bouquets to network television news, but Thursday night's edition of ABC's Nightline deserves a large one. The August 18 Nightline broadcast was devoted entirely to a report from John Cochran about how the National Rifle Association -- the puissant gun lobby -- pushed through the Senate a heinous bill called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which gives full immunity to gun manufacturers and gun sellers against lawsuits from victims of crimes in which guns were used. Nightline made a large point about how the media went to sleep when this bill sneaked through the Senate on July 29 -- and, indeed, a Google search reveals almost no print coverage of the passage of this NRA-sponsored legislation. I follow Washington politics closely, but this one whizzed right by me, so little did the news media cover this NRA coup until last night's Nightline broadcast.

This new law not only ends any legal liability in the future on the part of the gun industry for crimes committed with the guns it makes and sells, it also puts an end to a host of lawsuits currently makiing their way through the courts which seek to hold the gun industry accountable for the deaths and maimings its products occasion. Don't just blame the Republicans -- the bill passed with 65 votes, thanks to the support of a raft of Democrats, like Wisconsin's Herb Kohl, North Dakota's Kent Conrad, and West Virginia's Jay Rockefeller and Bobby Byrd. But Teddy Kennedy, one of the few Democrats to denounce the bill, said, "The real effect of this bill would be to prevent victims of gun violence from pursuing even obviously valid claims in state or federal courts."

One thing Nightline didn't tell us was that this horrendous, gun-industry-sponsored law was supported by President Bush, who's raked in millions from the NRA in campaign cash as well using its membership as footsoldiers -- and who issued a statement on the eve of the vote calling the lawsuits filed against the gun industry "frivolous." Well, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (named after President Reagan's Press Secretary Jim Brady, wounded and paralyzed in the shooting that wounded Reagan) -- which spearheaded opposition to the legislation -- put together a list of the kind of lawsuits Bush deemed "frivolous":

"Last year, the families of DC area sniper victims won a settlement of over $2 million from the Washington State gun dealer who could not account for the 'missing" assault rifle used by the snipers and who 'lost' over 200 other guns.

"New Jersey police officers David Lemongello and Ken McGuire won a $1 million settlement against a West Virginia pawnshop that negligently sold 12 semiautomatic handguns for cash to a gun trafficking team, enabling a criminal to obtain the pistol used against them/

"The family of Massachusetts slaying victim Danny Guzman, an innocent bystander shot on Christmas Eve 1999, is pursuing justice against a Massachusetts gun manufacturer that not only negligently hired criminals to work in its plant, but had such irresponsible security practices that it allowed them to walk out of the plant with guns that carried no serial numbers, one of which was used to shoot Guzman.
"And the parents of 14-year-old Anthony Oliver recently filed suit against a Philadelphia gun dealer that supplied a gun trafficker with the gun used to shoot Anthony, along with several other guns."

One of the big lies told by GOP Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Utah's Orin Hatch, and the other Republican sponsors of this law was that lawsuits holding the gun industry accountable for domestic crimes would threaten "national security" by bankrupting them, and denying the U.S. military and law enforcement domestically-produced weapons. But, as the San Francisco Chronicle -- one of the few papers to cover the passage of this bill -- discovered, "Until now, three foreign companies have, strangely enough, dominated sales of high-end firearms to U.S. law enforcement officers and the military: Glock of Austria, Beretta of Italy and Sigarms of Switzerland....Some of the manufacturing comes through U.S.-based subsidiaries."

Visit Stop The NRA.