The exercise of power is determined by thousands of interactions between the world of the powerful and that of the powerless, all the more so because these worlds are never divided by a sharp line: everyone has a small part of himself in both - Vaclav Havel
Let me indulge in laziness, t'is the Season of Good Will after all.
On Dumbya's speech I really haven't got much to add that's not already been penned and analysed to death. So I'll let my fellow-blogger Nevada Thunder do the talking:
Did anyone see that fool last night? He decided this time to talk to us from the Oval Office. He hasn’t given a speech from there since he told us that he was invading Iraq back in ‘03. Once again, he tells us nothing new. He does try and convince us that we are winning the war. Sorry George, some evil men, who you appointed to high-level positions convinced you to go into Iraq, and you’re going to look like the idiot in the end. How does it feel to know you going to be considered the worst president in out nation’s history? And daddy won’t be that far behind either!
I bet at least Bliar, the rear-end of the comical duo, was impressed with his chum's performance. But most of the ROW weren't.
Do you remember the guy to the right? The Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf (MSS) at the time of the invasion of Iraq? Hours of great telly fun when MSS made his baffling statements regarding the state of the invasion and the advance of Allied troops! But occasionally and entirely accidentally this self-deluding fool has the finger on the button, despite strong evidence of a foot fetish...
"My feelings - as usual - we will slaughter them all"
Of course, of course...
"I blame Al-Jazeera - they are marketing for the Americans!"
Why does everybody always blame Al-Jazeera?
"We have destroyed 2 tanks, fighter planes, 2 helicopters and their shovels - We have driven them back."
They were goosepimply scared after that...
"We have them surrounded in their tanks"
"The American press is all about lies! All they tell is lies, lies and more lies!"
Now, there's kernel of truth in that one...
"because we will behead you all"
Britain "is not worth an old shoe"
First appearance of the shoe...
"we have given them a sour taste" "blood-sucking bastards"
Of US troops: "They are most welcome. We will butcher them."
A traditional warm Iraqi welcome?
"We will welcome them with bullets and shoes."
A bizarre mix of ordnance.
"I speak better English than this villain Bush"
True, MSS, you say it loud an clear, boy!
"They are not in Baghdad. They are not in control of any airport. I tell you this. It is all a lie. They lie. It is a hollywood movie. You do not believe them."
No, no, no, no. The blockbuster movies come AFTER the war.
"Yes, the american troops have advanced further. This will only make it easier for us to defeat them"
A novel military strategy that might not catch on...
"This is unbased"
Unhinged is the word he's looking for.
"W. Bush, this man is a war criminal, and we will see that he is brought to trial"
That's a half-truth.
"I think the British nation has never been faced with a tragedy like this fellow [Blair]."
Well, it's been a while...
"The United Nations....[is] a place for prostitution under the feet of Americans."
Feet, feet, feet...
"They think we are retarded - they are retarded."
Pot and kettle...
"The midget Bush and that Rumsfield deserve only to be beaten with shoes by freedom loving people everywhere."
Beaten with... shoes. I mean, what else?
"Rumsfeld, he needs to be hit on the head"
MSS, you've hit the nail on the head!
"Bush is a very stupid man. The American people are not stupid, they are very clever. I can't understand how such clever people came to elect such a stupid president."
This is of course by far the most intelligent statement MSS has made.
"Bush, Blair and Rumsfeld. They are the funny trio"
Add yourself, MSS and make it a quartet!
Question: Is Saddam Hussein still alive: "I will only answer reasonable questions"
"They are not in Najaf. They are nowhere. They are on the moon. They are snakes in the desert..."
Rumsfeld is "the worst kind of bastard"
"Americans are now in disarray"
"There are only two American tanks in the city."
Two, not three...
"We are winning!"
Of course, of course... Now, where have I heard that before?
Condoleezza Rice and Harold Pinter on the "war on terror", Iraq, torture and Guantanamo Bay:
RICE: The United States and many other countries are waging a war against terrorism. For our country this war often takes the form of conventional military operations in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.
PINTER: The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law.
The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East.
A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.
RICE: International law allows a state to detain enemy combatants for the duration of hostilities. Detainees may only be held for an extended period if the intelligence or other evidence against them has been carefully evaluated and supports a determination that detention is lawful.
PINTER: Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge for over three years, with no legal representation or due process, technically detained forever. This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva Convention.
It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about by what's called the 'international community'. This criminal outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself to be 'the leader of the free world'.
By Rice's own admission, these enemy combatants maybe held in custody until hell freezes over or until the "hostilities" are over, which ever comes first...
RICE: The United States is a country of laws. My colleagues and I have sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We believe in the rule of law.
PINTER: The US quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent.
Let me be facetious and correct Pinter: the US cares a lot about the UN as long as the US gets its way. When it doesn't it goes it alone anyway.
RICE: We consider the captured members of al-Qaeda and its affiliates to be unlawful combatants who may be held, in accordance with the law of war, to keep them from killing innocents.
PINTER: How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice.
Condi, you sound thoroughly confused. If these people are indeed guilty of terrorist acts, then a fair trial, conviction and a long sentence would be the best strategy under all circumstances. Instead these "illegal combatants" can be held forever in poor conditions.
RICE: The United States [and its allies] will use every lawful weapon to defeat these terrorists.
PINTER: We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East'.
The idea of "bringing of freedom to the Middle East" is of course nothing more than a bit of spin to give the entire failing campaign an air of respectability, a touch of humanitarianism...
RICE: Torture, and conspiracy to commit torture, are crimes under US law, wherever they may occur in the world.
PINTER: At least 100,000 Iraqis were killed by American bombs and missiles before the Iraq insurgency began. These people are of no moment. Their deaths don't exist. They are blank. They are not even recorded as being dead. Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the International Criminal Court of Justice.
The ruling that secret evidence obtained through torture cannot be used against terror suspects in UK courts will be hailed by many as a human rights victory. But is it really? No, before you jump to the wrong conclusion, I'm as much against torture as anyone else. Torture has never been used to reveal the truth, instead it is used to extract a confession, at any cost, and that is quite a different matter altogether. That's why it's deplorable that the House of Lords even have to consider the possibility of the admissibility of such "evidence" in our courts.
It's an indictment of these times and the state of our democracy that a practice which has been banned from this country for centuries, was once again seen as a possible, legitimate means to combat terror. It's not a victory but rather a defeat when the House has to spend time on a practice that is so clearly and totally morally reprehensible.
In his video-taped Nobel acceptance speech, Harold Pinter, often called the greatest living playwright, excoriated a 'brutal, scornful and ruthless' United States. The text requires few comments.
Briefly on the reasons for going to war in Iraq:
Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.
As every single person here knows, the justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling devastation. We were assured that was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq had a relationship with Al Quaeda and shared responsibility for the atrocity in New York of September 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true.
The truth is something entirely different. The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it.
Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America's favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as 'low intensity conflict'. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued - or beaten to death - the same thing - and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer.
The tragedy of Nicaragua was a highly significant case. I choose to offer it here as a potent example of America's view of its role in the world, both then and now.
I was present at a meeting at the US embassy in London in the late 1980s.
The United States Congress was about to decide whether to give more money to the Contras in their campaign against the state of Nicaragua. I was a member of a delegation speaking on behalf of Nicaragua but the most important member of this delegation was a Father John Metcalf. The leader of the US body was Raymond Seitz (then number two to the ambassador, later ambassador himself). Father Metcalf said: 'Sir, I am in charge of a parish in the north of Nicaragua. My parishioners built a school, a health centre, a cultural centre. We have lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the parish. They destroyed everything: the school, the health centre, the cultural centre. They raped nurses and teachers, slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw its support from this shocking terrorist activity.'
Raymond Seitz had a very good reputation as a rational, responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly respected in diplomatic circles. He listened, paused and then spoke with some gravity. 'Father,' he said, 'let me tell you something. In war, innocent people always suffer.' There was a frozen silence. We stared at him. He did not flinch.
Innocent people, indeed, always suffer.
Finally somebody said: 'But in this case "innocent people" were the victims of a gruesome atrocity subsidised by your government, one among many. If Congress allows the Contras more money further atrocities of this kind will take place. Is this not the case? Is your government not therefore guilty of supporting acts of murder and destruction upon the citizens of a sovereign state?'
Seitz was imperturbable. 'I don't agree that the facts as presented support your assertions,' he said.
On Reagan and Nicaragua:
I should remind you that at the time President Reagan made the following statement: 'The Contras are the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.'
The United States supported the brutal Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua for over 40 years. The Nicaraguan people, led by the Sandinistas, overthrew this regime in 1979, a breathtaking popular revolution.
The Sandinistas weren't perfect. They possessed their fair share of arrogance and their political philosophy contained a number of contradictory elements. But they were intelligent, rational and civilised. They set out to establish a stable, decent, pluralistic society. The death penalty was abolished. Hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken peasants were brought back from the dead. Over 100,000 families were given title to land. Two thousand schools were built. A quite remarkable literacy campaign reduced illiteracy in the country to less than one seventh. Free education was established and a free health service. Infant mortality was reduced by a third. Polio was eradicated.
The United States denounced these achievements as Marxist/Leninist subversion. In the view of the US government, a dangerous example was being set. If Nicaragua was allowed to establish basic norms of social and economic justice, if it was allowed to raise the standards of health care and education and achieve social unity and national self respect, neighbouring countries would ask the same questions and do the same things. There was of course at the time fierce resistance to the status quo in El Salvador.
I spoke earlier about 'a tapestry of lies' which surrounds us. President Reagan commonly described Nicaragua as a 'totalitarian dungeon'. This was taken generally by the media, and certainly by the British government, as accurate and fair comment. But there was in fact no record of death squads under the Sandinista government. There was no record of torture. There was no record of systematic or official military brutality. No priests were ever murdered in Nicaragua. There were in fact three priests in the government, two Jesuits and a Maryknoll missionary. The totalitarian dungeons were actually next door, in El Salvador and Guatemala. The United States had brought down the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954 and it is estimated that over 200,000 people had been victims of successive military dictatorships.
Six of the most distinguished Jesuits in the world were viciously murdered at the Central American University in San Salvador in 1989 by a battalion of the Alcatl regiment trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA. That extremely brave man Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying mass. It is estimated that 75,000 people died. Why were they killed? They were killed because they believed a better life was possible and should be achieved. That belief immediately qualified them as communists. They died because they dared to question the status quo, the endless plateau of poverty, disease, degradation and oppression, which had been their birthright.
The United States finally brought down the Sandinista government. It took some years and considerable resistance but relentless economic persecution and 30,000 dead finally undermined the spirit of the Nicaraguan people. They were exhausted and poverty stricken once again. The casinos moved back into the country. Free health and free education were over. Big business returned with a vengeance. 'Democracy' had prevailed.
Lest we forget the US's crimes aren't limited to Iraq and Nicaragua:
The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.
Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn't know it.
It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.
On Poodle Blair and the Man of Straw:
What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days - conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead? Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge for over three years, with no legal representation or due process, technically detained forever. This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva Convention. It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about by what's called the 'international community'. This criminal outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself to be 'the leader of the free world'. Do we think about the inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay? What does the media say about them? They pop up occasionally - a small item on page six. They have been consigned to a no man's land from which indeed they may never return. At present many are on hunger strike, being force-fed, including British residents. No niceties in these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anaesthetic. Just a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit blood. This is torture. What has the British Foreign Secretary said about this? Nothing. What has the British Prime Minister said about this? Nothing. Why not? Because the United States has said: to criticise our conduct in Guantanamo Bay constitutes an unfriendly act. You're either with us or against us. So Blair shuts up.
On the mass murderers Bush and Blair:
The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading - as a last resort - all other justifications having failed to justify themselves - as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.
We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East'.
How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice. But Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the International Criminal Court of Justice. Therefore if any American soldier or for that matter politician finds himself in the dock Bush has warned that he will send in the marines. But Tony Blair has ratified the Court and is therefore available for prosecution. We can let the Court have his address if they're interested. It is Number 10, Downing Street, London.
Death in this context is irrelevant. Both Bush and Blair place death well away on the back burner. At least 100,000 Iraqis were killed by American bombs and missiles before the Iraq insurgency began. These people are of no moment. Their deaths don't exist. They are blank. They are not even recorded as being dead. 'We don't do body counts,' said the American general Tommy Franks.
Early in the invasion there was a photograph published on the front page of British newspapers of Tony Blair kissing the cheek of a little Iraqi boy. 'A grateful child,' said the caption. A few days later there was a story and photograph, on an inside page, of another four-year-old boy with no arms. His family had been blown up by a missile. He was the only survivor. 'When do I get my arms back?' he asked. The story was dropped. Well, Tony Blair wasn't holding him in his arms, nor the body of any other mutilated child, nor the body of any bloody corpse. Blood is dirty. It dirties your shirt and tie when you're making a sincere speech on television.
The 2,000 American dead are an embarrassment. They are transported to their graves in the dark. Funerals are unobtrusive, out of harm's way. The mutilated rot in their beds, some for the rest of their lives. So the dead and the mutilated both rot, in different kinds of graves.
than ever before. Despite vainglorious talk about Condi's achievement of the "passage to Egypt" deal and the erroneous belief that Sharon-the-man-of-peace intended the Gaza withdrawal to be the renaissance of the peace process, the Palestinians' position is more hopeless than ever, a fact that is largely obscured by that other pandemonium in the Middle East, Iraq.
The withdrawal from Gaza was nothing more than a tactical move, a cost-saver and public relations exercise. Gaza remains under tight Israeli control from the ground, air and sea, a small mass prison as it were.
And as the world's media beamed images around the globe of screaming, crying settlers being dragged out of their homes by the IDF, Israel found itself once more at the receiving end of ill-deserved sympathy.
Shortly after the withdrawal we were treated to images of Palestinians setting fire to abandoned synagogues, further proof to some of the "barbaric nature" of these "filthy Arabs". Israelis were quick to comment that Jews can't destroy synagogues, which is why they were left there, abandoned. What exactly constitutes the difference between destroying and abandoning? The difference lies in the fact that it provided a great photo-op to see these structures demolished by their arch enemies. Of course the Jews could also have dismantled these places of worship and moved them brick by brick, but they chose not to.
As regards Sharon's latest move to "go it alone", we need to wait to see what this will mean for the peace process. Sharon is the ultimate political survivor and opportunist and what direction this new party will take him, will depend largely on the direction of the political wind in Israel. Personally, I believe this man is entirely capable of creating a legacy of peace but whether that's going to be the direction he will choose to take remains entirely to be seen.
If the 1947 UN partition plan had been implemented, there would be two states: a Palestinian state on 45 per cent of the land of historic Palestine, and an Israeli state on 55 per cent. In 1967, the Israeli state constituted 78 per cent of this land.
What remained was the West Bank and Gaza Strip; what Palestinians came to terms with in 1988 when the Palestinian National Council accepted a two-state solution.
This represented an unprecedented compromise for Palestinians as it effectively gave up more than half of what was assigned to them by the UN.
What was offered to Arafat by Ehud Barak at Camp David in 2000 was no different from Sharon's plan, in that he wanted to retain the Jordan Valley, Jerusalem and big parts of the settlements.
Having brought the Palestinians to their worst ever economic and humanitarian condition, Sharon has created a situation whereby he can act independently to decide the shape any future "peace process" will take.
The construction of his ignominious wall and the expansion of settlements will eventually result in the total annexation of no less than 50 per cent of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the destruction of any potential for a coherent, contiguous, and viable Palestinian state.
The wall cuts as deep as 35 kilometres into the West Bank. Its construction has already resulted in the annexation of 9.5 per cent of the land of the West Bank.
The area expropriated for settlement adds another eight per cent to this figure, while the building of the eastern wall in the Jordan Valley will allow Israel to annex a further 28.5 per cent of the West Bank.
The wall is being built at very high speed, regardless of the ICJ advisory opinion. It will be around 750 kilometres in length: three times as long and twice as high as the Berlin Wall.
The Palestinians are expected to stay calmer than ever before and refrain entirely from violence. Whilst I agree with the need to cease all violence on tactical grounds (this is a war that cannot be won and therefore should not be fought), controlling an entire desperate population is not easy to achieve. Meanwhile Israel will use any attacks, no matter how futile and insignificant some actually are, as a further excuse to build the wall and to refuse negotiations.
No, the Palestinians really are completely cornered. Only massive International pressure can bring this road map back to life again. Mr Blair promised before the invasion in Iraq that this would be one of the conditions he would impose on President Bush in return for UK support for the war. We're still waiting...
If the International community doesn't act, the extremist Zionists will indeed try and realise their dream of Eretz Israel. Do we want to be complicit in this crime?
But new revelations are likely to prompt further questions about the fate of these prisoners:
Before she left the US, Ms Rice admitted that terror suspects were flown abroad for interrogation but denied they were tortured.
She said suspects were moved by plane under a process known as rendition, and that this was "a lawful weapon".
A leading US-based human rights group accused Ms Rice of seeking to "mischaracterise" the true nature of rendition.
"Secretary Rice made extra-legal rendition sound like just another form of extradition," said Tom Malinowski, a Human Rights Watch official in Washington.
"In fact, it's a form of kidnapping and 'disappearing' someone entirely outside the law."
Despite a large slice of the British general public demanding clarification of what the UK flights actually mean, there is no real shortage of people ready to defend questionable, possibly illegal practices, in the name of "terror fighting". See this here online BBC survey, Do you agree with US terror policies?
This document, incredibly, is now subject to an Official Secrets Act gagging order. In plain English, anyone (in the UK) found publishing this document risks going to jail. It must be the first time in British journalistic history that the press is bound and gagged by the Official Secrets Act, a tribute to the control-freakery of HMG.
Boris Johnson of The Spectator, shortly followed by Ian Hislop of Private Eye, soon declared they would publish the memo if it came their way.
Blairwatch, a popular blog (no prizes for guessing their subject matter), has joined in and launched a blogosphere appeal, which undersigned has pledged allegiance to: I too will publish the memo if it becomes available. At the time of writing some 221 bloggers have signed up to the appeal.
You too can join in and contribute to transparency and democracy (click banner). See y'all in gaol!
Strange tales about irregular and seemingly illogical flight patterns of CIA aircraft in European air space have sparked speculation about the use of secret CIA interrogation camps in several European countries.
I've so far been reluctant to spend much time on this story, as corroboration is much needed in a case like this.
But the story isn't going away and European leaders haven't shied away from it either.
These prisoner camps would fit in with the exercise of "extraordinary rendition", the practice of transferring terrorism suspects to interrogation camps, often in countries where torture is legal.
The EU Justice Commissioner had this to say about it:
Franco Frattini said the consequences would be "extremely serious" if reports of such prisons turned out to be true.
This comes amid an EU investigation into claims the US secret service ran clandestine jails in eastern Europe.
The US has refused to confirm or deny the reports, which surfaced in the US earlier this month.
He said a suspension of voting rights would be justified if any country is found to have breached the bloc's founding principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
Of course, all this doesn't prove the existence of the camps or the practice of torturing these "enemy combatants".
But there remain questions to be answered all the same. The pro-war side of the blogosphere is full of optimistic reports on the "War on Terror". Not only is the war "being won" according to these sources, also hundreds, if not thousands of terror suspects have been apprehended in Afghanistan and Iraq. So, where are they all? Are they a figment of right-wing imagination? They would of course deny that. Where then are they held and are they being charged with anything? Is it indeed possible that some if not many are held in secret locations across Europe and the former Soviet Union?
I reserve judgement but it's hardly impossible. Analogies with Guantanamo Bay are impossible to avoid.
Three years into the "war on terror" and in particular the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, it's useful for those on both sides of the debate, to take stock and reflect. Despite it being crystal clear that the invasion of Iraq was started under false pretences, that the intelligence used to justify it was ambiguous at best and manipulated, cooked and sexed-up at worst, that Saddam had no WMD of any discernable kind, that Iraq posed no threat to the US, UK and its allies in any way, that the 45 minute warning was a joke designed to scaremonger an ignorant general public into support for this misadventure, that Saddam had no ties with al-Qaeda and had nothing to do whatsoever with the attacks on 9/11, despite all of this, the Allies are still firmly entrenched in Iraq in a war that has achieved little and whose architects have no plans to leave Iraq to the Iraqis, for better or for worse.
And the neocon engineers of this debacle, one of the biggest and most costly foreign policy blunders of the last fifty years, continue unashamedly to further mislead the public as to the true nature of this war and persist in calling for further presence in Iraq.
What we're seeing here is of course nothing more than a political battle, Bush the puppet and his company of puppet masters will never admit to any wrongdoing, instead they simply keep twisting and turning the issues and moving the goalposts, so as to make out something positive will have been achieved: from catching al-Qaeda as failed primary objective, Iraq is now to be presented as a centre-piece for "democracy in the Middle East" and the "March of Freedom".
Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman is one of those politicians who, somewhere along the line, has lost the thread and is starting to believe that Iraq should not be considered a failure, despite the decidedly dodgy tactics that were employed to justify this gaffe.
In this article: "Our Troops Must Stay", Lieberman presents us with a piece of demagoguery, designed to appeal to the average conservative American, who when confronted with the imaginary international bogeyman of "terrorism", knee-jerks swiftly further to the right and into "war-mode".
Lieberman asserts with characteristically simpleton math that the US mustn't abandon "27 million Iraqis to 10,000 terrorists"...
The fact that the 10,000 insurgents are quite a heterogeneous group, made up of resistance fighters fighting the troops, those waging internal, civil war and a smaller contingent of foreign, al-Qaeda style fighters, is a subtlety Lieberman cannot afford, because it's the association "Iraq - Terrorism" he want to make appear in the reader's mind.
And the fact that the vast majority of these alleged "terrorists" simply weren't there before the invasion, is also something Lieberman is either too incompetent to see or too disingenuous to show.
Then there's Lieberman's shining example of democracy in the Middle East: that long-time and most loyal of US allies, Israel. That democratic country that keeps occupying and permanently annexating territory that by rights belongs to someone else, the Palestinians.
For the latter, if the "war on terror" has done anything it's to make matters worse. Branded as nothing but a bunch of "unreliable terrorists and al-Qaeda supporters", they shouldn't expect any support from the American and British people. Lump it all together and you get an undifferentiated mass of "terrorists" that should be fought tooth and nail, "hunted down and smoked out", Dumbya-style. The first casualty of this war was indeed the truth...