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Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Re-defeat Bush: the case in links  

Aka "The Best of Different Kitchen News" in a single post

I've been consistent on this point from virtually Day One of doing this site: Bush has got to. You may not love Kerry, you may be sick of the two party system or even feel like Nader has been better at addressing issues you care about, but the ish is very real right now. This country and the world as a whole cannot take four more years of Bush's dangerous, divisive, reckless and irresponsible foreign and dometic policies. It is time to make a change and to make a vote to take this country in another direction.

I could lay out the case for you - from the two failed wars and a botched "war on terror" strategy, to being the only president to preside over a net loss in jobs during their administration since Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression and turning a massive surplus and the balanced budgets achieved under Clinton into record high deficicts and on and on - but I'm not an Op-Ed writer or as eloquent as others. So instead, let me do what I do best and take you on a trip back through some of the highlight (or lowlight, depending on your perspective) news links on this site since I began it just over a year ago. Hopefully, this will help you connect the dots for yourself and paint a clear picture of what's the right thing to do....

Since 9/11 Bush has often claimed the title of "war time president" and of being a commander-in-chief displaying "strong, steady leadership." But he coveniently ignores the fact that the 9/11 attacks happened on his watch and quite possibly could have been prevented or at least minimized had he focused even a little bit on counter-terrorism issues and less on forcing through endless tax cuts when he took office:

- Panel Says Bush Saw Repeated Warnings; Reports Preceded August 2001 Memo.

- Pre-9/11 Files Show Warnings Were More Dire and Persistent

- Bush was sleep at the wheel

And when he wasn't giving tax breaks to the rich, he was trying to figure out how to invade Iraq and this was before before 9/11:

But then still had to lie to justify the war:

- Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq.

- Despite the whitewash, the Bush administration was warned before the war that its Iraq claims were weak.

- How the White House Embraced Disputed Arms Intelligence

- Bush "systematically misrepresent[ed]" the threat posed by "Iraq's weapons of mass destruction" in a comprehensive report on post-war findings by The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

- Report criticizes administration's assessments of Iraq dangers

- The Dots Never Existed

Yet almost from the get, after invading Afghanistan and handily deposing the Taliban, the "war on terror" got all f-cked up. How?

- By miscalculating how much of an Iraqi reconstruction could be self-financed by Iraqi oil thus leaving the US taxpayers holding the bag (and the bill).

- Dismantling then unsuccessfully trying to recall units of the old Iraq army which went on to become the core of the insurgency.

- which was only inflamed by Bush's faux-cowboy arrogance

- and having no real plans for the reconstruction of Iraq in place

- coupled with the botched strategy of "De-Baathfication".

- and the failed strategy of "Iraqification".

- and the US even outed one of the few spies they managed to plant within the Al-Qaeda organization.

Growing rumors of human rights abuses didn't help either. (Chrisitian Science Monitor)

But then, worst of all, came The Abu Ghraib scandal broke:

- that turned out to not just be happening at Abu Ghraib

- or even only outside of the US

though the government had the gaul to take a while to even admit there was a problem.

Which wasn't a surprise since the scandal seemed only to be indicative of systemic failures all around:

- like at Guantanamo

- where a Cuban Detainee was Wrongly Named an Enemy"

- and at Abu Ghraib where the US tortured common criminals, not even terrorists

- caused not just by a small circle of rogue military police soldiers, but from failures of leadership rising to the highest levels of the U.S. command in Iraq

- yes, the highest levels, meaning Rumsfeld.

But for which it seems neither he, Wolfowitz, Bush or anyone else at that highest level will ever take responsibility or be held accountable for what's happened:

- "Cynics will not be surprised to learn that senior military commanders and Bush administration officials are on the verge of avoiding any accountability for the scandal of prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan"

- "After months of Senate hearings and eight Pentagon investigations, it is obvious that the administration does not intend to hold any high-ranking official accountable for the nightmare at Abu Ghraib."

In the end, Abu Ghraib may be seen as one of the tipping points that led to:

Iraq Going Sour.

and an Iraq Policy in Crisis

The saddest part is that all of this had been predicted and told to the US by the Iraqis and could have been avoided.

And diverting attention away from Afghanistan towards Iraq was a step backwards in terms of the overall goal of fighting terrorism:

- the Army War College broadly criticizes the Bush administration's handling of the war on terrorism, accusing it of taking a detour into an "unnecessary" war in Iraq and pursuing an "unrealistic" quest against terrorism that may lead to U.S. wars with states that pose no serious threat. (Washington Post)

- Bush drops the ball by focusing on Iraq instead of Pakistan. (Newsweek)

And meant that a successful Afghanistan campaign ended up becoming a failure:

- allowing the re-emergence of the Taliban. (BBC News)

Which was aided by further screw-ups's in managing the prisonsers of war/enemy combatants (take your pick, Bush did)

- And because US efforts in Afghanistan have been underfinanced and undermanned

Now because of Bush's inept policies, which even former CPA head Paul Bremer belatedly admitted, success at building a stable and democratic new Iraq now is virtually impossible:

- "The most probable scenario for the future of Iraq is Sunni, Shi’a and Kurdish fragmentation leading to civil war" (Chatham House aka the Royal Institute of International Affairs)

- "We're dealing with a population that hovers between bare tolerance and outright hostility. This idea of a functioning democracy here is crazy."

- which even our biggest ally acknowledges. (Christian Science Monitor)

- as does at half of the US military

- and the U.S. Security Agencies.

The short of it is though is that the US is not in control and the Iraq policy has been a failure:

- "Iraq's chances of seeing democracy succeed have been severely imperiled by a year's worth of serious errors on the part of the Pentagon and the CPA. A Coalition memo reveals that even true believers see the seeds of civil war in the occupation of Iraq." (Village Voice)

John Kerry was right on the "war on terror" - "It is increasingly clear that the conflict in Afghanistan falsely fed the idea that the war against terrorism was a real war"

While overall it looks like the "war on terror" is actually being lost since:

- the number incidents of terrorism has gone up, not down.

"Not only have we validated and emboldened our enemies, but we have shamed our friends. Arab moderates who trusted our ideals feel betrayed and abandoned."

- The International Institute for Strategic Studies says the war in Iraq has increased the risk of terrorism against the West.

- "Al Qaeda's terror style spreading--Analysts see a form of franchising at work around globe"

Much of the blame Afghanistan, Iraq, Abu Ghraib could be laid at Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's feet:

- even conservative comemntators agree

- as does the army which you think Bush would have paid attention to.

Yet amazingly, after all these debacles and lives lost, Bush felt free to even joke about not finding any WMD's in Iraq. 1100+ US military and an estimated 100,000 civilian deaths later in Iraq, is that what he meant by celebrating a "culture of life"?!

But while everyone remained focused and precoocupied with the train wreck in
Afghanistan and Iraq, the country virtually fell apart under Bush's disasterous domestic policies as well:

Courtesy NY Times

More Americans became Uninsured and Poor

- Medicare Premiums went up

- The US school system is now in tatters with the signature Bush proposal of more charter schools proven to be a failure

- while the central tenet of Bush's economic policy, tax cuts (and more tax cuts), which he wants to make permanent are widely agreed to have not worked

And for a so-called conservative, Bush does a great impersonation of a
"tax-and-spend liberal." (Newsweek)

And ran an adminstration full of arrogance and which politicized every aspect of day-to-day government in a negative and divisive way like:

- the justice dept

During which, when every time things went bad for them Bush and, especially Vice President Cheney, would consistently use fear-mongering tactics:

- like playing the terror attack card

- or making ridiculous claims like top Bush aide/PR hack Karen Hughes' assertion that pro-choicers = terrorists.

- or that Al-Qaeda wanted posion drugs reimpoted from Canada

- and, in case people ever got too settled, would play the terror attack card again.

Then continuously and erroneously tied the 9/11 attack and Saddam Hussein together to justify the invasion of Iraq long after overwhelming evidence confirmed there was no such link:

- even after Bush finally admitted there was no link .

- and then clamied he'd never said there was a lnk even when there's evidence to the contrary

But should we be surprised when the Bush adminstration lied or covered up so many things including:

- sending out fake news reports. (Guardian UK)

- the true cost of their medicare reform plan. (Washington Post)

- the fact that in July 2002 they illegally diverted $700 million into Iraq invasion planning from the Afghan war budget without informing Congress as mandated.

And then attempted to gag those who tried to go public about it.

Which is pretty much synoymous with the dirty brand of politcs-by-retribution they practiced such as the scandal of the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame as payback to her husband Joseph Wilson for his debunking of the Niger yellowcake story.

During the campign, Bush almost derailed kerry out the gate by labeling him as a "flip-flopper" but anyone who paid even cursory attention to current events knew that Bush was at least as guilty, if not more so, than Kerry of this overused and (as far a politicians go) meaningless charge:

- Bush flip-flops on the war on terror

- Bush flip-flops (

- More flip flops

- Bush's Top Ten Flip-Flops (

- President Bush: Flip-Flopper-In-Chief (Center for American Progress)

- And even more Bush flip flops

Do I even have to go into all the vote-rigging and voter supression tactics the GOP tried to pull? Or Halliburton?

Bush claims "his Administration has achieved impressive results in strengthening homeland security" - this is his idea of how to secure the homeland?

And how good a terrorist watch-list can his adminstration have created when it flags and prevents Senator Ted Kennedy from flying, WTF?

I'm not saying Bush had to be a genius but c'mon, shouldn't there be at least a basic threshold level of intelligence for being the president and the so-callled leader of the free world?

Even fellow republicans have become unimpressed saying things like: The way the Bush administration has governed has been "worse than Watergate." (Mother Jones)

Depsite his promises in 2000, Bush has been "Neither neither compassionate nor conservative..."

Just look at Bush by numbers: Four years of double standards. (Independent)

And look at some of the things you have to believe to be a Republican today.

It's time to Hold Them Accountbale

I hope y'all do (did) the right thing today....

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