Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Bill 

Courtesy of our revered colleague Eli at Left I on the News: After she asked a few rude, pointed questions about the Bush administration and its bizarre conduct pre- and post-9/11, Rep. Cynthia McKinney was declared a non-person by the reputable media, and soon thereafter lost her seat in Congress. Two years later she won it back -- but she's still, it would seem, an untouchable in the eyes of the press; otherwise, the hour-long speech she delivered on the floor of the House Thursday, in which she recited the names of Georgia's war dead, quoted at length from James Bamford's A Pretext for War, and entered the entire text of Major General Smedley Butler's War Is a Racket into the Congressional Record, would surely have received at least a soupçon of coverage. A few choice excerpts:
The sad fact, even sadder than the way I feel right now after having read those names, is that we may not even have the real story. We may not know the true costs of this war. I am told U.S. military personnel who died in German hospitals [or] en route to German hospitals are not counted. So, in addition to the more than 1,000 Americans who have lost their lives in this war, there are an additional 6,210 who died in German hospitals or en route to those hospitals.

‘‘Next, Pretext describes how the claims involving Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, the connections between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda and Hussein’s involvement with 9/11 were simply used as pretexts for a war long planned by a small group of neoconservatives supportive of the Israeli government’s policies and the expansion of U.S. military power throughout the Middle East. It examines how top Bush administration officials Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser first drafted a plan outlining an attack on Iraq and removal of Saddam Hussein in 1996 . . . .

Bamford continues: ‘‘Wurmser then authored a paper in January 2001 arguing that the U.S. and Israel jointly launch a preemptive war throughout the Middle East and North Africa to establish U.S.-Israeli dominance. The U.S. and Israel should ‘strike fatally, not merely disarm, the centers of radicalism in the regions of Damascus, Baghdad, Tripoli, Tehran and Gaza.’ He added that ’crisis were opportunities.’ ’’ This is Wurmser being quoted by James Bamford. Bamford continues: ‘‘About the same time on January 30, 2001, President Bush held his first National Security Council meeting, and according to former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill discussed only two topics, becoming closer to Israel’s Ariel Sharon and locating targets to attack in Iraq.’’

Bamford continues: ‘‘As Wurmser had suggested following the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration immediately began using the crisis as an opportunity to launch their long-planned war against Iraq.

‘‘At 2:40 p.m. on September 11, as the Pentagon was still burning,’’ and this is Bamford continuing, ‘‘Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld dictated notes of his intention to blame Saddam Hussein even though there was no evidence of such link and all of the intelligence pointed exclusively to bin Laden and al Qaeda. ‘Hit S.H. at same time.’ ’’ That is Rumsfeld. ‘‘ ‘Sweep him up whether related to 9/11 or not.’ ’’ Bamford continues: ‘‘Next Wurmser was put in charge of a secret unit in Feith’s office with a cover name Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group. Its function was to gather and feed less than credible intelligence, intelligence discounted by the CIA such as the supposed Niger uranium deal to the White House and Vice President CHENEY’s office. Wurmser is now Cheney’s top Middle East adviser.’’

[Quoting Smedley Butler:] ‘‘A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes . . . .

‘‘Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few, the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

‘‘And what is this bill?

‘‘This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Backbreaking taxation for generations and generations . . . .

In chapter four he says, How do we smash this racket? He says a few profit and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war. And then he goes on to describe how that could be done.

He says, let the workers in the plants, let the CEOs of the corporations, let the Members of Congress who appropriate the money all get the same wages, all, even the generals and admirals. Let them get the same wages as the total monthly income of a soldier in the trenches. He says, when you can let the kings and the tycoons and the masters of business earn what the soldiers earn, then maybe we will not have war. Maybe we can take the profit out of war and maybe we can put an end to the racket.

I was told that I have to maintain decorum in this place. I think we as a people, we as a country, we as a Nation need to ask ourselves, what are we doing in Iraq? What are we doing around the world? What are we allowing the leadership of this country to do in our name? And when will we stop it?
Rep. John Conyers and over half a million other Americans will request this week that the President explain the policy of deliberate prevarication revealed in the Downing Street Minutes. While we're at it, could we also ask for an accurate death count? If Rep. McKinney's assertion is true, the number of Americans killed as a direct consequence of Mr. Bush's elective, pre-emptive war would leap from 1700 to almost 8000. Overnight.

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