by sherry mann
“This tea party movement can be a healthy thing if they are making us justify every dollar of taxes we raise and every dollar of money we’ve spent, but when you get mad, sometimes you end up producing the exact opposite result of what you say you are for.”
Bill Clinton on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.
Can that really be true? Let’s look at a few examples:
War on Drugs
The “War on Drugs” was a term was first used by President Richard Nixon in 1969. Since then, the initiative has had countless laws, initiatives and policies have gone into effect which were supposed to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of everything from pot to heroine. According to Wikipedia:
- In 1970, the Nixon administration implemented the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.
- In 1973, the Drug Enforcement Agency was created to replace the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
- In 1988 Ronald Reagan created the Office of National Drug Control Policy for central coordination of drug-related legislative, security, diplomatic, research and health policy throughout the government. The director of ONDCP is commonly known as the Drug Czar. The position was raised to cabinet-level status by Bill Clinton in 1993.
Obviously, the drug war saves lives by reducing murders.
Okay, maybe that was a bad example.
Hat tip: Times Online
by Tim Reid, Washington
(Andres Leighton/AP) Two detainees are escorted to interrogation by US military guards at Guantánamo Bay
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.
The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. It is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush Administration.
Colonel Wilkerson, who was General Powell’s chief of staff when he ran the State Department, was most critical of Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld. He claimed that the former Vice-President and Defence Secretary knew that the majority of the initial 742 detainees sent to Guantánamo in 2002 were innocent but believed that it was “politically impossible to release them”.
by Bruce Gagnon
hat tip: dandelionsalad
It’s a brilliant strategy if you think about it. Make the public afraid of each other. Every person could be a terrorist – everyone is suspect. There is no better way to defeat an organized anti-war opposition than to make the people terrified of each other.
The corporate oligarchy is now doing under Obama what it could not accomplish under Bush. Total war. The anti-Bush movement in the US and worldwide was gaining too much ground. So the oligarchy let the air out of that balloon. In Bush’s place they put in a magician who has proved very effective at keeping the left off balance and thus unable to pump new life into the reeling anti-war movement.
So now it’s Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Somalia and Yemen. Next could be Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. National Public Radio (NPR) reporter Tom Gjelten did a story called “Afghan War Could Spill Over Into Central Asia” on December 31 that upped the fear meter and brought back the Vietnam-war era worry of the “domino theory”. You must watch the slight of hand ….the modus operandi in action again.
Bush, or John McCain for that matter, would have been resisted at every step of this new escalation. But many “progressives” are frozen into place by the handiwork of the magician and a deferential Congress under the control of the other war party. The “execution” of this masterstroke has worked as well as the insides of an expensive Swiss watch.
The oil and military industrial oligarchy have created a situation where the public is so primed for fear by the slavish media that they are ready to strip their constitutional rights down to the bare bone in order to be “protected” by big daddy.
A Major reveals the inside story of military interrogation in Iraq.
By Patrick Cockburn, winner of the 2009 Orwell Prize for journalism. April 26, 2009 “The Independent”
The use of torture by the US has proved so counter-productive that it may have led to the death of as many US soldiers as civilians killed in 9/11, says the leader of a crack US interrogation team in Iraq.
“The reason why foreign fighters joined al-Qa’ida in Iraq was overwhelmingly because of abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and not Islamic ideology,” says Major Matthew Alexander, who personally conducted 300 interrogations of prisoners in Iraq. It was the team led by Major Alexander [a named assumed for security reasons] that obtained the information that led to the US military being able to locate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qa’ida in Iraq. Zarqawi was then killed by bombs dropped by two US aircraft on the farm where he was hiding outside Baghdad on 7 June 2006. Major Alexander said that he learned where Zarqawi was during a six-hour interrogation of a prisoner with whom he established relations of trust.
Major Alexander’s attitude to torture by the US is a combination of moral outrage and professional contempt. “It plays into the hands of al-Qa’ida in Iraq because it shows us up as hypocrites when we talk about human rights,” he says. An eloquent and highly intelligent man with experience as a criminal investigator within the US military, he says that torture is ineffective, as well as counter-productive. “People will only tell you the minimum to make the pain stop,” he says. “They might tell you the location of a house used by insurgents but not that it is booby-trapped.”
In his compelling book How to Break a Terrorist, Major Alexander explains that prisoners subjected to abuse usually clam up, say nothing, or provide misleading information. In an interview he was particularly dismissive of the “ticking bomb” argument often used in the justification of torture. This supposes that there is a bomb timed to explode on a bus or in the street which will kill many civilians. The authorities hold a prisoner who knows where the bomb is. Should they not torture him to find out in time where the bomb is before it explodes?
Major Alexander says he faced the “ticking time bomb” every day in Iraq because “we held people who knew about future suicide bombings”. Leaving aside the moral arguments, he says torture simply does not work. “It hardens their resolve. They shut up.” He points out that the FBI uses normal methods of interrogation to build up trust even when they are investigating a kidnapping and time is of the essence. He would do the same, he says, “even if my mother was on a bus” with a hypothetical ticking bomb on board. It is quite untrue to imagine that torture is the fastest way of obtaining information, he says.
Note from Editor: Harper’s magazine was my first magazine subscription. They have amazing stories, insights and political essays. Here is an outstanding example of a tradition called the Harper’s Index.
Number of news stories from 1998 to Election Day 2000 containing “George W. Bush” and “aura of inevitability”: 206
Minimum number of Bush appointees who have regulated industries they used to represent as lobbyists: 98
Number of Chevron oil tankers named after Condoleezza Rice, at the time she became foreign policy adviser: 1
Months before September 11, 2001, that Cheney’s Energy Task Force investigated Iraq’s oil resources: 6
Hours after the 9/11 attacks that an Alaska congressman speculated they may have been committed by “eco-terrorists”: 9
Date on which the first contract for a book about September 11 was signed: 9/13/01
Number of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and North African men detained in the U.S. in the eight weeks after 9/11: 1,182
Number of them ever charged with a terrorism-related crime: 0
Number charged with an immigration violation: 762
Days since the federal government first placed the nation under an “elevated terror alert” that the level has been relaxed: 0
Minimum number of calls the FBI received in fall 2001 from Utah residents claiming to have seen Osama bin Laden: 20
Number of box cutters taken from U.S. airline passengers since January 2002: 105,075
Percentage of Americans in 2006 who believed that U.S. Muslims should have to carry special I.D.: 39
Chances an American in 2002 believed the government should regulate comedy routines that make light of terrorism: 2 in 5
Rank of Mom, Dad, and Rudolph Giuliani among those whom 2002 college graduates said they most wished to emulate: 1, 2, 3
Number of members of the rock band Anthrax who said they hoarded Cipro so as to avoid an “ironic death”: 1
Estimated total calories members of Congress burned giving Bush’s 2002 State of the Union standing ovations: 22,000
Percentage of the amendments in the Bill of Rights that are violated by the USA PATRIOT Act, according to the ACLU: 50
Minimum number of laws that Bush signing statements have exempted his administration from following: 1,069
Estimated number of U.S. intelligence reports on Iraq that were based on information from a single defector: 100
Number of times the defector had ever been interviewed by U.S. intelligence agents: 0
Date on which Bush said of Osama bin Laden, “I truly am not that concerned about him”: 3/13/02
Days after the U.S. invaded Iraq that Sony trademarked “Shock & Awe” for video games: 1
Days later that the company gave up the trademark, citing “regrettable bad judgment”: 25
Number of books by Henry Kissinger found in Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz’s mansion: 2
Number by then–New York Times reporter Judith Miller: 1
Factor by which an Iraqi in 2006 was more likely to die than in the last year of the Saddam regime: 3.6