Sunday, September 16, 2007

Primum non nocere - doctors and torture Part II

Various medical protocols — notably, the World Medical Association Declaration of Tokyo in 1975 — prohibit all three of these forms of medical complicity in torture. Moreover, the Hippocratic Oath declares, "I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrongdoing."

American doctors at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere have undoubtedly been aware of their medical responsibility to document injuries and raise questions about their possible source in abuse. But those doctors and other medical personnel were part of a command structure that permitted, encouraged, and sometimes orchestrated torture to a degree that it became the norm — with which they were expected to comply — in the immediate prison environment.

The doctors thus brought a medical component to what I call an "atrocity-producing situation" — one so structured, psychologically and militarily, that ordinary people can readily engage in atrocities. Even without directly participating in the abuse, doctors may have become socialized to an environment of torture and by virtue of their medical authority helped sustain it. In studying various forms of medical abuse The participation of doctors can confer an aura of legitimacy and can even create an illusion of therapy and healing.

The Nazis provided the most extreme example of doctors' becoming socialized to atrocity. In addition to cruel medical experiments, many Nazi doctors, as part of military units, were directly involved in killing.

To reach that point, they underwent a sequence of socialization: first to the medical profession, always a self-protective guild; then to the military, where they adapted to the requirements of command; and finally to camps such as Auschwitz, where adaptation included assuming leadership roles in the existing death factory. The great majority of these doctors were ordinary people who had killed no one before joining murderous Nazi institutions. They were corruptible and certainly responsible for what they did, but they became murderers mainly in atrocity-producing settings.

There have been many expressions of concern about much less extreme situations in which American doctors might be exposed to institutional pressures to violate their medical conscience. Frequently mentioned examples were prison doctors who administered or guided others in giving lethal injections to carry out the death penalty and military doctors in Vietnam who helped soldiers to become strong enough to resume their assignments in atrocity-producing situations.

Physicians are no more or less moral than other people. But as heirs to shamans and witch doctors, we may be seen by others — and sometimes by ourselves — as possessing special magic in connection with life and death. Various regimes have sought to harness that magic to their own despotic ends.

Physicians have served as actual torturers in Chile and elsewhere; have surgically removed ears as punishment for desertion in Saddam Hussein's Iraq; have incarcerated political dissenters in mental hospitals, notably in the Soviet Union; have, as whites in South Africa, falsified medical reports on blacks who were tortured or killed; and have, as Americans associated with the Central Intelligence Agency, conducted harmful, sometimes fatal, experiments involving drugs and mind control.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Primum non nocere - doctors and torture. Part I

On July 2004 The New England Journal of Medicine, arguably the most prestigious medical journal in this country, presented an article “Doctors and Torture. Under normal circumstances this article should have provoked a heavy stream of media response, yet, our gutless news organizations quietly turned its attention to the victorious progress of our occupation of Iraq.

One of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's first instructions for military interrogations outside the Geneva Conventions was that military doctors should be involved in monitoring torture. It was a fateful decision — and we learn much more about its consequences in a new book based on 35,000 pages of government documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

The book is called Oath Betrayed published in 2006 by medical ethicist Dr. Stephen Miles, and it is a harrowing documentation of how the military medical profession has been corrupted by the Bush-Rumsfeld interrogation rules.

Some attempted to conclude that to be a military physician is to be subject to potential moral conflict between commitment to the healing of individual people, on the one hand, and responsibility to the military hierarchy and the command structure, on the other.

Being a physician I have an enormous problem with the above; it’s not a simple disagreement but rather a deep distaste on the attempt to justify what is unjustifiable. There are no circumstances, in my opinion, where a physician could suspend medical ethics or the oath; otherwise he or she is not a physician but an opportunistic merchant of questionable services.

There is increasing evidence that U.S. doctors, nurses, and medics have been complicit in torture and other illegal procedures in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay. Such medical complicity suggests still another disturbing dimension of this broadening scandal.

We know that medical personnel have failed to report to higher authorities wounds that were clearly caused by torture and that they have neglected to take steps to interrupt this torture. In addition, they have turned over prisoners' medical records to interrogators who could use them to exploit the prisoners' weaknesses or vulnerabilities. We have not yet learned the extent of medical involvement in delaying and possibly falsifying the death certificates of prisoners who have been killed by torturers.

The article on Abu Ghraib in the New York Times states that "much of the evidence of abuse at the prison came from medical documents" and that records and statements "showed doctors and medics reporting to the area of the prison where the abuse occurred several times to stitch wounds, tend to collapsed prisoners or see patients with bruised or reddened genitals."

According to the article, two doctors who gave a painkiller to a prisoner for a dislocated shoulder and sent him to an outside hospital recognized that the injury was caused by his arms being handcuffed and held over his head for "a long period," but they did not report any suspicions of abuse. A staff sergeant–medic who had seen the prisoner in that position later told investigators that he had instructed a military policeman to free the man but that he did not do so. A nurse, when called to attend to a prisoner who was having a panic attack, saw naked Iraqis in a human pyramid with sandbags over their heads but did not report it until an investigation was held several months later.

A month later an article in the Washington Post tells of a long-standing policy at the Guantanamo Bay facility whereby military interrogators were given access to the medical records of individual prisoners. The policy was maintained despite complaints by the Red Cross that such records "are being used by interrogators to gain information in developing an interrogation plan." A civilian psychiatrist who was part of a medical review team was "disturbed" about not having been told about the practice and said that it would give interrogators "tremendous power" over prisoners.

Other reports, though sketchier, suggest that the death certificates of prisoners who might have been killed by various forms of mistreatment have not only been delayed but may have camouflaged the fatal abuse by attributing deaths to conditions such as cardiovascular disease. The doctors at their best.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Eye on Iran. The blind one...

The fear and disinformation campaign is on. The recent media reports must remind the irresponsible headlines from early 2003, in the months and weeks leading to US assault on sovereign Iraq. The American public, as in 2003, is deprived, by cowardly compliant news organizations of information available to the rest of the world. It is a re-re-run of the history; this was a prime method in Soviet Union, China and other dictatorial states to keep their citizens in darkness extracting total compliance

The recent refusal of Germany to support the imposition of any further UN sanctions against Iran seems to strengthen the “resolve” of the notorious hawks in this administration.

Germany — a pivotal player among three European nations to rein in Iran’s nuclear program over the last two-and-a-half years through a mixture of diplomacy and sanctions supported by the United States — notified its allies last week that the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has decided to oppose any further sanctions against Iran.

The announcement was made at a meeting in Berlin that brought German officials together with Iran desk officers from the five member states of the Security Council. The decision has “stunned” the Bush administration and left them concluding that sanctions are dead as they hoped for.

Although Germans voiced concern about the damaging effects any further sanctions on Iran would have on the German economy I am not convinced Merkel would not welcome, while publicly protesting, an American bombing campaign against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Her wobbly stance on the Iraq war since elected has enraged some key German politicians and society at large.

Political and military officers, as well as weapons of mass destruction “specialists” at the State Department, are now advising Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the diplomatic approach favored by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns Burns has failed and the administration must actively prepare for military intervention of some kind.

The discussions are now focused on two basic options: less invasive scenarios under which the U.S. might blockade Iranian imports of gasoline or exports of oil, actions generally thought to exact too high a cost on the Iranian people but not enough on the regime in Tehran; and full-scale aerial bombardment.On the latter course, active consideration is being given as to how long it would take to degrade Iranian air defenses before American air superiority could be established and U.S. fighter jets could then begin a systematic attack on Iran’s known nuclear targets.

“Experts” have concluded such a comprehensive attack plan would require at least a week of sustained bombing runs, and would at best set the Iranian nuclear program back a number of years — but not destroy it forever.

Other considerations include the likelihood of Iranian reprisals against Tel Aviv and other Israeli population centers; and the effects on American troops in Iraq. There, officials have concluded that the Iranians are unlikely to do much more damage than they already have been able to inflict through their supply of explosives and training of insurgents in Iraq.

There are a number of people in the administration who do not want their legacy to be leaving behind an Iran that is nuclear armed, so they are looking at what are the alternatives? Vice President Cheney and his aides are said to be enjoying present situation … “We told you so..”

The next shoe to drop will be when Rice and President Bush make a final decision about whether to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and/or its lethal subset, the Quds Force, as a terrorist entity or entities. The news leaks about the prospective designation greatly worried European governments and private sector firms, which could theoretically face prosecution in American courts if such measures became law and these entities continued to do business with IRGC and its multiple financial subsidiaries.Designation of such a large Iranian military institution as a terrorist entity would also be seen, sources said, as laying the groundwork for a public justification of American military action.

The administration repeatedly asserts, without definitive evidence, that Iran is developing a bomb, and the public is buying it. Citing legitimate concerns with Iran’s past undeclared nuclear activity, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Iran, stated that “we haven’t seen a smoking gun in Iran.”

According to the New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh, a recent, classified CIA report came to the same conclusion. But regime change, not fact, is the administration’s goal. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte, who estimated a 5-to-10-year window before Iran might have a weapon, is being replaced. The Pentagon’s study group known as the “Iranian Directorate” will quash and cherry-pick information, exactly as was done on Iraq. This should ring alarm bells.

The administration would also have us believe that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, master of outrageous statements, determines Iranian nuclear and foreign policy. In fact, it’s mainly determined by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who issued a religious decree that Iran shall reject nuclear weapons. Moreover, his newspaper advised Ahmadinejad to stay out of nuclear issues. Ahmadinejad is also rapidly losing support because opposition leaders object to his policies and sanctions are hurting. None of this gets mentioned by the Bush administration, whose anti-Iranian rhetoric bolsters Ahmadinejad.

An administration intent on forcible regime change could easily take us to war. Risky provocation has already begun with clandestine activities inside Iran, aggressive kidnappings of Iranian nationals in Iraq and placement of a massive offensive armada close to Iran’s shores, inviting clashes with Iranian ships. Any provoked skirmish resulting in American casualties could trigger a congressional war resolution.

Israel is another wild card. Its leaders have stated that they may preemptively attack Iran’s nuclear installations even without U.S. approval. Bush has said he “could understand” an Israeli attack, knowing Congress would rally to Israel’s support if Iran counterattacks; no questions asked.

Finally, Bush could find some pretext to launch and then announce a naval-air attack, regardless of congressional concern. Some insiders say that plans are in place and that the administration believes it has prior authorization. Again, when Iran strikes back, Congress is not likely to deny the president military support.

Prevention is urgent. Americans need to support congressional resolutions, such as H.J. Res. 14, which seek to prevent the president from attacking Iran without an attack on America or its troops, or without congressional authorization. These resolutions should also address provocation and Israel.

Americans must force the Bush administration and Congress to examine and openly disclose the disastrous consequences of an attack on Iran. Incredibly, administration planners may believe that air-naval attacks won’t involve American troops and will topple the Iranian regime. Military and security experts, such as retired colonel and War College teacher Sam Gardiner, totally disagree. They expect slaughter of American troops in Iraq with more potent weapons and attacks, disruption of oil supplies and skyrocketing oil prices, more recruits for jihadists and attacks on Israel.

Americans must reject the administration’s fraudulent choice between war or surrender. An overwhelming number of Iran and national security experts, such as Flynt Leverett, formerly a member of the CIA and National Security Council, believe that negotiations with Iran on a wide variety of issues (e.g. stabilizing Iraq, nuclear inspections, Hezbollah, Hamas) could be productive. But the Bush administration, blind to these opportunities, insists on regime change and sets preconditions that doom negotiations that might reduce tensions and violence in the Middle East.

This administration is arrogantly relentless in pursuit of their objectives. Its current policy is catastrophic. Only the media and Congress, under public pressure, can expose the flaws, explore the possibilities for negotiation and stop the rush to war.

Would the American public go for the deceptive tactic of the government and media attack again? I want to be wrong but I am afraid they will

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Iran - the road to disaster

Bush and Co. intend to plunge us deeper into the Middle East tragedy by increasing their belligerence towards Iran. I fear that what we are seeing now is an administration readiness for a wider war in the region.

If we compare the present situation to the lead up to the war in Iraq, we can assume that the war plans are already underway, perhaps even finalized. The maneuverings at the UN were just a facade to conceal the movement of military hardware and troops. Once the logistical work is done, the administration will create a pretext for attacking Iran just as it did with Iraq.

The administration sees non-aggression treaties as a sign of weakness unworthy of a superpower. As stated in its National Security Strategy (NSS) the United States reserves the right to attack any nation that may challenge its national interests or its global supremacy. Iran is the next domino to establishing permanent American hegemony. Controlling the oil resources of the Caspian Basin and removing regional rivals to Israel remain the fundamental goals of Bush’s global resource war. This makes a military confrontation with Iran inevitable.

It is absurd to expect the Bush administration will seriously negotiate when their final purpose is regime change.The far-right hawks in this insane administration have a task to prepare the country for war by generating fear and suspicion of Iran’s imaginary weapons programs. The group’s influence is probably similar to that of Judith Miller who was allowed to spout her bogus claims about Iraqi WMD from headlines across the country. In this case, however, the intention is to omit the critical facts about Iran’s activities rather than simply inventing false allegations. For example, the media consistently excludes the important details about Iran’s programs that would allow American’s to form an educated opinion. These are:

1 The IAEA has consistently said that there is “no evidence” that Iran has a nuclear weapons program or is diverting nuclear material from its research.

2 Iran has been in full compliance with all its treaty obligations for three years and has undergone the most intensive inspection regime in the history of the IAEA.

3 The UN Security Council reaffirmed Iran’s “inalienable right” to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and did not order Iran to suspend nuclear enrichment as was falsely reported in the news.

4 The United States has violated its obligations under the NPT by developing a new regime of “bunker busting” low yield nuclear weapons.

5 That the United States is violating the UN Charter by unilaterally threatening a sovereign nation that is not in breach of any UN resolution.

These are the fundamental facts that the American people don’t, or choose not to, know to make an informed judgment about the present confrontation. Instead, the media simply reiterates the specious claims of government officials without regard to either international law (NPT) or the findings of the UN watchdog agency, the IAEA. We must assume that the media is working with high-ranking officials in The Office of Iranian Affairs to produce news that is so obviously skewed in favor of the administration. After all, their entire raison d’etre is to create the rationale for moving the country to war.

Despite the bloody setbacks in Iraq, the “war president” still appears to be entirely under the spell of VP Dick Cheney and ultra-conservative hardliners. Regrettably, there’s no indication that they are the least bit affected by the widening divisions in elite opinion; the opinion of citizens never played a significant role. They are in complete control of the policy making apparatus and should be expected to execute their war plan regardless of its unpopularity or its long-term consequences.

Today BBC reported that British forces have been sent from Basra to the volatile border with Iran amid warnings from the senior US commander in Iraq that Tehran is fomenting a “proxy war”.

In signs of a fast-developing confrontation, the Iranians have threatened military action in response to attacks launched from Iraqi territory while the Pentagon has announced the building of a US base and fortified checkpoints at the frontier.

The UK operation, in which up to 350 troops are involved, has come at the request of the Americans, who say that elements close to the Iranian regime have stepped up supplies of weapons to Shia militias in recent weeks in preparation for attacks inside Iraq.

The deployment came within a week of British forces leaving Basra Palace, their last remaining base inside Basra city, and withdrawing to the airport for a widely expected final departure from Iraq. Brigadier James Bashall, commander of 1 Mechanised Brigade, based at Basra said: “We have been asked to help at the Iranian border to stop the flow of weapons and I am willing to do so. We know the points of entry and I am sure we can do what needs to be done. The US forces are, as we know, engaged in the ’surge’ and the border is of particular concern to them.”

The move came as General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Iraq, made some of the strongest accusations yet by US officials about Iranian activity. General Petraeus spoke on Monday of a “proxy war” in Iraq, while Mr Crocker accused the Iranian government of “providing lethal capabilities to the enemies of the Iraqi state”.

In an interview after his appearance before a congressional panel on Monday, General Petraeus strongly implied that it would soon be necessary to obtain authorisation to take action against Iran within its own borders, rather than just inside Iraq. “There is a pretty hard look ongoing at that particular situation” he said.

While previous US military action has been primarily directed against Sunni insurgents, it is Shia fighters, which the US accuses Iran of backing, who now account for 80 per cent of US casualties.

The decision to return to the frontier has been heavily influenced by the highly charged and very public dispute with the United States. British commanders feel that they cannot turn down the fresh American request for help after refusing to delay the withdrawal from Basra Palace. They also maintain that the operation will stop Iranian arms entering Basra.

The US decision to build fortifications at the Iranian border, after four years of presence in Iraq, shows, say American commanders, that the “Iranian threat” is now one of their main concerns.

Maj-Gen Rick Lynch, commander of the US Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said 48 Iranian-supplied roadside bombs had been used against his forces killing nine soldiers. “We’ve got a major problem with Iranian munitions streaming into Iraq. This Iranian interference is troubling and we have to stop it,” he told The Wall Street Journal this week.

Meanwhile at a conference in Baghdad on regional co-operation, Iran claimed the US was supporting groups mounting attacks from Iraqi territory in the Kurdish north.

Said Jalili , Iran’s deputy foreign minister, last night said: “I think [the US and its allies] are going to prevaricate with the truth because they know they have been defeated in Iraq and they have not been successful. And so they are going to put the blame on us, on the other side.”

We live in a great country that was hijacked by an insane group of radical conservative fanatics pushing this nation to tragic events that likely will bring disaster and misery for generations to come. After 200 years of progress and prosperity we have arrived at the edge of a cliff of our history. And it is only up to us to prevent the next blind step into abyss.

Rudy Giuliani - one of them

The attacks on New York and Washington left nearly 3,000 dead. Most of that toll came from the destruction of the World Trade Center, where 2,750 people — including 343 firefighters — were killed.

In his 2002 book, Leadership, Giuliani recounts visiting Ground Zero on Jan. 1, 2002, just after his successor, Michael Bloomberg, was sworn in: “I wanted it to be the last place I visited before I left,” Giuliani wrote. “I had been there hundreds of times in the three and a half months since the attacks.”

He made more similar claims on countless occasions: “I spent as much time here as anyone … I was here five, six times a day for four months….I thought of it as living here.” “I was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers….I was there working with them. I was there guiding things. I was there bringing people there. But I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I’m one of them.”

One of them….

Steve Cassidy, firefighter and president of the New York International Association of Fire Fighters: “On the heroic memory of 343 dead firefighters, he wants to run for president of the United States, It’s a disgrace.”

“He’s not a leader,” said retired Deputy Chief Jim Riches, whose son was killed in the 2001 attack. “He’s running on 9/11, and it’s all a fallacy.”

Harold Schaitberger, the General President of International Association of Fire Fighters : “Rudy Giuliani has used a horrible event, Sept. 11, 2001, to create a carefully crafted persona… in our view, his actions lead to the unnecessary deaths of our FDNY members and the attempt to stop the dignified recovery of those lost.”

One of them…

In 1997, 4 years after the first attack on World Trade Center, Giuliani made a decision to place the Emergency Response Command Center within … WTC. The location was challenged by Director of Emergency Management Jerry Hauer and many others. Hauer strongly recommended the Metrotech complex of office towers just across the bridge in Brooklyn. Since it was already the home of the city’s new $55 million Technology Center, he decided it “could meet our needs” and, more importantly, “…the Metrotech building was secure and not as visible a target as buildings in Lower Manhattan.” With 911 and fire/EMS communications scheduled to move there, he concluded that the complex would serve “as a focal point for public safety activity.”

The other major concerns raised with Giuliani related to the lack of a backup for this critical service and whether the investment was prudent, given the city’s vast needs.

The WTC was not owned by the city and the price tag was…. $1.4 million a year under its 20-year lease. The Port Authority owned the land underneath all the Trade Center structures but in the early 1980s, the authority had given developer Larry Silverstein a 99-year lease to build the 7 WTC tower.

In July 1999, just a month after the command center opened, Silverstein “coincidentally” hosted a fund-raiser for Giuliani, raising $100,000 for his prospective U.S. Senate race against Hillary Clinton.

Giuliani’s claims he was “at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers” underwent detailed scrutiny. So, how much time did Mayor Giuliani spend at ground zero?

Drudge Report : “ An exhaustively detailed account from mayoral archives shows Giuliani was there for a total of 29 hours in those three months, often for short periods or to visit locations adjacent to the rubble. In that same period, many rescue and recovery workers put in daily 12-hour shifts. The 29 hours Mr. Giuliani spent at ground zero involved 41 appearances, mostly to give tours to other officials and foreign dignitaries. Many entries include meetings away from the site before the tour. For instance, the schedule included 30 minutes on Nov. 15, 2001, for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, but Mr. Putin’s tour of ground zero was widely reported to have lasted 13 minutes.”

An estimate shows Giuliani spent about 7 percent as much time at Ground Zero as did the typical first responder during a three month period after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

On March 14, 2007, the IAFF hosted the first bi-partisan Presidential Forum of the 2008 election cycle. They made a decision to invite all serious candidates from both political parties — except one: former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani because “…his actions post 9/11 rise to such an offensive and personal attack on our brother and sisterhood that the IAFF does not feel Rudy Giuliani deserves an audience of IAFF leaders and members at our own Presidential Forum”

Here is what firefighters wrote in the letter explaining their decision:

“…. Prior to November 2001, 101 bodies or remains of fire fighters had been recovered. And those on the horrible pile at Ground Zero believed they had just found a spot in the rubble where they would find countless more that could be given proper burial….

….Nevertheless, Giuliani, with the full support of his Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, decided on November 2, 2001, to sharply reduce the number of those who could search for remains at any one time. There had been as many as 300 fire fighters at a time involved in search and recovery, but Giuliani cut that number to no more than 25 who could be there at once….

….In conjunction with the cut in fire fighters allowed to search, Giuliani also made a conscious decision to institute a “scoop-and-dump” operation to expedite the clean-up of Ground Zero in lieu of the more time-consuming, but respectful, process of removing debris piece by piece in hope of uncovering more remains.

…Our Local presidents at the time attempted to meet with the Mayor to stop this despicable treatment of those who perished, but he refused to even see them face-to-face….

… when hundreds of family members of the fallen joined with our affiliate leadership and members to protest Giuliani’s decision, he ordered senior officers of the New York Police Department to arrest 15 of our FDNY brothers, including a number of local elected IAFF leaders.

Giuliani modified his policy after the protest because public opinion was so strongly with our members. Ultimately, he was forced to put the fire fighters back on the pile. Our protests were later proven justified as more bodies were ultimately recovered and those families given a chance for some closure and a decent burial….

….The fact is that the Mayor’s switch to a scoop-and-dump coincided with the final removal of tens of millions of dollars of gold, silver and other assets of the Bank of Nova Scotia that were buried beneath what was once the towers. Once the money was out, Giuliani sided with the developers that opposed a lengthy recovery effort, and ordered the scoop-and-dump operation so they could proceed with redevelopment….”

Although the last paragraph may sound like a conspiracy theory, those very words were written by the New York firefighters, true heroes of 911.

So, why is it that that those who claim to stand for the dearest values: the truth, dignity, patriotism, heroism, country, flag and God exploit the same values for their own petty benefits? And why do we stand for it?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My 9/11 commentary

September 11. The saddest day in the life of this country. Thousands of commentaries will focus on the details of this atrocity. After deep thougts I decided to offer a poem by Polish-Jewish poet Julian Tuwim .

The Common Man

When plastered billboards scream with slogans
“Fight for your country, go to battle”
When media's print assaults your senses,
“Support our leaders' shrieks and rattles...”
And fools who don't know any better
Believe the old, eternal lie
That we must march and shoot and kill
Murder, and burn, and bomb, and grill...
When press begins the battle cry
That nation needs to unify
And for your country you must die...
Dear brainwashed friend, my neighbor dear
Brother from this, or other nation
Know that the cries of anger, fear,
Are nothing but manipulation
by fat cats, kings who covet riches,
And feed off your sweat and blood—the leeches!
When call to arms engulfs the land
It means that somewhere oil was found,
Shooting “blackgold” from underground!
It means they found a sneaky way
To make more money, grab more gold
But this is not what you are told!
Don't spill your blood for bucks or oil
Break, burn your rifle, shout: “No deal!”
Let the rich scoundrels, kings, and bankers
Send their own children to get killed!
May your loud voice be amplified
By roar of other common men
The battle-weary of all nations:
We won't be conned to war again!

by Julian Tuwim, 1929

Have you noticed the date?

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Surge Works!

It works! The surge is working! What ungrateful fools we are! We got it all wrong!
Now we are safe! Saved. Saved and safe! And proud of our mission spreading democracy in the Middle East.

Thank you Mr. President. Thank you for your resolve, your vision and bravery! Despite all the criticism you stay the course guided by your brilliant intuition and deep knowledge of peoples of Middle East! Many thanks again!

And you too, Mr. Chaney. We thank you too for making America safer and Iraq free of the tyrant who used weapons of mass destruction on his own people. You were so right the insurgents were in their last throes and we were winning!

Mr. General, special thanks for your dedication to your Commander-in-Chief. If not for your in-depth report, who knows what would happen to all of us?!

Thank you Condi! You have been instrumental in our success with your unparallel diplomatic skills making dictators tremble.

And you, Rummy, we will never forget your input in our military victory and cute press conferences. Only few great military minds in history were able to make such colossal decisions at your age. Do you still remember? Thank you for your input in the lives of so many military families; the rest were just a “collateral damage”. could we forget you? Thanks for your leadership! Your heroism is a proof of you commitment to democracy and order. We all remember the bombing of Al Rasheed Hotel were you stayed while visiting Baghdad and your determined expression immortalized in the press photograph! True hero, you are.

So many more to thank on this occasion. To be brief here are the names of those who that deserve our highest admiration and thanks : Mr. Richard Perle, Mr. Lewis Libby (we support you “Scooter”, they are liars), Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad, Mr. Jeb Bush, Mr. Elliot Abrams, Mr. William J. Bennett, Mr. Elliot Cohen, Mr. Aaron Friedberg, Mr. Francis Fukuyama, Mr. Donald Kagan, Mr. Robert Kagan, Mr. William Kristol and few others.

I wish I could meet all of you to express my sincere thanks for your dramatic work carrying the weight of fighting terrorism on your shoulders and spreading true democracy around the world. Unfortunately, I travel abroad quite frequently so my chances of this honor are close to zero. Since you travel as well gracing this planet with your presence, perhaps we could meet on a foreign soil? Hague perhaps?

(The association of the above names with the signatories of 1997’s Project for the New American Century is purely coincidental and should not serve those lying liberals as a subject of ridicule.)

Supporting democracy a'la Musharraf

The former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was deported from Pakistan today, hours after he had landed in Islamabad after seven years in exile.

About four hours after he arrived on a flight from London, Sharif was taken into custody and charged with "corruption", but then rushed to another plane and flown out of Pakistan toward Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, an intelligence official said.

Sharif's deportation came despite a landmark Supreme Court ruling last month that the two-time former premier, whose elected government was ousted by Musharraf in a 1999 coup, had the right to return to Pakistan and that authorities should not obstruct him.

While the move apparently sidelines a powerful political enemy of the general, it is likely to deepen Musharraf's growing unpopularity and reinforce public perceptions that he is an authoritarian ruler ahead of presidential and legislative elections.

Musharraf's grip on power has faltered after a failed attempt to oust the country's top judge ignited mass protests, but he is still plans to seek a new five-year term in office by mid-October.

Sharif's party condemned his deportation. "It is a violation of the constitution, and it is a violation of the court order under which Nawaz Sharif was allowed to arrive and stay in Pakistan," Sadique ul-Farooq, a close aide to Sharif told The Associated Press.

In Pervez Musharraf, the Bush administration has bet on a leader whose incompetence mirrors its own. State Department's Sean McCormack recently praised Musharraf as "... acting in the best interest of Pakistan and the Pakistani people.....Pakistani patriot who clearly believes that working closely with the United States as well as others in the war on terror is important."

Dick Cheney made clear on his visit to Pakistan in late February, what the Bush administration cares about most from the country is action against the Taliban, not democratic progress. In pressuring Musharraf, Cheney even used the newly Democratic Congress as a foil, pointing to rumblings from lawmakers about attaching performance-based conditions to U.S. military aid.

Politics makes strange bedfellows. The problem is that our foreign policy is structured in such a way that only short term interests are considered. 'Let's support this dictator over here because he helps us now,' e.g. Saddam Hussain and the Shah of Iran, and currently King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, General Musharraf and many, many others. Our founding fathers warned us about the peril of dangerous alliances with foreign governments, and advised us to avoid such entanglements. It would be nice if our current ruling oligarchy actually listened.