Archive for July, 2004

Friday vegetable blogging

Friday, July 30th, 2004

Herbs

We have three small plantings of herbs that are kept close to the kitchen door: oregano (Origanum vulgare) and sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) on the rail; cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) on the lower step.

President Bush

Friday, July 30th, 2004

An anonymous commenter has added his or her 2 cents worth to my Ronald Reagan post from June 5. It says I should respect President Bush by calling him “President Bush” instead of “Mr. Bush”.  He or she does not like my line “Mr. Bush, you are no Ronald Reagan”.

Ordinarily I would just let this go. However, I have thought about the issue of how to address our current president since the very beginning of this blog. I do have very strong feelings about the job Mr. Bush is doing–I feel he is ruining our country–so my inclination is to use caustic and derisive terms to describe our president. I resist the urge to use derogatory characterizations, most of the time (I’m not perfect). I agree with the commenter that the president himself should be respected even if his policies are abhorent.

If you read back through my postings, I almost always write “President Bush” as the first-used form of address of the president. This is done consiously. After that, I use “President Bush”, “Mr. Bush”, or “Bush” as seems to be appropriate.

Go ahead, check back. For example, I wrote, “…is the peace field open to President Bush?” as my first reference to him in The Peace Candidate? a few days ago. Afterward, I use “Bush” and “Mr. Bush” freely. This is exactly the style the New York Times and many other papers use.

For example, read today’s Times story on the “jabs” the president is taking at John Kerry: “In a jab at his Democratic opponent, Senator John Kerry, Mr. Bush will call this phase of the campaign his ‘Heart and Soul of America’ tour”. There are over 4000 articles using “Mr. Bush” today, as returned by Google News.

So yes, I agree with the commenter that respecting the president leads to more civilized, effective arguments in postings, even if the policies the president promotes are despicable. Using “Mr. Bush” as a matter of style does not break the respect the office deserves.

Oil prices are volatile and Saudi Arabia is in crisis

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

“If it turns out that the old ’75 numbers are right, then we really are almost to the end of the miracle. We should be preparing for the beginning of steep declines in the five big [Saudi] fields. So my bottom line on all this is not to say, ‘I know this is going to happen’ — because I don’t. But I think this is an enormous worry for the wellbeing of the world. I happen to believe that in fact as much as you might dislike energy, it’s the best thing that we’ve ever had. It’s modern energy that basically created every aspect of our society. Unfortunately, there’s still 5 billion people on earth who are just starting to use modern energy, and this is a bad time to basically say, no, that era ended”. –Matthew Simmons, energy investment banker, July 9, 2004

Oil broke $43 per barrel Wednesday for the first time in over 20 years. The New York Times reports that “Russia’s largest oil producer warned on Wednesday that it might be forced to stop exporting….” This was all the excuse traders needed to drive up world price levels. What’s really going on when conditions involving just one company within one producing country (albeit a major one) spook the oil market despite the fact that the company, Yukos, “continues to produce” ?

The Times provides details on Yukos, but is more circumspect on the wider issues of “tight supply”, reporting that, “[Market analysts]  said that strong demand, tight supplies of low-sulfur crude oil and concerns about production in Iraq, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela were having a far greater effect on the world price of oil”. Still, some short-term “bearish” conditions remain in the market.  

So current oil prices are volatile, and they could fall again in the near future. But let’s look at the larger world oil picture that produces the environment for hair-trigger speculation. The Times seems to try to avoid raising too many alarms on this front. But there is reason for alarm, and a right-wing think tank recently provided a valuable program focusing on problems with Saudi Arabia, arguably the world’s most important oil producer.

The fascinating four-hour program sponsored by the reactionary Hudson Institute aired Friday July 9 on C-SPAN 2. The press release (now including several links to transcripts and video) for the event has it billed as an examination of Saudi Arabia in “internal crisis” where “Wahhabist extremists have now begun to attack the regime…. Some analysts argue that the regime is now in the early stages of a civil war.”

The key questions raised include:

Can the Saudi state survive this unrest? Is reform possible? If not, what is the life expectancy of the Saudi regime? Moreover, how will the crisis in Saudi Arabia affect American and international oil markets? Is the U.S. prepared to meet this challenge?

Energy analyst Matthew Simmons  gave a 70-minute keynote (transcript available from Hudson), from which came the quote at the beginning of this post. He said pretty much what I believe:

 

(1) If the Saudis really have the oil, let’s see it, let’s see some fully transparent data.

(2) We won’t know when peak world rate of oil production happens, except in the rear-view mirror. (“Peaking”, then, is the time when the world produces the maximum number of barrels per day that it ever will.)

 

(3) No matter what the precise peaking moment is, there’s plenty to worry about right now. Let’s not be caught off-guard by what quickly could become “surprising times”.  But current indications are very, very alarming. M. King Hubbert predicted a world peak in 2000. World oil production has been very close to a plateau since 2000. 

 

(4) If the Saudis come up with the oil in the next few years, great. But if not, there is no Plan B.  

Deep Blade Journal has followed reports about Matthew Simmons through the past few months.  He has attracted lightning by proposing serious questions about the ability of Saudi Arabia to increase and sustain its oil production. Please click the link for a wealth of additional material.

Preview of next posting: Energy and the Democrats–Can they be trusted to guide our country to energy miracles and job growth in new energy technologies as they say they will? I don’t know that answer, but I have my doubts. Democrats, along with most Americans, don’t seem quite to understand just how serious the looming energy crisis is.  And they won’t until our lives are interrupted and energy rationing starts.  Petrol-based economic growth is at risk, even if oil never fully and finally “runs out”.  I can’t give you a date for any of this, we’ll only know for sure that it happened when it does. We better take this more seriously because what the Democrats are actually doing, Carl Pope, Rep. Inslee (D-WA), and the Apollo energy project notwithstanding, wouldn’t pass the laugh test if we suddenly really needed that Plan B.

A 911 unanswered question

Monday, July 26th, 2004

What is the true identity of the “al Qaeda finance committee head” in the Commission report?

The best that can be said about the 911 Report is that it is not a complete whitewash. But, among many other shortcomings, it fails to shed light on the bizarre tale of an alleged al-Qaeda paymaster and his controlling authority within Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). This person was also at various times a student in the UK, a hijacker of an Indian airliner in a 1999 incident, and convicted (perhaps falsely) as a butcher of journalist Daniel Pearle. He is set to be hung in Pakistan for that last crime sometime soon.

I will go so far as to speculate that in the 911 Report there is a conscious effort to obscure the true identity of this person, who is really Saeed Sheikh a.k.a. Omar Sheikh. The report discusses very briefly a figure it calls “Sheikh Saeed al Masri, Egyptian; head of al Qaeda finance committee” [from appendix, page 436]. I speculate that this most likely is an alias for Omar Sheikh, who is actually Pakistani, not Egyptian.

Alternately, if Sheikh Saeed al Masri is in fact a separate person, he was a very close associate of Omar Sheikh. In this latter case, the 911 Report is seriously remiss for failing to discuss the significant role of Omar Sheikh.

I do not care at all for 911 conspiracy websites. Nor do I necessarily like the overall tone of the in-many-ways interesting book  The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 by David Ray Griffin. I mean, a missile, not an airliner hit the Pentagon? The twin towers, controlled demolition? Please. (However, I’m forced to agree that the collapse of WTC Building 7 in the late afternoon of September 11 is not especially well-explained in the official account.)

But there is one invaluable, very-high-quality website that seeks to trace the truth about 911 and other mysteries of our time while avoiding journey into nutcase territory: the Center for Cooperative Research. This site is so good because it tries to tell a story by linking thousands of mainstream news stories into coherent timelines and biographical sketches. Using this method, the stories are told by officials, in their own words, as reported by professional journalists.

For now I want to focus on just the highly legitimate questions concerning the story of Saeed Sheikh a.k.a. Omar Sheikh.

911 Report on hijacker financing

In the 911 Report, there is a brief section on the financing of the 911 plot. The text in this section [page 169--173] says that:

The 9/11 plotters eventually spent somewhere between $400,000 and $500,000 to plan and conduct their attack. Consistent with the importance of the project, al Qaeda funded the plotters. KSM [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (a.k.a. Mukhtar); Pakistani; mastermind of 9/11 attacks; currently in U.S. custody] provided his operatives with nearly all the money they needed to travel to the United States, train, and live…. The origin of the funds remains unknown, although we have a general idea of how al Qaeda financed itself during the period leading up to 9/11.

Okay, there’s a “general idea”, and the report runs around the idea that with, “Al Qaeda appears to have relied on a core group of financial facilitators who raised money from a variety of donors and other fund-raisers, primarily in the Gulf countries and particularly in Saudi Arabia”, but it ends up concluding that none of this is solid and neither is it important to know:

To date, the U.S. government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks. Ultimately the question is of little practical significance. Al Qaeda had many avenues of funding. If a particular funding source had dried up, al Qaeda could have easily tapped a different source or diverted funds from another project to fund an operation that cost $400,000–$500,000 over nearly two years.

Furthermore, the character they call Sheikh Saeed al Masri, “head of al Qaeda finance committee”, does not even appear in this section on hijacker financing. There are only oblique references later on. For example, in Chapter 7, “The Attack Looms”, we learn that:

There is evidence that Mullah Omar initially opposed a major al Qaeda operation directly against the United States in 2001. Furthermore, by July, with word spreading of a coming attack, a schism emerged among the senior leadership of al Qaeda. Several senior members reportedly agreed with Mullah Omar. Those who reportedly sided with Bin Ladin included Atef, Sulayman Abu Ghayth, and KSM. But those said to have opposed him were weighty figures in the organization–including Abu Hafs the Mauritanian, Sheikh Saeed al Masri, and Sayf al Adl.

A note for this text that suggests it is derived from several different interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but the note sheds no additional light on the role of “Sheikh Saeed al Masri”. The next paragraph reiterates that this person “opposed the operation”, but there are no more references to him in the entire report.

The biography of Saeed Sheikh a.k.a. Omar Sheikh

This page, “Sept. 11′s Smoking Gun: The Many Faces of Saeed Sheikh”, written by Paul Thompson at Cooperative Research, consolidates the trail of news stories left behind by the bizarre journeys of Saeed Sheikh. To fully appreciate my points in this post, readers must plow through this entire exposition. Here is a key paragraph:

Not only did Mahmood [General Mahmood Ahmad, chief of the Pakistani ISI as of September 2001] suddenly become persona non grata, but so did Saeed Sheikh, now that he was implicated in Mahmood’s story. He was again mentioned as the 9/11 paymaster the day before the Mahmood story broke [CNN, 10/8/01], and then suddenly, all mention of him ceased (with one exception [CNN, 10/28/01]). Since then, the FBI has put forth a variety of alternates for the identity of the person in the 9/11 paymaster role. The story is too complicated to greatly detail here, but the FBI and media have variously filled Saeed Sheikh’s shoes with an Egyptian named Shaykh Saiid [Sydney Morning Herald, 9/28/01, New York Times, 10/15/01, Los Angeles Times, 10/20/01], a Saudi named Sa’d Al-Sharif, said to be bin Laden’s brother-in-law [Newsweek, 11/11/01, AP, 12/18/01], a Kenyan named Sheik Sayyid el Masry [CNN, 10/16/01, Trial Transcript, 2/20/01, Trial Transcript, 2/21/01], a Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi or al-Hisawi (suggesting no alias was used) [MSNBC, 12/11/01, Wall Street Journal, 6/17/02], a Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif [AP, 6/4/02], an Ali Abdul Aziz Ali (for some of the money transfers) [Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/26/02], and so on. Most recently, the FBI said the most well-known candidate, Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif, doesn’t actually exist, but is probably a composite of Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hisawi, Shaikh Saiid al-Masri, and Saad al-Sharif. [AP, 12/26/02, link broken] Newsweek, in describing yet another name variation, Mustafa Ahmad Adin Al-Husawi, says the person “remains almost a total mystery,” and no one is sure of his name or even if he is one person. [Newsweek, 9/4/02] (Note that Saeed appears to be a master of disguise, as can be seen by the bewildering number of names he is referred to in the media: Sheik Syed, Ahmad Umar Sheikh, Umar Sheikh, Sheik Omar Saeed, Omar Saiid Sheikh, Sheikh Omar, etc… He opened bank accounts using many of his name variations, or even completely unrelated names. [The News, 2/13/02])

While the FBI and media have been putting forth a series of names sounding remarkably similar to Saeed Sheikh or the aliases he used, they have been ignoring or forgetting solid evidence that links Saeed Sheikh to the funding of 9/11. To do so would mean confronting Saeed’s ISI ties, and the possibility that he was acting on orders from Mahmood, or even President Musharraf.

According to an October 2001 report in the Times of India,  the “story” in which Mahmood Ahmad (Mahmud Ahmed in the 911 report) is “implicated”, leading to his dismissal from the ISI in October 2001, was the financing of 911 hijackers, specifically a $100,000 payment wired by Saeed Sheikh from Dubai to one of hijacker Mohamed Atta’s two bank accounts in Florida.

A juicy additional detail is that on the morning of September 11, 2001, Mahmood Ahmad was in Washington, DC for a series of meetings with American officials. When the planes hit the buildings, Mahmood was having a leisurely breakfast with Republican Congressman Porter Goss (a possible nominee to replace George Tenet as Director of Central Intelligence) and Democratic Senator Bob Graham.

Whatever the truth of the identity of the 911 Report’s Sheikh Saeed al Masri, it’s clear that the 911 Commission desired the public not know all the details of how al Qaeda supported and financed the hijackers. Apparently, the long-standing entanglements between Washington and the Pakistani ISI– reaching far back into the US-Soviet proxy war in 1980s Afghanistan, through development of Pakistan’s nuclear program to more recent US approval of Pakistan as a Terror War partner–are just too embarrassing for too many officials.

Please see also this July 22 Guardian commentary: The Pakistan connection: There is evidence of foreign intelligence backing for the 9/11 hijackers. Why is the US Government so keen to cover it up? (by Labor MP Michael Meacher) 

 

LILO: Little in, lot out

Sunday, July 25th, 2004

“[Wachovia reported] four billion of profits and paid no taxes.”

The beauty of modern corrupt accounting is not the really, really big schemes–like ENRON–which have a tendency to collapse in a messy pile. Everybody then sees a big scandal, though our clever political class has a way of mopping it up quick enough so that they avoid damage to themselves.

No, the truly sweet schemes are big, but not so big that anyone ever notices. Take a look over at a recent post called Tax Shelters on BOP 2004. This post discusses the “Lease In, Lease Out” (LILO) tax shelter scheme so insidious that many major corporations can’t help themselves but use it. Wachovia, a Carolina-based bank is a major proponent.

Now take a look at your own tax bill and witness the strain in budget for all sorts of public services. After you read that post, you’ll know where the money that is supposed to fund those things goes, probably to the tune of 15% of your total tax bill.

The Hedrick Smith Frontline program (first aired in February 2004) mentioned in the post is superb and very disturbing. Also take a look at some testimony before the Senate Finance Committee from October 2003. I never would have believed financial testimony could keep me awake until I heard the contents of this transcript broadcast on CSPAN. “Mr. Janet” spoke through bizarre distortion to protect his identity (report and small audio clip in FSRN for October 22, 2003):

Good morning Senators. This morning I will describe a massive scandal that has allowed major U.S. companies to receive huge tax deductions by pretending to lease the infrastructure of foreign countries, such as dams, bridges, and subways, and then pretending to lease that infrastructure back to the country or municipality that own the infrastructure. This scheme is so pervasive that much of the old and new infrastructure throughout Europe has been leased to, and leased back from, American corporations. The sole purpose of this scheme is to generate a tax shelter for U.S. corporations that invest in these schemes.

 Just stunning…

Torture at Abu Ghraib: the norm, not the exception

Sunday, July 25th, 2004

“When something like this comes to light, the United States acts quickly and swiftly to bring people to justice and to take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again”. (Whitehouse Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, May 10, 2004)

Deep Blade Journal has emphasized often ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ) that torture of prisoners under US auspices is hardly an aberration.

Contrary to the whitewash McClellan and other administration officials wish to promote, the United States is mostly concerned with keeping quiet its atrocious policies and practices. These practices are then clandestinely approved and repeated again, and again, and again.

Take for example the torture training center generally known as the School of the Americas, now officially renamed (in an attempt at image cleansing) the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). A new story in LA Weekly by Doug Ireland describes how the US Congress has maneuvered below the radar to renew appropriations for the institution, “where the illegal physical and psychological abuse of prisoners of the kind the world condemned at Abu Ghraib and worse has been routinely taught for years”. An amendment with 128 cosponsors to cut off WHINSEC appropriations was killed procedurally in the House of Representatives. The US Senate is now the final hurdle before the School’s funding is renewed.

The LA Weekly reminds readers of the documentary history of US-promoted torture recently revealed in documents obtained by the National Security Archive through Freedom of Information act requests and released to the public in May 2004. This article by Thomas Blanton and Peter Kornbluh appearing on Counterpunch for May 12, 2004 provides an excellent summary of how

CIA interrogation manuals written in the 1960s and 1980s described “coercive techniques” such as those used to mistreat detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq…. [Also,] a secret 1992 report written for then Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney warn[ed] that U.S. Army intelligence manuals…incorporated the earlier work of the CIA for training Latin American military officers in interrogation and counterintelligence techniques [and] contained “offensive and objectionable material” that “undermines U.S. credibility, and could result in significant embarrassment.”

Ireland writes, “Abu Ghraib torture techniques have been field-tested by SOA graduates”, and goes on to quote a May 14 Toronto Globe and Mail piece by Dr. Miles Schuman, a physician with the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture:

The black hood covering the faces of naked prisoners in Abu Ghraib was known as la capuchi in Guatemalan and Salvadoran torture chambers. The metal bed frame to which the naked and hooded detainee was bound in a crucifix position in Abu Ghraib was la cama, named for a former Chilean prisoner who survived the U.S.-installed regime of General Augusto Pinochet. In her case, electrodes were attached to her arms, legs and genitalia, just as they were attached to the Iraqi detainee poised on a box, threatened with electrocution if he fell off. The Iraqi man bound naked on the ground with a leash attached to his neck, held by a smiling young American recruit, reminds me of the son of peasant organizers who recounted his agonizing torture at the hands of the Tonton Macoutes, U.S.-backed dictator John-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier’s right-hand thugs, in Port-au-Prince in 1984. The very act of photographing those tortured in Abu Ghraib to humiliate and silence parallels the experience of an American missionary, Sister Diana Ortiz [who was tortured and gang-raped repeatedly under supervision by an American in 1989, according to her testimony before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus].

The depraved story of how seriously the United States has in the past taken its own declared “steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again” should give little comfort to current and future detainees facing torture at the hands of the empire.

Thanks to The Angry Arab News Service for the LA Weekly link.

Friday vegetable blogging

Friday, July 23rd, 2004

Here’s a new feature of Deep Blade Journal–Friday vegetable blogging. Something has to break up the utter seriousness of this thing, so for the next two or three months, readers will get a neighborhood garden progress report. Kevin Drum, when he was Calpundit, used to have Friday cat blogging. I used to enjoy that, so I’m loosely basing this on his old bit.

Today’s story is about snap peas. Lots of cool, damp weather has driven my behind-the-garage pea planting crazy this year. Plus, I installed a much-improved climbing fence back in May. I’ve never had them so tall and strong–they’re starting to keel over at the top from the weight of the fruit.

The peace candidate?

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

Who will be the peace candidate in the 2004 US presidential election? With Kerry talking about putting another 40,000 troops in Iraq among other highly militaristic moves (interview, Defense News, June 24, 2004) and beating back criticism of the invasion in the Democratic platform, is the peace field open to President Bush?

Bush seems to think so. After listening to some news clips and reading a transcript of yesterday’s Bush campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, I will go so far to say that the 2004 campaign has sunk deeply into an Orwellian chasm, where the newspeak flows and creeping proto-fascism has begun to take a chokehold.

“War is peace” is the theme. When Mr. Bush “interfaces” with the citizens we are told that the purpose of the Iraq war, and the Terror War generally, is to promote peace. So why should not the self-described War President also be the Peace President?

What Bush actually said so defies credulity that Orwell himself would have been proud to have written this line for the Squealer:

The enemy declared war on us, and you just got to know nobody wants to be the War President. I want to be the Peace President. (Applause.) I want to be the President — after four years, four more in this office, I want people to look back and say, the world is a more peaceful place. (Applause.) America is a safer country. Four more years, and America will be safer and the world will be more peaceful. (Applause.)

The promise of peace the president spouts is highly dubious. What was he telling us going back 15 months? In April 2003, just after the invasion force had taken Baghdad, during a photo op with wounded soldiers Mr. Bush said:

It’s a brave lot here in Bethesda; people who are willing to sacrifice for something greater than themselves. And I feel lucky as an American to be a part of a country where citizens are willing to do that. I reminded them and their families that the war in Iraq is–it’s really about peace, trying to make the world more peaceful.

When Mr. Bush? When?? How many more will have to die or be hurt before all the enemies we’ve created in the meanwhile clue us in to the fact that your promise is nothing more than emotional cover designed to finesse minds and obtain consent for the horrors?

In truth, because the people we have attacked never will accept a peace on our terms, use of force will be a permanent feature of the landscape the president has created for us with his wars.

Returning to Cedar Rapids, the wild applause of a highly controlled audience–where only Bush-loyalist, middle-American brownshirts are allowed–belies the proto-fascist undercurrent of the whole Bush juggernaut. Oh no, Bush, and by extension his brownshirts never will forget September 11! No-siree:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: It appears that some people are forgetting 9/11 … remember 9/11 and those who are fighting for our freedom.

THE PRESIDENT: Interesting question. He says it appears to him there’s an effort to forget about 9/11. We’ll never forget 9/11….

The subtext is that disagreement with Bush’s wars is tantamount to “forgetting September 11″.

Iraq pseudo-sovereignty and Mr. Bush’s claim on the peace mantle has Kerry and the Democrats in a box on issues of war and peace. Kerry can’t budge from his Bush+ foreign policy orientation without being pummeled as a flip-flopper. But as a candidate he has none of the tools of the executive at his disposal in order to influence the colonial projects–or perhaps more importantly to influence how the colonial projects look to American voters. I don’t think Kerry thought this through very well and it’s going to hurt him.

There perhaps is a rough parallel here to the 1968 campaign where Humphrey was hamstrung into a deeply entrenched war in Vietnam his own president had dug into for him while he stubbornly rejected options that could have shown voters–including peace voters–an alternate course out of the war.

Nixon filled the void with his phony secret peace plan. The parallel with George W. Bush is that the hard-line Nixon suddenly made himself look like he could cash in the fruits of his bellicose stance in order to bring the boys home and to achieve the panacea of peace and security. But like Bush’s droning rhetoric about peace and freedom following his masterful quenching of threats, the Nixon plan was nothing but vapor designed to manage public opinion.

Kerry better take note of what is happening here. What goes on at these Bush events is very powerful stuff. Bush loyalists and many other people in middle America do not possess an analysis adequate to counteract the falsehoods and blatant manipulation that feeds their group fervor. They are vulnerable to God and country messages that reach hearts and engender feelings of limitless power. They like to feel powerful because of the fact that we can dominate and destroy Iraq while changing its government, occupying its lands, and rebuilding it in our image at our president’s will.

With the right messenger, natural skepticism about creating peace with war and human feeling for those who become dead and maimed the process–amongst our own people and the population we have attacked–can be erased. Bush is an adequate performer in this regard. He slowly is filling the country with this poison on his campaign tour and with his organized marketing and advertising.

The Democrats could wake up the first week of November without a victory because of an inept decision to cast off the anti-war base while leaving Bush to create an Orwellian meaning of peace.

There he goes again

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004

The Bush “story” concerning the attack, invasion, conquest, occupation, and tacit control of Iraq was told in exquisite detail today during a campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Using a “discussion” format, Mr. Bush told his audience:

It’s an opportunity for me to interface with some of your citizens about why I’ve done some of the policies that I’ve done, give them a chance to explain to you how these policies might have helped….

I’ll have much more to say about the powerful Orwellian strategy revealed by this event. But for now, I just want to highlight a falsehood concerning the pre-war run-up repeated by Mr. Bush during Iraq storytime.

The president asked rhetorically, “Why would he [Saddam Hussein] not allow inspectors in”?

Of course, the answer is Saddam did allow the inspectors in.

Deep Blade update

Sunday, July 18th, 2004

I have made two template changes that should help. (1) I fixed the annoyance that comments failed to appear on permalink and recent post pages.  (2) Permalink pages now open in a new window with the full and proper url displayed.

 

I’ve decided that the Haloscan comments with the 1000-character limit is fine. If you want to leave a longer comment, you probably have too much time on your hands. Just kidding–please just use a second comment post should you go over. If ever I start getting longer-winded folks eager to comment, I’ll revisit this policy.

 

I have a huge backlog of part-finished posts that will start rolling out of here like crazy! (Yeah, sure.) For example, I’ve looked up a heck of a list of quotes where Bush and other officials link Iraq and 911. Means that the war was the ”right thing to do” or should we take it as a study in propaganda the likes of which the world has never seen before? I think the latter.