Tuesday, March 16, 2004

What's going on in Iraq?

I just read the strangest story: U.S. Unloading WMD in Iraq reports an Iranian News Agency
A reliable source from the Iraqi Governing Council, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Mehr News Agency that U.S. forces, with the help of British forces stationed in southern Iraq, had made extensive efforts to conceal their actions.
I would hope we would not plant phony evidence.

Liberty and Justice for all

--Easier Internet Wiretaps Sought
Justice Dept., FBI Want Consumers To Pay the Cost


--Prosecutor sues Justice, Ashcroft

--A Real Case Of Snakebite
How a trophy terrorism prosecution morphed into a big mud fight

What you see may shock you

This is a very moving story that should be told and allow you to judge for yourself. Our President is claiming 9-11 as some sort of political leadership-victory for his campaign. You may or may not see it that way after viewing some of these facts.
Syracuse Post Standard columnist Hart Seeley's Existential Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld set to music>
A Confession
Once in a while,
I'm standing here, doing something.
And I think,
"What in the world am I doing here?"
It's a big surprise.

—D.H. Rumsfeld, May 16, 2001, interview with the New York Times
On NPR.org, you can see an article (and hear audio interview) about Syracuse columnist Hart Seeley's Existential Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld, which has now been set to music by San Francisco-based pianist Bryant Kong. (Songs sung by soprano Elender Wall).


-Slate/Volume One 1- The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld

-Slate/Volume 2- That's LIfe! The poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld
Breakup of Onondaga County, N.Y. SWAT:
The Cheney Connection

The real story behind the break up of the County SWAT team is raising such a storm of controversy, some feel it could actually reach the White House.

The bus which carries the 47 member Sheriff's Department SWAT team to dangerous crime scenes may be sitting idle for quite some time. This elite unit of Deputies who volunteer for the SWAT team is disbanded. The Sheriff's Office blamed an equipment problem, but we've learned the real story involves the demotion of a Sergeant for an incident when Vice President Cheney came to town last November.

While Cheney spoke to a crowd inside the Holiday Inn, outside a noisy group of protesters staged a demonstration. Sources say at one point Sergeant Kevin Murphy who was in charge of a 10 person SWAT team was ordered to conduct crowd control, but he allegedly balked at the order. When Sheriff Kevin Walsh brought disciplinary charges against Sergeant Murphy, the entire SWAT team resigned.

"We were cooperative with the Sheriff's Department, the Sheriff's Department was great to us." Mark Spadafore and the Labor Federation organized the anti-Cheny demonstration. He supports Sergeant Murphy's decision not to move on their protest. "He saw that we were no problem. We were just there to exercise our first amendment rights."

Spadafore says they were told to move to different areas four times. He suspects the Vice President's team was behind the order which fell on Sergeant Murphy's shoulders. "It had to come from higher up."

For now the equipment for the Sheriff's Department SWAT team is in storage and the County has received assurances from the Police Departments of Syracuse, Manlius, Camillus and the State Police that should the need arise, their SWAT teams are ready to step in.

County Legislator Bob Warner heads the Public Safety Committee. He's concerned that the Cheney incident could have escalated to the point of a mass resignation by the SWAT team, but for now he'll monitor the situation. "It will be our job later on if something arises that we have to step in."

The Sheriff's Union intends to go to court to block Sergeant Murphy's demotion. They may have an unlikely ally in Mark Spadafore. "This situation needs to be resolved for the sake of public safety I give a lot of credit to those people of the SWAT team. They showed incredible solidarity to a fellow officer."

Sheriff Kevin Walsh has been on vacation and out of town. Legislator Warner says he spoke to the Sheriff after we broke this story and has been assured the SWAT team situation will be resolved.

--Jim Kenyon Action News WSTM

Related WSTM article HERE

News 10 Now article HERE

SYRACUSE.COM: Peaceful Protestors greet Vice President
General Tommy Franks confident: If Bush loses, President Kerry would help our soldiers to prevail in Iraq

Disclaimer: The title I used was based on the Drudge-report-style of creating large, misleading headlines

Retired General Tommy Franks says he's confident the U.S. will work "tirelessly" on a long-term solution in Iraq, regardless of which party wins the White House in November. He said: "To back away would be to invite the kind of problems we see now in Israel" [with suicide bombers on American soil]. Earlier this year in another interview, Franks said he thought if the U.S. was hit with a weapon of mass destruction that inflicted large casualties, the Constitution would likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government. Deaths of innocent civilians notwthstanding, a solid reason for any American to want to keep terrorism at bay is to protect freedoms from our own government's stifling grip.

There was never a proven connection between Iraq (Saddam Hussein's failure to comply with U.N.) and 9-11 (the war on terror). I always like to state that up-front so we can be clearer in our many rationalizations about the war on terror. One of the best descriptions of the U.S. attack on Iraq is William Rivers Pitt's categorization of it as a "toothless red herring" in the war on terror.

The Bush administration got us into the mess in Iraq. I'll never understand why they couldn't have taken a mere three or fours months more to let the UN inspectors do their work in Iraq. [See/listen to today's Hans Blix interview on NPR].They were making headway. Another few months would likely have revealed the great faults in the intelligence offered by Colin Powell to the U.N. in February, 2003.

Nearly 600 American lives and thousands of Iraqi lives later, it's water under the bridge now. The Bush administration wanted this war to take place and by God George, it took place.

I suppose General Franks is right, just as Ivo Daalder is right. How could we pick up and say "So long" to the people whose land we've ravaged? In all fairness, terrorists have entered the country and done a fair amount of ravaging poor Iraq, too... as our President begged those terrorists to "bring it on" into Iraq. Rather than to see terror in the streets of sleepy American towns, I guess it was more acceptable to kill two birds with one stone...to change Iraq's regime and keep America safe by exposing the innocent Iraqis instead...all the while lying to Americans about exactly why we were going to go to war there. Does anyone other than me see this as morally hypocritical? Getting back to my point, we can't just pick up and leave now.

We do need another plan to help the Iraqi people find a real and meaningful peace. It will never happen with George W. Bush in office. He has nearly destroyed the world's faith in him.

Many people will read this and say I hate Bush. To them, I'd say please don't shoot the messenger. I don't hate our President. I've longed to see him do the right thing and he's disappointed me nearly every time. So it's fair to say I'm disappointed in our President.