The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Here comes the tab

Hat in Hand Watch

Since Bush has asked us for $87 billion dollars (about $870 from each of our families) to continue this war in Iraq, it is time to ask: Why? Why are we in Iraq, again? What have we gained by being there? What is it costing us? (The bills have only just begun to come in). Will we be safer or less safe over time because of it? (Less safe is probably the right answer - antagonizing the Arab world has been traditionally a losing strategy.). Bush's speech and the arrival of the second anniversary of 9/11 has brought an outpouring of terrific articles, and I can only sample a few of them here. Check and Atrios's site especially over the last couple of weeks for a slew of excellent articles.

One of the best is "What can $87 Billion Dollars Buy?". This article is just a little reminder of where our priorities are as a nation. Obviously, they've been screwed up for a long time, but this list goes a long way to showing us what we could have if we didn't have to pay for Georgie's nation-destroying adventure. For just one example:

$87b Is More Than 10 Times What The Government Spends On All Environmental Protection
The Bush administration requested just $7.6 billion for the entire Environmental Protection Agency. This included a 32 percent cut to water quality grants, a 6 percent reduction in enforcement staff, and a 50 percent cut to land acquisition and conservation. [Source: Natural Resources Defense Council]

War on "Terra" Watch

Also last week the UK Guardian published an article by Michael Meacher, a British politician who really gets it. Entitled "This war on terrorism is bogus", it is an incredibly important article, cutting through all of the crap and presenting the very suspicious truth about PNAC, about 9/11, and about Iraq, in a straightforward way. It deserves several excerpts:

We now know that a blueprint for the creation of a global Pax Americana was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice-president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), Jeb Bush (George Bush's younger brother) and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defences, was written in September 2000 by the neoconservative think tank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC). The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says "while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
First, it is clear the US authorities did little or nothing to pre-empt the events of 9/11. It is known that at least 11 countries provided advance warning to the US of the 9/11 attacks.
It had been known as early as 1996 that there were plans to hit Washington targets with aeroplanes.
All of this makes it all the more astonishing - on the war on terrorism perspective - that there was such slow reaction on September 11 itself. The first hijacking was suspected at not later than 8.20am, and the last hijacked aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania at 10.06am. Not a single fighter plane was scrambled to investigate from the US Andrews airforce base, just 10 miles from Washington DC, until after the third plane had hit the Pentagon at 9.38 am. Why not? There were standard FAA intercept procedures for hijacked aircraft before 9/11. Between September 2000 and June 2001 the US military launched fighter aircraft on 67 occasions to chase suspicious aircraft (AP, August 13 2002). It is a US legal requirement that once an aircraft has moved significantly off its flight plan, fighter planes are sent up to investigate.
Given this background, it is not surprising that some have seen the US failure to avert the 9/11 attacks as creating an invaluable pretext for attacking Afghanistan in a war that had clearly already been well planned in advance.
The overriding motivation for this political smokescreen is that the US and the UK are beginning to run out of secure hydrocarbon energy supplies. By 2010 the Muslim world will control as much as 60% of the world's oil production and, even more importantly, 95% of remaining global oil export capacity.
The conclusion of all this analysis must surely be that the "global war on terrorism" has the hallmarks of a political myth propagated to pave the way for a wholly different agenda - the US goal of world hegemony, built around securing by force command over the oil supplies required to drive the whole project.

Go read the article. It puts it all into perspective, in a way you will never be allowed to read in the US media.

Mmm'Kay? Watch

David Kay is a compromised figure in this administration who has been given the dubious honor of coming up with anything - ANYTHING - which remotely resembles proof of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, thereby justifying the war. His report, scheduled to be released now, if not sooner, is sure to be full of brilliant paraphrases of "We just know down in our gut that he had them . . . I mean, he 'gassed his own people' (TM), etc." Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo on the Kay report:

Will the administration be embarrassed? No doubt. But they won't be the only ones. Everyone in the US intelligence community thought the Iraqis maintained some WMD capacity. The irony of this whole mess is that the White House took the solid evidence of Iraq's continued illicit weapons programs and hyped them all out of proportion to get the country into war, only to find out that even the 'solid evidence' turns out to have been false or greatly exaggerated.
Here's the bottom line: the only reason for supressing the Kay Report is to game and stymie the political debate within the United States. That's unacceptable. Congress should demand the release of Kay's report -- even if redacted in some form. No more game playing. Let the chips fall where they may.

Conservative Idiots Watch

A particularly spectacular Top Ten this week:

Ah, remember when we were going to get Saddam Hussein, find his weapons of mass destruction, pay for the war using nothing but Iraqi oil revenues, and the only thing getting in our way would be the Iraqi people throwing flowers at us? Yes, those were the days. Unfortunately things haven't quite gone according to the neo-con plan, and now we can't find Saddam or his weapons, the Iraqi people are blowing us and each other up with car bombs, and Our Great Leader had to make a groveling speech to the nation last week asking for another $87 billion to rebuild Iraq. And that's just for one year. That brings the total budget for the war - so far - to $166 billion. But pay no attention to the enormous $550 billion budget hole we're slowly digging, if another $87 billion is what's needed, then another $87 billion is what we shall pay. Just to put things in perspective, $87 billion is three times the amount Bush intends to spend on education this year, twice the budget for Homeland Security, and ten times the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency. To put it further into perspective, the 1991 Gulf War cost the United States about $20 billion total. And to put things even further into perspective, ask yourself how much of that $87 billion is going to go directly into Halliburton and the Carlyle Group's back pockets. Let's face it, Bush and Cheney probably don't even care about next year's election - in a few short years the CEO president has already managed to set himself up for the world's biggest golden handshake.


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