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.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Impeachment Watch

This is a letter I sent my federal government representatives today:


This letter is to formally ask that you publicly support impeachment of President Bush. Obviously, impeachment is a serious and even drastic step to take against a sitting president. However, I believe that President Bush has more than earned the right to be impeached. Specifically, the following high crimes and misdemeanors qualify him for impeachment:

- Exaggerating, misdirecting, and fabricating evidence to pressure the Senate to give him authorization to use military force against Iraq;

- Disastrous execution of the war, resulting in the ruin of an entire country and the deaths of more than 100,000 Iraqis and more than 3,000 US soldiers;

- Refusal to recognize that Iraq has descended into civil war, ignoring the will of the American people, ignoring the advice of military commanders, firing or replacing military commanders who disagree with him, ignoring the advice of the Iraq Study Group, and proposing further escalation against all reason, placing more Americans in harm’s way;

-Lying about, authorizing, ordering, and then defending illegal and unconstitutional warrantless wiretapping of Americans;

-Authorizing and ordering illegal and unconstitutional data mining of confidential phone records of Americans;

-Authorizing and ordering illegal and unconstitutional spying on American’s email and mail;

-Authorizing, ordering, and defending use of torture;

-Authorizing, ordering, and defending use of extraordinary renditions;

-Authorizing, ordering, and defending indefinite imprisonment of “enemy combatants”, holding them without charges and without access to a lawyer; and

-Promoting the destruction of the environment in the face of incontrovertible scientific evidence of global warming as a result of human activities.

The harm done by President Bush over the last six years is truly incalculable. It is time for you to take a stand and do what needs to be done; please support the impeachment of President Bush.


John Locke

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Responsibility Watch

What does it mean: to take responsibility for something? We’ve been hearing the phrase an awful lot these days, and I think it worthwhile to examine the saying in more detail.

First, let’s examine what it means to NOT take responsibility for something…

September the 11th was the single worst intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor, and it occurred during the Bush Administration. On April 13, 2004, President Bush was asked the following question: “Two and a half years later, do you feel any sense of personal responsibility for September 11?” Bush gave a long-winded reply, saying he wished we had had the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security before the attack and that he wished the country had been on a “war-footing” before the attack, but his answer regarding personal responsibility was essentially “no”.

SO President Bush feels no personal responsibility for not preventing the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. He feels no personal responsibility for ignoring an urgent request from Richard Clark on January 25, 2001 for a high-level National Security Council review on al-Qaeda. He feels no personal responsibility for not trying to get Osama Bin Laden in the first eight and a half months of his reign. And most of all, he feels no remorse for ignoring the August 6, 2001 presidential briefing entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” that detailed “suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks…” So that is what it means to NOT accept responsibility for a mistake -- a mistake that resulted in the deaths of almost three thousand Americans.

When Hurricane Katrina devastated huge areas of the Gulf Coast and resulted in the destruction of the levees around New Orleans, Mr. Bush announced that no one could have predicted that the levees would break. No one, of course, except PBS, and Nova, and meteorologists, and climatologists, and engineers, and the National Weather Service, and CNN, and CBS, and NBC, and ABC, and perhaps even the FOX network… Then, despite massive evidence to the contrary, with people dying in the streets of New Orleans, Mr. Bush praised FEMA Director Michael Brown as doing a “heckuva job”. Later, Mr. Brown would be forced out of FEMA, and Bush would state, “And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility.” Since it is clear to most Americans that the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, one would conclude that Mr. Bush is therefore responsibility for at least a large portion of the suffering and deaths that occurred as a result of his bungling. And what did Mr. Bush do to atone for his part in the disaster? Nothing.

When it turned out that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- which as we all know was pretty much the only reason given to the American public for going to war -- Mr. Bush took a different tack. First, on March 24, 2004 at the White House Press Correspondents’ Dinner, he joked about it, pretending to look for the weapons under his desk. That was really funny, particularly since lots of people were dying as a result of the war! Later, in December of 2005, Mr. Bush changed his mind and stated, “It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As President, I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq.” At the time, 2140 American soldiers had been killed in Iraq, and Bush estimated that about 30,000 Iraqis “more or less” had been killed as a result of the war. And what did Mr. Bush do to atone for his part in the disaster? Nothing.

Now, almost four years into a war that Mr. Bush proudly touted as “Mission Accomplished” and announced the “End of Major Combat Operations” back in 2003, Mr. Bush has taken again responsibility for the nightmare. “Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me,” he stated. Over 400 billion dollars have been wasted, hundreds of Iraqis have been tortured at the hands of our military, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed (even the Iraqi government estimates that over 100,000 Iraqis have been killed -- and those are only the deaths that are officially reported), over three thousand American soldiers have been killed, over 20,000 American soldiers have been wounded and maimed, our military is dangerously overextended, the civil war continues unabated, religious militias rule the streets, the Iraqi infrastructure is much worse than it was under Saddam Hussein, the Islamic world (both Sunnis and Shiites) is furious with us, Al Qaeda is thriving, Afghanistan is slipping quickly into chaos, and the world is a much more dangerous place than it was before we went into Iraq. So when the President takes responsibility for the mistakes in Iraq, that surely must mean something, right? Nope. Only a few days later, Mr. Bush would be interviewed on 60 Minutes and asked whether he thought he owed the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job… Mr. Bush responded with a smirk (no exaggeration), and asked whether the interviewer meant “That we didn't do a better job or they didn't do a better job?” He then stated that we owed the Iraqis an apology “not at all”. He criticized the Iraqis for not being grateful enough for all that we have wrought in Iraq. So much for accepting responsibility!

I know I live in a dream world. That much is readily apparent. But even in the corporate world (where much excess and corruption can be overlooked), if a president of a company made a mistake that cost, say, only a billion dollars, that corporate president would resign in shame. If the lies that were told were sufficiently egregious, that president might be charged with a crime (e.g. Kenneth “Kenny Boy” Lay). If a president of a company habitually made so many mistakes that thousands or tens of thousands of people died as a result of those mistakes, that corporate president would resign in shame.

Similarly, in the military, if the captain of a US Navy ship hits another ship and kills a few people, that captain is usually relieved of command (whether or not the captain was even awake during the incident). If a commander in the US Army makes mistakes that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, not only would that commander resign in shame, but he or she might be looking at a war-crimes tribunal…

You might think that President Bush, looking back on the utter and complete disaster that his Presidency has been, would conclude “Holy crap! You know, I really suck at this!” and resign before he makes any more disastrous decisions. You might think that, but you would be wrong. These days, Mr. Bush accepts “responsibility” for any mistakes that are made, but his sort of “responsibility” is only a means of asking “Can we please stop talking about this and move on to something more pleasant?”

Mr. Bush needs to be impeached; it is as simple as that. However, it is important to note that even impeachment is not really good enough for him, but it is the only legal punishment that even comes close to addressing the breadth and depth of his stupendous and vicious incompetence.

-John Locke

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Recent Email to My Representatives Regarding the Iraq Surge

The following is an email I recently sent to my representatives regarding the Iraq Surge:

Dear :

In the strongest possible terms, I urge you to denounce Bush’s new “plan for victory” in Iraq. The President has clearly lost touch with reality. A surge will only provide more American targets in Iraq and further drain our military.

Mr. Bush promised to listen to advice from the military; yet from General Shinseki to General George Casey Jr. to General Abizaid, he has completely ignored their advice. Mr. Bush promised to listen to the suggestions from the Iraq Study Group, yet he has completely disregarded their counsel. Mr. Bush promised to listen to the American people, yet he has completely ignored their desires. Mr. Bush promised to listen to the Iraqis, yet he has ignored their pleas as well. Mr. Bush promised to listen to our allies, yet he has spit in the face of the world. Mr. Bush lied us into this war; Mr. Bush’s disastrous and stupid policies have caused us to lose this war; and Mr. Bush continues to lie to us on a daily basis. Due to Mr. Bush’s incompetence, we have lost the Iraq war, and it is time to bring our troops home.

What Mr. Bush needs is to be impeached. Please cut off funding for the “surge”, cut off funding for this disastrous war, and impeach this idiot before he does any further damage.

John Locke

Quick Quiz Regarding Boosh's Surge

Here's a QuickQuiz for you:

Question: Who said the following?

"I would confess I'm no expert on Iraq."
"At the outset of the strategy, it's a mistake to talk about an exit strategy"

Answer: US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates.

Question: Who said the following?

“I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the Corps commander, General Dempsey. We all talked together. And I said, in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq? And they all said no. And the reason is, because we want the Iraqis to do more. It's easy for the Iraqis to rely upon to us do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future.”

Answer: General John Abizaid, who was forced into retirement by President Boosh when the position of the military conflicted with the position of that most experienced and battle-hardened National Guard veteran, George Boosh.

Question: Who said the following?

Who said, "I don't care what my military advisors say; I don't care what the American public thinks; I'm going to keep winning in Iraq no matter what!"
"Trust me - I know what I'm doing."

Answer: It's actually a trick question -- it's a paraphrase of President Boosh's new strategery: SURGE!!! A Plan For Victory!

Now ask yourself, do you really want this Commander in Chief commanding anything larger than a small tricycle, much less putting more American soldiers in harm's way???

-John Locke

Friday, January 12, 2007

History doesn't repeat, it rhymes

Studying history is a very useful thing, and of course something that Americans do very little of. A good reading of ancient history, and even American history, might show people the sorrows of empire and put some brakes on the imperialistic aggression we are displaying these last few years. But more important even than ancient history, we lack a knowledge of recent history that leaves us incapable of choosing our leaders wisely.

For example, let’s consider some claims that are advanced from time to time by opponents of the Cheney regime.
  1. Cheney and Rumsfeld colluded to run the US government over a weak president.
  2. Cheney and Rumsfeld created a subdivision of intelligence analysts specifically to gin up lies about how dangerous a foreign threat we are facing.
  3. Cheney lied us into a war in Iraq, specifically claiming imminent attack.
  4. Bush lied us into a war in Iraq, specially citing human rights abuses and threats to our allies.
  5. Cheney advocated invading and occupying Baghdad and deposing Saddam, despite predictions by experts that this would lead to a horrible, bloody occupation with no good way out.
Put these claims together in one place, and one is likely to be ridiculed by the corporate media as a left-wing nutjob conspiracy-theorizing terrorist sympathizer.

But are any of the claims credible? Should we consider these behaviors likely in these men, or are they out of character for them? How can we judge?

If we had the resources and the supposed mandate of the media to keep track of such things, we might be able to judge for ourselves if these claims are credible. We might even include such information during a presidential race, about what we know of the men who would lead us, and what they were capable of, based on their previous actions.

Each of the five statements above is undoubtedly true for the time period of 2001-2003. There are mounds of evidence that the Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal stove-piped intelligence data to create a false picture of a threat-filled Iraq, and over the objections of intelligence professionals, the State Department, and regional experts, knowingly used that distorted picture to justify a war of aggression leading to a bloody occupation. The results have been greater political control for them and truckloads of money for war profiteers. But if you suggest these things to Bush supporters or vapid media types like Wolf Blitzer, they clap their hands to their faces in Munsch-like horror, in as much to say “How could you accuse these men of such things”?

It cannot, or should not come as a surprise to people that these accusations are true, however, because each of these five actions not only occurred between 2001-2003, but are also true of the time period from 1974-1992, as well. Each of these things occurred before Bush/Cheney were appointed to power, and the men responsible for them escaped with no punishment. It should not surprise us that they felt free to repeat them, having gotten away with it at least once. And so it really is an insult to be treated as if these accusations insult the “honor” of Cheney, Rumsfeld, or Bush. All they were doing was going back to the game plan that worked so well for them before. Let’s take them one by one.

1. Cheney and Rumsfeld colluded to run the US government over a weak president.

Rumsfeld and Cheney both had appointments in the Nixon administration. When Ford became President after Nixon resigned, Rumsfeld was chosen to manage the transition, and became Ford’s de facto chief of staff. Cheney was his deputy. Their real rival for power in the Ford administration was Henry Kissinger, and so
Having turned Ford into their instrument, Rumsfeld and Cheney staged a palace coup. They pushed Ford to fire Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, tell Vice President Nelson Rockefeller to look for another job and remove Henry Kissinger from his post as national security adviser. Rumsfeld was named secretary of defense, and Cheney became chief of staff to the president. The Yale dropout and draft dodger was, at the age of thirty-four, the second-most-powerful man in the White House.
Compare this behavior with what happened to Colin Powell, and note that neither Ford nor G. W. Bungle was elected to the office. Hmmm. Given this information, would it surprise us to find that Cheney and Rumsfeld ran roughshod over our beloved, retarded man-child leader in 2001?

2. Cheney and Rumsfeld created a subdivision of intelligence analysts specifically to gin up lies about how dangerous a foreign threat we are facing.

The main objection that Cheney and Rumsfeld had to Kissinger was his policy of “détente”, a lessening of tensions with the Soviet Union. Say what you will about the evils of Kissinger and Nixon, they both were working to reduce the threat of thermonuclear Armageddon. This absolutely wouldn’t do for Rumsfeld and Cheney. After all, if we – the American people – weren’t scared out of our minds about a foreign enemy to the point where we would do whatever the government told us to do, such as give huge amounts of tax money to arms manufacturers, then we might actually be able to use the government to do social good. Their solution? First, they got Ford to scuttle the SALT II arms control treaty. Then, they created Team B, a group of “outside specialists” whose mandate was to claim that the Soviets were much more of a threat than the CIA considered them to be. This group of six government outsiders (including Paul Wolfowitz and given the go ahead by then-CIA director George H. W. Bush), essentially were people scared to death of the evil commies sapping our vital fluids. As former CIA-director William Colby put it, it was hard

"to envisage how an ad hoc independent group of analysts could prepare a more thorough, comprehensive assessment of Soviet strategic capabilities than could the intelligence community."

Team B essentially created a bunch of fairy tales about all of these scary phantom weapons capabilities that the Soviets had, and how the Soviets were planning to launch and win a first strike nuclear war. All of their assessments have since been proven completely false. But they were useful for raising the defense budget.
Donald Rumsfeld began to make speeches arguing that the Soviets were ignoring Kissinger’s treaties and secretly building up their weapons, with the intention of attacking America. The CIA strongly disagreed with Team B's assessments, calling Rumsfeld's position a "complete fiction" and pointing out that the Soviet Union was disintegrating from within, could barely afford to feed their own people, and would collapse within a decade or two if simply left alone. A top CIA analyst called it "a kangaroo court of outside critics all picked from one point of view."
Now, given all of that, what do we make of the accusations that Cheney and Rumsfeld created the Office of Special Plans to cherry-pick intelligence to try to make Iraq look like more of a threat than it was? Is that a completely wild accusation? Or does it sound possible?

3. Cheney lied us into a war in Iraq, specifically claiming imminent attack.

In 1990, Cheney was Bush I’s Secretary of Defense. As they were ginning up domestic and international support for an invasion of Iraq, Cheney claimed that Defense Department satellites had shown “120,000 Iraqi troops with 850 tanks had poured into Kuwait and moved south to threaten Saudi Arabia”. This lie was repeated by Bush I. However,
Jean Heller, an investigative reporter on the St Petersburg Times decided to investigate. Satellite photos from a commercial satellite - Soyuz Karta were obtained for around US$ 3,000. On January 6, 1991 she wrote an article detailing what had been found, titled "Photos Don't Show Buildup." The photos were reviewed by several experts and did not show any evidence to support the claims of George H.W. Bush. No buildup of troops in anywhere near the amounts stated by the President were visible in the photos.
This story, of course, was not “picked up” by the corporate media. Now, should we be surprised that Cheney would feel free to lie to us a second time, to start a second war with Iraq? After all, he had lied with impunity in 1990, and suffered no consequence.

4. Bush lied us into a war in Iraq, specially citing human rights abuses and threats to our allies.

Ok, this one is a bit of a cheat in that it cites both Bush I in 1990 and Bush II in 2002/3. But clearly the son must have learned from his father and Cheney what would be allowed as far as lying to start a war was concerned. In addition to the lie about the Iraqi buildup, cited above, Bush I also was part of the infamous “incubator babies” PR stunt (parodied in the movie Wag the Dog which was not, no matter how many people think so, about Clinton and Monica Lewinski, but about Bush I and the Gulf War):
Although the human rights abuses of the Iraq regime before and after the Kuwait invasion were well-documented, the government of Kuwait set out to influence American opinion with a few accounts. Shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the organization Citizens for a Free Kuwait was formed in the U.S. It hired the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton for about $11 million, paid by the Kuwaiti government. This firm went on to manufacture a campaign in which a nurse working in the Kuwait City hospital described Iraqi soldiers pulling babies out of incubators and letting them die on the floor. The story was an influence in tipping both the public and Congress towards a war with Iraq: six Congressmen said the testimony was enough for them to support military action against Iraq and seven Senators referenced the testimony in debate. The Senate supported the military actions in a 52-47 vote. One year later, however, this allegation was labeled a fabricated hoax. The woman who had testified was found to be a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family living in Paris during the war, and therefore could not have been present during the alleged crime.
After this young woman, the daughter of Kuwait’s ambassador to the US, gave her false, PR-firm coached testimony to a congressional committee, congressional support swung over to the invasion. Bush I referenced these atrocities in speeches justifying the war. Is it any wonder that Bush II, seeing his father emerge smelling like a rose after lying us into the Gulf War, thought that he could do it too?

5. Cheney advocated invading and occupying Baghdad and deposing Saddam, despite predictions by experts that this would lead to a horrible, bloody occupation with no good way out.

We know that this is true for the Iraq War. The clues to it for the Gulf War are harder to follow, but Norman Schwarzkopf hinted at it in his memoirs. Sure, in 1993 Cheney toed the party line and claimed “Now you can say well you should have gone to Baghdad and gotten Saddam, I don't think so I think if we had done that we would have been bogged down there for a very long period of time with the real possibility we might not have succeeded.”, but during the war his department repeatedly sent plans to Schwarzkopf detailing how Baghdad might be attacked. And if he was so smart in 1993, what made him so seemingly stupid in 2003?

When politicians begin doing the same things they did 20-30 years ago, repeating their same old modus operandi, don’t the media owe it to the public to point this out? Shouldn’t we have been told all of this before the 2000 election? Yes is the answer, and yes.

America has always been at war with Iran

Most of the news from the last month has been about the escalation of the war that Bush is planning. Bush, Lieberman, and all of the other warmongers have been saying for a long time that troops would begin their withdrawal, but that was before the elections. Now that we are safely past them, the only strategy left for prolonging our involvement in Iraq is to escalate. From what I've been able to tell, the public, the joint chiefs of staff, the Congress, the generals who have up to now been in charge of Iraq, and even crazy Oliver North are against escalation. On the other side are Bush, McCain, Lieberman, and two or three people from the American Enterprise Institute (and of course, our evil overlord Cheney). AEI includes many of the deep thinkers who got us into this mess.

But whatever. I write this morning with this bad news: that we have started the war with Iran. This morning, we landed five helicopters on the roof of the Iranian consulate building in Kurdistan, stormed the building, and took at least six Iranians captive. This is an act of war.

Starting the war now makes some sense from Cheney’s point of view. It has long been their strategy to do so many evil things at once that before any opposition can organize against Evil Action A, they are outraged over Evil Action B, and so on until outrage overload overwhelms them. So by attacking another sovereign nation as the Congress gets ready to stop escalation in Iraq, Cheney creates what he hopes is enough confusion to get away with both atrocities.

I wonder if his heart will give out before his war crimes trial is over, like Milosevic.

Let’s all pray that this does not lead to the use of nuclear weapons. Nuking a Muslim country would paint a target on all Americans, forever, in the eyes of the radicals in the world.