Monday, August 11, 2008

U.S. Surges $11 Billion in Arms Sales to Iraq

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By Travis Sharp

During the last week of July, the Department of Defense notified Congress about the proposed sale of $10.9 billion in U.S. military equipment and support to Iraq through the Foreign Military Sales program. Besides the eye-catching price tag – which, at $10.9 billion, is greater than the value of all other U.S. arms sales to Iraq since 2005 combined – the equipment included in the proposed agreement represents a potential watershed in the development of Iraq’s military capabilities. The sale not only carries implications for the balance of power in the region, but also raises important questions about oversight, accountability, and transparency in a country riddled with internal violence.


The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) manages the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program. In its notification about the proposed sale to Iraq, the Agency reiterated that the ultimate goal was “to improve the security of a friendly country.” DSCA spokesman Charles Taylor toldBloomberg that Iraq will pay for the equipment with its own funds.

Congress must receive 30-day advance written notification of the intended sale of weapons, equipment, and services to another country if the total value is over $50 million. Congress may enact a joint resolution to stop an arms deal, but if no action is taken in 30 days, the deal is almost certain to go forward as planned. With Congress in recess throughout August, the sale will assuredly go through. Few members of Congress would oppose it anyway.

Under the proposal, Iraq would receive numerous defense articles and services, including:

• 140 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks upgraded to the M1A1M configuration
• 6 C-130J-30 Hercules transport aircraft
• 160 M1117 Guardian armored security vehicles
• 24 helicopters (either Bell Armed 407 or Boeing AH-6 Little Bird), with AGM-114M Hellfire missiles and launchers
• 392 light armored vehicles
• 26 M72 light anti-tank weapons
• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers support for building facilities for Iraqi Security Forces

The DSCA claimed in its notification that the $10.9 billion weapons package “will not affect the basic military balance in the region.” However, a number of experts expressed skepticism about this claim, arguing that some equipment included in the package would start the process of transforming the Iraqi Army from a force focused on counterinsurgency and enforcing internal order to a force capable of counterbalancing other countries in the region.

Anthony Cordesman, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, remarked that the proposed sale shows that Iraq needs “to gradually build up capability to deter any attacks from its neighbors.” The respected Defense Industry Daily newsletter said the DSCA’s claim that the sale will not affect the regional military balance is true only “if one factors in the American presence in Iraq. If the Americans are removed from the equation, however, this purchase crosses a Rubicon.”

The proposed sale foreshadows a time when U.S. forces will no longer be responsible for protecting Iraq from external threats. The 140 Abrams tanks and 392 light armored vehicles would equip between two and four mechanized brigades. In a defensive role, these tanks and vehicles “would present very formidable mobile opposition against even numerically superior foes,” notedDefense Industry Daily. “The Abrams’ battlefield performance against enemy T-72s and other Russian stock would have to give neighbors like Iran and Syria pause, if a North Vietnam-style armored invasion were ever contemplated.”

The six C-130J-30 Hercules transport aircraft and 24 helicopters are noteworthy upgrades for the Iraqi Air Force, which already is set to double in size by 2009. Adding six C-130s will triple Iraq’s inventory of the aircraft, which the DSCA said Iraq intends to use “for intra-theater support for its troops.” But, with a range of approximately 2,000 miles, C-130J-30s flying out of Iraq would be able to complete round-trip sorties to all the major cities in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Israel. This would expand the regional power projection capabilities of the Iraqi Air Force.

As for the helicopters, which will likely perform scout missions and close air support, the DSCA noted that they “will be used to develop new Iraqi Air Force (IAF) squadrons and/or wings.” While the Bell Armed 407 or Boeing AH-6 Little Bird are not out-and-out attack helicopters, the mounting of laser-guided Hellfire missiles with blast-fragmentation warheads would give the post-Saddam Iraqi Air Force airborne weaponry it “has not really had to this point,” notedDefense Industry Daily. DJ Elliott, an analyst at The Long War Journal, suggested that these helicopters may be destined for Iraqi Special Operations support.


The United States has rapidly increased its arms sales to Iraq over the last several years. With the $10.9 billion deal announced in July, the United States has completed approximately $20 billion in arms sales agreements with Iraq since 2005. This total includes $132 million in 2005, $2.3 billion in 2006, $4.5 billion in 2007, and $12.7 billion (thus far) in 2008. Since the United States averaged only $15.4 billion per year in global arms agreements from 1999 to 2006, Iraq is receiving an increasingly significant proportion of total U.S. worldwide sales.

Separate from these Foreign Military Sales, the United States also provided $17.9 billion in military-related aid since 2005 through the Iraq Security Forces Fund, according to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction’s latest July 2008 report.

The United States is already the unparalleled leader in arms sales agreements to the Middle East. As a March 2008 analysis by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation detailed, the United States was responsible for 56% of all arms sales agreements with Middle Eastern countries from 1999 to 2006. This was nearly five times greater than Russia’s share, the second highest supplier, and over eighteen times greater than China’s. Blocking Russia and China’s influence in Middle Eastern arms markets is considered an important foreign policy goal by many U.S. defense officials.

The recent surge of sales to Iraq has supplanted other Middle Eastern countries’ long-standing status as the preferred destination for U.S. weapons. Since 2005, the United States averaged $4.9 billion per year in arms sales with Iraq. This places Iraq far ahead of other U.S. allies like Egypt and Israel, which averaged $1.2 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively, in arms sales with the United States from 1999 to 2006.


The New York Timesrevealed in April 2008 that 22 high-ranking Iraqi officials secretly negotiated an $833 million arms agreement with Serbia. When the secret deal was exposed, Iraqis and Americans were quick to criticize both the process used and the quality of the equipment provided. However, Iraqi officials involved with the arrangement argued that the inadequacies of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program justified seeking an alternative supplier. “The problem with FMS is that it didn’t deliver on time,” one senior Iraqi official said. “This [secret deal] was used by some in government to say, ‘Look, this is deliberate. The U.S. is trying to keep us unarmed so that we’ll always be in need of the Americans.’ ”

A chasm is growing between U.S. arms sales procedures – designed for accountability and standardization, not speed or flexibility – and Iraq’s purported need for better military equipment. As Ahmed Mahmoud, a lieutenant in the Iraqi Army, asked a New York Times reporter August 6, “In your opinion, do you think I could fight an army with those trucks?” One fifth of the vehicles in Mahmoud’s battalion were rotting and bomb-demolished, but they were still considered operational for bureaucratic reasons.

Of course, rapidly surging weapons into Iraq carries significant risks. A November 2007 audit by the Department of Defense Inspector General concluded that Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I) “was not able to demonstrate proper accountability for and management of the Iraq Security Forces Fund and could not always demonstrate that the delivery of services, equipment, and construction was properly made to the Iraq Security Forces.” The audit also revealed that in 2005, MNSTC-I could not verify that Iraqi Security Forces received 12,712 of 13,508 light weapons. This expanded upon previous Government Accountability Office reporting that the United States couldn’t account for 30% of the weapons provided to Iraq since 2004.

Providing Iraqi Security Forces with the equipment they need to achieve their objectives will help increase Iraqi soldiers’ confidence and effectiveness as the United States begins commencing troop withdrawals. However, Iraqi oversight of military equipment coming into the country must be bolstered. If weapons are channeled toward dangerous insurgents, and away from the legitimate development of Iraqi Security Forces, the security environment in Iraq could take another perilous turn for the worse.

Oil fight could trigger a federal shutdown

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By Zachary Coile

House Republicans, who’ve been hounding Speaker Nancy Pelosi for weeks over her refusal to allow a vote on new domestic oil drilling, are plotting a high-stakes confrontation this fall that could spark a shutdown of the federal government.

Republicans see an opportunity when Congress returns Sept. 8 and will have to pass a temporary measure to keep the government funded beyond Sept. 30. Democrats are likely to include in the measure an extension of the congressional moratorium on offshore drilling, which would otherwise expire at the end of September.

GOP lawmakers warn they may try to block the measure - or pressure President Bush to veto it - if Democrats won’t relent and allow the drilling ban to lapse. If neither side gives in, it would force at least a temporary shutdown of the government.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who led Republicans during the last government shutdown in 1995 that ended up bruising his party’s image, said he thinks Republicans should force the showdown. He believes that the public, frustrated with high gas prices, would side with Republicans in demanding more oil exploration.

"Are (Democrats) really prepared to close the government in order to stop drilling?" Gingrich said during an appearance at the House last week, where Republicans are still protesting Pelosi’s decision to adjourn for the August break without a vote on a GOP energy plan. "I think the American people would find that a suicidal strategy."

Democrats are skeptical that GOP leaders really want to risk a shutdown which, if it’s anything like the weeks-long closure in 1995, could lead to the furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal workers, close national parks and passport offices, disrupt benefit checks to veterans and delay homeowners’ efforts to get government-backed home loans.

"So Republicans are going to tell seniors, ’You’re being squeezed by high gas prices and high grocery prices and now we’re going to cut off your Social Security checks?’ " said Jennifer Crider, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Democrats’ campaign arm. "It doesn’t make sense."

It would be a particularly risky strategy for lawmakers just weeks before the November election. While polls suggest a strong majority of Americans now back more domestic drilling - bolstering the GOP’s position - Democrats believe a government shutdown could play to their advantage. In 1995, the public blamed Republicans for provoking the shutdown over a budget dispute with Democratic President Bill Clinton.

Republicans argue that this time around it would be easier to pin the blame on Democrats. For one thing, Democrats now control both chambers of Congress. The GOP would portray Democrats as having sparked the face-off by including the ban on offshore drilling - and a similar ban on oil shale development, which is also set to expire - into the spending measure.

Asked if the GOP plans to shut down the government, House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., replied, "That’s going to be up to the Democrats." He said the easy way for Democrats to avoid the showdown is to drop the drilling bans. "As far as I’m concerned, those bans end Sept. 30. And if they end on Sept. 30, fuel prices will head back down on Oct. 1," he said.

Blocking the bill may be easier said than done. In the House, Democrats have the numbers to pass the spending measure easily, unless a big group of pro-drilling Democrats breaks ranks. The GOP might have better luck in the Senate, where Democrats have a 51-49 advantage - although a vote to shutter the government could be a tough one for senators in tight races.

Bush could also provoke the shutdown by vetoing the bill if it included the two drilling bans. The White House is, for now, staying mum on the idea.

Some lawmakers hold out hope that a deal on energy could be reached between the two parties this fall. The so-called "Gang of 10" senators, a group of five Democrats and five Republicans, is pushing legislation that would allow some new offshore drilling, but also increase incentives for renewable energy and electric vehicles.

The Senate’s top Democratic and Republican leaders have agreed to an energy summit when Congress returns for a three-week session, but the two sides have yet to agree on a list of which senators would speak or even a date and location. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has expressed concern the summit could be used as an excuse to delay action, said his spokesman Don Stewart.

Pelosi is holding firm to her view that more drilling won’t have any short-term impact on gas prices and would only lower prices by pennies a gallon 10 years from now, citing government figures. She’s plotting a vote on a bill to rein in speculators in energy markets when Congress returns next month.

Pelosi and other top Democrats see little reason to compromise. They expect to pick up seats in the House and Senate in November - and perhaps the White House, too - which would allow them to craft a more environmentally friendly energy policy next year. In the meantime, they plan to use their fundraising advantage to bash GOP candidates with ads linking them to oil companies.

But in a shift, some Democrats are expressing more openness to drilling. Presidential candidate Barack Obama has said some new drilling could be part of a broader energy plan.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and a close ally of Pelosi, said this week she is willing to back a deal to allow states to choose whether to drill off their coast - an idea Democrats have strongly opposed in the past - but only if Republicans agree to embrace policies that quickly shift the country toward wind, solar and other renewable sources.

"I want to see the most forward-looking energy policy for alternatives," Eshoo said. "If, in order to get that, you have to compromise and have the states sign off on whether they want drilling or not, maybe that’s the price we are going to pay to get it. But to have an up-or-down vote on drilling, where does that leave us? It leaves us in the same place Republicans have put us in after eight years of their policies."

Competing energy visions

House Democrats and Republicans have sharply different proposals to address high gas prices, while a bipartisan group of senators are offering their own plan:

Democratic plan

-- Release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

-- Require oil companies to drill on 68 million acres they already lease before they can bid on new ones

-- Repeal tax breaks for oil companies

-- Curb speculation in energy futures markets

-- Allow "responsible drilling" in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve

-- Require 15 percent of electricity to come from renewables by 2020

-- Renew tax incentives for wind, solar as well and offer tax credits for electric vehicles

Republican plan

-- Repeal the moratorium on offshore drilling along the East and West coasts

-- Allow drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

-- Allow oil shale extraction across the Rocky Mountains

-- Increase incentives for nuclear power

-- Extend tax credits for wind, solar and hydrogen power

-- New tax breaks for coal-to-liquid fuels

-- Tax breaks for electric cars and a monetary prize for the first 100-mile-per-gallon vehicle

-- Speed up permits for new refineries

Gang of 10 senators’ bipartisan plan

-- Allow offshore drilling in eastern Gulf of Mexico

-- Allow four states - Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia - to choose whether to allow drilling off their coasts

-- Repeal billions in tax breaks for oil companies

-- Speed up permitting process for nuclear plants

-- New loan guarantees for coal-to-liquid fuels plants

-- $2.5 billion to research advanced biofuels, and loans to build ethanol pipelines and biofuels, electric and hydrogen fueling stations

-- $15 billion for research on advanced batteries for electric cars and to help U.S. automakers retool to produce them

-- $7,500 tax credit for buying an electric vehicle, and $2,500 to convert old car into a plug-in

Source: Chronicle staff report

Jordan's king visits Iraq, urges Arabs to support

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Jordan's King Abdullah II held talks Monday with Iraq's prime minister after coming to Baghdad on an unannounced visit, the first by an Arab head of state since the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Abdullah called on Arab governments to "extend their hand to Iraq" because a strong Iraq "is a source of strength for the Arab nation," according to a statement released by the royal palace in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

An Iraqi government statement said Abdullah had "frank and positive talks" with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on relations between the two countries. Al-Maliki told the king that Iraq wanted to improve relations with all Arab countries, the statement said.

In turn, Abdullah expressed Jordan's support for Iraqi "efforts to impose stability," the statement added.

Ties between the two neighboring countries had been strained since the fall of Saddam because of Jordanian fears that Iraq's Shiite-led government was too friendly with Shiite-dominated Iran.

Jordanian officials have been concerned about Iranian influence in Iraq and the loss of discounted oil, which Saddam once provided. Abdullah warned in 2004 about the emergence of a "Shiite crescent" including Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon — remarks that angered Iraqi officials.

But U.S. officials had been urging Abdullah to visit Iraq to bolster ties between the two countries as part of Washington's campaign to shore up support for the Iraqi government as a counterweight to Iranian influence.

Al-Maliki visited Jordan in June for the first time in nearly two years, and since then, the two nations appear willing to put their differences behind them. During that visit, al-Maliki agreed to renew oil supplies to Jordan for the next three years at discounted prices.

Jordan agreed to ease restrictions on the entry of Iraqi students and those transiting to a third country. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have sought refuge in Jordan to escape the sectarian violence that swept the country two years ago but has receded.

Jordan has also named an ambassador to Iraq, joining other Arab countries that have agreed to upgrade their relations as the Iraqi government becomes more stable and security has improved — despite sporadic attacks and ongoing military operations.

The Jordanians maintained an embassy in Baghdad — but without an ambassador — even though the compound was attacked in August 2003 in the first car-bombing of the Iraq war.

Monday's visit had not been announced. An earlier trip set for last month was canceled because Jordanian officials did not want any advance publicity.

Iraqi officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of Jordanian sensitivities, said the visit lasted only four hours and that the king left ahead of the announcement.

Iraqi officials have been eager to improve their ties with their Arab neighbors now that the government's confidence has risen with improvements in security.

On Monday, about 250 Iraqi refugees were flown home from Egypt free of charge aboard the prime minister's personal plane in what Iraqi officials said was an affirmation of improved security.

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said such flights would continue "in order to fetch all families that wish to come back."

Nevertheless, insurgent attacks continue, albeit at a much lower level than in recent years.

Northeast of Baghdad, a woman suicide bomber struck a market checkpoint in the Diyala province capital of Baqouba, killing at least one policeman and wounding 14 other people, including nine officers, officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.

The woman detonated explosives hidden under her traditional Islamic black robe as she approached the checkpoint manned by Iraqi police at the central market, witnesses said.

Another bomb exploded in the Wijaihiyah area, about 12 miles east of Baqouba, killing five women and wounding three other women, the U.S. military said.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry announced Monday that al-Maliki had ordered the suspension of Iraqi military operations in Diyala for a week "to give gunmen a chance to surrender."

But U.S. military spokeswoman Maj. Margaret Kageleiry said American troops in the province were not observing any pause and were continuing operations.

The prime minister's office has announced an amnesty offer and unspecified monetary rewards for those who hand over weapons. Al-Maliki made amnesty offers during similar operations against Sunni and Shiite extremists in Baghdad's Sadr City district, Mosul and the southern cities of Basra and Amarah, but they have had limited effect.

Also Monday, a bomb stuck under a car exploded in eastern Baghdad, killing the driver and wounding two other people, police said.

Illusions of Victory

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By Andrew Bacevich

How the United States Did Not Reinvent War… But Thought It Did

"War is the great auditor of institutions," the historian Corelli Barnett once observed. Since 9/11, the United States has undergone such an audit and been found wanting. That adverse judgment applies in full to America’s armed forces.

Valor does not offer the measure of an army’s greatness, nor does fortitude, nor durability, nor technological sophistication. A great army is one that accomplishes its assigned mission. Since George W. Bush inaugurated his global war on terror, the armed forces of the United States have failed to meet that standard.

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Bush conceived of a bold, offensive strategy, vowing to "take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge." The military offered the principal means for undertaking this offensive, and U.S. forces soon found themselves engaged on several fronts.

Two of those fronts --- Afghanistan and Iraq -- commanded priority attention. In each case, the assigned task was to deliver a knockout blow, leading to a quick, decisive, economical, politically meaningful victory. In each case, despite impressive displays of valor, fortitude, durability, and technological sophistication, America’s military came up short. The problem lay not with the level of exertion but with the results achieved.

In Afghanistan, U.S. forces failed to eliminate the leadership of Al Qaeda. Although they toppled the Taliban regime that had ruled most of that country, they failed to eliminate the Taliban movement, which soon began to claw its way back. Intended as a brief campaign, the Afghan War became a protracted one. Nearly seven years after it began, there is no end in sight. If anything, America’s adversaries are gaining strength. The outcome remains much in doubt.

In Iraq, events followed a similar pattern, with the appearance of easy success belied by subsequent developments. The U.S. invasion began on March 19, 2003. Six weeks later, against the backdrop of a White House-produced banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished," President Bush declared that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended." This claim proved illusory.

Writing shortly after the fall of Baghdad, the influential neoconservatives David Frum and Richard Perle declared Operation Iraqi Freedom "a vivid and compelling demonstration of America’s ability to win swift and total victory." General Tommy Franks, commanding the force that invaded Iraq, modestly characterized the results of his handiwork as "unequalled in its excellence by anything in the annals of war." In retrospect, such judgments -- and they were legion -- can only be considered risible. A war thought to have ended on April 9, 2003, in Baghdad’s al-Firdos Square was only just beginning. Fighting dragged on for years, exacting a cruel toll. Iraq became a reprise of Vietnam, although in some respects at least on a blessedly smaller scale.

A New American Way of War?

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Just a few short years ago, observers were proclaiming that the United States possessed military power such as the world had never seen. Here was the nation’s strong suit. "The troops" appeared unbeatable. Writing in 2002, for example, Max Boot, a well-known commentator on military matters, attributed to the United States a level of martial excellence "that far surpasses the capabilities of such previous would-be hegemons as Rome, Britain, and Napoleonic France." With U.S. forces enjoying "unparalleled strength in every facet of warfare," allies, he wrote, had become an encumbrance: "We just don’t need anyone else’s help very much."

Boot dubbed this the Doctrine of the Big Enchilada. Within a year, after U.S. troops had occupied Baghdad, he went further: America’s army even outclassed Germany’s Wehrmacht. The mastery displayed in knocking off Saddam, Boot gushed, made "fabled generals such as Erwin Rommel and Heinz Guderian seem positively incompetent by comparison."

All of this turned out to be hot air. If the global war on terror has produced one undeniable conclusion, it is this: Estimates of U.S. military capabilities have turned out to be wildly overstated. The Bush administration’s misplaced confidence in the efficacy of American arms represents a strategic misjudgment that has cost the country dearly. Even in an age of stealth, precision weapons, and instant communications, armed force is not a panacea. Even in a supposedly unipolar era, American military power turns out to be quite limited.

How did it happen that Americans so utterly overappraised the utility of military power? The answer to that question lies at the intersection of three great illusions.

According to the first illusion, the United States during the 1980s and 1990s had succeeded in reinventing armed conflict. The result was to make force more precise, more discriminating, and potentially more humane. The Pentagon had devised a new American Way of War, investing its forces with capabilities unlike any the world had ever seen. As President Bush exuberantly declared shortly after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, "We’ve applied the new powers of technology… to strike an enemy force with speed and incredible precision. By a combination of creative strategies and advanced technologies, we are redefining war on our terms. In this new era of warfare, we can target a regime, not a nation."

The distinction between regime and nation was a crucial one. By employing these new military techniques, the United States could eliminate an obstreperous foreign leader and his cronies, while sparing the population over which that leader ruled. Putting a missile through the roof of a presidential palace made it unnecessary to incinerate an entire capital city, endowing force with hitherto undreamed-of political utility and easing ancient moral inhibitions on the use of force. Force had been a club; it now became a scalpel. By the time the president spoke, such sentiments had already become commonplace among many (although by no means all) military officers and national security experts.

Here lay a formula for certain victory. Confidence in military prowess both reflected and reinforced a post-Cold War confidence in the universality of American values. Harnessed together, they made a seemingly unstoppable one-two punch.

With that combination came expanded ambitions. In the 1990s, the very purpose of the Department of Defense changed. Sustaining American global preeminence, rather than mere national security, became its explicit function. In the most comprehensive articulation of this new American Way of War, the Joint Chiefs of Staff committed the armed services to achieving what they called "full spectrum dominance" -- unambiguous supremacy in all forms of warfare, to be achieved by tapping the potential of two "enablers" -- "technological innovation and information superiority."

Full spectrum dominance stood in relation to military affairs as the political scientist Francis Fukuyama’s well-known proclamation of "the end of history" stood in relation to ideology: Each claimed to have unlocked ultimate truths. According to Fukuyama, democratic capitalism represented the final stage in political economic evolution. According to the proponents of full spectrum dominance, that concept represented the final stage in the evolution of modern warfare. In their first days and weeks, the successive invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq both seemed to affirm such claims.

How Not to "Support the Troops"

According to the second illusion, American civilian and military leaders subscribed to a common set of principles for employing their now-dominant forces. Adherence to these principles promised to prevent any recurrence of the sort of disaster that had befallen the nation in Vietnam. If politicians went off half-cocked, as President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara had back in the 1960s, generals who had correctly discerned and assimilated the lessons of modern war could be counted on to rein them in.

These principles found authoritative expression in the Weinberger-Powell Doctrine, which specified criteria for deciding when and how to use force. Caspar Weinberger, secretary of defense during most of the Reagan era, first articulated these principles in 1984. General Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the early 1990s, expanded on them. Yet the doctrine’s real authors were the members of the post-Vietnam officer corps. The Weinberger-Powell principles expressed the military’s own lessons taken from that war. Those principles also expressed the determination of senior officers to prevent any recurrence of Vietnam.

Henceforth, according to Weinberger and Powell, the United States would fight only when genuinely vital interests were at stake. It would do so in pursuit of concrete and attainable objectives. It would mobilize the necessary resources -- political and moral as well as material -- to win promptly and decisively. It would end conflicts expeditiously and then get out, leaving no loose ends. The spirit of the Weinberger-Powell Doctrine was not permissive; its purpose was to curb the reckless or imprudent inclinations of bellicose civilians.

According to the third illusion, the military and American society had successfully patched up the differences that produced something akin to divorce during the divisive Vietnam years. By the 1990s, a reconciliation of sorts was under way. In the wake of Operation Desert Storm, "the American people fell in love again with their armed forces." So, at least, General Colin Powell, one of that war’s great heroes, believed. Out of this love affair a new civil-military compact had evolved, one based on the confidence that, in times of duress, Americans could be counted on to "support the troops." Never again would the nation abandon its soldiers.

The All-Volunteer Force (AVF) -- despite its name, a professional military establishment -- represented the chief manifestation of this new compact. By the 1990s, Americans were celebrating the AVF as the one component of the federal government that actually worked as advertised. The AVF embodied the nation’s claim to the status of sole superpower; it was "America’s Team." In the wake of the Cold War, the AVF sustained the global Pax Americana without interfering with the average American’s pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. What was not to like?

Events since 9/11 have exposed these three illusions for what they were. When tested, the new American Way of War yielded more glitter than gold. The generals and admirals who touted the wonders of full spectrum dominance were guilty of flagrant professional malpractice, if not outright fraud. To judge by the record of the past twenty years, U.S. forces win decisively only when the enemy obligingly fights on American terms -- and Saddam Hussein’s demise has drastically reduced the likelihood of finding such accommodating adversaries in the future. As for loose ends, from Somalia to the Balkans, from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf, they have been endemic.

When it came to the Weinberger-Powell Doctrine, civilian willingness to conform to its provisions proved to be highly contingent. Confronting Powell in 1993, Madeleine Albright famously demanded to know, "What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about, if we can’t use it?" Mesmerized by the prospects of putting American soldiers to work to alleviate the world’s ills, Albright soon enough got her way. An odd alliance that combined left-leaning do-gooders with jingoistic politicians and pundits succeeded in chipping away at constraints on the use of force. "Humanitarian intervention" became all the rage. Whatever restraining influence the generals exercised during the 1990s did not survive that decade. Lessons of Vietnam that had once seemed indelible were forgotten.

Meanwhile, the reconciliation of the people and the army turned out to be a chimera. When the chips were down, "supporting the troops" elicited plenty of posturing but little by way of binding commitments. Far from producing a stampede of eager recruits keen to don a uniform, the events of 9/11 reaffirmed a widespread popular preference for hiring someone else’s kid to chase terrorists, spread democracy, and ensure access to the world’s energy reserves.

In the midst of a global war of ostensibly earthshaking importance, Americans demonstrated a greater affinity for their hometown sports heroes than for the soldiers defending the distant precincts of the American imperium. Tom Brady makes millions playing quarterback in the NFL and rakes in millions more from endorsements. Pat Tillman quit professional football to become an army ranger and was killed in Afghanistan. Yet, of the two, Brady more fully embodies the contemporary understanding of the term patriot.

Demolishing the Doctrine of the Big Enchilada

While they persisted, however, these three illusions fostered gaudy expectations about the efficacy of American military might. Every president since Ronald Reagan has endorsed these expectations. Every president since Reagan has exploited his role as commander in chief to expand on the imperial prerogatives of his office. Each has also relied on military power to conceal or manage problems that stemmed from the nation’s habits of profligacy.

In the wake of 9/11, these puerile expectations -- that armed force wielded by a strong-willed chief executive could do just about anything -- reached an apotheosis of sorts. Having manifestly failed to anticipate or prevent a devastating attack on American soil, President Bush proceeded to use his ensuing global war on terror as a pretext for advancing grandiose new military ambitions married to claims of unbounded executive authority -- all under the guise of keeping Americans "safe."

With the president denying any connection between the events of September 11th and past U.S. policies, his declaration of a global war nipped in the bud whatever inclination the public might have entertained to reconsider those policies. In essence, Bush counted on war both to concentrate greater power in his own hands and to divert attention from the political, economic, and cultural bind in which the United States found itself as a result of its own past behavior.

As long as U.S. forces sustained their reputation for invincibility, it remained possible to pretend that the constitutional order and the American way of life were in good health. The concept of waging an open-ended global campaign to eliminate terrorism retained a modicum of plausibility. After all, how could anyone or anything stop the unstoppable American soldier?

Call that reputation into question, however, and everything else unravels. This is what occurred when the Iraq War went sour. The ills afflicting our political system, including a deeply irresponsible Congress, broken national security institutions, and above all an imperial commander in chief not up to the job, became all but impossible to ignore. So, too, did the self-destructive elements inherent in the American way of life -- especially an increasingly costly addiction to foreign oil, universally deplored and almost as universally indulged. More noteworthy still, the prospect of waging war on a global scale for decades, if not generations, became preposterous.

To anyone with eyes to see, the events of the past seven years have demolished the Doctrine of the Big Enchilada. A gung-ho journalist like Robert Kaplan might still believe that, with the dawn of the twenty-first century, the Pentagon had "appropriated the entire earth, and was ready to flood the most obscure areas of it with troops at a moment’s notice," that planet Earth in its entirety had become "battle space for the American military." Yet any buck sergeant of even middling intelligence knew better than to buy such claptrap.

With the Afghanistan War well into its seventh year and the Iraq War marking its fifth anniversary, a commentator like Michael Barone might express absolute certainty that "just about no mission is impossible for the United States military." But Barone was not facing the prospect of being ordered back to the war zone for his second or third combat tour.

Between what President Bush called upon America’s soldiers to do and what they were capable of doing loomed a huge gap that defines the military crisis besetting the United States today. For a nation accustomed to seeing military power as its trump card, the implications of that gap are monumental.

Maine Dairy ‘Somewhat Vindicated’ As Monsanto Leaves Bovine Hormone Business

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By Noel K. Gallagher

Oakhurst Dairy owner Stanley Bennett welcomed the news that Monsanto was divesting itself of its controversial dairy hormone business, after taking on the agribusiness giant in an expensive David-and-Goliath legal battle five years ago.“We feel somewhat vindicated, given our position,” Bennett said. “I’d like to think that, in some small part, we played a role in that decision.”

The lawsuit centered on Oakhurst Dairy’s label, which read: “Our Farmers’ Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormones Used.”

Monsanto, the St. Louis-based biotechnology company known primarily for its genetically engineered seeds, sued Oakhurst, alleging the label misled consumers into thinking there’s something wrong with milk from cows treated with the hormone.

After months of talks, the dairy kept the label, but added a disclaimer: “FDA states: No significant difference in milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormones.”

Oakhurst was the first dairy in the nation to label its milk as hormone-free, something that is increasingly common. In the past year, Starbucks announced it would start using only hormone-free milk, and Wal-Mart announced its house brand of milk would be hormone-free.

At the time of the lawsuit, Bennett said he worried that people would think Oakhurst had caved in. That hasn’t been the case.

“Universally, people have congratulated us that we stuck by our guns, because we still have the label,” he said.

Although Monsanto settled with Oakhurst five years ago, the labeling issue has never gone away for the company. Most recently, several state legislatures have taken up the issue. All have essentially repeated the same argument as in the Oakhurst case, with Monsanto arguing for a disclaimer on labels for hormone-free milk.

“Some consumers prefer to purchase milk from cows that have not been treated with (growth hormone). Monsanto respects this choice, but we want to make sure that consumers have all of the information they need to make this decision,” the company said in an e-mail statement.

The statement describes milk processors as using the labeling issue “to profit from unfounded fears.”

Organic dairy farmer Spencer Aitel said the Oakhurst lawsuit was a major victory for consumers.

“Monsanto is really used to throwing their muscle around, and for Stan Bennett to choose to fight them, that was an awesome thing,” said Aitel, who owns Two Loons Farm in South China with his wife, Paige Tyson. “Stan listened to the consumers, and the consumer here has managed to change the industry, and you don’t often get that chance.”

Cheryl Beyeler, director of the Maine Dairy and Nutrition Council, agreed the lawsuit was a turning point.

“There wasn’t a lot of consumer knowledge about (the growth hormone). I think initially it was a very smart marketing technique,” she said.

With food recalls and other scares, the issue is becoming more important to consumers.

“They don’t like the idea that things are being put into our food supply that they don’t know about or have control over,” Beyeler said.

The growth hormone, a synthetic version of a natural substance, can boost milk production by 5 percent to 15 percent. Despite the FDA’s position that there is no difference in the milk, critics argue that the hormones increase stress for the animals.

Maine’s three major dairies, Oakhurst, Hood and Garelick Farms, all require that their farmers not use hormones, and they pay the farmers a premium for the milk.

“People want to know where their food is coming from, and more than that, they want to know how far away it was grown, who grew it and how they can support those farmers,” said Heather Spaulding, associate director of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

“Labeling has always been important to our constituent base,” Spaulding said. “(Consumers) want to be reassured that they know where their food is coming from and that the label means something, that there is integrity in what is on the label.”

At the time, the lawsuit was very difficult, Bennett acknowledged.

“It did take our attention away from the day-to-day business, and it was very expensive,” he said. “But it raised our profile, and it made us think about how we really do have not just a marketing interest but an obligation to do what’s best for dairy consumers.”

In the years since, many dairies have gone “hormone-free.” In fact, Bennett says Oakhurst has largely lost its competitive advantage.

“In a sense, we’ve become a victim of our own success,” Bennett said. “We’ve lost that hook for our consumers.”

Today, the company describes its label as “America’s first farmers’ pledge.”

The Maine Dairy Industry Association doesn’t have an official position on use of the growth hormone, because it represents farmers on both sides of the issue, said director Julie Marie Bickford.

“A lot of this issue is about marketing and perception,” she said. “It’s been a positive thing because it promoted a Maine product, but it took away from Maine farmers a production tool.”

Some farmers are still upset about that.

“It’s sort of the principle of the thing,” Bickford said. “We’re told to get more efficient and use modern technology, and this was an example of that. The people who used it really loved it. Then they were told they couldn’t do it. I have some farmers who are still very upset about it. And some farmers who are resigned to it - they grumbled, but they did it.”

Aitel agreed that the dairy community is split over the issue, describing it as an “industrywide identity crisis.”

“There are a lot of farmers who don’t like the idea that milk can be set apart from other milk,” he said. “It was important that Stan Bennett and the family stood up for the idea that there is a difference in producing milk.”

Bennett said that despite the lawsuit being the biggest controversy to ever hit the dairy, it isn’t something he dwells on.

“It has come and gone, and we deal with the here and now,” Bennett said.

Halliburton's Hidden Treuhand

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By Shelley Stark

Halliburton takes advantage of a European loophole that lets corporations hide beneficiaries and assets.

Little is known of a customary European legal practice that offers corporations and individuals an opportunity to profit from assets while maintaining complete anonymity of the beneficiary's identity. This practice is referred to as "Hidden Treuhand" in the English language. The practice of Hidden Treuhand submits to legal local customs in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg and Switzerland, but due to globalization, has moved beyond European borders via corporations and individuals, who put it to personal use.

The practice of Hidden Treuhand is relevant and unregulated. More and more, the relevant practice of Treuhand is used in hiding an asset owner's identity from the outside world. Assets, whether they are corporate shares or fixed assets, can be owned in secret. The personal income derived from these assets can also be kept secret from tax authorities. An example of how Hidden Treuhand facilitates tax evasion is part of the latest scandal where thousands of Germans evaded tax through the services of the LGT Treuhand Bank in Liechtenstein, using a combination of Treuhand and foundations to hide true owner identity of bank accounts.

Hidden Treuhands in Europe impact the lives of American citizens. Hidden Treuhands enable even American corporations to hide the identity of beneficiaries, assets and income. Halliburton has a Hidden Treuhand embedded in its Austrian subsidiary. It prevents transparency regarding corporate activities.

The lack of transparency creates special advantages for some, and consequences for others such as governments, competitors, stockholders and citizens. For example, a beneficiary can evade personal income tax, because the income derived from a hidden asset is not linked to the beneficiary. There is another advantage to Hidden Treuhands that borrows from the concept of a "trust." The "trust" concept allows for dividends to be removed. Money transferred to a subsidiary may be considered a dividend. By using a network of subsidiaries, favorable tax laws and banking secrecy, CEOs and insiders can profit without transparency. The Hidden Treuhand is an important aspect of what makes globalization so attractive to American and European corporations.

Given these attributes, it is alarming when a Hidden Treuhand is discovered in a subsidiary that is fully owned by Halliburton USA. Halliburton's Hidden Treuhand is evident in the firm's corporate records. Halliburton International GmbH was created in Austria in June of 1992, although another subsidiary, at the same address, was in existence in Austria since 1958. The new subsidiary, Halliburton International GmbH, has no apparent reasons for existing other than to house a Hidden Treuhand in its corporate structure, receive dividends from other subsidiaries and acquire other subsidiaries. This firm has no employees. It creates no income. Another company, Halliburton Company Austria GmbH, at the same address, could have equally performed whatever function this subsidiary has, but it has no Hidden Treuhand. The obvious conclusion is Halliburton USA needed a subsidiary with a Hidden Treuhand.

The Hidden Treuhand easily accomplishes tax evasion because dividends transferred to a subsidiary with a Hidden Treuhand can be anonymously distributed or used to purchase other holdings. For example, Halliburton International GmbH has acquired acquisitions in Russia and Kazakhstan that later disappear from the corporate records.

Halliburton attracts a certain limelight in connection with any Treuhand activities because of its link to a highly controversial war and Vice President Dick Cheney's earlier association with Halliburton. We would have expected all ties to his former employer to be have been severed when he took office to avoid a conflict of interest. The impenetrability of the Hidden Treuhand makes it impossible to know who else is involved beyond the CEOs listed on Halliburton International GmbH historic corporate data.

Dick Cheney claims to no longer own stock in Halliburton, but he was its chairman and CEO for five years, and either hired or promoted many of the executives now running Halliburton, or formerly involved with the subsidiary with the Hidden Treuhand in Austria. It is highly unlikely the chief executive officer, Dick Cheney, would be unaware of the Austrian subsidiary's existence, originally headed by the executive vice president and chief legal officer, Lester L. Coleman, of Halliburton International USA. But it is an absolute certainty Lester L. Coleman and all the other CEOs listed on Halliburton International GmbH corporate historic records do know of the subsidiaries existence and its Hidden Treuhand. It was the intention of these CEOs to set up a secret subsidiary in 1992 with a Hidden Treuhand embedded.

Perhaps more importantly, Halliburton's CEOs, listed in the corporate historic records of Halliburton International GmbH in Austria, should know Hidden Treuhands could be used to undermine American security by providing a means for financing terrorists. Currently, one of the strongest arguments the US and the OECD are using against banks, lawyers and Treuhand activities in Europe to combat tax evasion and money laundering is how these activities can be used to fund terrorism. The Iraq War is one portion of the overall strategy of the 'War on Terror' that also includes preventing any funding for terrorism. It takes little imagination to see the huge potential Treuhands facilitate: creating a means for terrorists and criminal organizations to conceal their true identities and motives and yet work openly in the capitalist system.

Halliburton's CEOs must be aware of the potential misuse of Hidden Treuhands, as they have not been particularly open about their own use of Hidden Treuhands to date. Halliburton simultaneously contracts to fight a "war on terror," while utilizing the same nontransparent mechanisms concerned authorities seek to prevent access to by terrorists. Faced with a conflict of interest, Halliburton CEOs demonstrate with their silence a willingness to protect their own interests, and doing so while we are at war with an enemy that works in the shadows.

The noncompetitive contract awarded Halliburton was orchestrated by Vice President Dick Cheney and backed by the Bush administration. This contract has afforded an estimated US$1.4 trillion to US$3 trillion of US taxpayer money to flow through the coffers of Halliburton, virtually unmonitored and fraught with accounting irregularities. The receiver of much of this US taxpayer money is Halliburton USA, its affiliates and subsidiaries. One of the subsidiaries, the Austrian subsidiary, is capable of dispersing any money sent to it to unknown persons, without a hint of transparency.

The Hidden Treuhand is more than just a means of profiting without transparency; it is a national security threat, whether wielded by al-Qaeda or Halliburton. If Americans were brought into a war based on a profit motive while we were supposed to be focused on alleviating the threat of terrorism, it could amount to treason. This risk should be given some credence and investigated. For this reason, Halliburton's corporate records were given to the US Internal Revenue Service. Maybe they will find something illegal, tax evasion for example, or maybe they will come back and say they found nothing illegal: The Hidden Treuhand is just a little bit naughty.

There is no transparency to a Hidden Treuhand, and, therefore, no means to identify the real benefactors. But the most important factor concerning a Treuhand contract is this: If a Treuhand contract is embedded in the corporate structure, then its sole purpose is to prevent the public from knowing the identity of the real stockholders. Who is calling the shots and who is benefiting is kept secret.

The "True Hands," the true benefactors' identity, is hidden from public knowledge; they remain anonymous and nameless in transactions, and that is the sole incentive for creating a Hidden Treuhand.

From Stupid to Moronic to Evil

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By Paul Craig Roberts

Many years ago, during the 1970s if memory serves, neoconservative Irving Kristol, echoing John Stuart Mill, called his conservative party, the Republican Party, “the stupid party.”

Kristol was referring to the Republican’s inability to compete on the policy front. Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan led the Republicans out of the wilderness, but now Republicans have reverted to the stupid party, or more precisely the moronic party.

Take a minute to examine the presidential campaign propaganda that Republicans send around the Internet, and you will see what I mean. For example, recently while Obama was traveling abroad, showing himself to the remnant of our allies, Republican political operatives blitzed the Internet with the suggestion that Obama might not be an American citizen. Doubt was cast on either of his parents being American citizens. The message went on to suggest that Obama refused to produce his birth certificate. All the while, Obama was traveling abroad on a US passport, a document that cannot be obtained without a US birth certificate.

Considering that the Republican candidate, John McCain, was born in the Panama Canal Zone, only the GOP would be dumb enough to make an issue over whether the Democrats’ candidate was born in one of the 50 states.

The innuendo and negativism with which the Republicans are conducting their presidential campaign are unprecedented. There is no sign of issues in McCain’s Karl Rovian campaign. Issues have been superseded by hate, lies, and war.

Republicans stand for war without end, a police state to make us “safe,” and “energy independence,” which means drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve and offshore of Florida’s Gulf Coast beaches.

What Republicans really mean by “energy independence” is prevailing over environmentalists. Republicans lump environmentalists in the same category with abortionists, gays, feminists, food stamp recipients, trade unionists and terrorists. To a Republican, saving America means prevailing over these people.

The notion that Americans can achieve energy independence by drilling offshore wells and in the arctic is absurd. A number of experts have pointed out that the best data do not support any such possibility.

For example, Robert Kaufman at Boston University, citing US government data, reports that the US might have 40 billion barrels of oil in undeveloped reserves which are not off limits. Another 19 billion might be in off limit offshore sites and in the Arctic National Wildlife preserve.

All of this oil cannot be brought up at once, and apparently none before 2017. Bringing it all into production would, experts think, increase US oil production by 1-4 percent. In other words, nothing. Currently the US uses 21 million barrels a day, and the entire world uses 86 million barrels a day. At best, the Arctic Wildlife Refuge could by 2017 produce 1 million barrels a day, about one-twentieth of current US use and one-eighty-sixth of current world use.

This is not energy independence, and it would have no material effect on price. Indeed, the offshoring by US corporations of US jobs has a much greater effect on the dollar price of oil by inflating the US trade deficit and driving down the exchange value of the US dollar. But, of course, here we are talking about facts, and facts are of no interest to Republicans.

Republicans are interested in prevailing over the “bad guys.” The fact that the bad guys are Bush, Cheney, Rice, Wolfowitz, Perle, Billy Kristol, and other such is beyond the Republicans’ imagination. Bad guys are “towel heads” with beards and robes and are “over there” where they must be killed before the come “over here.” The extent of the Republican intellect boils down to “over here” vs. “over there.”

The other great bugaboo of Republicans is “the liberal media.” Fox “News” has Republicans convinced that “the liberal media” is endangering America by siding with terrorists.

Clearly, Republicans never look at “the liberal media.” It was Judith Miller at the “liberal” New York Times who served up as fact all the neocon disinformation about Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda connections. Without the New York Times leading the way, the neocons could never have pulled off their illegal invasions.

On July 18, 2008, the New York Times allowed the Israeli Benny Morris to spew lies about Iran that he used to justify an attack on that country possibly even involving nuclear weapons. This is the same New York Times that the idiot conservatives believe is part of “the liberal media.”

It was ABC News that served up the neocon disinformation that the anthrax had been traced to Saddam Hussein.

And, today, August 9, 2008, as I write, it is the “liberal” Washington Post that has written an editorial urging the US to go to war with Russia.

With its editorial, “Stopping Russia: the US and its allies must unite against Moscow’s war on Georgia,” the Washington Post has established a world record for the maximum number of lies in the minimum number of words.

Except for the Washington Post, the entire world knows that Georgia (the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, not Georgia USA) initiated the aggression that killed Russian peacekeepers and hundreds of civilians in South Ossetia, peacekeepers who were there with the blessing of Georgia and international agreements.

The true facts are available all over the world press. But the “liberal” Washington Post serves up the lie that Russia has attacked Georgia and conceivably plans to conquer all of Georgia. “This is a grave challenge to the United States and Europe,” thunders the Bush Regime’s mouthpiece, aka, “the liberal media.”

Thirsting for blood, the “liberal media” declares: “The United States and its NATO allies must together impose a price on Russia.”

Here we see the combination of idiocy and delusion in one sentence. The United States has proved that it is incapable of occupying Iraq, much less Afghanistan. Russia has a large trade surplus. America’s NATO allies are dependent on Russian natural gas. Yet the “liberal” Washington Post wants a bankrupt US and “its NATO allies” who are dependent on Russian energy “to impose a price on Russia” for defending its peacekeepers!

Seldom has the world seen such total insanity as the neoconservative Washington Post, a propaganda sheet as far from “liberal media” is it is possible to be.

Georgia was part of Old Russia and the Soviet Union for two centuries. After Soviet communism collapsed, the US taxpayer funded neoconservative National Endowment for Democracy broke every agreement that President Reagan had made with Gorbachev and began using US taxpayers’ money to rig and purchase elections in former constituent parts of the Russian/Soviet empire.

The Endowment for Democracy purchased Georgia as a US colony. The affront to Russia was extreme, but at the time Russia was weak. Oligarchs with outside money had grabbed control over Russian resources, and Russia was in dire straits and could not resist American imperialism.

Putin corrected the situation for Russia.

Now using American weapons Georgia for reasons yet to be revealed has violated its own agreement with Russia and attacked South Ossetia, killing in the process Russian peacekeepers. Vladimir Vasilyev, chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee for Security told the press: “The things that were happening in Kosovo, the things that were happening in Iraq – we are now following the same path. The further the situation unfolds, the more the world will understand that Georgia would never be able to do all this without America.”

Yes, without America there would be no war in Ossetia and no war between Russia and its former constituent part.

Without America there would be no war in Afghanistan. No war in Iraq.

Without America there would not be 1.2 million dead Iraqis and 4 million displaced Iraqis. We have no idea of the toll on Afghan civilians, although women and children appear to be the prime targets of the US/NATO forces that are “bringing peace and freedom to Afghanistan.”

Recently, US Secretary of State Condi Rice said that the US government could not prevent an Israeli attack on Iran. Israel is an independent country, said the American Secretary of State. What an extraordinary lie.

Israel cannot exist without American weapons and money. Israel cannot attack Iran without overflying Iraq, which the US air force can easily prevent. It is clear as day that the Bush Regime has given the green light to Israel to attack Iran so that the Bush Regime can rush to “Israel’s defense.”

Meanwhile the “liberal” media is urging the US to get involved in a war between Russia and Georgia. The insanity will lead to the unloosening of nuclear weapons.