Saturday, August 26, 2006

Words of Power #27: Have Far from the Mooring of Reality has this Ship of Fools Drifted? The Regime & Its Enablers Look Past Iraq & Katrina to Iran

Other civilizations, including more successful ones, may exist an infinite number of times on the pages of the Book of the Universe. Yet we should not minimize our sacred endeavors in this world, where, like faint glimmers in the dark, we have emerged for the moment from nothingness into material existence. We must make good the demands of reason and create a life worthy of ourselves and of the goals we only dimly perceive.
Andre Sakharov, Nobel Prize Lecture,1975

Words of Power #27: Have Far from the Mooring of Reality has this Ship of Fools Drifted? The Regime & Its Enablers Look Past Iraq & Katrina to Iran

By Richard Power

Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah are dangerous men. Bin Laden and Zawahiri are dangerous men. But Bush and Cheney are a far greater threat to US peace and prosperity. If it were not for the folly of the Bush-Cheney regime, Bin Laden and Zawahiri would be dead or imprisoned already, and Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah would have been easily boxed in. (Indeed, Ahmadinejad probably wouldn't even have been elected.)

Have far from the mooring of reality has this Ship of Fools drifted?

Even if the mainstream news media were asking about whether or not Bush-Cheney had an credibility whatsoever in regard to Iran -- which of course they are not asking -- they would be missing the point.

After leading the country into debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan, and presiding over a catastrophe in New Orleans, it is already painfully clear that the Bush-Cheney regime has no credibility at all on either national security or homeland security, and that they are, therefore, not competent (morally or intellectually) to deal with the challenge of Iran’s nuclear development.

The real question is what do we do now?

What does the electorate of the world’s greatest military and economic power do when the Executive Branch is mired in criminal negligence, authoritarianism, military adventurism, corruption and war profiteering, and its primary enablers, i.e., the GOP-controlled US Congress and the Corporatist controlled US mainstream news media, have abdicated their responsibilities of oversight and truth-telling?

What happens now? That’s the real question.

The US mainstream news media should be giving serious consideration to the issue of whether or not Bush-Cheney should be on trial for war crimes:

A chief prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at Nuremberg has said George W. Bush should be tried for war crimes along with Saddam Hussein. Benjamin Ferenccz, who secured convictions for 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating the death squads that killed more than 1 million people, told OneWorld both Bush and Saddam should be tried for starting "aggressive" wars--Saddam for his 1990 attack on Kuwait and Bush for his 2003 invasion of Iraq. Aaron Glantz,, 8-25-06

But instead, Orwellian touch-up artists in the US mainstream news media coddle them and shield them even from embarrassment:

During his August 21 press conference, George W. Bush responded to a question about the Iraq War by saying that "sometimes I'm happy" about the conflict. But many readers and TV viewers never heard the remark, since journalists edited the statement to save Bush any possible embarrassment. CBS, NBC Clean Up Bush's 'Happy' Talk, F.A.I.R., 8-25-06

Bush-Cheney’s foolish military adventure in Iraq and their wet dream of a “New Middle East” under US dominance have led to debacles for the US in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Israel in Lebanon):

George Bush has long asserted that the war in Iraq would remake the Middle East. Turns out he was right. According to a new report by Chatham House, a British think tank, after spending over $400 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has succeeded... in making Iran the top dog in the region. That's right, after over three years and 2,618 American lives lost in Iraq, Iran has now superceded America as the most influential power in that country. Indeed, in the words of the report, Iran now considers its former arch enemy its "own backyard." The Mullahs in Tehran have also become a "prominent presence" in Afghanistan. Arianna Huffington, Your Tax Dollars at Work in the Middle East, Huffington Post, 8-24-06

But instead of analyzing the Bush-Cheney machinations in regard to Iran with context and continuity, (i.e., by comparing it to the “sexing up” and “cherry-picking” of intelligence in the rush to invade and occupy Iraq), the US mainstream news media is once again carrying the Bush-Cheney cabal’s filthy water:

As today's page-one stories in both the New York Times and the Washington Post make clear, the Bush administration has begun to apply pressure on the U.S. intelligence agencies to pump up the threat that Iran poses….while both the Times story and the Post story make ample, if measured, reference to what happened the last time Cheney and Co. insisted on getting the "right" answers to their intelligence questions, neither reminded readers of how little skepticism we in the press brought to claims that Iraq had WMD, that Saddam's henchmen had gone to Niger and secured "yellowcake," that those aluminum tubes really were trouble, and that there was a 9/11 connection. Nor did those stories go far enough in putting this latest bit of White House maneuvering into its proper context. The country is less than three months away from a crucial mid-term election….Finally, there was scant outrage expressed anywhere in the press today (perhaps tomorrow?) over the fact that, despite all we've learned about this administration's willingness to say whatever is necessary to get what it wants, here, it seems, we go again....
Brent Cunningham, Shameless: Psst! Iran Helped Plan September 11 ..., Columbia Journalism Review, 8-24-06

The US mainstream news media’s refusal to provide context and continuity for Bush-Cheney’s foreign policy fiascos and national security blunders is also letting them pass in regard to the criminal negligence indulged in before, during and after the disaster of Hurricane Katrina.

On Monday 8-29-05, after being told that New Orleans’ levees had breached, and that this was “the big one,” Bush put in a call to his Secretary of Homeland Security to discuss immigration, and then shared a birthday cake with the shell of a man formerly known as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Bush went to bed that night without responding to Lousiana Gov. Blanco’s request. “Mr. President, we need your help. We need everything you’ve got.” The next morning, he gave an address on Iraq at a US naval base and then played country with country singer Mark Willis before returning to Crawford for the last night of his vacation. On 9-1-05, Bush claimed that no one expected the levees to break. Katrina Timeline, Think Progress

And what has happened in the ensuing year?

“The government awarded 70 percent of its contracts for Hurricane Katrina work without full competition, wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the process, says a House study released Thursday by Democrats. The report, a comprehensive overview of government audits on Katrina contracting, found that out of $10.6 billion in contracts awarded after the storm last year, more than $7.4 billion were handed out with limited or no competitive bidding. In addition, 19 contracts worth $8.75 billion were found to have wasted taxpayer money at least in part, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the report. It cited numerous instances of double-billing by contractors and cases of trailers meant as emergency housing sitting empty in Arkansas. In the House report, Democrats faulted FEMA for recently awarding new $400 million temporary housing contracts for future disaster work to Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, Bechtel National, CH2M Hill Inc. and Fluor Enterprises Inc….Three of them — Bechtel, CH2M Hill and Fluor — were found by government auditors to have wasted money in the hurricane effort. The Shaw Group Inc.'s lobbyist, Joe Allbaugh, is a former FEMA director and a longtime friend of President Bush, while Bechtel CEO Riley Bechtel served on Bush's Export Council from 2003-2004. HOPE YEN Democrats cite no-bid Katrina contracts, Associated Press, 8-24-06

But what have you heard about on the nightly network and cable news broadcasts?

On the August 23 edition of CNN's Live From..., host Kyra Phillips allowed Katrina survivor Rockey Vaccarella to repeatedly praise or deflect blame from President Bush over his handling of Hurricane Katrina, yet failed to note that Vaccarella once ran for local office as a Republican or challenge Vaccarella's various attempts to excuse the federal government's slow response. As Philadelphia Daily News senior writer Will Bunch has reported, Vaccarella ran in 1999 for the St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, commission as a Republican, according to a October 15, 1999, candidate profile in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. While Phillips noted that Vaccarella "ran for office in the past in St. Bernard Parish," she failed to mention his party affiliation. In "a wonderful segment," CNN provided forum for Katrina survivor to praise Bush on Katrina, omitted that he's a Republican, Media Matters, 8-23-06

Mr. Vaccarella got to shake hands with George W. Bush and thank him for the "millions of FEMA trailers" and exclaim his regret that Bush could not have a "third term." News clips of this encounter, of course, saturated the air waves.

If we still lived in a society where healthy democratic institutions protected the public good, the men responsible for the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan and the catastophe in New Orleans, would be angling to avoid prosecution right now, instead of planning their next military adventure.

And then, of course, there is 9/11. But I will wait until we are closer to the FIFTH anniversary of that slaughter of the innocents before I write about it AGAIN.


Hard Rain Journal 8-24-06: Updates on Darfur & Katrina, Failures of the Human Spirit

Hard Rain Journal 8-22-06: The Central Theme of Future Historians will be Betrayal, Just Ask Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, Spike Lee & Valerie Plame Wilson

Hard Rain Journal 8-7-06: Coked Out? ABC Ignores 3 Blockbusters on War & Treason to Suggest Lamont, Not Lieberman, Would Be A "Disaster"

Words of Power #26: Lost Symbols, Part III -- The Goddess of Liberty

Words of Power #19: Colbert and McGovern Echo Murrow and Eisenhower, Is the U.S. Nearing Its Tiananmen Square Moment?

Words of Power #16: Lt. Gen. Newbold Bears Witness, Sy Hersh Sounds the Alarm & Patrick Fitzgerald Raises the Stakes
Words of Power #1: Truths Salvaged from Post-Katrina Debacle

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

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