Friday, September 14, 2007


Above is an example of a political cartoon which has one virtue: it has truth in it. That's future Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with his new best buddy, Saddam Hussein, two years after Saddam's nuclear weapons program was derailed by an Israeli air strike.

What exactly is the point of the disgusting political cartoon by Mike Lester that ran in the September 14, 2007, Albany Herald? For readers who missed it, the cartoon has two Democrats, each portrayed by the donkey symbol. One has cut off the head of General David Petraeus and is holding the head in one hand and a bloody sword in the other. The disembodied head says “The surge is working” and one Democrat says to the other “How the heck does he do that?!!”

As a Democrat whose son has done two tours in Iraq and whose daughter-in-law is currently serving her second tour, I have to ask: What could possibly have possessed you to run such a false and misleading attack ad which conflates Democrats with fanatical religious fundamentalists who murder innocent civilians? Democrats are guilty of exactly one crime-- doing nothing to stop the Bush Administration which created this fiasco and has kept it going the last four and a half years.

And where is Herald’s outrage about the lies that General Petraeus told Congress- with one notable exception- during his Congressional testimony on September 10th and 11th?

Both General Petraeus and President Bush have falsely claimed that the surge has been a success, asserting that civilian casualties and sectarian violence in Iraq have decreased in 2007. The truth is that both sectarian violence and American casualties have increased in 2007. From the time the surge began, the situation in Iraq descended further down into the cesspool of chaos, anarchy, and civil war, with American military deaths in Iraq reaching the highest first eight month total since the March 20, 2003 invasion, totaling 739 for the first eight months of 2007, compared to 439 for the same period in 2006, 549 in 2005, and 496 the first eight months of 2004.

One set of grim statistics from the central morgue in Baghdad reveals the effect of the American military invasion on Baghdad’s civilian population: in July and August of 2002- the year before our invasion- deaths from murder totaled 21 and 10, respectively. In July and August of 2007-- post surge, with thousands of American troops “stabilizing security” in Baghdad-- deaths from murder in July and August were 1,417 (an all time record) and 1,091, respectively.

Both General Petraeus and President Bush have trumpeted the “danger” from Al Qaida in Iraq- an organization which didn’t exist until our invasion and occupation created it in 2004- if American troops withdraw. The truth as revealed by military analysts in Iraq is that Al Qaida in Iraq, adherents of the Sunni sect, comprises less than two percent of the insurgency in Anbar province, and the organization has virtually no presence in the Shia areas of Baghdad and southern Iraq. If we left Iraq tomorrow it would be crushed by local Sunnis in a fortnight.

President Bush’s stated purpose in January of 2007 for the surge wasn’t to win the peace in Iraq- - it was to provide breathing space for Iraq’s central government to gain control of the country, effect reconciliation between warring tribes and sects, and enact meaningful legislation in such areas as oil revenue sharing. The truth, as reported by the non-partisan U.S. Governmental Accounting Office, is that Iraq’s government is non-functional and non-existent outside the Green Zone in Baghdad. It wouldn’t survive a minute if it weren’t propped up by American troops, and there is no reasonable hope that it will ever actually govern.

To those with short memories, here’s a brief recap of just some of the lies President Bush and his acolytes told Congress and the American public- before and after the March 20, 2003, invasion of Iraq (of which my son was one of over 100,000 Marines and soldiers):

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." Vice President Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002.

"The Iraqi regime ... possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons." George W. Bush, Oct. 7, 2002.

"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program..... Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past." George W. Bush, Oct. 7, 2002.

"We know for a fact there are weapons there." George W. Bush's Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, Jan. 9, 2003.

And here was the truth:

“Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. ...There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.” July 23, 2002, British Downing Street memorandum.

“... we have not uncovered weapons.... Believe me, it's not for lack of trying. We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there." Lt. Gen. James Conway, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, May 30, 2003.

"I don't think they existed..." David Kay, leader of the U.S. hunt for weapons of mass destruction, who resigned on January 23, 2004.

And more lies:

"I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months." Vice President Cheney, March 16, 2003.

"It's a handful, a rearguard that's attempting to maintain a degree of political relevance here. We're going to finish these guys off." Col. James Hickey referring to the insurgency in September 19, 2003.

"There is no question in my mind that the coalition and the Iraqi people are winning." Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, in Baghdad, December 13, 2003.

We're on a glide-path toward success ... We have turned the corner, and now we can accelerate down the straightaway." Gen. Charles H. Swannack, Jr., Press Briefing, January 6, 2004.

“We’re making steady progress in implementing our five-step plan toward the goal we all want: completing the mission so that Iraq is stable and self-governing, and American troops can come home...." President Bush, September 25, 2004

“I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up.... Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously … there has been progress in the effort to enable Iraqis to shoulder more of the load for their own security, something they are keen to do.” General David Petraeus, in a September 26, 2004, op-ed piece intended to aid President Bush’s re-election efforts during the 2004 presidential campaign.

"We feel right now that we have ... broken the back of the insurgency, and we have taken away this safe haven." Lt. Gen. John Sattler, Press Briefing, November 18, 2004.

“I believe we’re really making progress in Iraq…." President Bush, April 28, 2005.

The insurgency in Iraq is “in the last throes.” Vice President Dick Cheney, May 31, 2005

“Iraq has made incredible political progress...." President Bush, October 28, 2005.

“Iraqis are making inspiring progress toward building a democracy." President Bush, November 14, 2005.

“We’re making progress on all fronts.” President Bush, May 25, 2006.

“There has been good progress." President Bush, March 19, 2007.

There was one moment of near truth during the September 2007 hearings, when Republican Senator John Warner asked General Petraeus “if we continue ...this strategy.. you are making America safer?” Answer: “Sir, I don’t know actually,”

The truthful answer would have been: “It has made and will make the world- and America- a far more dangerous place.”


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