Thursday, March 01, 2007


"Americans are very frustrated, and they have every right to be. ...We've wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives."
--Sen. John McCain to David Letterman

wArSHINtuHn--Yes, the system is broken, and it might be permanent--at least while this standing Congress exists. The debate is shifting again, with the hawks in both parties winning at this particular historical moment. It will be a short-duration victory for them. For four-years, we've been witness to the fact that no-matter how many billions are pumped into Iraq and Afghanistan, that there is never going to be a victory. Never. The only way would be to commit-genocide, and we appear to be on that road if this conflict continues for another five-years. That would make this a nine-year war, which is unacceptable behavior for any modern nation. Today, we get this:

[Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent] Conrad is following a CBO scenario under which the number of troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan are reduced to 30,000 by 2010. But over the full five-year window, Conrad said Democrats would actually provide $85 billion more in war funds than Bush requested since he assumes a continued troop presence over 2010-2012. "We are going to provide actually more funding , because we think the president's budget has understated the war costs over the five-year period," Conrad said. He added that the congressional budget resolution he is drafting for debate later this month will provide Bush's request for a $49 billion boost in the core Pentagon budget. Conrad said a final decision has not been made whether to impose the $20 billion cut. (AP, 03.01.2007)

The $20 billion-dollar cut is a smokescreen. It allows the Democrats to appear to be making-cuts to the president's war funding. As the quote above makes clear, this is hardly the case, and underscores the fact that most Democratic politicos still support the Bush administration's overarching war-aims. Shame, you'll have to go. Yes, there is oversight that is beginning in all of this, but since they all appear to have the same bosses on Wall Street, what real difference do we have here?

The aspect that is actually hilarious is that they think this is going to float. Iraq is never going to improve with American troops there, not ever. We are a lightning-rod for the national liberation front, the religious factions and warlords, terrorists who want to get some much-needed training from shooting-at our troops, and so much more that does nothing towards making the United States or the world any more secure. This was a job for INTERPOL and domestic police agencies, not the military. As we know full-well, it is doing the opposite. Yet, Democrats are still willing to fund both wars, while saying another line altogether: "We're providing oversight." Well, marginally, a $20 billion-cut is small in a military budget that totals $481 billion (yes, I'm being unfair, but that's OK):

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said Bush's budget was ``filled with debt and deception.'' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it would ``mortgage our children's future to the president's misguided policies in Iraq.'' Under Bush's plan, core defense spending would rise to a record $481 billion in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, an increase of 12 percent over what Congress authorized for the current year. In addition, the president is seeking an extra $100 billion this year and $145 billion next year for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the war against terrorism. (Bloomberg, 02.063.2007)

Fine, keep funding a worthless war that was never necessary to feed the war machine and the petroleum multinationals (mostly American, Dutch, and British), but this is becoming so obviously desperate on-their-part. All the cut means is that Bush gets the rest, and $80 billion extra. Extra. Not a very adversarial-stance, eh? Interestingly, Conrad voted against the use of force in the Gulf in 1991 as a representative.

With an inevitable ending of a catholic use of fossil-fuels, they had to have this war. This was all to rise the price of oil artificially, allowing-for unprecedented profits to buy all those alternative fuel technologies (while defraying from the cost, and shifting it to the public throughout the West). Both parties are complicit, and apologies aren't going to cut-it. Yes, at this point, the war in Iraq will have cost the American taxpayer--because we're the ones footing-the-bill--$2 trillion. Imagine the social programs, the money for our already-existing veterans who receive underfunded care, the job programs, the investments in biotechnology (like stem cells, just one aspect), the day care centers that are standard in most developed nations, and their universal health care--imagining it is all you're going to be able to do, thanks to both parties.

Washington insiders have betrayed us, and seem intent on their wrongheadedness, a nexus that connects the domestic with our anarchic foreign policy. Emigration to a civilized nation might be a consideration for some Americans. Things are only going to worsen with the same individuals in public-office, and a civil war on American soil seems assured once again. In the 1960s, we had riots and domestic-uprisings during times when our economy was pretty strong--imagine what would happen if the economy crashed again? But, it appears many Democratic politicians are willing to do exactly what House Speaker Pelosi has stated--mortgaging the future of the children isn't a problem for them and the GOP, it's business-as-usual to them. They had best be reminded of the specter of November 7th, 2006. Or not.

It looked precipitously close two-days-ago, a reminder that our economy is substantially impaired. George W. Bush may still end-up being the man who wrecked American democracy, but he had many enablers in Congress, the Supreme Court, and the press. The problem is this: many of them are still in-power. But noting the inherent inequality in America, perhaps it doesn't matter anymore. $20 billion--as hard as it is to imagine--is not much in the context of what the Bush administration wants for their war. It sends a message of compliance and weakness to the White House. The only good thing I can say is that they're making everything conditional now. Speaker Pelosi had this to say on the 27th of February:

“This unacceptable state of readiness affected our military long before President Bush ordered an escalation of the Iraq war in January, but the escalation is making it worse.“The harmful effects on the readiness crisis of the President’s escalation plan are just beginning to be seen. Two Army brigades scheduled to go to Iraq in the spring will do so without completing their normal training cycles and without all of the equipment required to do their jobs. We should not be sending troops to Baghdad unless they are fully trained and fully equipped. We already owe a great deal to our troops, and we do them a disservice by putting them in dangerous situations without being fully prepared.” (, 02.27.2007)

Senate leader Harry Reid was present at the press conference, and echoed her statements. Why naturally our troops have to be adequately trained and equipped. This is being stated to counter the GOP's use of our troops as a political football. "Support our troops", they say, while ensuring they continue to have tainted-food and water, inadequate armor, and used-up materials and vehicles--but this argument also holds that the war in Iraq is worthwhile. Well, it didn't bother the Lincoln administration! Most of Union's troops were poorly-equipped and trained in the American Civil War, the early-days of the American war-profiteer (many of whose descendants are millionaires and billionaires today). Little has changed at the core of this economic order.


Bloomberg, 02,06,2007:

Speaker Pelosi's comments from 02.27.2007:

Full Text of the January 26th Letter to the president: