U.S. strike group transits Suez Canal as part of buildup of U.S. forces in Mideast
International Herald Tribune, January 30, 2007
ISMAILIYA, Egypt, A.P.-- A U.S. Navy strike group led by the assault ship USS Bataan steamed through the Suez Canal on Tuesday on its way to join the buildup of American forces in the Middle East.
The Bataan, which entered Egyptian waters Monday, spent the night at the Mediterranean harbor of Port Said and was expected to leave the Egyptian part of the Red Sea later Tuesday, a Suez Canal official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the press.
The seven-vessel Bataan group includes 2,200 U.S. Marines and sailors, helicopters and Harrier fighter jets, the Navy said in Bahrain.
The U.S. Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, will be overseeing around 50 warships in the Mideast after the arrival of the Bataan and an American aircraft carrier group in February, said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown.
The Fifth Fleet normally commands a fleet of about 45 ships, about a third of them from U.S.-allied navies, Brown said.
The Navy is in the midst of a regional buildup, with the group of the aircraft carrier
USS John C. Stennis on its way as well as 21,500 U.S. soldiers being sent to Iraq. The carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is already in the region.
The United States has not had two carriers in the Mideast since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The Bataan will join a second amphibious assault ship, the USS Boxer, which was on port visit in Dubai on Tuesday.
Brown said the Pentagon recently extended the tour of duty of the Boxer's U.S. Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is in Iraq.
The Bataan is on a routine six-month deployment to the region to conduct "maritime security operations" which includes boarding and searching ships suspected of carrying terrorists or nuclear components to Iran, the Navy said.
Impeachment by the People
by Howard Zinn, Commondreams.org, January 31, 2007
Courage is in short supply in Washington, D.C. The realities of the Iraq War cry out for the overthrow of a government that is criminally responsible for death, mutilation, torture, humiliation, chaos. But all we hear in the nation’s capital, which is the source of those catastrophes, is a whimper from the Democratic Party, muttering and nattering about “unity” and “bipartisanship,” in a situation that calls for bold action to immediately reverse the present course.
... Still, there seems to be a special viciousness that accompanies the current assault on human rights, in this country and in the world. We have had repressive governments before, but none has legislated the end of habeas corpus, nor openly supported torture, nor declared the possibility of war without end. No government has so casually ignored the will of the people, affirmed the right of the President to ignore the Constitution, even to set aside laws passed by Congress.
32nd Group U.S. Army Reserve from Puerto Rico, two injured one killed near Abu Ghraib, Wednesday, July 16 (AP/Dario Lopez-Mills).
George Bush July 15, 2003, deficit 50% larger than expected (AFP/Manny Ceneta)
The time is right, then, for a national campaign calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
Representative John Conyers, who held extensive hearings and introduced an impeachment resolution when the Republicans controlled Congress, is now head of the House Judiciary Committee and in a position to fight for such a resolution.
He has apparently been silenced by his Democratic colleagues who throw out as nuggets of wisdom the usual political palaver about “realism” (while ignoring the realities staring them in the face) and politics being “the art of the possible” (while setting limits on what is possible). [...more]
I know I’m not the first to talk about impeachment. Indeed, judging by the public opinion polls, there are millions of Americans, indeed a majority of those polled, who declare themselves in favor if it is shown that the President lied us into war (a fact that is not debatable). There are at least a half-dozen books out on impeachment, and it’s been argued for eloquently by some of our finest journalists, John Nichols and Lewis Lapham among them. Indeed, an actual “indictment” has been drawn up by a former federal prosecutor, Elizabeth de la Vega, in a new book called United States v. George W. Bush et al, making a case, in devastating detail, to a fictional grand jury.
Bush 'spoiling for a fight' with Iran
Simon Tisdall, The Guardian, January 31, 2007
US officials in Baghdad and Washington are expected to unveil a secret intelligence "dossier" this week detailing evidence of Iran's alleged complicity in attacks on American troops in Iraq.
The move, uncomfortably echoing Downing Street's dossier debacle in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, is one more sign that the Bush administration is building a case for war.
But as was also the case in the days before Saddam Hussein fell, powerful external forces, ranging from exiled Iranian opposition groups to leading Israeli politicians, appear intent on stoking the fire - and winding up the White House. [...more]
Israel is also pushing the intelligence case while upping the ante, claiming to have knowledge that Tehran is within a year or two of acquiring basic nuclear weapons-making capability. In a BBC interview last week former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu compared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime to Hitler's Nazis. Speaking in Davos the deputy prime minister, Shimon Peres, demanded immediate regime change or failing that, military intervention.
The US "push back" against Iran comprises many other elements beyond Iraq.
Unconfirmed reports suggest Vice-President Dick Cheney has cut a deal with Saudi Arabia to keep oil production up even as prices fall, to undercut Iran's main source of foreign currency. Washington is pursuing expanding, non-UN global financial sanctions against Tehran; encouraging and arming a "new alignment" of Sunni Arab Gulf states; and highlighting Iran's role in "supporting terrorism" in Palestine, where it helps bankroll the Hamas government, and Lebanon, where it backs Hizbullah.
The US is also deploying powerful naval forces in the Gulf that are of little help in Iraq but could more easily be used to mount air strikes on Iran.
Almost any one of these developments might produce a casus belli. And when taken together, despite official protestations, they seem to point in only one direction. The Bush administration, an American commentator suggested, is "once again spoiling for a fight".
Within The Gated Subdivision Of The American Mind: A Monument To My Comfort Zone
Phil Rockstroh, The People's Voice, September 19, 2006
They should erect war memorials in honor of us Americans here on the home front: a statue depicting us...sprawled on our sofas, TV remote fixed in our hands, steely in our resolve to remain distracted.
Where are our much-vaunted freedoms in the present day United States? Are they, perhaps, hidden among the phantom oaks of Oakdale Estates?
Sadly, it appears, for a depressingly large percent of our citizenry, the loss of our rights and liberties are missed and remembered to the same extent as the felled trees of Oakdale Estates.
At morning, during their commute to work, the residents of Oakdale Estates sit, stranded in traffic,on ever more congested "freeways"; they, as is the case with most of us, remain steadfast in our fantasy that automobiles provide us with freedom.
Rarely do we consider the fact that, in all likelihood, a bank or finance company owns the vehicles, while, in order to meet our loan payments, we must continue to work ever-longer hours and spend evermore time stuck in those self-same vehicles, in order to reach the jobs that devour evermore of our "free time," so that we can afford to pay the exorbitant price the "freedom"to "own" an automobile allegedly bestows upon us.
If this is our standard of freedom: Is it any wonder far too many Americans still believe that our soldiers are dying daily in Iraq to "keep us free?"
Perhaps, if we look closely, we can catch a glimpse ofthe freed souls of the war dead...now lounging in the cool shade of paradise beneath the trees of OakdaleEstates.
For we Americans will think of our war dead, often.Yes, of course, we will...about as often as the residents of Oakdale Estates think of the dispatched oaks.
And we Americans will mourn the dead of the war in Iraq...to the same degree we mourn the loss of our right to dissent. But rejoice: We're free to continue working for the freedom to be owned by the corporate class.
Moreover, our soldiers are free to continue to kill and be killed for our right to be oblivious to their deaths.
This is the best of all possible worlds, in the best of all possible lands -- why would anyone ever raise a harsh voice in protest against it in the first place? If you lament our losses, then the terrorist will have won. Can't you see: Unlike the terrorist, we have the freedom to choose to lose our freedoms and not give a damn. And that is why they hate us.
It's the reason we must hate them, in turn.
It's why our soldiers must find them, face them, and then kill them, without question, doubt nor equivocation.
It's why George W. Bush, when it was his time to serve, went, with unwavering resolve, and faced down (make that: went face down into) blizzards of Columbian babble powder.
It's why we must never cease to mind-lessly labor for the benefit of the corporate classes and never question the sanity of why we believe the act of living far beyond our means is a meaningful way of life.
It's why it's our patriotic duty to seek perpetual distraction within the media hologram.
In the end, it's because: If we were to feel the sorrow of the world, then our soldiers will have died in vain.
They must die so that our comfort level can be maintained.
In turn, we must do our part and strive to remain comfortable. [...more]
After the long commute home from work, the residents of Oakdale Estates might, like many of us, sit at the dinner table in exhausted silence or, have their minds further churned to spittle, staring stupefied at the television.
If I was seated, among them, I'd be tempted to ask an intemperate question, addressing it to the whole miserable family of the present day United States – to all of us - to my collective family -
we – suburban somnambulants, urban careerist cretins, Fundamentalist Christian fantasists, neo-con pendants, polite liberal ninnies, vapid trendies, hipster ironists (I plead guilty and offer this piece of writing as evidence against myself), right-wing bullyboys and girls,
and all those laboring class masses of wage slaves who've been rendered mindless, by way of exhaustion from long work hours and endless bombardment by the mass media.
I wish to ask this: Who is missing from our dinner table?
Who hasn't been extended an invitation? Who has been disinherited?
Where are the black sheep of the family -- those members neither invited nor spoken about (in a similar manner as those aforementioned dead soldiers, Iraqis, and oak trees) when our clan gathers?
What of the inspired misfits, indomitable freaks, defiant outcasts, and magnificent failures --the sorts who might broach uncomfortable topics, reveal family secrets, or too vividly display our flaws?
Where are those who have been cast out, orphaned from our family, and therefore, who, like a tragic hero from myth, are free to blunder upon unbearable truths. Where are the scorned and forsakenones?
All those banished from our thoughts, because they see our family for what it is, not what it strives to appear to be.
We need these wayward members of our family now, more than ever.
For this reason: As is the case with nature herself, a nation needs its mutant strains of innovative freaks, because, by introducing variation, they have the ability to transform the closed, negative entropy-generating genetic systems on this inbred planet. Thus, they enable life to diversify and flourish.
In this manner, we might avoid the fate of becoming a global clan of thin-blooded, wall-eyed trailer court imbeciles.
Perish the thought of: Planet Alabama.
Though it might already be too late.
How else can we explain the Bush presidency?
This is why we must perpetrate acts of everyday antagonism; why we must not supplicate ourselves before the bloodless gods of false propriety;
why it's imperative we rage and weep at the memory of squandered oak trees, dead soldiers, and forsaken freedoms.
Now is not the time for paeans to the polite and appropriate. Systems (including empires) don't collapse in a polite and decorous manner.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics is one rude bastard.
Negative entropy did not attend the finest finishing schools and will not be presented to genteel society in an elegant debutante ball.
There are harrowing reasons for our fear-engendered obduracy and compulsive complicity.
For deep within the gated communities of our minds, we Americans know this: That if we continue to ignore the storm gathering outside the insular subdivisions of our cultural awareness, then those who survive us on this abiding earth will remember us and grieve our passing
to the same extent the residents of Oakdale Estates mourned the memory of its namesake oak trees.
Why Can't Americans See What's Coming?
by Paul Craig Roberts , Counterpunch, 27-28 Jan, 2007
The American public and the US Congress are getting their backs up about the Bush Regime's determination to escalate the war in Iraq. A Massive protest demonstration is occurring in Washington DC today, and Congress is expressing its disagreement with Bush's decision to intensify the war in Iraq.
This is all to the good. However, it misses the real issue--the Bush Regime's looming attack on Iran.
Rather than winding down one war, Bush is starting another. The entire world knows this and is discussing Bush's planned attack on Iran in many forums. It is only Americans who haven't caught on. A few senators have said that Bush must not attack Iran without the approval of Congress, and postings on the Internet demonstrate world wide awareness that Iran is in the Bush Regime's cross hairs. But Congress and the Media--and the demonstration in Washington--are focused on Iraq.
What can be done to bring American awareness up to the standard of the rest of the world?
In Davos, Switzerland, the meeting of the World Economic Forum, a conference where economic globalism issues are discussed, opened January 24 with a discussion of Bush's planned attack on Iran. The Secretary General of the League of Arab States and bankers and businessmen from such US allies as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates all warned of the coming attack and its catastrophic consequences for the MIddle East and the world. [...more]
...Both Bush and Cheney have made it clear in public statements that they will ignore any congressional opposition to their war plans.
For example, CBS News reported (Jan. 25) that Cheney said that a congressional resolution against escalating the war in Iraq "won't stop us." According to the Associated Press and Yahoo News, Bush dismissed congressional disapproval with his statement, "I'm the decision-maker."
Everything is in place for an attack on Iran.
Two aircraft carrier attack forces are deployed to the Persian Gulf, US attack aircraft have been moved to Turkey and other countries on Iran's borders, Patriot anti-missile defense systems are being moved to the Middle East to protect oil facilities and US bases from retaliation from Iranian missiles, and growing reams of disinformation alleging Iran's responsibility for the insurgency in Iraq are being fed to the gullible US Media.
General Ivashof and everyone in the Middle East and at the Davos globalization conference in Europe understands the Bush Regime's agenda.
Why cannot Americans understand?
Why hasn't Congress told Bush and Cheney that they will both be instantly impeached if they initiate a wider war?
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration.