Tag Archives: Bush Administration

Navy plan would turn Pacific Coast into firing range – UPDATED – Public Hearing in CA TONIGHT!!

(Published by permission of the author, Carol Van Strum)


The Bush Administration will haunt this nation for many years. Among its most egregious and devious legacies was a 2007 proposal to expand US Navy control over territorial waters beyond Puget Sound in Washington to include the entire coast of Oregon as well as part of northern California. This plan was effectively concealed from public view to the extent that to this day very few Oregonians know about it, much less the rest of the country. And because no one knew about it, no objections were raised and the plan is well on the way to execution.

The Navy has had a strong presence and active training grounds in the Puget Sound area since World War II, and the economy of Washington is in many ways dependent on military funding, directly and indirectly. Oregon has no Navy bases and has little or no military funding except for the notorious Army chemical weapons depot in Umatilla. Oregon’s coastal waters have long been a valuable resource for fishing, tourism, sports, recreation and wildlife preservation, with almost no military presence or activity.  

In July 2007, the Navy published notice in the Federal Register of its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on its proposal to expand its Puget Sound activities down the coastline to northern California. Those activities include extensive air combat maneuvers, missile and gunnery exercises, antisubmarine warfare exercises, electronic combat exercises, mine countermeasures (including underwater “training” minefields), intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations and extensive unmanned aerial systems operations (i.e., drones), in an area of ocean from the coastline to beyond the 12-mile territorial limit. During its activities in these waters the Navy could prohibit entry into its training or exercise area. The excuse for pre-empting commercial fishing, tourism, surfing, sports fishing and boating over the entire Pacific Northwest coastline is – you guessed it – the old Bush juggernaut, national security.

The Navy published its notice in five Washington newspapers, including the state-wide Seattle Times, but in only a single small-town weekly paper from Lincoln City, in north coastal Oregon, and a small California paper from Eureka.

In September 2007, the Navy held hearings on developing the scope and number of significant issues to be covered in the EIS, holding three meetings in Washington, one in Eureka, California, and one in the tiny town of Depoe Bay, Oregon. Unless Oregonians from other parts of its 262-mile coastline happened to read the weekly Lincoln City paper, they had no way of knowing about the meeting or the Navy’s proposal to take over Oregon’s territorial waters.

Fast forward to December 2008. As the Bush administration packed up to depart this vale of tears, the Navy rushed its 700-plus page draft environmental impact statement into print. The EIS, predictably, concluded that its missiles, bombs, guns, sonar and other explosive operations would have no significant impact on marine mammals, birds, or fish and no significant impact on humans along the Oregon coast.

The Navy announced publication of the EIS in the same newspapers as before, giving the public 45 days to submit comments on its proposal. The Navy thus presumed it served adequate notice to the entire population of Oregon, which has a vested interest in the state’s valuable coastal waters and coastline, by printing a notice in a tiny weekly paper in a single coastal town. In addition, the only hard copy of the EIS provided for the entire population of Oregon was lodged in the library of the same town.

During January 2009, the Navy placed ads in the weekly newspaper of Newport, Oregon, midway down the coast, announcing a meeting for public comments on the EIS in nearby South Beach on Jan. 30, 11 days before the public comment period ended. The ads were in very small type, buried in back pages, such as the sports section, of the Newport paper. Very few people noticed them. On the day before the meeting, news spread by word of mouth from people whose friends in Seattle had read of the meetings in the Seattle Times. Very few of those who were informed could travel all the way to Newport to attend the meeting.

Among these were a marine mammal expert, Bruce Mate; a county commissioner and commercial fisherman, Terry Thompson; at least one other fisherman; an 80-year-old activist on marine reserves and coastal conservation issues; at least one lawyer, and other local residents. Every person who commented complained about the absurdly inadequate notice given to the Oregon public about Navy usurpation of its coastal waters. The other comments criticized the Navy’s abysmal ignorance of the people, economy, geography, wildlife and politics of the area they proposed to control.

“I asked the Navy officials how their activities would affect the marine reserves off the coast, and they just looked blank and said they knew nothing about any marine reserves,” 80-year-old Charlotte Mills reported. “And when I asked how a press release to the Lincoln City News Guard could possibly give adequate notice of their proposal, their PR person said she thought the News Guard was the same as the Newport News Times.

“They simply didn’t bother to do their homework,” said Susan Hogg, a Newport lawyer who attended the meeting. “I only heard about the meeting the day before and hadn’t had time to read the EIS, but it was obvious from other commenters that the Navy hadn’t bothered to talk to any local people or experts. Now that I’ve looked at it, the document is so vague and contradictory it doesn’t reveal their real intentions at all. What the Navy’s asking is a blank check to do whatever it wants over the whole Pacific Northwest coast.”

Oregon’s territorial waters, of course, are a resource of the entire nation, and the issue of a Navy take-over is of national as well as state concern. Ceding all peaceful uses and enjoyment of our coastal waters to military war preparations reflects a monumental change in our national identity, economy, society and philosophy. The US Navy should have notified not only the people of Oregon but of the whole nation of such a drastic shift in public policy.

UPDATE #1: Here is the link to the Environmental Impact Statement produced by the Navy.

UPDATE #2: The Navy is taking public comment on the plan. Deadline for response is February 11, 2009.

Written responses should be sent to:

New Facilities Engineering Command NW

1101 Tautog Circle – Suite 203

Silverdale, WA 98315-1101

attn: Mrs. Kimberly Kier

online comments can be made here.


Date: Monday, Feb 2, 2009 7:00pm

Location: Eureka Women’s Club, 1531 J Street, Eureka, CA 95501

For a picture of this magnificent coastline and the original publication of this diary visit Planet Waves.

Senators Bond, Boxer, Obama, McCaskill Demand Fair Treatment of Combat Vets

Generally, we progressive Democrats have had little confidence in the Bush Administration to run an effective, fair, humane Federal government.  Over and over again, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condelezza Rice, and their cronies have promised one thing and then did little or nothing in follow-up.  Cases in point include protecting our borders from unrestrained immigration, rebuilding a hurricane ravaged New Orleans, protecting the health and welfare of the rescue workers at New York’s ground zero, and developing a cohesive, cogent plan to defend the United States against terrorism at our seaports, airports, power plants, water ways, and metropolitan areas.  Bush and his cronies are more interested in commercial profit than in preserving and protecting the Union.

The Bush Administration has done little to nothing in order to help our armed forces, National Guard, and Reservists.  First, they developed a piss-poor plan for the occupation of Iraq.  Second, the Bush Administration and their war machine did little to protect the troops in harm’s way.  Now, from the Walter Reed scandals onward, they have done nothing to process and assist returning Iraqi war heroes who are in dire need of psychological services.  I know from personal experience working in the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Brooklyn, as a summer psychology intern in 1995-96, that the Reagan Administration decimated psychological services at the DVA in an ill-advised attempt at eliminating cost in the Department.

People in the Bush Administration have, as elsewhere, been on a crash course to privatize the DVA and in its ill-conceived and anti-government pursuit, has left our brave soldiers, National Guard, and Reservists without adequate services.

Finally, with the Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate, Constitutional oversight has begun.  As indicated earlier, in a Press Release, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Kit Bond (R-MO), Barack Obama (D-IL), and John Kerry (D-MA) requested that Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, George W. Bush, so-called President of the United States, and the Department of Defense guarantee impartial psychological assessments of soldiers when needed.  Not ‘when needed’ from the Bush perspective, but from a common sensical perspective.

Now, Senators Kit Bond (R-MO), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Barack Obama (D-IL), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) are urging Bush to create a Special Review Board for discharged troops and to place a moratorium on the DoD’s use of Personality Disorder Discharges.

It is a moral outrage that U.S. Senators have to urge a President of the United States of America to provide ‘fair treatment of combat veterans.’

The Press Release is below the flip….

“Bond, Boxer, Obama, McCaskill Demand Fair Treatment of Combat Vets

“WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Kit Bond (R-MO), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Barack Obama (D-IL), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) are urging President Bush to create a Special Review Board for discharged troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and to place a moratorium on the military’s use of Personality Disorder Discharges.

“”Our government has a lifelong responsibility to care for the brave volunteers who have served our nation honorably in combat, unfortunately, the government is failing some of our wounded warriors,” said Bond.  “It is critical that the government starts treating all of our troops’ battle wounds – physical and mental, visible and invisible.”

“”It belittles the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform when you punish-instead of treat-those with combat injuries,” said Boxer. “When our brave service members are injured in combat, we cannot deny them benefits, blame their conditions on a pre-existing disorder, or refuse them the care and support they deserve.”

“With thousands of American service members suffering every day from the less visible wounds of war, reports that the Pentagon has improperly diagnosed and discharged service members with personality disorders are deeply disturbing,” said Senator Obama.  “These heroes make incredible sacrifices for our country, and our brave men and women shouldn’t have to fight a second war at home to get the benefits and care they deserve. The President should halt this practice until the military can review its policies and establish a special review board to examine the cases in question.”

“”The horrors of war are bad enough without a service member coming home only to have to fight against the government they fought to protect,” McCaskill said. “I’m please to be fighting side by side with Senator Bond in requesting a review board to study personality disorder discharges, so that those men and women who bravely fought for us and returned home with the mental scars from war get a fighting chance to receive the benefits they so greatly deserve.”

“This bipartisan group of Senators has been examining mental health care for service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and leading the effort to end the military’s inappropriate use of personality disorder discharges.

“Much like the program created by President Carter to examine the records of Vietnam veterans discharged less than honorably, the Senators are urging the President to create a Special Discharge Review Program to look at administrative discharges for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If established, the Board would give service members who served honorably in combat but subsequently received a discharge that does not entitle them to benefits the opportunity to have their cases reviewed.

“This is particularly important for those who failed to receive an appropriate diagnosis of or treatment for Posttraumatic (sic) Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The Senators believe such a process will help reduce the stigma associated with such discharges and allow those who served our nation honorably to resume normal lives after their service.  

“The discharge review board will also look at cases where service members were diagnosed for personality disorders. In the past six years, more than 22,500 service men and women have been discharged with a “pre-existing” personality disorder.  The Senators have expressed concern that some of these discharges appear to be the result of misdiagnoses and are being used to force out troops who may instead be suffering from service-connected psychological injuries – like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury.  The use of a personality discharge can result in a loss of disability benefits and medical care from the VA, and can even lead to service members having to repay thousands of dollars in re-enlistment bonuses.

“The Senators continue to urge for the adoption of short-term, commonsense safeguards to protect service members. The Senators emphasize that just limiting the use of this discharge is not enough. A moratorium, which would temporarily suspend the Pentagon’s use of personality disorder discharges for those service members who have served in combat, is necessary until there is a comprehensive review of the current procedures and additional safeguard to prevent misdiagnosis.                  

“Bond, Boxer, Obama and McCaskill were joined by a bipartisan group of their Senate colleagues including: Joseph Biden (D-DE), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Barbra Mikulski (D-MD), Ken Salazar (D-CO) and Bernard Sanders (I-VT).”

I am glad that the U.S. Senators are finally beginning to do their duty under the Constitution to provide oversight on an Administration that subverts the Constitution, suborns perjury, and fails to protect and defend the United States of America.  Kudos to the Democratic Senate and the emboldened moderate Republicans.

Senators Concerned Service Members Suffering from Mental Illness Not Receiving Impartial Reviews

(Xposted on mydesert.com)

I have written previously on mydesert.com and on Calitics.com regarding my concerns about the lack of adequate treatment and prevention for mental illness including Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in our returning servicemen and women.

It is clear from the prosecution of the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and in the current occupation of Iraq, that the Bush Administration has given little thought to the preparation, planning and follow-through for the military efforts and Iraq occupation.  In addition, the Bush Administration did little to adequately train and supply our troops.  The poor planning and follow-through is even more evident in the Walter Reed scandals of 2006.  This Administration appears to at the very least neglect our honorable men and women in uniform.  At the worst, the Bush Administration seems to view our soldiers as mere fodder for its own political ambition.  Hopefully, it is an issue of neglect and not vile political manipulation.

Anyway, the Armed Forces under the direction of the President of the United States and of the Secretary of Defense needs to ensure that every returning soldier, marine, airmen and women, and sailors, National Guard, and Reservists be screened for mental disorders related to their time of service.  And, the Armed Forces needs to provide adequate and immediate treatment for anyone who needs such.

I received the following Press Release today that expands on my concerns by addressing the lack of impartial reviews when assessing the mental health of our returning servicemen and women:

“Washington, D.C.-U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Kit Bond (R-MO), Barack Obama  (D-IL) and John Kerry (D-MA) today sent the following letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates:

December 14, 2007

The Honorable Robert Gates

Secretary of Defense

1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington , DC 20301

“Dear Secretary Gates:

We are concerned over reports that members of our Armed Forces with underlying mental health conditions are not receiving balanced, fair, and impartial reviews when facing judicial punishment and administrative discharge for engaging in misconduct that could be related to their conditions.

“We understand and support the necessity of maintaining good order and discipline in the military. At the same time, we are concerned that the decision to prosecute a service member with serious mental health issues may, in some cases, be carried out without appropriate consideration of recommendations made by uniformed mental health providers. As such, we ask you to promptly review guidelines for the administrative handling of such complex cases.”

More below the flip…

The Press Release continues:

“On December 2, 2007, The Washington Post ran a story entitled “A Soldier’s Officer” that clearly illustrates our concerns. The piece details the ordeal of Army First Lieutenant Elizabeth Whiteside, who according to available reports, served honorably at both Water Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) and in Iraq before experiencing severe mental health symptoms and attempting suicide. During her apparent suicide attempt, Lt. Whiteside threatened a number of her fellow service members, and as a result, we understand the Army is currently deciding whether to pursue a court-martial against her.  

“What we find particularly troubling about this case is that military commanders with no medical training derided the documented medical opinions as to Lt. Whiteside’s mental condition and their bearing on the case. Colonel Terrence J. McKenrick, commander of the Warrior Transition Brigade at Walter Reed, charged that even though medical professionals had determined Lt. Whiteside had a “severe mental disease or defect, she knowingly assaulted and threatened others and injured herself.” Another commander wrote that Lt. Whiteside’s “defense that she suffers from a mental disease excusing her actions is just that…an excuse; an excuse to distract from choices and decisions made by Lt. Whiteside.” These statements are contrary to the apparent recommendations of Lt. Whiteside’s battalion commander in Iraq that disciplinary actions not be taken, and show a callous disregard for the diagnosis of qualified psychiatrists at WRAMC, who found that Lt. Whiteside suffered from a “severe major depressive disorder and a personality disorder” and “disassociation with reality.”

“We believe that service members should be held accountable for their actions, and we recognize that the Manual for Courts-Martial provides procedures for handling mental health issues in judicial proceedings. However, this case highlights the need for the Department to review its administrative procedures and training programs to ensure that commanders give full and fair consideration of the recommendations made by trained mental health providers before initiating disciplinary actions against soldiers suffering from mental diseases.

“Additionally, as Senators who have worked extensively to improve mental health care services for our armed forces, we find it unacceptable that officers with no medical training-who are required by law to protect the impartiality of the military justice process-would make dismissive statements regarding Lt. Whiteside’s mental health condition. These comments only undermine respect for the mental health profession and increase the stigma associated with seeking mental health care.

“According to the Congressionally-mandated report of the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, “every military leader bears responsibility for addressing stigma; leaders who fail to do so reduce the effectiveness of the service members they lead.” The Department is best served by ending policies that discriminate against service-members who suffer from mental health problems and working to eliminate the stigma that prevents too many from seeking care. That is why we strongly urge you to ensure that the recommendations of qualified medical professionals play a clearly defined and important role in proceedings to discharge or punish any service member with an underlying mental health condition.

“Thank you for your consideration of this important request.”

The Bali Footnote and California: The World is Watching

(Cross-posted from Warming Law

As the Bush administration's environmental team returns from reluctantly endorsing a “road map” for future international climate negotiations, and prepares for a critical regulatory decision on concrete action here at home being initiated by California and other states, the expectations remain somewhat dimmed. While the Washington Post editorial board reviews the administration's history of foot-dragging and other negative machinations regarding California's key waiver request, reporter Juliet Eilperin's coverage of Bali includes one critical observation on its continued difficulty with strong emissions-reduction targets:

While the Bush administration made some concessions, it also scored a key victory by eliminating explicit language calling on industrialized countries to cut their emissions 25 to 40 percent, compared to 1990 levels, by 2020, a high priority for the European Union. Eventually the Europeans relented, settling for a footnote in the document's preamble that refers to a section in the 2007 scientific report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That section suggests that cuts that deep will be required to keep Earth's average temperature from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels.

There are several important points to take away from this telling footnote. First and foremost is the reality that for an administration recently caught down-playing science in its climate-related efforts– including the process by which it formulated the position on mandatory carbon limits that was knocked down in Mass v. EPA–  deliberately relegating a scientific finding by a group of Nobel laureates isn't exactly a confidence-booster. (Seriously, if you haven't read through Rep. Waxman's report already, do so!)

But even more important is the simple observation, as conveyed at Bali by the likes of Al Gore and by local officials themselves– and described at Gristmill by Professor Andrew Light– that the states have been moved to action in a way that completely contradicts administration naysaying and obstruction:

In his remarks, Gore repeated the promising news that had been at the center of John Kerry's message to the conference earlier in the week: The states are on the move. Regional state compacts have been launched in the Northeast, Midwest, and West on cutting greenhouse gases, which will commit over half the U.S. economy, and just under half the population, to significant cuts, amounting to responsibility for just under 40 percent of total U.S. emissions.

Reports from Bali indicate that this reality was critical in conveying that the U.S. as a whole is prepared to go further than the current executive leadership, and in forcing the limited movement that was ultimately attained. The world is truly watching what goes on at every level here, as we can easily deduce from learning that leading denialist Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) is somewhat of an international anaethema, and from the State Department's own attempts to spin state leadership to its diplomatic benefit. And with the EPA set to rule any day now on California's waiver, which is absolutely critical to setting state targets in motion, that spotlight could not come at a better moment.

The official grounds for granting a waiver are plain. The state's application is sound, the precedent of dozens of similar grants of authority is on California's side, and the courts have consistently undermined any rationale that might be used in a denial ruling. Still, if that's not enough, the reality that a failure to follow through on the law will have international reverberations should be an additional source of reflection.

Viewed in this light, a positive decision would be a pleasant surprise, showing that even if the current administration isn't fully sold on rapid and mandatory actions, it's at least evolving toward a position of not actively standing in the way of those who would pick up the slack.

Kucinich Calling For Congressional Investigation of NIE Handling

“When taken in concert with the statements and actions of the Administration over the past year regarding Iran, the National Intelligence Estimate reveals a pattern of willful deceit directed at the U.S. Congress, the American people, and the rest of the world on the critical matters of war and peace.”

                        Dennis Kucinich

He also pointed out that this most recent revelation, of an Administration’s deaf ear to facts, shouldn’t surprise us:

“More than three months ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran was cooperating with inspection procedures and demanded that the Bush Administration disclose any alleged evidence regarding such a program. None was provided.  More than a month ago, Russian President Putin revealed findings by his own nation’s intelligence services and announced that there was no credible evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

“Yet, in the face of both sets of findings, this Administration continued its drumbeat for war. Just this past week, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, with the NIE in his hands, was trying to arm-twist our NATO allies and the Republic of China into pressuring the U.N. Security Council to impose additional sanctions on Iran because of its alleged weapons program.

As many of you know, Kucinich’s push for Impeachment has been concerned specifically with this Administration’s actions regarding intelligence for War; Iraq, as well as Iran. In fact, Article Three of the impeachment resolution reads:

In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of Vice President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has openly threatened aggression against the Republic of Iran absent any real threat to the United States, and done so with the United States proven capability to carry out such threats, thus undermining the national security of the United States, to wit:

(1) Despite no evidence that Iran has the intention or the capability of attacking the United States and despite the turmoil created by United States invasion of Iraq, the Vice President has openly threatened aggression against Iran as evidenced by the following:

(A) `For our part, the United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime. And we join other nations in sending that regime a clear message: We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.’ March 7, 2006, Speech of Vice President Cheney to American Israel Public Affairs Committee 2006 Policy Conference.

(B) `But we’ve also made it clear that all options are on the table.’ January 24, 2007, CNN Situation Room interview with Vice President Cheney.

(C) `When we–as the President did, for example, recently–deploy another aircraft carrier task force to the Gulf, that sends a very strong signal to everybody in the region that the United States is here to stay, that we clearly have significant capabilities, and that we are working with friends and allies as well as the international organizations to deal with the Iranian threat.’ January 29, 2007, Newsweek interview with Vice President Cheney.

(D) `But I’ve also made the point and the President has made the point that all options are still on the table.’ February 24, 2007, Vice President Cheney at Press Briefing with Australian Prime Minister in Sydney, Australia.

(2) The Vice President, who repeatedly and falsely claimed to have had specific, detailed knowledge of Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction capabilities, is no doubt fully aware of evidence that demonstrates Iran poses no real threat to the United States as evidenced by the following:

(A) `I know that what we see in Iran right now is not the industrial capacity you can [use to develop a] bomb.’ Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency, February 19, 2007.

(B) Iran indicated its `full readiness and willingness to negotiate on the modality for the resolution of the outstanding issues with the IAEA, subject to the assurances for dealing with the issues in the framework of the Agency, without the interference of the United Nations Security Council’. IAEA Board Report, February 22, 2007.

(C) `. . . so whatever they have, what we have seen today, is not the kind of capacity that would enable them to make bombs.’ Mohamed El Baradei, Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency, February 19, 2007.

(3) The Vice President is fully aware of the actions taken by the United States towards Iran that are further destabilizing the world as evidenced by the following:

(A) The United States has refused to engage in meaningful diplomatic relations with Iran since 2002, rebuffing both bilateral and multilateral offers to dialogue.

(B) The United States is currently engaged in a military buildup in the Middle East that includes the increased presence of the United States Navy in the waters near Iran, significant United States Armed Forces in two nations neighboring to Iran, and the installation of anti-missile technology in the region.

(C) News accounts have indicated that military planners have considered the B61-11, a tactical nuclear weapon, as one of the options to strike underground bunkers in Iran.

(D) The United States has been linked to anti-Iranian organizations that are attempting to destabilize the Iranian government, in particular the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), even though the state department has branded it a terrorist organization.

(E) News accounts indicate that United States troops have been ordered into Iran to collect data and establish contact with anti-government groups.

(4) In the last three years the Vice President has repeatedly threatened Iran. However, the Vice President is legally bound by the U.S. Constitution’s adherence to international law that prohibits threats of use of force.

(A) Article VI of the United States Constitution states, `This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.’ Any provision of an international treaty ratified by the United States becomes the law of the United States.

(B) The United States is a signatory to the United Nations Charter, a treaty among the nations of the world. Article II, Section 4 of the United Nations Charter states, `All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.’ The threat of force is illegal.

(C) Article 51 lays out the only exception, `Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.’ Iran has not attacked the United States; therefore any threat against Iran by the United States is illegal.

The Vice President’s deception upon the citizens and Congress of the United States that enabled the failed United States invasion of Iraq forcibly altered the rules of diplomacy such that the Vice President’s recent belligerent actions towards Iran are destabilizing and counterproductive to the national security of the United States.

In all of this, Vice President Richard B. Cheney has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as Vice President, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

Kucinich pointed out that since it now seems publicly evident that the Administration willfully falsified the facts regarding their weapons program, it is now time for Congress to investigate the mater:

“I call on the Congress to launch an immediate investigation into what our intelligence agencies knew and when they knew it. I believe such an investigation will further build the case for the impeachment of both the President and the Vice President. The fact that  the President recently raised the specter of a possible World War III in public comments regarding Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program — when he knew full well that Iran had no such program – should seriously be considered as a high crime. And, the fact that he and his Vice President have pursued plans for our military to drop 30,000-pound bunker buster bombs on Iranian nuclear research facilities constitutes a war crime.”

And really how couldn’t you? Because I want to lay it down here: anyone who hopes to hold our highest office must support accountability for that office. It is time for our other candidates to join Kucinich in pushing for an investigation. Biden has seems to have started to firt with the idea, but we need the pressure from all of our Candidates. The more public and popular, the more pressure their statements will create. Where are they?

Kucinich: The Democratic Leadership Amounts to “Total Fraud”

Well, Dennis Kucinich continues to speak for America rather than gross party politics. Speaking in New Hampshire, Wednesday, Kucinich stated:

the vow from his party’s leadership in Congress to stand up to President Bush on ending the war in Iraq amounts to a “total fraud.”

The Ohio congressman said the most recent House-passed plan to set a timetable for ending the war still would permit permanent bases in Iraq and allow Americans soldiers to train Iraqi military and police and to fight off insurgents.

It really does seem to me that only Kucinich understands, or at least is willing to admit, that this country is in serious danger right now. Kucinich, seems alone among the candidates who believes that this election is much less about reclaiming the White House for the Democratic Party, than it is about reclaiming the United States for all of its citizens.

Yet, there is such a disconnect within our political system that the Democratic Leadership will not act upon the wishes of a majority of Americans regarding the war/occupation or even in protecting the essence of our Democracy through accountability and beginning impeachment investigations. As kucinich duly noted:

“I think the outrage is building among the voting public, but to the political system, it’s business as usual.”

State Rep. Betty Hall, D-Brookline, who attended, decided to endorse Kucinich after he forced consideration of V.P. Cheney’s Impeachment a few weeks ago. Hall tried to bring in a non-binding resolution to the New Hampshire House supporting an impeachment proceeding against Bush and Cheney, which House leaders from both parties opposed, not allowing an up or down vote.

“It isn’t popular to speak up; I know. When I spoke in the Legislature, some people were angry, but we must talk about it. We must learn about it,” Hall said.

Hall also showed Kucinich an article in the New Hampshire State Constitution, which reads inpart:

“The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and repression is absurd, slavish and destructive of the good of all mankind.”

Kucinich, who is now promising to bring more detailed articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush, said:

“I’m going to quote that language from the New Hampshire Constitution all over the country. Clearly New Hampshire is the place to bring this message.

Seems fitting for New Hampshire: “Live free or die”…

Kucinich will be a leading speaker Monday night at Dartmouth College for an “Impeachment Teach-In” sponsored by state and national liberal-leaning organizations.

Looking At Iraq Through Kucinich

In light of recent revelations about our role in Iraq, it’s time to consider the situation from the only candidate who has been right from the beginning.

Iraq is a disaster. We are now approaching 4,000 U.S. soldiers dead and updates of the Lancet study estimate that over a million Iraqis have died! This astounding figure was recently corrorborated in a British study this month. Security only declines day by day and dependable power, clean water and employment is unavailable. The U.S. spends about $200 million each day 70% of Americans want it to end.

Whether it’s the Baker-Hamilton report, or the GAO, it seems like everyone except the White House considers it a disaster. The consensus seems to be calling for a new approach, that will emphasize a political solution rather than a military one. However, the consensus is less clear as to what that solution may be. What is clear is that it is a colossal error, plagued by instability and massive violence, sending more and more human beings to their deaths every day. But, again, the nature of the violence and instability in Iraq is seen in different ways.

  The White House, as well as most of the Republican candidates, see it largely as the work of global terrorists and Iraqi extremists attempting to drive out U.S. forces and the establish a National State of terror from which they can launch their aggresive war against the United States. “Al Qaeda” is thrown out a lot, even though the organization has a very small presence in the country, estimated at around 1,500 people total. They therefore, justify our continued presence there as crucial to national defense and winning the War on Terror.

  Others, including many Democrats, consider the violence to be  essentially a sectarian conflict or full blown civil war. Their soulution is drawing down combat forces, while continuing to leave somewhere between 60,000-90,000 troops in the region, apparently, to “fight terrorism”, prevent the possibility of the conflict escalating and spilling over into other countries, mass genocide, to train Iraqi forces, etc. 

  So, even though there’s a lot of arguing between the two groups both sides are committed to leaving a substantial U.S. troop presence in the country. That is, though they disagree on the amount of troops to keep there, they both agree that a military presence is key to securing the country. The people that favor the second view, including Clinton, Obama and Edwards, and talk so much about “ending the war”, are planning to leave a big military presence there. That’s what they call ending the war. But, what has to be realized is that this no longer a war. Outrageous amounts of men, women and children are dying every day, but this is not a war. This is an occupation.

  That’s the word that neither side likes to use, but it’s the only word to describe it. The Republicans want to play offense in the occupation and the Democrats want to play defense in the occupation, but at the end of the day it’s still an occupation. It is an occupation based upon oil and privatization, an occupation based upon big business and reconstruction contracts. It is an occupation that is the cause of the violence and instability in Iraq and it is an occupation that we have to start looking at if we are going to stabalize Iraq and bring peace and security there, as well as in America. 

  In April, an ABC poll found that 97% of Sunnis and 83% of Shia opposed the presence of U.S. military. The same poll indicated that the entire infrastructure is growing steadily worse, as the availability of power, clean water and jobs are declining. Earlier this month a BBC poll  found that 60% of Iraqis approved of attacks on U.S. forces. The same poll found 70% of Iraqis saying that security has been steadily deteriorating, even with the surge in troops. As poll after poll shows these trends to be accurate, it starts to become obvious that keeping a U.S. military presence is entirely the wrong answer. Yet, these other candidates are all talking about continuing the occupation?

  If we look at what’s going on in Iraq, we see massive corruption. We have these private companies, like Blackwater, carrying out security operations, huge corporations such as Halliburton, landing no bid and cost-plus contracts for reconstruction, all of these companies making Billions rebuilding Iraq as the Iraqis get little to nothing in money and only a declining standard of living from the “reconstruction”. And then there’s the Oil.

  Iraq, having the third largest oil reserves in the world, is being pressured into passing a law that would in effect privatize over 80% of their Oil reserves to multinational companies, particularly U.S. oil companies. This “hydrocarbon law” not only gives the rights to U.S. and other foreign oil companies to do business in Iraq it enables them to have power in making the decisions over the contracts themselves. That is, a Federal Council is established to make decisions upon oil contract negotiations. However, representatives of these private oil companies will be on the board and thus approving their own contracts and terms. These are conditions of our occupation. These are the conditions of injustice, corruption and theft. These are the conditions that are enraging Iraqis and fueling the insurgency. These are the conditions of instability and violence that have, predictably enough, have lead to increased instability and violence.

  What we need to do is create conditions to allow for security or security will never arise. We need to create the conditions of fairness, stability and reparations. We need to allow the Iraqi people to possess their own wealth in Oil, to create jobs and a more stable economy through national reconstruction efforts. We need to end this occupation and start thinking more practically by realizing that it is the occupation that is creating the violence and convene an international peace keeping force to help the country remian stable as it rebuilds. We need to create the conditions of peace in order to strengthen Iraq as well as our own security and standing in the world. We need to start working with others and take a more even handed approach, building relationships instead of enemies.

  We need to elect the only candidate who understands these things and is willing to take action; the only candidate who has consistently spoken out against the war; the only candidate who has spoken out against the mass corruption and this most unjust oil law; the only candidate to tell the people the truth that we can end this war anytime we want end this war anytime we want; and the only candidate pursuing peace, peace that is practical and makes America stronger.

  Dennis Kucinich plan to end the occupation-H.R. 1234:


(1) the United States should end the occupation of Iraq immediately, simultaneously with the introduction of a United Nations-led international peacekeeping force pursuant to an agreement with nations within the region and which incorporates the terms and conditions specified in section 1;

(2) the Department of Defense should use readily available existing funds to bring all United States troops and necessary equipment home while a political settlement is being negotiated and preparations are made for a transition to an international security and peacekeeping force;

(3) the Department of Defense should order a simultaneous return of all United States contractors and subcontractors and turn over all contracting work to the Iraqi Government;

(4) the United Nations should be encouraged to prepare an international security and peacekeeping force to be deployed to Iraq, replacing United States troops who then return home;

(5) the United States should provide funding for a United Nations peacekeeping mission, in which 50 percent of the peacekeeping troops should come from nations with large Muslim populations;

(6) the international security force, under United Nations direction, should remain in place until the Iraqi Government is capable of handling its own security;

(7) the Iraqi Government, with assistance from the United Nations, should immediately restart the failed reconstruction program in Iraq and rebuild roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and other public facilities, houses, and factories with jobs and job training going to local Iraqis;

(8) the Iraqi Government, in an act of political sovereignty, should set aside initiatives to privatize Iraqi oil interests or other national assets and abandon all efforts, whether at the behest of the United States or otherwise, to change Iraqi national law to facilitate privatization;

(9) the Iraq Government, in an act of political sovereignty, should set forth a plan to stabilize Iraq’s cost for food and energy, on par to what the prices were before the United States invasion and occupation;

(10) the Iraqi Government, in an act of political sovereignty, should strive for economic sovereignty for Iraq by working with the world community to restore Iraq’s fiscal integrity without structural readjustment measures of the International Monetary Funds or the World Bank;

(11) the United States should initiate a reparations program for the loss of Iraqi lives, physical and emotional injuries, and damage to property, which should include an effort to rescue the tens of thousands of Iraqi orphans from lives of destitution; and

(12) the United States should refrain from any covert operations in Iraq and any attempts to destabilize the Iraqi Government.

John Nichols Nails It On Iran and Kucinich

John Nichols, writing for “The Nation”, has just written a kind of intellectual “call to arms” regarding, what is quite possibly, the most important issue facing the United States right now: Iran.

Those echoes that Americans are hearing in the noisy-and-getting-noisier debate about Iran are from 2002 and 2003, when members of the current administration were busy spinning the fantasy that the United States needed to attack Iraq.

George “Uranium From Africa” Bush sure sounds like he wants to attack Iran. Just last week, the president said, “I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them (Iran) from (obtaining) the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”

Dick “Greeted As Liberators” Cheney sure sounds like he wants to attack Iran. This week, the vice president declared: “Our country, and the entire international community, cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its grandest ambitions.”

Secretary of State Condoleezza “Mushroom Clouds” Rice sure sounds like she wants to attack Iran. “Unfortunately the Iranian government continues to spurn our offer of open negotiations, instead threatening peace and security by pursuing nuclear technologies that can lead to a nuclear weapon…” Rice said on Thursday, as she announced drastic new sanctions against the country that serious analysts say poses little threat to its neighbors and no real threat to the U.S.

Astutely pointing out the similarities to the pre-war spin on Iraq, to his credit, Nichols has the integrity to go further and point us towards the one and only Democratic candidate possessing both credibility and leadership on Iraq and Iran:

And, as in 2002 and early 2003, the most rational response is coming from Congressman Dennis Kucinich, the Ohio Democrat who says, “After the lies and deception used to lead us to war in Iraq, the belligerent Bush Administration cannot be given leeway with statements that suggest a preemptive attack on Iran is necessary,” says Kucinich, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nod who deserves a much better hearing that he has been afforded so far by the media and Democratic power brokers. “We are systematically destroying every available route to restoring peace and security in the Middle East,” he adds.

As Kucinich is the only candidate to oppose the invasion from the beginning and consistently oppose the occupation in its entirety, and further been willing to lead on Iran throughout his campaign, Nichols assesment is dead on.

“He’s right”, Nichols states, only to follow with sad lamentation and ominous warning:

But being right is not always enough in tenuous times.

Being heard is what matters.

And so, to his credit, Nichols is doing his part in enabling Kucinich’s voice of clarity to be heard. Will we listen?

If the prospect of a further aggressive action without legitimacy isn’t enough, consider Nichols’ fundamental argument in the closing of his short essay:

The point here is not a political one… This is about the most fundamental question in a democracy: At a time when talk of war is growing louder, will we hear a real debate or merely the exaggerated echoes of those who have never gotten anything right?

The answer could well be measured by the extent to which Dennis Kucinich and those who stood with him in 2002 and 2003 are afforded the forums that their record of having been able to cut through the spin of the past should afford them in the present.

Nichols is not soliciting votes, supporting Kucinich’s Campaign or endorsing him for our highest office, however, he has managed to isolate the essential basis for all three. Kucinich’s candidacy is nothing less than our opportunity to reclaim our Country and its Democratic Principles in total. Will we accept?