Saturday, February 17, 2007

On Which Level, of Personality-Prison, is Whore-dom a problem?

Those Pussycats of Whoredom

The pussycats of electoral whoredom unleashed themselves early this presidential cycle, and what an unusually large and whorish herd they are.

The numerous "they" have staked out their respective street corners in the night fog, their backs leaning against lampposts, with foot propped and cigarette dangling, whispering "Want a date?" as though they've always been truly and only yours, whatever your eager wants and desires.

Rudy's on one corner, propositioning both the straight and the gay. He's always loved both, but now one a little more than the other. It's a question of market forces -- acute supply to meet retail demand.

Hillary's on another corner, batting her long lashes at the peaceful, thoughtful types, although she has loved long and well the martial types, too. It's a theatre of regret and redemption at its finest.

Mitt left the Northeast reservation to stake out the corner near the Falwell-Dobson crowd, having had those old, identifying tattoos of tolerance and reason removed. Anything for you, darlin', and if you like, he won't even remove his boots for the missionary routine.
Three other corners are populated by those who once exclusively worked Capitol Hill -- Chris and Joe and John E. -- but have since seen the volume profit to be made in opportunistic whoredom for the re-converted masses. Every good, self-employed hooker needs to adjust to mutating demand, and these cuties can adjust on a dime: principles are dashed off and on as quickly as their lovely black stockings.

And then there's John M., he of reputed virtue for resale. Poor Johnnie is a sad, desperate case, having pretty much been used up by his own insincerities, and who now finds himself not infrequently shunned. Even in whoredom, time and infidelity just might catch up to you.
Finally we have the likes of, say, Dennis, who's the world's worst practitioner of the world's oldest business. With boyish face and narrow charm, he's a misplaced loyal and devoted lover of truth unto himself, hence he doesn't work the streets well. He detests offering quickies, and of course Dennis isn't an aspiring trophy wife, either, so his enduring lures are severely limited to a severely select crowd -- that of idealistic consumers not of this tawdry world.

What mostly odd shoppers we are at the emporium of whoredom. We claim to yearn for fidelity, yet we know what we're buying -- and fidelity ain't the word for it. Then we cry disillusionment when our paramour jumps the bed to go hustle the naval base or business convention.
But what, in God's name, did we expect? That the pussycats of whoredom had actually changed their spots?

No, the veteran, successful whores know how to curl that index finger and flash the come hither look. After that, after we're momentarily satisfied, we then deserve getting bitten in the rear, because deep down we knew it was coming and we only fooled ourselves.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Old Granny

I Read The News today , Oh God

Actually, in a Nuclear nightmare, better to run toward the fire.

That is a strain of Wisdom that was seeded in Western soil/soul

-Actually, we all read the news today; Oh God, Oh Hell, Oh, Alien Ancestors, or whom-the-hell- ever, what ever experiment you have been conducting, on planet earth, is almost at the point of self-aihillation, of course.

Are you paying attention....anyone out there..... this is Kansas... Lawrence, Kansas, Does anyone hear us? (not really).

But the same could be true of any of us, at anytime, anywhere, any day or The Day After, if you get my drift.......

Rules for Being a Republican
House Rebukes Bush
Bushevik Special Counsel Accused Of Intimidation in Probe
Lawmaker plans airline passenger bill of rights
How Pentagon hijacked intelligence for war
Create Some Buzz >>>

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

More on McCain Meltdown

Back at Home, McCain Annoys the G.O.P. Right


SURPRISE, Ariz., Feb. 13 — The chairman of the local Republican Party here in the most populous county in Arizona has in his possession a bright yellow button with a black line slashed through the name McCain.

“I don’t wear it out very often,” said the chairman, Lyle Tuttle of the Maricopa County Republican Committee, in a slightly sheepish coda to a 20-minute vituperation about the state’s senior senator, served up from his living room chair.

“I think those who do not support Senator McCain,” Mr. Tuttle continued, “if they could just get the word out and help people to understand what has happened with him, we could have an impact.”

No doubt about it, Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who would like to be president, is a popular man in his state, having won re-election in 2004 with about 76 percent of the vote.
But a vocal slice of the state’s most conservative Republicans, reflecting concerns about Mr. McCain held by some conservatives nationwide, are agitating against him in a way that they hope might throw off his incipient presidential campaign.

In a recent telephone poll by Arizona State University, 54 percent of the state’s Republican voters who were queried favored Mr. McCain in a presidential primary next February, a small enough majority to incite his critics and encourage some Republican rivals.
“Arizona is one place where we are very well organized,” said Kevin Madden, a spokesman for the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, the Republican and former Massachusetts governor.

“We think we can go out there and make the case on pro-family issues, on fiscal issues and on strong borders,” Mr. Madden added.

Meanwhile, disgusted with Mr. McCain’s position on proposed changes to immigration laws (he advocates legalization that would not require illegal immigrants to leave the country), with what some see as wavering on the issue of gay marriage (he lent his name to a state ballot initiative to ban it but did not support a constitutional amendment), and with the campaign finance act that bears his name, some Arizona Republicans are making trouble for Mr. McCain.

They have elected local party leaders whom he opposes, criticized his policy positions and thrown early support to other potential primary candidates — all in the hope of tripping up Mr. McCain on his own doorstep.

“They can make trouble for him,” said Bruce D. Merrill, an Arizona State University political scientist and polling expert. “It is too early in terms of voting to tell, but it certainly could potentially affect people’s decision to give him money.”

The senator’s supporters are quick to write off the detractors as a fringe of the raucous state party that will be flattened like pita bread once primary day arrives next year. As a practical matter, Mr. McCain’s supporters point out, Arizona’s large swaths of independent voters can vote in the Republican primary, which will be a boon to Mr. McCain even if he loses some votes within his own party.

“When I was a little kid, I was really into western movies,” said Matt Salmon, former chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, who resigned with the intention to work for Mr. McCain’s presidential campaign. “In one of those, the cavalry was outmanned by attacking Indians, so they put a bunch of branches on the backs of horses, who then kicked up a lot of dust to make it look like there were a lot more people than there were. These guys drag around a lot of branches and kick up a lot of dust.”

Outnumbered or not, Mr. McCain’s critics now hold leadership positions in Maricopa County, the state’s most Republican enclave and biggest media market, which includes Phoenix. Their passion about the immigration issue, their flirtations with other candidates and their persistent harping underscore the skepticism about Mr. McCain that already exists among many hard-line conservatives here and around the nation.

They have been angered by Mr. McCain’s opposition to tax cuts backed by the White House; by his immigration position, which places him on a collision course with other Republicans; by his moves to close a loophole on gun purchases; and by his vote for the fetal stem cell research bill.
The Maricopa County Republican Party recently conducted a straw poll that depicted Mr. McCain as losing badly to Representative Duncan Hunter of California, a conservative unknown to the majority of Arizona voters, then touted it with unmasked glee. The poll was derided as a sham by Mr. Merrill, the political scientist, and others who questioned the methodology.
Among some Republicans here, Mr. Romney, a Mormon who may benefit from his faith’s strongholds around the state, is also mentioned as a viable alternative to Mr. McCain. Mr. Romney is supported by Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County sheriff, among others.

Mr. McCain “can’t just take it as a given that he is going to win here,” said Randy Pullen, the new chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, who got the post by narrowly defeating a more moderate Republican backed by Mr. McCain. “He is going to have to work.”

In some ways, Mr. McCain’s troubles here reflect a fracas within the state party that has pit its more centrist members, long the stronghold of its leadership, against its most hard-line factions who call Mr. McCain “elitist.”

For several years, various critics have complained that he has been aloof, that he has a brittle temper and that he has made missteps on key conservative issues.

Although Mr. McCain was ultimately victorious in the 2000 presidential primary, Gov. Jane Dee Hull of Arizona, a fellow Republican, took the unusual step of endorsing his opponent, George W. Bush, who was then Texas governor.

In 2001, two unsuccessful recall movements arose against the senator. In 2005, some groups around the state that advocate a strict deportation policy for illegal immigrants wrote letters of censure or displeasure attacking Mr. McCain for his stance. “The grass roots are burning mad,” said Gary Watson, former chairman of the Mohave County Republican Central Committee. “We want to defend our borders. We don’t want them to have citizenship.”
So who would be better for Arizona?

“I am real excited about Rudy Giuliani,” said Mr. Watson, even though the former New York mayor has a more liberal record on abortion rights, gun control and gay rights than Mr. McCain. “The social issues are a little bit looser than what I appreciate,” Mr. Watson said. “But he is stronger than McCain on the border issue, and the border issue is so immense to deal with.”
While much of the rumbling against Mr. McCain is among party leaders, they have managed to leave an impression among some voters.

“I could be persuaded to vote for someone else,” Kathleen Hall, 60, a Republican who supported Mr. Bush in 2000, said as she sipped coffee in a Scottsdale outdoor mall this week. “McCain is not my favorite candidate. He would just as easily tomorrow turn into a Democrat.”
Mr. McCain, who was elected to Congress from Arizona in 1982 and who succeeded Barry Goldwater in the Senate in 1986, does not appear to be shivering.

“Folks recognize that he is a principled and committed conservative who has delivered for his constituents,” said Danny Diaz, a spokesman for Mr. McCain’s presidential exploratory committee.

And plenty of people think it is a fool’s errand to try to prove otherwise.

“Anybody who thinks John McCain wouldn’t win a Republican primary in Arizona is not living in the real world,” said Mr. Merrill, the Arizona State University political scientist.
That does not mean they won’t try.

“He would do a lot better in the general here than he would do in the primary,” said Jack Hustead, who chairs the Apache County Republican Committee, “because in a primary, there are other options.”

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Rumsfeld Legacy, Part II

Here's a classic Rumsfeldism: "We do have a saying in America: if you're in a hole, stop digging ... erm, I'm not sure I should have said that." In Part 2 of his historical excavation of the life and world of Donald Rumsfeld (not to speak of the worlds of both President Bushes, the neocons, the U.S. military, the GOP, and an indolent media), Roger Morris, already deep in that hole, just keeps digging away. In doing so, he offers us the rest of Rumsfeld's long march to power, his lasting legacies, and the costly lessons of this comeback kid. So much that went unheeded in the years in which Rumsfeld once again scaled the heights of power is now, thanks to Morris, compactly on the record.

"The absence of evidence is not necessarily the evidence of absence" is another infamous Rumsfeldism. How true. And in Rumsfeld's absence, the evidence of how he changed our world for the worse will be with us to consider for years to come. So, if you missed it, check out "Sharp Elbows," the first part of "The Undertaker's Tally," and then settle in for the sequel, the one you thought you knew until you read "The Power and the Glory." Read it and remember, the bell tolls for thee. Tom

The Power and the Glory

The Undertaker's Tally (Part 2)
By Roger Morris

In 1976, when Jimmy Carter took the Presidency from Gerald Ford, outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld went off to seek corporate wealth as head of G.D. Searle, a Skokie pharmaceutical company. His period running the business, inherited by the family of his North Shore friend and early backer Dan Searle, would become part of Rumsfeld's legend of success as a master manager, negligently accepted as fact by the media and Congressional representatives at his 2001 confirmation hearings.

The legend went this way: Political prodigy slashes payroll 60%, turns decrepit loser into mega-profit-maker, earns industry kudos and multiple millions. In looking at men of prominence like Rumsfeld who revolve in and out of the private sector, the Washington media almost invariably adopts the press-release or booster business-page version of events from what inside-the-Beltway types call "the real world." In Rumsfeld's case, behind the image of corporate savior lay a far more relevant and ominous history.

In the documented version of reality, derived from litigation and relatively obscure investigations in the U.S. and abroad, Searle turned out to enjoy its notable rise less thanks to Rumsfeldian innovative managerial genius than to old-fashioned reckless marketing of pharmaceuticals already on the shelf and the calling in of lobbying "markers" via its well-connected Republican CEO. And over it all wafted the distinctive odor of corrupt practices. A case in point was Searle's anti-diarrhea medicine Lomotil, sold ever more widely and profitably internationally (in industry terms "dumped") -- especially in Africa in the late 1970s -- despite the company's failure to warn of its potentially dire effects on younger children.

"A blindly harmful stopcock," one medical journal called the remedy, which could be poisonous to infants only slightly above Searle's recommended dosage. Even taken according to directions, Lomotil was known to mask dangerous dehydration and cause a lethal build-up of fluids internally. Having advertised the medicine as "ideal for every situation," Searle did not undertake a cautionary labeling change until the end of 1981, nearly five years into Rumsfeld's tenure, and then only when threatened with damaging publicity by children's advocacy groups. Part of the vast outrage of multinational "pharmas" exploiting the Third World, the company under Rumsfeld would, like the more publicized Upjohn with its Depo-Provera, be implicated in widespread bribery of officials (and others) in poorer countries to promote the sale of oral contraceptives which had been found unsafe for American or European women.

But Searle's magic potion, concocted well before Rumsfeld's arrival, was to be the controversial artificial sweetener aspertame, marketed under the trade name NutraSweet. By 1977, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had staunchly refused to approve aspertame for some 16 years, finding test data dubious or inconclusive and fearing that potential long-term dangers might prove prohibitive. As Rumsfeld took over in Skokie, the FDA was taking the rare step of recommending to Justice Department prosecutors that a grand jury investigate the company's applications for FDA approval for "willful and knowing failure to make reports… concealing material facts and making false statements" in connection with the statutory application process required by law and FDA standards.

Over the next four years, federal regulators held firm against Searle's heavily financed campaigns. Only with Reagan's election in 1980 did fix and favor supplant science and the public interest. Having campaigned for the new president and been named to his transition team, Rumsfeld told his Searle sales force, according to later testimony, that "he would call in all his markers and that no matter what, he would see to it that aspartame would be approved…"
The sequel would be a classic of the genre: Searle's reapplication to the FDA the day Reagan was inaugurated; the prompt appointment of an agreeable FDA commissioner who would later go to work for Searle's public relations firm for $1,000 a day; further questionable, company-commissioned tests with more doubts by FDA scientists but approval of aspertame nonetheless; a later plague of health problems but by then vast profits throughout the corporate food economy followed by lavish, multi-company contributions to Congressional committee members to stifle any outcry; eventually, a $350 million class-action suit alleging racketeering, fraud, and multiple abuses centering on Rumsfeld, who meanwhile had become gloriously rich from aspertame and the $2.7-billion sale of Searle to Monsanto in 1985.

In his return to the Pentagon in 2001, he would go duly unscathed by any of the company's history. By the time litigation would be filed, the United States was already 18 months into the occupation of Iraq.


As it was, despite his business conquests, Rumsfeld missed an even greater prize. He had been on a short list to become Ronald Reagan's running mate in the 1980 presidential campaign when the candidate unexpectedly reached for his defeated primary rival (and Rumsfeld nemesis) George H.W. Bush. While, over the next 12 years, Bush went on to the vice-presidency and presidency, and Jim Baker -- equally detested by Rumsfeld -- went along with his patron to White House staff and cabinet power, Rumsfeld would build his Searle fortune and bide his time.
The one exception to his involuntary Reagan-era exile from government would be a stint in 1983-1984 as special presidential envoy to the Middle East. He would be sent to arrange U.S. support for Saddam Hussein's Iraq in its war with the hated Iranians of Ayatollah Khomeini, a role little noticed at the time which nonetheless produced the notorious photo of Rumsfeld shaking hands with the Iraqi dictator. The deeper story was far more embarrassing than any simple handshake.

Most of the relevant records on Rumsfeld's several-month assignment are still classified, though it is clear that, as at the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), he took on his mission with a passion. He worked to shower on Saddam (in a manner as unnoticed as possible) an infamous flow of intelligence, financial credits, and sensitive materials and technology that would come to underpin Iraqi chemical and bacteriological warfare programs, leading to hideous gas attacks on Shia dissidents and Kurds as well as the Iranian forces. In general, Rumsfeld put his shoulder to the wheel to shore up the war-worn Ba'athist regime that had attacked Iran in 1980.

In this mid-1980s de facto alliance with Saddam, as in much else, Rumsfeld was never alone. He was joined in this pro-Iraqi tilt in the Middle East by President Reagan, Vice President Bush, Secretary of State George Shultz, Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, National Security Advisors William Clark and Robert McFarlane, and a number of still obscure men like Paul Wolfowitz at State, Colin Powell, then Weinberger's aide at the Pentagon, and Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle, not to speak of his zealot acolyte assistant Douglas Feith (who would return in a pivotal post under Rumsfeld in 2001) as well as Bill Casey and Robert Gates at the CIA, among other officials.

Their gambit was, in turn, backed by Senators and Congressmen in both parties who were briefed on Rumsfeld's mission and obligingly shunned oversight of the manifold aspects of the sometimes illegal collusion with the Iraqis. Their dereliction was assured, in part, by the general animus toward Iran on a Capitol Hill then effectively controlled by the Republicans, and increasingly under the bipartisan influence of the growing Israeli lobby and its Tel Aviv handlers. The lobby quietly, cynically pushed both for Reagan administration aid to Iraq and for covert arms-dealing with Iran (later exposed in the Iran-Contra scandal), viewing the ongoing no-winners carnage of two Islamic states as a boon. All this went on largely unreported, given the customary media diffidence or indolence on national security issues.

Historically, the moral outrage and far-reaching political folly of Washington's furtive arming of one tyranny to bleed another, with untold casualties on each side (including the murderous suppression of would-be democrats in both countries), would belong at the doorstep of Reagan's reactionary regime and the Washington foreign-policy establishment as a whole. Rumsfeld's role was instrumental and in some respects crucial, but only part of the larger disgrace.

At the same time, in the intelligence briefings he received as the first ranking U.S. official to go to Iraq since the Baghdad Pact of the 1950s, he would have been uniquely aware, as no other senior figure in Washington, of the brutal character of Saddam Hussein's regime and, in particular, the sectarian, regional, tribal, and clan politics that lay behind it. The Ba'athists were a government, after all, that the CIA itself had helped to recruit and install in the coup of 1963, reinstalled in 1968 when the Agency's original clients lost control, and then watched closely while Baghdad had a flirtation (involving an arms-supply relationship) with the feared Russians (whose influence the bloody 1963 coup was supposed to counter). This was particularly true in the aftermath of the Arab-Israeli War of 1973 with its peace agreements from which Iraq emerged as a principal remaining challenge to Israel.

By 1983-1984, the volatile, complex currents of Iraq's political culture, Saddam's essentially family and clan rule, and the now crude, now subtle layering of Sunni and Shia in the Ba'athist bureaucracy and plutocracy, as well as the wartime distrust and savage repression of a suspect, subordinate Shia majority, were well known to outside intelligence agencies as well as scholars and journalists. The CIA, DIA and State Department Bureaus of Near Eastern Affairs and Intelligence and Research -- and certainly Rumsfeld as presidential envoy -- also had reason to understand much about Saddam's grandiose ambition, in Iraq's old rivalry with Egypt, to lead a pan-Arab nationalist renaissance to some kind of future parity with Israel's nuclear-armed military might.

In addition to the usual extensive intelligence-sharing with Israel's Mossad, less than two years before Rumsfeld's Iraq mission CIA operatives had literally lit the way for Israeli F-16 fighter bombers in their June 1981 surprise attack on Saddam's fledgling nuclear reactor at Osiraq. They planted guidance transmitters along the low-level flight path under Jordanian and Iraqi radar to the point of painting the target with lasers. The Agency and Mossad then watched as the Iraqis dauntlessly, defiantly began to rebuild and expand their nuclear program. From some 400 scientists and technicians with $400 million in funding, that program would grow to perhaps 7,000 scientists and technicians with as much as $10 billion at their command, some of which was indirectly made possible by the bounty Rumsfeld carried to Baghdad in the mid-1980s

For anyone dealing seriously with these issues, there could have been little doubt that Saddam would use the considerable aid and trade Rumsfeld was sliding his way under the table to mount a better-armed, more bloody war on Iran, to further the regime's most ambitious dreams of weapons development, and to tyrannize all the more savagely potentially rebellious Iraqi Shiites and Kurds. As Washington watched, he did all of that -- and no one could have been less surprised than Rumsfeld himself. Long afterward, as some of the ugly essence of his mission to Baghdad dribbled out amid the ruins of Bush's Iraqi occupation, Rumsfeld would be faulted for pandering to, and appeasing, Saddam (whose gassing of the Kurds had already begun) -- in the wake of a single, timorous, hypocritical statement issued in Washington in March 1984 criticizing his use of chemical weapons. The actual toll of the policy to which he was integral would prove so much higher as time passed.

Iraqi chemical weapons plants bombed in the 1991 Gulf War released agents to which some 100,000 American troops were exposed. The infamous Gulf War Syndrome might evend be traced in some measure to the U.S. credits, materiel, and technology Rumsfeld knowingly conveyed seven years before. So, too, of course, could Saddam's brutal 1980s repression of the Shia, underlying the sectarian animus and resolve for vengeance and dominance by the U.S.-installed Shia regime after 2003 that shaped Rumsfeld's, and America's, historic failure in Iraq.

Others colluded at every turn in the long scandal of policy toward Iraq. Colin Powell, then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Dick Cheney, as Secretary of Defense during the First Gulf War, would, for instance, be directly complicit in the Syndrome outrage. Yet none of the participants in the larger post-9/11 disaster was more directly responsible than Rumsfeld.
While Reagan's special envoy was, with his usual energy and sharp elbows, dickering with the Iraqis in the mid-1980s, Condoleezza Rice was an assistant professor of no scholarly distinction at Stanford; Cheney a third-term congressman from Wyoming squirming up the House leadership ladder; future viceroy of Baghdad L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer moving from State Department clerk and Alexander Haig protégé to lavish-party giving ambassador to the Netherlands; and George W. Bush, still by his own account given to "heavy drinking," absorbed in changing the name of his chronically failed Arbusto Energy oil company to Bush Exploration.

Waiting Game

By 1987, Rumsfeld was flexing his muscles once more, preparing for the ultimate goal, assembling money and party support for a presidential run against George H. W. Bush in 1988. But after a dozen years out of office, and against the entrenched power of an heir apparent, he would soon enough discover that backing just was not there. Off more recent prominence and with a wider political base, Cheney would try to mount his own presidential campaign in the early 1990s, only to meet the same bitter rejection

Historians will only guess at the rancor building in these two deeply ambitious, deeply disappointed figures at the president they had, George W. Bush, whom they no doubt saw as manifestly, maddeningly inferior. The Rumsfeld-Cheney recompense, at vast cost to the nation and world, would be their fierce seizure of power after September 11, 2001.

Rumsfeld spent the 1990s again in business, becoming CEO of General Instruments, then Chairman of Gilead Sciences Pharmaceuticals, with another history reminiscent of Searle. In 1990, he joined the board of ABB, a Swedish-Swiss conglomerate that had gobbled up companies in the latter 1980s, including Westinghouse energy operations, and would move aggressively to win a $200-million contract for "the design and key components" for light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea. Rumsfeld pursued this prize even while chairing a Congressional commission on missile threats that found a "clear danger" for the future from Pyongyang. In the alarming report, his otherwise fulsome résumé failed to mention that he was an ABB director.

In 1996, he took leave from Gilead to become chief foreign policy advisor, along with Wolfowitz, in Robert Dole's failed presidential run. He would end as the campaign's eighteen-hour-a-day manager. By 1997, amid the full-scale takeover of the Washington GOP by the long-churning cabal of neoconservatives, he joined Cheney and Wolfowitz on a Newt Gingirch-instigated Congressional Policy Advisory Board to shape attacks on the second Clinton Administration.

In January 1998, he signed the celebrated letter so publicly sent to Clinton from the right-wing, Israeli lobby-dominated Project for a New American Century. Alongside Wolfowitz, Perle, and others soon to be key players in the younger Bush's regime, he vigorously urged the "removal" of Saddam. In July 1998, there followed the "Rumsfeld Commission" report on missile threats, wildly claiming, in an unnamed debut of the "axis of evil" drawn from the testimony and staff work of right-wing ideologues, that Iran, Iraq, and North Korea would each be able to "inflict major destruction" on the U.S. by 2002. Through it all, including the first seven-and-a-half months of their rule after the seamy election of 2000, there would be no trace of the actual danger that erupted out of a September morning sky in 2001.

Though he had repaired surface relations with the Bushes, Rumsfeld took no major role in the 2000 race. In any case, the elder Bush had erased him from his son's list of possible running mates, while ultimately waving through Cheney, whose reactionary animus had been relatively well masked at the Pentagon in 1989-92. When, post-election, Cheney vetoed Governor Tom Ridge for the Pentagon, and there were throbbing neocon fears that a cosmetic Powell, bureaucrat at heart, would be far too equivocal at the State Department, Rumsfeld would be Cheney's, and so Bush's, antidote.

His appointment was a mark of the extreme poverty of Republican talent the administration reflected so graphically. The supposed party of national security, having held the White House for five of the last eight terms and dominated Congress for much of the previous 30 years, had no serious alternative to a man who had perched atop the Pentagon a full quarter-century before. Apart from the patently right-wing, widely discredited missile panel he had chaired, Rumsfeld had shown no palpable interest or competence in the ever more complex defense issues accumulating since then, much less the rapidly changing politics of the post-Cold War world. Nonetheless, fit, relatively youthful at 69, he strode again into the E-Ring. There was speculation that the old Halloween Massacre goal was still there, that Cheney, with his uncertain health, might step aside in 2004, that the undertaker might yet reach the Oval Office.


Rumsfeld began his Pentagon reprise by seizing on a dead Russian marshal and an octogenarian Washington bureaucrat few had ever heard of.

Like Osama bin Laden, steely-haired Nikolai Ogarkov first came to light during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. In 1977, at 50, he had become a prodigal chief of the Soviet General Staff. In that superannuated, medal-mummified company, he proved a dynamic, technically inclined, forward-thinking young general. Over the ensuing years, he would be an impressive Moscow spokesman on arms control, and defend stubbornly, even abjectly, the 1983 shooting down of a civilian Korean Airlines 747 that had veered into Soviet air space.

Ogarkov would fall from power in a 1984 Kremlin struggle over weapons spending, write a valedictory book warning of American militarism, and die in post-Soviet obscurity in 1994. But his main, if esoteric, historical distinction would lie in a slight 1982 pamphlet in which he blamed the early, nearly lethal Russian defeats in World War II on a failure to adapt to the new German blitzkrieg concepts in tank warfare. Recent U.S. advances in weapons technology, he argued, could leave the Russians similarly vulnerable if they didn't adapt quickly enough.

Sweeping changes in tactics and arms as well as more agile, responsive armed forces were needed to face the American challenge, the Marshal advised. Otherwise, Soviet forces would fall into a series of devastating traps on a future remote-targeted battlefield in which the enemy would utilize the latest computerized surveillance and information systems in a new form of high-tech warfare. His vision soon gained vogue as much in Washington as amid the stultified upper reaches of the Soviet military of the early 1980s. It was grandly christened -- and welcomed by Pentagon aficionados -- as the "Revolution in Military Affairs" or, in that acronym-laden world, RMA.

There was a certain banality to Ogarkov's stress on technology. That a fighting force should be best attuned to the battlefield and adversary of the moment -- modern, adaptable, quick, and informed -- should have been self-evident, on the order of the bloody lesson 80 years before of the Tsarist cavalry charging entrenched machine guns in the Russo-Japanese War. Yet however obvious the premise, the RMA concept -- transported to the Pentagon and put in the context of an onrushing generation of electronic warfare, of near-nuclear effects with non-nuclear means, along with Ogarkov's call for fresh tactics (and thus new weaponry and higher spending) -- was taken up by innovators, opportunists, and their assorted hybrids on both sides of the Cold War.
This was particularly so among the Soviets, whose rusty Europe-heavy military was already being shaken and bled in Afghanistan by the Mujahideen -- in 1982-1983, despite ample Saudi money, still only partially armed by their cynical CIA, Pakistani, and Chinese handlers. At any rate, Ogarkov's truism was also grist for the Pentagon's back-ring band of civilian military "theorists," career bureaucrats ever in search of a mission and occupationally disposed to attribute evil genius -- requiring a suitable Washington budgetary response -- to the Red Menace.

Short, bald, and with stylishly severe wire-rimmed glasses, Andrew Marshall was a Dickensian clerk of a man who took up the bureaucratic cudgel RMA represented and brought it down inside the Pentagon. An economist by training, he had begun at RAND as an analyst in the late 1940s, when Rumsfeld was still in New Trier High School. Marshall was archetypical in the career-making fear and folly of the U.S.-Russian mirror-image rivalry. He had been a protégé of think-the-unthinkable, World War III theorist Herman Kahn, and then, via Henry Kissinger's mentor Fritz Kraemer, had gone to work for Kissinger at the National Security Council (NSC) in the first Nixon term. In 1973, he moved on to the Pentagon where he presided over his own obscure nest, the Office of Net Assessment, from Rumsfeld I to II, while gradually gaining the reputation of resident genius of new war methods.

Discreet guru to reactionaries, ignored but thought untouchable by Democrats when in power, Marshall looked on as the Joint Chiefs not only spied on Kissinger's arms control negotiations with the Russians, but also played an ardent supporting role in Nixon's fall. He subsequently signed on to Rumsfeld I's denial of defeat in Vietnam and then, on RMA's advent, used the concept to evoke ominous fears of a new Kremlin military prowess, justifying the orgy of Pentagon spending that took place during the Reagan era. (Ironically, of course, Ogarkov in 1982 was arguing for a Russian response to a still largely prospective American escalation of weaponry and warfare.) While the U.S. armaments spree of the 1980s paid for some new RMA developments, most of the expenditures fit snugly within the corrupt, obtuse old Cold War system, with America's armed forces tailored to a lumbering Soviet threat in Europe, and no serious anticipation of the neo-insurgency wars that actually lay ahead.

As Marshall toyed with "flexibility" -- and the Joint Chiefs cherry-picked his conjuring of Moscow's might for their own budgetary purposes, while ignoring the real import, and limits, of RMA -- the Cold War ended in the equivocations and evasions of Bill Clinton's two terms in office and the low-rent, self-congratulatory installing of mafia regimes in Bosnia and Kosovo. The gnome-like Marshall, well past retirement but a lionized witness before the missile-threat commission, hung on for Rumsfeld's return.

The resulting history is far too close for much documented detail, though its silhouette is plain enough. Summoning Marshall as soothsayer, Rumsfeld made RMA the logo of his determination to gain managerial dominance over the Joint Chiefs and the Pentagon bureaucracy, exactly the opportunity he thought he had missed 25 years earlier. Under the old banner of a clash between a brave, beleaguered secretary of defense and the recalcitrant brass astride an impossible, "glandular" system, he held up the all-purpose, all-seasons ideal of Pentagon "reform." That "reform" movement was to be his ultimate takedown, his claim to greatness, and perhaps -- who knew in 2001 -- one last shot at the presidency.

Amid the inevitable claims of "streamlining" and "modernizing," Democrats applauded and reporters gushed reflexively about Rumsfeld as a celebrity CEO and national quipster. The willing ignorance, denial, careless trust, or craven acquiescence that marked the essential submissiveness of the political and media culture to Rumsfeld's rule were only part of a larger, thoughtless national abdication of judgment and responsibility in the wars he would propel in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

In blindly striking out after 9/11 -- a reflexive, grandly opportunistic, richly self-satisfying political act in America -- without seriously understanding the politics or history of either country, he plunged the Pentagon into blundering, plundering occupations that made the nightmares of 2007 and beyond nearly inevitable.

That was the price -- in the utter absence of serious dialogue in the 2000 election or the first eight months of 2001 -- of the original uncontested surrender of foreign-policy power and initiative to such evident presidential incompetence (including the shocking ineptitude of NSC Advisor Condoleezza Rice and her staff) and the long predictable Rumsfeld-Cheney dominance. All of it was plain in Washington soon after George W. Bush's arrival in the Oval Office; none of it was then questioned, much less challenged, by Congress, the remnant foreign policy establishment, or the mainstream media. No democratic process so completely failed a test of substance as America's after 9/11. No ensuing catastrophe was more consensual.

History will unravel only slowly Rumsfeld's relationship to the neocons, who dominated the middle and upper reaches of his Pentagon, a relationship more complex than contemporary hagiographies or demonologies have had it. Historically, he was their ally, patron, legitimizing figurehead, but never really of them, never a fellow ideologue, dogmatist, or slavish adherent to much of what they pursued. In enlisting Wolfowitz, Perle and their train, he would use them, much as he used Marshall, as he had used so many before, as a means to what was so largely a personal, megalomaniacal end. But that use, too, was characteristically heedless of substance and cost.

He opened government as never before to men who habitually, automatically assumed that U.S. and Israeli interests were identical, with no objectivity about American policy in a Middle East they scarcely understood to begin with. Their ignorance and presumption were matched only by their zeal to cluster in decisive quarters of the new Bush regime where decisions of grand strategy, of war and peace, were now shaped and predetermined.

"Like cancer cells," as eyewitness, Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiakowski, would describe them in action in Rumsfeld's Defense Department. Half-educated and fanatically loyal to the rote Israeli lobby view of the Middle East and the larger neocon craze for American post-Cold War global hegemony, they crowded the domains of the number three official at the Pentagon, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, whose career was a model of their kind and whose notorious Office of Special Plans was created as a fount for the fraudulent intelligence spurring the invasion of Iraq.

Historians will debate, too, the obvious blurred allegiance of what some call these American "Likudniks" with their utter conformity to the belligerent ultra-Zionist mentality of the Israeli right. Never before -- not even in the post-World War II heyday of the powerful China Lobby with its formidable grip on Capitol Hill but not within the upper reaches of the Executive itself -- had so many of such uncritical adherence to the policies of a foreign power been so well placed in Washington.

As often in American politics and government, however, no conspiracies were necessary, though a Pentagon-Israeli lobby spy scandal has yet to be played out. Unrelieved substantive shallowness, a perversely narrow sociology of knowledge, long-jockeyed-for power and career advancement, a grandiose parochial vision of a Pax Americana world nursed in a hundred forgotten think-tank papers and incestuous conferences -- all that as well imposed a stifling, disastrous orthodoxy on the administration.

Not least, they operated without the need to support their prejudices or delusions in authentic high-level debate, flourishing in their members-only domains of the Pentagon, the NSC Staff, and the State Department, enjoying exclusive channels of communication to the White House controlled by Cheney, and unchallenged under a President of uniquely closed mind.

As for Rumsfeld's relations with his generals, the subject of veiled accusations of his heedlessness to dissent or running roughshod over warnings of serious problems, we actually know very little. The calamity in Iraq has brought more public criticism by senior officers than any other war in American history, including Vietnam, but almost all of it hurled from the relatively safe seats of two-and three-star retirement -- and forlornly after the fact.
This much is clear: No major Pentagon leaks, the time-honored Washington weapon of dissenting commanders, marked the run-up to the invasion. There have been no public resignations in protest of his policies. And the negligence, incompetence, and inertia of commanders in recognizing and coping with the insurgency, in dealing with scandals of prisoner abuse, inadequate equipment and more, have been all too obvious. There is no evidence that any ranking American officer on duty pressed an intellectual or moral challenge to the unfolding debacle -- even after it was too glaring to be ignored. As in so much else in his long record,

Rumsfeld enjoyed, by Washington's inimitable mix of careerism and cowardice, submission and opportunism, a large supporting cast in his folly.


In the exhilarating dash to Baghdad in 2003, none of the admiring gallery seemed to notice that Rumsfeld's "new" military was largely the old one, "reformed" in name only; nor did many note that the vaunted lean, mean machine of RMA and the again-lionized Marshall had no grasp of how profoundly political was the act of overthrowing 40 years of Ba'athist rule; how deeply political was the campaign to which so many American lives, so much of the country's material and symbolic national treasures, would be committed.

Rumsfeld would take his victory tour in the Gulf that spring as if circling the mat after a stunningly swift pin. What was his toughest call, trailing reporters asked --part of the traditional garlands of victory tossed his way -- and how did he "feel" at such a victorious moment?
It was hardly the time for the media, the seemingly omnipotent military, or the rest of government and the political culture to reflect on how much "shock and awe" depended on overwhelming force brought down on the near-defenseless, on how much the concept reeked of racism and colonial pretense – of natives on the scene and in the vicinity "shocked and awed" like Zulus pounded and panicked by the Queen's own latest howitzers.

It was far too early for other questions -- about a force cosseted at the end of vulnerable supply lines, nicely photogenic in night goggles but without enough body armor; about acronyms like IED that had yet to enter the vocabularies of either commanders or reporters; about the familiar chase for medals and the absence of an enemy admitting defeat and ready to surrender (a missing essential of "victory" that would have much worried Maxwell Taylor).

Unreformed, uninformed commanders, uninstructed beyond brief battles, led their charges into Iraq relying on their generals. The generals relied on civilians. The civilians relied on (or were seduced or bullied by) the neocons. The neocons relied on their own ersatz expertise, Mossad insiders, and Iraqi exiles long out of touch with their homeland. The exiles -- holed up in Baghdad palaces with U.S.-paid-for mercenary guards, ignorant and contemptuous of the Iraq that had passed them by, and where they were now powerless, even with the might of the Pentagon behind them -- relied on the Americans.

Rumsfeld, as always, relied on himself. The ranks trusted him -- and political decision-makers -- to know and manage post-Saddam politics in Iraq to secure the victory as well as to provide the political setting that fulfilled the military triumph. When they failed miserably, condemning the American force to a corrupt, untenable occupation and slow-wasting attrition of men and prestige, the debacle was complete.

Beyond Iraq were his other lasting legacies.

As no other cabinet officer in history, he turned over crucial, self-sustaining functions of his department to privateers and private armies. He surrendered vital supply and commissariat services for the American military to profit-plundering contractors for whom U.S. forces were neither fellow warriors, nor even share-holders, but captive "customers" to be treated with the offhandedness afforded by guaranteed contracts. He ceded security and combat functions essential to the national mission to a corps of thousands of hired guns whose qualifications, standards of conduct and ultimate loyalty -- all integral to the safety and success of American forces -- were beyond effective governmental control or measure. (Exposed in a Congressional hearing February 7, the scandal of the infamous Blackwell Security Corporation, shirking amid vast profit the arming and protection of its own ranks, would be only a glimpse of the larger disgrace.)

Not since the British hired hordes of Hessians to crush George Washington's revolutionary army had a military force tracing to America been so utterly mercenary. The potential direct and indirect levy on policy and the armed forces would not be known for years.

As no other cabinet officer in history, he squandered the integrity of his department and the unique, indispensable code of honor of its services. He joined, and often led, the rest of an intellectually degraded administration, heedless of Constitutional and human rights, in violating the very heart of their ostensibly conservative convictions. With the ready sanctioning, and then de facto cover-up of torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and the less noticed but equally gruesome prisons at Bagram Air Base and elsewhere in Afghanistan, he changed, for untold millions, the symbol of America and its once-proud military from freedom and the rule of law to the unforgettable prisoner's hood and shackles. Rumsfeld's impact would not vanish with terms of office or elections. By the very nature of contracts, personnel practices, and imparted ethics -- some of Washington's most permanent monuments -- his legacies would remain deep in the tissue and soul of the institution he was entrusted to lead. At the end, a pathetic climax to his more than four decades either in government or imploringly on its threshold, there was only his hackneyed memo on Iraq policy -- leaked, even more pathetically, in an apparent attempt somehow to vindicate him after all.

Thus, he growled that the Iraqi regime, like some seedy wrestling team, should "pull up its socks"; and, most poignantly, ever the politician conducting lethal policy as politics, he advised that Washington "announce that whatever new approach the US decides on, the US is doing so on a trial basis. This will give us the ability to re-adjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not 'lose.'"

As he left office for the last time, it would be only the loss that mattered. As a pathologically unfit president struggled to recoup his historic blunder, as the neocons and Israeli lobby pressed on a gullible media and restive but still captive Congress the myth of an Iranian nuclear threat, as the Navy and Air Force, lesser actors in the Iraq action, promised wondrous results in Persia, the chaos and ineffable danger were left to Robert Gates, the puffy courtier.

Weeks after Rumsfeld's departure, history -- the little ever really known or understood -- was already being waved off, forgotten. The past was too complicated and troublesome, too guilt-ridden and close to home, too filled with chilling consequences.

The worst of it was the most basic and damning. Donald Rumsfeld and all he represented, all he did and did not do, came out of us. The undertaker's tally, including Iraq, was compiled at our leave, one way or another, at every turn. His tragedy was always ours.

Roger Morris, who served in the State Department and on the Senior Staff of the National Security Council under Presidents Johnson and Nixon, resigned in protest at the invasion of Cambodia. He then worked as a legislative advisor in the U.S. Senate and a director of policy studies at the Carnegie Endowment, and writes this Rumsfeldian history from intimate firsthand knowledge as well as extensive research. A Visiting Honors professor at the University of Washington and Research Fellow of the Green Institute (his work appears on its website), he is an award-winning historian and investigative journalist, including a National Book Award Silver Medal winner, and the author of books on Nixon, Kissinger, Haig, and the Clintons. More recently, he co-authored with Sally Denton The Money and the Power, a history of Las Vegas as the paradigm of national corruption. His latest work, Shadows of the Eagle, a history of U.S. covert interventions and policy in the Middle East and South Asia over the past half-century, will be published in 2007 by Knopf.

Copyright 2007 Roger Morris

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Another Bush-lie Busted, On The Way To War

CAIRO, Egypt - Iran's secretive Quds Force, accused by the United States of arming Iraqi militants with deadly bomb-making material, has built an extensive network in the war-torn country, recruiting Iraqis and supporting not only Shiite militias but also Shiites allied with Washington.

Still unclear, however, is how closely Iran's top leadership is directing the Quds Force's operations and whether Iran has intended for its help to Shiite militias to be turned against U.S. forces.

Iran likely does not want a direct confrontation with American troops in Iraq but is backing militiamen to ensure Shiites win any future civil war with Iraqi Sunnis after the Americans leave, several experts said Thursday.

The Quds Force's role underlines how deeply enmeshed Iran is in its neighbor and how the U.S. could face resistance even from its allies in Iraq if it tries to uproot Iran's influence in the country.

The Quds (pronounced "KOHDS") Force - the name means "Jerusalem" in Farsi and Arabic - is the most elite and covert of Iran's military branches. Over the past two decades, the corps is believed to have helped arm and train the Hezbollah guerrilla group in Lebanon, Islamic fighters in Bosnia and Afghanistan and even Sudanese troops fighting in south Sudan.

The force is part of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, which are separate from the regular military, report directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and are tasked with protecting the Islamic government. The Quds Force, formed in the 1980s and picked from the very best of the Guards, is its special branch for operations outside Iran.

"What Quds does is very specialized, the most dangerous work, operating underground," said Mahan Abedin, an Iran expert and the research director at the London-based Center for the

Study of Terrorism.

Now the Bush administration is accusing the force of stirring up turmoil in Iraq.

Its key piece of evidence: "explosively formed projectiles," sophisticated roadside bombs that fire a slug of molten metal that can penetrate armored vehicles. The U.S. military says the Quds Force provided the materials to Iraqi Shiite militias, which used them to attack Americans.
At most, Iran's entire Quds Force probably numbers only about 2,000, only about 800 of whom are core operatives, according to Abedin, the expert at the London-based think tank.
Abedin doubted the Quds Force was directly giving militias weapons, arguing that militias have their own domestic networks for building and obtaining weapons. But he said Quds undoubtedly was providing intelligence and other organizational help.

"It would be very incriminating and dangerous for Iran to directly supply weapons to the militias, and it's not a part of Iranian policy to directly confront the Americans," he said.

Instead, the goal is likely "to enable these armed formations ... to gain an advantage over their Sunni rivals" in the battle for power that Iran expects could erupt later.

"They are looking to beyond, when the Americans withdraw," he said. "They see the Shiite militias as natural allies."

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Homeland Insecurity; FOOLS!

Dick Cheney’s Dangerous Son-in-Law

Philip Perry and the politics of chemical security.

By Art Levine

In March 2003, when the world’s attention was focused on U.S. soldiers heading to Baghdad, twelve senior officials in the Bush administration gathered around a long oak conference table in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, part of the White House complex. They were meeting to put the final touches on a proposed legislative package that would address what was perhaps the most dangerous vulnerability the country faced after 9/11: unprotected chemical plants close to densely populated areas.

The package was the product of nearly a year’s worth of work led by Tom Ridge, head of the Department of Homeland Security (previously head of the White House Office of Homeland Security), and Christine Todd Whitman, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Both had been governors of northeastern states (Ridge of Pennsylvania and Whitman of New Jersey) with a large number of chemical plants, and this only increased their concern about leaving such facilities unprotected.

EPA staff felt such fears even more acutely: agency data showed that at least 700 sites across the country could potentially kill or injure 100,000 or more people if attacked.

The basic elements of the legislation were simple: the EPA would get authority to regulate the security of chemical sites, and, as a first step, plants would submit plans for lowering their risks.

One man present at the meeting, Bob Bostock, who was homeland security adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency, was relieved to see that something was finally being done. “We knew that these facilities had large enough quantities of dangerous chemicals to do significant harm to populations in these areas,” he says.

No one present was prepared for what came next: the late arrival of an unexpected visitor, Philip Perry, general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Perry, a tall, balding man who bears a slight resemblance to Ari Fleischer without the glasses, was brusque and to the point. The Bush administration was not going to support granting regulatory authority over chemical security to the EPA. “If you send up this legislation,” he told the gathering, “it will be dead on arrival on the Hill.”

No one doubted the finality of Perry’s message. The OMB, which sets the course for nearly every proposal coming out of the White House, is a much-feared department that raises or lowers its thumb on policy priorities, a sort of mini-Caesar at the interagency coliseum.

But Philip Perry could boast one more source of authority: he was, and is, the husband of Elizabeth Cheney, and son-in-law of Vice President Dick Cheney.

After Perry spoke, only Bostock dared to protest, though to little effect. “He was obnoxious,” Bostock recalls.

For the chemical industry, which has always had a chilly relationship with the EPA, Perry has been a consistent, quiet friend. “Phil Perry was never the EPA’s biggest fan,” says Whitman, recounting the relationship. “I think there was a predisposition on his part that we were trying to overreach.” Indeed, like many Republican hardliners, for whom the EPA represents all that is wrong with government regulation, Perry has sought to limit the role of the EPA, not expand it.

He’s been successful.

To understand the workings of Philip Perry is to get a sense of the true lines of power in the executive branch. “Perry is an éminence grise,” says one congressional staffer. “He’s been pretty good at getting his fingerprints off of anything, but everyone in this field knows he’s the one directing it. He is very good at the stealth move.” And, as it turns out, Perry’s stealth moves have often benefited opponents of chemical regulation. One of his final pieces of handiwork included coming up with what critics have called an “industry wish list” on chemical security that ultimately became law last fall. “Every time the industry has gotten in trouble,” says the staffer, “they’ve gone running to Phil Perry.”The result has been that our chemical sites remain, even five years after 9/11, stubbornly vulnerable to attack.

Philip Perry has hardly been alone in tolerating this.

Others in the White House and Congress have been equally solicitous toward the chemical industry. But as part of a network of Cheney loyalists in the executive branch, Perry has been a key player in the struggle to prevent the federal government from assuming any serious regulatory role in business, no matter what the cost. And a successful attack on a chemical facility could make such a cost high indeed. A flippant critic might say the father-in-law has been prosecuting a war that creates more terrorists abroad, while the son-in-law has been working to ensure they’ll have easy targets at home. But it’s more precise to say that White House officials really, really don’t want to alienate the chemical industry, and Perry has been really, really willing to help them not do it.

Safe as milk plants

After 9/11, counterterrorism experts disagreed on many issues, but on one point they were united: industrial sites with high concentrations of chemicals presented a unique combination of lethality and vulnerability. Some companies immediately took steps on their own to reduce the risk of attack, by replacing dangerous chemicals used in processes with safer ones, or maintaining smaller stockpiles.

Such conversions involve a shift to what are known as “inherently safer technologies,” or IST. Environmental groups have for years been advocating the use of IST in the interests of reducing pollution and preventing fatalities resulting from accidents. After 9/11, they would gain an even stronger selling point: IST could also help protect against terrorism by making chemical plants in populated areas safer, hence less attractive as targets. Rick Hind of Greenpeace argues, with a rhetorical flourish, “These facilities can be made as safe as milk plants.”

Not surprisingly, IST gained new supporters after 9/11, and some in Congress moved to incorporate it into security legislation. Already by October 31, 2001, Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) had introduced legislation requiring high-risk companies to use available IST.

If environmentalists love IST regulations, however, industry executives hate them. The chemical industry is one of high costs and fairly low profit margins; from its perspective, stringent IST requirements throw off what is already a delicate cost-profit balance. Also, years of unhappy experiences with Washington have convinced many industry executives that regulations will be clumsily introduced. Worst of all, they feel, IST could give environmentalists and their allies in the EPA another pretext to expand their regulatory reach.

Corzine’s bill quickly encountered industry opposition and stalled in the Senate.Then as now, certain industry-affiliated experts questioned how necessary IST would be in reducing vulnerability to terrorism. Some suggested other means, such as heightened security measures (even though the security measures that industry has put in place and touts as effective are often comically easy to breach [see “You Too Can Break Into a Chemical Plant”]).

What everyone had to admit was that chemical storage tanks and rail cars remained dangerously easy to strike. Something had to be done. In July 2002, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously adopted a compromise version of Corzine’s bill. To the chagrin of those who lobbied against it, the compromise still included a requirement that some plants consider using IST.

Industry freaked out,” recalls one Democratic staffer.

It needn’t have. Industry allies such as Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) provided enough resistance to keep the bill from moving to the floor. Any further progress would have required a push from the White House, which declined to provide it. According to Frank Cilluffo, a former special assistant to President Bush for homeland security, the White House felt that the private sector understood the dangers best and was therefore “in a better position to implement solutions.” (Cilluffo no longer shares that view.)

As long as chemical-security bills kept expiring in the face of industry opposition on Capitol Hill, the White House had little cause to weigh in. Indeed, some observers say it was so worried about IST, it was happy to see legislation derailed. IST was “the one thing that the administration simply would not accept,” says Jim Carafano, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation who followed the legislative process. “They wouldn’t push a bill because they were afraid it would get hijacked” by supporters of IST. For months after 9/11, no progress was made on the Hill.

Al-Qaeda doesn’t file lawsuitsPhilip Perry, who was born in 1964 in San Diego, first met Elizabeth Cheney at a Washington, D.C., alumni mixer for graduates of Colorado College. They hit it off. In 1993, they married, and Perry took a job at the law firm of Latham & Watkins.

Perry’s first job in government began in 1997 and had a decidedly partisan flavor: it was as counsel to the U.S. Senate investigation of alleged campaign finance abuses by Clinton and Gore in their 1996 campaign. The investigations failed to produce sensational results, but Perry did at least learn about the ways of the Senate and form friendships that would be useful later.

As Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) would say of Perry at a confirmation hearing years later, “He is a member of the Senate family, and that is very important.” After his stint in the Senate, Perry returned to Latham, where he formed other helpful connections. (A colleague, Michael Chertoff, would later head the Department of Homeland Security.)

In 2000, when Cheney became George W. Bush’s running mate, Perry found himself in the inner circle of advisers surrounding his father-in-law. Friends describe him as intellectually brilliant and extremely discreet. Fittingly, in the vice president’s debate-prep sessions, Perry played the role of moderator. The Republican political consultant Mary Matalin, who worked with him in the mock debates, described Perry to Legal Times as “very, very, very strategic.”

When the election of 2000 was resolved, Perry took on the title of “policy coordinator” for the Bush-Cheney presidential transition. By early 2001, he had been appointed as the acting associate attorney general at the Department of Justice, the department’s third-ranking official.

Porbably to keep an eye on Ashcroft, who was never one of the inner circle

It was a dramatic promotion.

While Perry mostly stayed out of the news, the summer brought some unwelcome attention. The Department of Justice, it was reported, would stop pursuing a breakup of Microsoft. Since Perry oversaw the antitrust division, and Cheney had previously met with Microsoft’s CEO, some critics smelled a fix.

“I am concerned,” said Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), “that there may have been unneeded or inappropriate contact ... between the White House, ... and decision makers at the department.”

In November 2001, the government offered Microsoft generous terms in a settlement deal that even many Republicans denounced.Having proved his ability to get the federal government off the back of big industry, Perry received another promotion, moving over to the Office of Management and Budget in 2002 to serve as general counsel under then OMB Director Mitch Daniels, also a Cheney loyalist.

At the time, the most critical issue facing the chemical industry was that of implementing post-9/11 security measures. In late 2001 and in 2002, Whitman and Ridge worked to come up with a plan to put some preliminary regulations in place. Using a clause in the Clean Air Act, the EPA would claim authority to oversee security measures for the chemical industry. “We were looking for facilities to do a vulnerability study,” says Whitman, “to try to take that first step.” However, as they prepared to announce their plans in the summer of 2002, the White House changed its mind. The problem, according to Richard Falkenrath, who at the time was a special assistant to the president and policy director of the Office of Homeland Security, was a legal one.

Administration lawyers—primarily Perry at the OMB—were arguing that granting regulatory authority to the EPA based on a clause in the Clean Air Act would be overreach. “The thinking was that if you’re going to do something this big, you need to have Congress specifically authorize it, not argue that this huge regulatory action was justified by a single clause in an old law,” says Falkenrath. “There was an absolute unanimity around the table that we’d be sued and that we’d lose those suits.” If this seems like an implausible argument in an administration that has expanded executive authority on far flimsier grounds, Falkenrath notes a distinction. “Al-Qaeda doesn’t file suit in court to block federal regulatory action,” he explains. “There’s a difference between intercepting phone calls and regulating an enormous industry.” The plan to claim regulatory authority for the EPA was retired.

For Whitman and Ridge, the obvious solution seemed to be to ask Congress for the authority necessary to enact the plan already envisioned. After all, official White House strategy papers called for placing the EPA in the lead role for overseeing the chemical sector. In the months that followed, Bostock at the EPA and officials from the DHS and the White House worked to craft a package to submit to Congress.

By the time it was almost complete, however, Perry again came forward to shut down the plan, in the March 2003 meeting. Perhaps the White House had experienced a change of heart. More likely, its most influential players, such as Dick Cheney, had never supported the bill to begin with and hadn’t been paying much attention.

“They woke up and heard from industry: ‘Watch out, the EPA’s coming,’” Whitman recalls. And the invasion of Iraq, which was dominating the news, allowed them to pull the plug on the effort.

Whitman eventually became frustrated enough to request formally that the EPA’s purported lead role on chemical security be ceded to the DHS. “I did not believe the agency should be asked to assume responsibility for performing this important mission if it would not also be given even the basic authority it needed to meet it,” she later wrote in her book, It’s My Party Too.

Meanwhile, the new Department of Homeland Security struggled to find a role for itself. The DHS had not been granted authority to regulate chemical security, nor would the White House allow Ridge to delegate work to the EPA. “Even though we made clear that the EPA would only have a specific role,” Whitman says, “it was viewed as the camel’s nose under the tent.”

That June, Whitman resigned her post.

While Ridge stayed on at the DHS, Washington mostly turned its attention away from chemical security during the next few years. Perry, for his part, returned to Latham & Watkins in September 2003. Over the next year and a half, he lobbied the DHS for liability protections for clients such as Lockheed Martin and General Electric, and his earnings exceeded $700,000. For Latham, which represented clients like the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s trade group, Perry was a valuable addition.

Characteristic stealth

In January 2007, Perry spoke to a group of lawyers at an American Bar Association security seminar at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C. Dressed in a dark suit, Perry stood before the crowd of 200 or so in attendance and swiftly ran through efforts backed by the DHS.

Of particular pride was a new package of chemical-security regulations released by the DHS only weeks earlier. “For a few years now, the [Bush] administration has supported chemical-security legislation,” Perry told the gathering, “but Congress has deadlocked.” Those who’d been watching a bit more closely might have been surprised by such a description of events. After all, only with deadlock on the Hill could Perry have crafted the legislation of a chemical-industry lobbyist’s dreams.

During the years in which Washington had been neglecting chemical security, numerous actors had become increasingly uneasy about the problem. In January 2005, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) began a series of hearings looking at the subject before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, during which one grim highlight had been the testimony of Falkenrath, the former homeland security adviser, who called chemical security the nation’s top domestic vulnerability and admitted that since 9/11, “we have essentially done nothing.”

By June 2005, even the DHS’s public spokesperson on the issue, Bob Stephan, was conceding that voluntary efforts were proving insufficient.In November 2005, acting New Jersey Governor Richard Codey got tired of waiting and issued an executive order mandating that the forty-three riskiest chemical plants in his state come up with chemical-security plans and conduct a review of potential IST measures. This was unwelcome news to the chemical industry, which rallied to seek Washington’s help in shutting down New Jersey’s efforts.

If the federal government would play the card of “preemption,” by which less-stringent federal laws would supersede more-stringent state laws, the threat of New Jersey’s regulations could be combated. In other words, while arguing that it just wanted to oppose a burdensome “patchwork” of state laws, the chemical industry hoped that Washington would forbid states from setting tougher standards.

Before that could happen, however, Washington needed to produce chemical legislation of any sort. This, of course, had been a problem for four years already. Bills had come and gone, most left to languish in various back alleys of the House and Senate. One of the few with any hope of advancing was a joint middle-of-the-road effort by Collins and Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.). To the relief of the chemical lobby, the bill contained no IST provisions (Lieberman had unsuccessfully attempted to add them). On the downside for industry, though, it also failed to grant preemption powers to the federal government.

This was workable. In an effort to defang Collins-Lieberman, the chemical lobby attempted, via Senate allies, to add some amendments. Among these were a ban on any consideration of amendments mandating IST and, more importantly, a reassertion of preemption over state law. Even in a Republican-controlled Senate, however, this effort failed. The chemical lobby, disappointed, started to work to undermine the bill. Having seen how easily chemical-security legislation could stall, it wasn’t willing to settle. One congressional staffer puts it bluntly: “Industry got greedy.”

It didn’t hurt that the DHS was in its corner.

In February 2006, when the Government Accountability Office called on the DHS to at least study IST, DHS officials rejected the proposal. In March 2006, when DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff reluctantly accepted the notion that the DHS should regulate the chemical sector, he also denounced IST as an “interference with business” and warned that allowing states to pass tougher laws would expose businesses to “ruinous liability.”

Still, in June 2006, despite the efforts of industry lobbyists, Collins-Lieberman was unanimously voted out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. That left it up to Senator Inhofe, who was chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, to put a hold on the bill, complaining that it could open the door to an IST mandate. Inhofe might have relented had the White House requested it, but the White House had little affection for Collins-Lieberman.

So it stayed silent.

By stopping Collins-Lieberman, the chemical lobby had gotten, in the short term, what it wanted. But it had also gotten itself in a bind: if any regular bill were to pass, industry could face new regulations it didn’t want. But if nothing were to pass, there would be no way to shut down the regulatory efforts of states like New Jersey. The only acceptable outcome, then, would be for Washington to pass legislation giving the industry exactly what it wanted: a fig leaf of regulations to satisfy public opinion and a hidden gun that would take aim at New Jersey’s tough new regulations.

Enter Philip Perry. When Michael Chertoff was nominated to head the DHS in 2005, he had asked Perry to join him as the department’s general counsel. The two were not only colleagues at Latham & Watkins but also members of the conservative Federalist Society, and they were of like minds in their general distrust of government regulation of business.

By the summer of 2006, as various bills competed for attention, Perry’s services were in great demand. “Industry went back to the well,” says one DHS official.Perry came through in a characteristically concealed manner. When it became clear that Collins-Lieberman was going nowhere, Perry went searching for a new vehicle to get more industry-friendly results. He would find it in a DHS appropriations bill in the Senate, to which had been attached an obscure amendment giving the DHS short-term regulatory authority over chemical security. Perry reworked the language and helped to get it added to the spending bill in a conference committee.

Under the new amendment, the DHS would have nominal authority to regulate the chemical industry but also have its hands tied where required. For example, the DHS would be barred from requiring any specific security measures, and citizens would be prohibited from suing to enforce the law. Best of all for industry, while the bill didn’t mention giving the DHS preemption authority, it didn’t bar it, either, leaving a modicum of wiggle room on the subject. In other words, if Perry was sufficiently brazen, he could claim for the DHS the power to nullify the chemical regulations in New Jersey.

He was sufficiently brazen.

When the DHS finally unveiled its proposed regulations in late December of last year, Hill staffers noticed that the department had effectively granted itself the power to set aside state laws, even though the new federal law didn’t expressly grant such authority. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were livid. “In order to please their cronies in the chemical industry, the Bush administration is willing to put the health and safety of millions of people at risk,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). Senator Collins, for her part, released a statement accusing the DHS of attempting to create regulatory powers “out of whole cloth.”

It was indeed curious that Perry, who had been so cautious about allowing the EPA to claim regulatory authority in the Clean Air Act, should now be so bold in interpreting the language in an appropriations rider.

Or perhaps it wasn’t so curious at all.

In January 2007, Perry announced his intention to step down as general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security and was rumored to be returning to Latham & Watkins. Elizabeth Cheney, Perry’s wife, had given birth to the couple’s fifth child in July 2006, and Chertoff spoke of fully supporting Perry’s “decision to put his family first.”

But there were other reasons for Philip Perry to leave government, too. After all, he’d done what he came to do.

Art Levine is a contributing editor of the Washington Monthly. Research assistance for this article was provided by the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute. Additional reporting was done by Shaun Waterman, homeland and national security editor for United Press International.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Worst President Ever, or Comeback Kid

Al Neuharth: Bush Is Worst President of All-Time

By E&P Staff Published: February 16, 2007 1:55 PM ET

NEW YORK - Al Neuharth, the former Gannett chief, USA Today founder and currently weekly columnist for that newspaper, has had a change of heart.

A year ago, in honor of President's Day, he stated that while he was often critical of George W. Bush, he did not, and probably would not ever, crack his list of the five worst presidents we've ever had.

A year later he admits he was wrong.

In his USA Today column today he announces that Bush has not only cracked the bottom five, he's now at the very bottom. Last year, Neuharth, a World War II hero who has met every president since Eisenhower, listed his five worst as Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan, Ulysses Grant, Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon. "It's very unlikely Bush can crack that list," Neuharth wrote.

Now he admits: "I was wrong. This is my mea culpa. Not only has Bush cracked that list, but he is planted firmly at the top." By top, of course, he means bottom.

Neuharth, after calling the Iraq war Bush's "albatross," concludes: "Is he just a self-touted decider doing what he thinks right? Or is he an arrogant ruler who doesn't care or consider what the public or Congress believes best for the country?"

Despite his play on words and slogans, Bush didn't learn the value or meaning of mea culpa (acknowledgement of an error) during his years at Yale."Bush admitting his many mistakes on Iraq and ending that fiasco might make many of us forgive, even though we can never forget the terrible toll in lives and dollars."Neuharth, always considered a political moderate, made waves more than two years ago when he called for a phased U.S. pullout from Iraq. He still has not been joined in this by many mainstream pundits or editorial pages. Striking a different pose,

David Broder in The Washington Post today writes: "It may seem perverse to suggest that, at the very moment the House of Representatives is repudiating his policy in Iraq, President Bush is poised for a political comeback. But don't be astonished if that is the case."

If Bush makes a comeback now, I will blow my brains out!

What's up, Broder? Another 9/11, Gulf of Tonkin...what?

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A British View of the Nightmare

Iraq's death toll is far worse than our leaders admit

The US and Britain have triggered an episode more deadly than the Rwandan genocide By Les RobertsOn both sides of the Atlantic, a process of spinning science is preventing a serious discussion about the state of affairs in Iraq. 02/14/07 "The Independent" -- --

The government in Iraq claimed last month that since the 2003 invasion between 40,000 and 50,000 violent deaths have occurred. Few have pointed out the absurdity of this statement.

There are three ways we know it is a gross underestimate. First, if it were true, including suicides, South Africa, Colombia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia have experienced higher violent death rates than Iraq over the past four years. If true, many North and South American cities and Sub-Saharan Africa have had a similar murder rate to that claimed in Iraq.

For those of us who have been in Iraq, the suggestion that New Orleans is more violent seems simply ridiculous.Secondly, there have to be at least 120,000 and probably 140,000 deaths per year from natural causes in a country with the population of Iraq. The numerous stories we hear about overflowing morgues, the need for new cemeteries and new body collection brigades are not consistent with a 10 per cent rise in death rate above the baseline.

And finally, there was a study, peer-reviewed and published in The Lancet, Europe's most prestigious medical journal, which put the death toll at 650,000 as of last July. The study, which I co-authored, was done by the standard cluster approach used by the UN to estimate mortality in dozens of countries each year. While the findings are imprecise, the lower range of possibilities suggested that the Iraq government was at least downplaying the number of dead by a factor of 10.

There are several reasons why the governments involved in this conflict have been able to confuse the issue of Iraqi deaths. Our Lancet report involved sampling and statistical analysis, which is rather dry reading. Media reports always miss most deaths in times of war, so the estimate by the media-based monitoring system, (IBC) roughly corresponds with the Iraq government's figures. Repeated evaluations of deaths identified from sources independent of the press and the Ministry of Health show the IBC listing to be less than 10 per cent complete, but because it matches the reports of the governments involved, it is easily referenced.

Several other estimates have placed the death toll far higher than the Iraqi government estimates, but those have received less press attention. When in 2005, a UN survey reported that 90 per cent of violent attacks in Scotland were not recorded by the police, no one, not even the police, disputed this finding. Representative surveys are the next best thing to a census for counting deaths, and nowhere but Iraq have partial tallies from morgues and hospitals been given such credence when representative survey results are available.

The Pentagon will not release information about deaths induced or amounts of weaponry used in Iraq.

On 9 January of this year, the embedded Fox News reporter Brit Hume went along for an air attack, and we learned that at least 25 targets were bombed that day with almost no reports of the damage appearing in the press.Saddam Hussein's surveillance network, which only captured one third of all deaths before the invasion, has certainly deteriorated even further. During last July, there were numerous televised clashes in Anbar, yet the system recorded exactly zero violent deaths from the province.

The last Minister of Health to honestly assess the surveillance network, Dr Ala'din Alwan, admitted that it was not reporting from most of the country by August 2004. He was sacked months later after, among other things, reports appeared based on the limited government data suggesting that most violent deaths were associated with coalition forces.

The consequences of downplaying the number of deaths in Iraq are profound for both the UK and the US. How can the Americans have a surge of troops to secure the population and promise success when the coalition cannot measure the level of security to within a factor of 10? How can the US and Britain pretend they understand the level of resentment in Iraq if they are not sure if, on average, one in 80 families have lost a household member, or one in seven, as our study suggests?

If these two countries have triggered an episode more deadly than the Rwandan genocide, and have actively worked to mask this fact, how will they credibly be able to criticise Sudan or Zimbabwe or the next government that kills thousands of its own people?

For longer than the US has been a nation, Britain has pushed us at our worst of moments to do the right thing. That time has come again with regard to Iraq. It is wrong to be the junior partner in an endeavour rigged to deny the next death induced, and to have spokespeople effectively respond to that death with disinterest and denial.Our nations' leaders are collectively expressing belligerence at a time when the populace knows they should be expressing contrition. If that cannot be corrected, Britain should end its role in this deteriorating misadventure.

It is unlikely that any historians will record the occupation of Iraq in a favourable light. Britain followed the Americans into this débâcle. Wouldn't it be better to let history record that Britain led them out?

The writer is an Associate Professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health © 2007 Independent News and Media Limited

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.