Friday, October 26, 2012

Still struggling to close the deal








In the US presidential race, incumbent Barack Obama notched up a high profile endorsement and, were I British Socialist who let my freak flag fly in alternatve UK publications but pretended to be New Labour when writing for a daily paper, I'd be all gaa-gaa-goo-goo.  But not having whored my soul out thus far, I'll instead note that Barack has received the endorsement of War Criminal Colin Powell.
2008 pledged delegate for Barack to the DNC Norman Solomon described Collie Powell's past this way at ZNet in 2003
Tacit erasure of inconvenient history -- including his own -- is integral to the warm relationship between Powell and U.S. news media.  There's a lot to erase.  For instance, in January 1986, serving as a top aide to Pentagon chief Caspar Weinberger, he supervised the transfer of 4,508 TOW missiles to the CIA, and then sought to hide the transaction from Congress and the public.  No wonder: Almost half of those missiles had become part of the Iran-Contra scandal's arms-for-hostages deal.
As President Reagan's national security adviser, Powell worked diligently on behalf of the contra guerrillas who were killing civilians in Nicaragua.  In December 1989, Powell -- at that point the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- was a key player behind the invasion of Panama.
The Gulf War catapulted Powell to the apex of American poliical stardom in early 1991.  When he was asked about the Iraqi death toll from the war, Powell said that such numbers didn't interest him.
The numbers of the dead didn't interest him?  In 2003, Jack Kelly (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) reported on demographer and Carnegie Mellon University professor Beth Daponte's estimates "that 158,000 Iraqis -- 86,194 men, 39.612 women and 32,195 children -- had perished in the war and its aftermath."  Those numbers don't interest Colin, not even the children, not even the 32,195 children.   American Everyman covers today's endorsement with a post entiteld "Liar, Neocon, War-Criminal Colin Powell Endorses Obama -- 'I think we ought to keep on the path we are on'."  In 2008, Collie endorsed Barack as well leading Joe Mowrey (Dissident Voice) to revisit some of the high water marks (waterboarding marks?) on Powell's criminal record:
Powell is the guy who, as a bright young 31 year old Army Major, did his level best to keep information about the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam from becoming public. Specifically, he was charged with investigating a letter from a whistle-blowing soldier giving detailed accounts of many of the atrocities committed by U.S. military personnel in Vietnam under the auspices of the Phoenix Program. That program was a lovely little package of war crimes intended to "identify and neutralize (via infiltration, capture, or murder) the civilian infrastructure supporting the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (the Viet Cong)." In other words, it was a U.S. and South Vietnamese death squad operation which rampaged through the country side slaughtering civilians and burning down entire villages. You know, capturing the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people. Powell summed up his investigation of the whistle-blower's accusations by saying, "In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent."
Well that's enough for me. If Powell endorsed the rousing success of the Phoenix Program, what more do we need to know? Queried about his participation in the attempted white wash of My Lai, some 40 years later Powell said, "I mean, I was in a unit that was responsible for My Lai. I got there after My Lai happened. So, in war, these sorts of horrible things happen every now and again…" Personally, I think he sounds really sorry. And he's seems to be bashing Republicans these days, so I like him a lot.
Fast forward to 2003. Then Secretary of State, Powell, made a triumphant speech to the United Nations outlining the urgent need for us to invade Iraq in a war of aggression in order to eliminate the massive amounts of weapons of mass destruction which Saddam Hussein was going to use to invade and destroy the United States. Thank Buddha that Powell was able to use his dignity and gravitas to convince the world of the imminent danger. Imagine where we might be today without his steadfast endorsement of that magnificent war crime. I don't know about you, but I wasn't into wearing a turban and having Saddam Hussein's picture on the one dollar bill. I shudder to think of Brittany Spears in a burka. Of course, it's a bit unfortunate that Powell's speech to the U.N. was a pack of outright fabrications and lies. But I've forgiven him by now, especially since he's decided to come out in favor our Our Guy Obama.
Iran-Contra, My Lai, the Iraq War -- he's sort of like the Forest Gump of Death and Destruction. But with Collie, there's never enough room to include all the harm he's done.  For instance, few writers bother to note the way he savaged Bill Clinton's plan to allow gays to serve openly in the military.  Collie was the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff back then.  Today, we realize how awful homophobia is.  If Collie hadn't stood in Bill's way, think of how much better life could have been for LGBTs that much sooner.  Think of the people who wouldn't have been kicked out of the military.  Collie's never apologized for his homophobic.  He dropped his objection a few years back and for that we're all supposed to be grateful? 
Earlier this year, when Collie needed some media attention and was flirting with endorsing Barack, Bill Perdue (FireDogLake) observed, "The fact that Powell is once again endorsing Obama means that Powell feels safe that he won't be indicted as a war criminal as long as Obama continues wars of aggression and that he agrees with Obama's war policy, which will enlarge and expand these wars causing more deaths and putting the finishing touches on the destruction of our economy and standard of living."
Collie The Blot Powell.  Having sold the Iraq War with a lying testimony to the United Nations, Collie appeared shocked that illegal war might go wrong.  As he rushed to get out of a sinking administration in the fall of 2005, he sat down with mother-confessor Barbara Walters to serve up more self-serving half-truths.  As Ava and I noted after that aired:
Walters says, unable to look at him while she does -- oh the drama!, "However, you gave the world false, groundless reasons for going to war. You've said, and I quote, 'I will forever be known as the one who made the case for war.' Do you think this blot on your record will stay with you for the rest of your life?"

Powell: Well it's a, it's a, of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United Nations, uh, United States, to the world. And it will always be uh, part of my, uh, my record.

Walters: How painful is it?

Powell: (shrugs) It was -- it *was* painful. (shifts, shrugs) It's painful now.

Has a less convincing scene ever been performed?
Medea Benjamin and Charles Davids ( observed last June that Powell continues to refuse to take accountability for his actions, "In other words, according to Powell, the fact that he lied to the American public as well as the international community on the eve of a disastrous war is not his fault — heavens no — but the fault of his anonymous underlings, the allegedly timid State Department staffers who lacked the courage to speak truth to their courageous boss. Like many of Powell's anecdotes, it's a tidy little story about leadership that's about as truthful as his U.N. speech."  And just last June, Veterans for Peace, Chapter 92 ("Greater Seattle")  geared up to protest Colin's visit to the area, "Please join members of Greater Seattle Veterans For Peace as we protest the Seattle appearance of former US Army General and Secretary of State Colin Powell. Powell will be the guest of Seattle's City Club and is promoting his new book, It Worked For Me."  I don't know which is worse: Getting the endorsement of a War Criminal or being unable to call out a War Criminal who's endorsed you.
Last night, Rebecca noted that Terry O'Neill and NOW were in violation of the law with the mailing Terry sent out yesterday.  NOW cannot send that mailing and it cannot be listed as coming from NOW.  This is is explained in number 8 of NOW's Faqs online, "NOW's Political Action Committee, or NOW/PAC, supports candidates in federal elections (for Congress and the Presidency.)  You must be a member of NOW to contribute to NOW/PAC.  NOW/PAC is the only part of the national organization that can endorse federal political candidates."  That's pretty damn clear to everyone . . . except Terry O'Neill.  So Terry sent out an e-mail tarring and feathering Mitt Romney for what some other Republican in a race stated.  Guilt by association was the card Terry played.  Colin Powell endorsed Barack.  Despite NOW's supposed (post-Mother Of Us All) commitment to LGBT equality, don't expect NOW or Terry to utter a word.  The endorsement is both offensive and telling.  But you can buy the silence of whores.
And expect many to be silent today as the Butcher of Baghdad himself, Collie The Blot Powell, makes an endorsement and expects the world to take him seriously.  Colin Powell is a War Criminal.  He shouldn't be making endorsements, he should be serving hard time behind bars.  Why might Barack embrace a War Criminal?  Because they're two of a kind?  Timothy P. Carney (Washington Examiner) observes:
President Obama has killed hundreds of civilians, including women and children, in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia through a drone war aimed at exterminating the suspected terrorists on his unprecedented and ever-expanding "kill list" — a list that has included U.S. citizens.
In Iraq, Obama tried to perpetuate the U.S. occupation past his promised date for withdrawal, and after Iraqi leaders wanted American troops to leave.
In Libya, Obama illegally intervened in a civil war, sending U.S. fighter jets and missiles to kill a dictator who posed no threat to America. The aftermath of this unauthorized war: a coup in neighboring Mali paired with the rise of al Qaeda in that country, and a terrorist attack in Libya ending in the death of four Americans.
Amid real successes — such as the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, and ultimately ending the occupation of Iraq — Obama's foreign policy has been riddled with failures, scandals and mistakes. But if you watched this week's debate or follow this election cycle's media coverage, you would assume Obama has been throwing a perfect game around the planet.
While Barack makes nice with War Criminals, he continues to attack whistle blowers.  In a smart move by WikiLeaks, they're back in the news.  Charles Miranda (News Limited Network) reports,  "The whistleblowing website tonight released five restricted files from the US Department of Defense, including the standard operating procedure manual for Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay.  Over the next month, the website will publish more than 100 classified documents covering operating procedures at detention camps in Iraq and Cuba."  Reuters quotes Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, stating, "'The Detainee Policies' show the anatomy of the beast that is post-9/11 detention, the carving out of a dark space where law and rights do not apply, where persons can be detained without a trace at the convenience of the U.S. Department of Defense.  It shows the excesses of the early days of war against an unknown 'enemy' and how these policies matured and evolved."
Julian Assange's attorneys should pay attention.  This is how you make people give a damn about WikiLeaks, not by resting on past glories.  The past is the past and can't be taken away.  You want to make the case for Julian Assange's supposed importance, you do it with what WikiLeaks can do, not what it did a few years ago.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot "
"Nouri's power grab and plans to occupy"
"The murder of Zia Medhi"
"Pregnancy talk"
"Anchorage and more"
"the i.r.s. needs to audit n.o.w."
"The e-mails are proof"
"So many questions the White House needs to answer"
"Afifa Iskandar"
"Benghazi and Barack"
"Robert Gibbs: World's Best Parent"