....LMB: "Cheney 25:17*"....

August 27, 2002

So Dick Cheney is laying down the law about Iraq. In a recent speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Cheney argued that Saddam Hussein constituted a "mortal threat" to the United States, that "risks of inaction are far greater than the risk of action" ("action" meaning "attack," of course), and that waiting to attack Hussein will just increase the chances that he will have nuclear weapons when the US does decide to attack.

Of course, the one thing he didn't do was provide the tiniest shred of proof that Iraq is a threat to the United States, let alone a "mortal" one that would destroy the nation.

He also tells the audience that he disagrees with grim predictions that an attack on Iraq would destabilize the region and impede the war on terrorism:

"Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits to the region. When the gravest of threats are eliminated, the freedom-loving peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can bring lasting peace. As for the reaction of the Arab "street," the Middle East expert Professor Fouad Ajami predicts that after liberation, the streets in Basra and Baghdad are "sure to erupt in joy in the same way the throngs in Kabul greeted the Americans." Extremists in the region would have to rethink their strategy of Jihad. Moderates throughout the region would take heart. And our ability to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be enhanced, just as it was following the liberation of Kuwait in 1991."

Cheney then stops his prognosticating, but I presume he would've gone on to talk about rainbows and kittens and gumdrops and beautiful fairy princesses and the children of the world holding hands, singing tra la la la la.

While major public figures are now speaking out against the war (like Brent Scowcroft and Norman Schwarzkopf), their opposition is fairly specific; if the Bush administration can "sell" the Iraqi threat to the American people, or come up with a battle plan that will incur fewer US casualties, then this opposition will lift. But the unreasonable rationale for attack is only one of my concerns. I'm afraid that a war on Iraq will kill many Iraqis, some Americans, and profoundly fuck up southern and central Asia.

Successfully deposing Saddam Hussein could cause a secession by the Kurds of northern Iraq, potentially inviting a civil war between the Turks and it's Kurdish population that would also want to secede (check this map). And since the US is an ally of Turkey, the US could get drawn into a Turkish civil war. The Shi'a Arabs in southern Iraq might also secede, or maintain their quasi-autonomous status. Shi'ites are generally more fundamentalist and militant than other Muslims, which could result in more religious terrorism in the region, and against the United States. On top of this chaos, the US is still trying to hold Afghanistan together, and does not seem to be that successful. Does the US really want to be an occupying force in two nations simultaneously?

I don't want to be all doom and gloom here. The ideal outcome would be one where Saddam Hussein was overthrown, and a peaceful democratic coalition government were put in its place with little need for US involvement. However, I'm not an optimist. I feel it more likely that the US would occupy Iraq for an extended period of time, and give control over the country to any Iraqi who would sign lucrative oil deals with US petroleum companies, and generally carry out the US' will. Either the US could tie the nation together through brute force, or have it's little puppet regime in Baghdad while the rest of the country struggles on its own.

I'm planning on writing a Stray Bulletins article summing up the reasons I think this war on Iraq is a bad idea, including an examination of the war hawks' rationale. But for the most part, I've given up on that line of questioning. I don't think that the Bush administration is actually worried about Saddam Hussein attacking the US with WMD. I think that is a fictional cover story they have created to distract us all. No one with any knowledge of Iraq is concerned about these weapons, including the CIA and FBI. Unless Bush and Rumsfeld have access to intelligence that the CIA can't access, there's no good reason to fear these weapons.

So what is the real reason that the US is attacking Iraq? I've heard many explanations: to gain Republican political advantage for the November Congressional elections; to get Iraq's oil; because Israel wants us to; to break the spirit of the "Islamists"; to demonstrate American strength; to distract everyone from the failures of the war on terrorism; as a personal vendetta by W. to avenge his father; or because the White House is filled with fucking loonies. Bush & co. want this war, and they'll make up any old cover story to get it.

Unfortunately, Bush has an awful lot riding on this war. After so much tough talk and bluster, he would look very foolish if he were forced to back down. So he might not, despite the opposition of nearly every nation on Earth, despite the lack of public support, despite the lack of support from his own political party, despite the breach of international law, despite the carnage it will cause.

Now I'll leave you with three sound clips I really think you should listen to.

In 1964, Congress voted on the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that would authorize the president to use military force in Vietnam. At the time, the government claimed that US ships had been attacked by Vietnamese ships, and that our nation needed to retaliate. Congress lined up to vote their support.

Two senators spoke out against this resolution, and the following are audio recordings of the fiesty Sen. Wayne Morse, who was one of the few Congressional voices of wisdom that preceded a bloody and terrible war. As the current White House demands similar unquestioning support for Congress in another complex war with only flimsy allegations as evidence, I think it's mandatory that we take a listen to these:

Clip 1
Clip 2
Clip 3

Posted by Jake at 10:15 PM
Comments

Thanks for those links to the Morse clips. Too bad no current senator has Morse-size balls.

Posted by: dack at August 29, 2002 07:49 AM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

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