Black November 15

A Tangled Web


“Saddam (Hussein) must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons. Earlier today I ordered America’s armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.” Bill Clinton, December 16, 1998.


Fast forward to November 15, 2005 and the same president Bill Clinton calls his successor’s subsequent invasion of Iraq under the very same pretenses, “a big mistake.”

Clinton said this at the 2005 Arab Strategy Forum at the American University in Dubai. It was part of a program with a stated focus of “The Arab World in 2020.”

However, it’s not as if Clinton has been born again and realizes the entire Imperial folly for what it is. No. Bubba’s critique is mostly about how; “The mistake that they made is that when they kicked out Saddam, they decided to dismantle the whole authority structure of Iraq. … We never sent enough troops and didn’t have enough troops to control or seal the borders, and the terrorists came in,” he said.


“Courtesy of the Red (White) and Blue”

It’s absolutely amazing to see the Democrats now sticking it to Bush over policies they themselves implemented and the lies used to justify them pre-Bush. Now, the Democrats, from Gore, Kerry, Edwards and, now Clinton on — each and every one of them a previous Iraq hawk — have the nerve to accuse BushCo alone of misleading the public on the Iraq threat.

Senator “Anybody but Bush” said this past week, “The bottom line is that the President and his Administration did mislead America into war. In fact, the war in Iraq was and remains one of the great acts of misleading and deception in American history. The facts are incontrovertible.”

The very same Kerry gave an impassioned October 9, 2002 Senate floor speech about the threat Saddam posed, doing more than his own share of “misleading”: “With respect to Saddam Hussein and the threat he presents, we must ask ourselves a simple question: Why? Why is Saddam Hussein pursuing weapons that most nations have agreed to limit or give up? Why is Saddam Hussein guilty of breaking his own cease-fire agreement with the international community? Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don’t even try, and responsible nations that have them attempt to limit their potential for disaster? Why did Saddam Hussein threaten and provoke? Why does he develop missiles that exceed allowable limits? Why did Saddam Hussein lie and deceive the inspection teams previously? Why did Saddam Hussein not account for all of the weapons of mass destruction which UNSCOM identified? Why is he seeking to develop unmanned airborne vehicles for delivery of biological agents?”

As usual, Bush got it half right in his response to the Democrat new-found awareness; firing back, “They spoke the truth then and they’re speaking politics now.”


Willy Pete and Phossy Jaw

There’s gonna be hell
When you hear Mother Freedom
Start ringing her bell
It’ll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you
Brought to you courtesy of the Red White and Blue

-Toby Keith

Speaking of Clinton, Bush, Kerry et al.’s feared “chemical weapons,” and invasion-justifying charges that “Saddam used chemical weapons against his own people,” what are we to make of the Pentagon’s November 15th admission that they used White Phosphorous in the assault of Fallujah?


What is white phosphorus?

White phosphorus is a solid, waxy man-made chemical which ignites spontaneously at about 30C and produces an intense heat, bright light and thick pillars of smoke. It continues to burn until deprived of oxygen and, if extinguished with water, can later reignite if the particles dry out and are exposed again to the air. Also known by the military as WP or Willy Pete, white phosphorus is used in munitions, to mark enemy targets and to produce smoke for concealing troop movements. It can also be used as an incendiary device to firebomb enemy positions.

What are its effects?

If particles of ignited white phosphorus land on a person’s skin, they can continue to burn right through flesh to the bone. Toxic phosphoric acid can also be released into wounds, risking phosphorus poisoning. Skin burns must be immersed in water or covered with wet cloths to prevent re-combustion until the particles can be removed. Exposure to white phosphorus smoke in the air can also cause liver, kidney, heart, lung or bone damage and even death. A former US soldier who served in Iraq says breathing in smoke close to a shell caused the throat and lungs to blister until the victim suffocated, with the phosphorus continuing to burn them from the inside. Long-term exposure to lesser concentrations over several months or years may lead to a condition called “phossy jaw”, where mouth wounds are caused that fail to heal and the jawbone eventually breaks down. SOURCE: BBC


The Torture Two-Steps

A: “On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked, ‘Who would prefer that
Saddam’s torture chambers still be open?'”

B: A little more than a month later, on April 28, 2004, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/60_Minutes>60 Minutes exposed the systematic US torture carried out at Saddam’s former torture palace itself. The Abu Ghraib affronts were further examined in Seymour Hersh’s <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Yorker>The New Yorker piece shortly thereafter.

The administration response to the revelations was to quickly go after the low-ranking perpetrators smiling away in their torture trophy photos. It was just an “aberrant act” by some sickos, we were told. Perhaps the cavalier dismissal of higher-up accountability was best summed up by former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell’s “I don’t know how the hell these people got into our army.”

When the Senate recently voted 90 ­ 9 to ban the use of torture by US troops; the administration’s outrageous response was such a ban would “restrict the president’s authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice.”

While piously lying “We don’t torture,” Bush nonetheless vowed to veto the amendment of former POW, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) which prohibited “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of detainees” in U.S. custody.

After all, Bush has it on good authority that it’s all copasetic:

“As an initial matter, I note that you (Bush) have the constitutional authority to make the determination you made on January 18, 2002 that the GPW (Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War) does not apply to al Qaeda and the Taliban.”

White House Counsel now Attorney General Roberto R. Gonzales, in a January 25, 2002 memo to Bush.


Location, Location, Location

A: As Amnesty International noted and Patrick and Andrew Cockburn wrote about in their book, “Out of the Ashes,” Saddam was infamous for his network of secret prisons. Said prisons cited time and again as further justification Saddam’s removal. A widely-quoted, anonymous UN official said at the time of Amnesty’s report, “No authoritarian regime like his would survive without secret prisons.”

B: Now we learn about a secret CIA prison network (called Black Sites by the spooks) covering locations in up to eight countries where prisoners are held without any due process. The reason such brutal facilities are placed in places like Thailand, Qatar and so on is that, as the Washington Post noted; it is illegal for the government to hold prisoners in secret prisons without due process in the United States.

BushCo’s response to this revelation? To shut down the dungeons? To arrest torturers? To remove officials who condoned it? To release any of the some 14,500 the us admits are still detained? Nope. The administration and their GOP senate allies are fiercely going after the “leakers” who exposed the existence of the prisons!

Let’s see: chemical weapons use; torture chambers; secret prisons; no habeas corpus,

What was that UN diplomat’s quote again?

I don’t know how the hell these people got into our country.

MICHAEL DONNELLY writes from Salem, OR. He notes that on Nov. 15th we not only saw the admission of chemical weapons use and Clinton’s semi-break with Bush’s War; we also saw the resumption of the annual Bison slaughter near Yellowstone NP. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com


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MICHAEL DONNELLY has been an environmental activist since before that first Earth Day. He was in the thick of the Pacific Northwest Ancient Forest Campaign; garnering some collective victories and lamenting numerous defeats. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com

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